The #quarantines and #lockdowns of COVID-19 have most people spending more time at home, says Apartment Therapy — and more time at home means more household #clutter. Not only have you stocked up on canned goods and work-from-home supplies, but there may also be school projects, toys and games laying around. To maintain a sense of order, do the little necessities such as taking out the trash and doing the dishes. If you find time in your schedule, tackle a larger #organization project you’d been putting off.
Hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) is a concept celebrated mostly in Denmark that heralds the creation of a cozy, welcoming living space. Originally, the concept is thought to be the indoorsy, affirming answer to Scandinavia’s long, bleak winter nights.
Since English-speakers don’t have a word for the concept, picture yourself relaxing in a warm ski lodge after a long day of skiing or snowshoeing, with cup of tea or hot chocolate in hand, a crackling fire in the hearth, and a wooly blanket in your lap.
Nice, huh? Now bring that feeling home.
What’s missing from that picture is all of the #junk, papers and #clutter you’ve collected over the years. Because at the core of the #hygge concept is #simplicity — cognizant of the fact that extra #stuff is #anxiety-producing, hygge takes a #minimalist approach.
#Minimalism gets a bad rap as stark or cold, says Simple Lionheart Life, a minimalist blog, and Scandinavia’s penchant for modern design might underline that misconception. But hygge is a different kind of minimalism that’s all cozy blankets, candles and #calm.
To embrace it (and survive the long, socially distanced winter), you’ll need to get rid of the #clutter that’s overrunning your space; it’s distracting from what’s really important and may actually be getting in the way of your sense of inner peace.
“Hygge isn’t about ‘things’ at all,” the blog says. “It’s more about slowing down and being present to appreciate and enjoy your life. And finding ways to celebrate ordinary moments and make them special.”
To embrace it, figure out what you value and what makes you feel good about your home. Then, get rid of everything that isn’t contributing to that feeling. Throw the stuff somebody might still want into boxes and bags, and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup.
Keep your favorite blanket, a candle, and a couple of good books or board games, of course, because once you #declutter your home, you’ll want to relax and enjoy how #clean and #cozy it is mindfully — hyyge-style — by yourself and with family and friends.
In the major countries of the former British Empire, the day after #Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. A legal holiday, the event grew out of a custom for wealthy landowners to offer their servants and workers a box of edible goodies, gifts or a monetary tip during the Christmas season.
Stateside, many make the erroneous assumption that “Boxing Day” is on the calendar as a day people might set aside to box and store their Christmas #decorations for another year. In #quarantine times, however, the Organizing Blog would like to propose a modest compromise:
Let’s celebrate Boxing Day as a way to #declutter and #donate to a good cause. And since we have plenty of time at home due to pandemic travel restrictions, let’s take the whole week to do it.
The first step is to declutter. Start with the stacks and stacks of shipping boxes you’ve likely accumulated buying gifts from Amazon and other outlets. With online shopping up 40% from 2019, households are drowning in cardboard. Break down and #recycle any box that can’t be repurposed.
Next, conduct an organized destaging of all of your household holiday trappings, including wrapping paper, decorations, tree, lights, ornaments, and tchotchkes. Take your time and store everything in dedicated, labeled bins and boxes for easy access next year, or use these clever suggestions from HGTV.
As you pack up, toss anything that’s damaged or dingy. Dead light strands, cracked ornaments and worn fabrics aren’t worth saving or storing. Then, set aside any items that don’t provide a Kondoesque “joy.” These items may still be of good use to someone — just not you.
Finally, gather those unwanted and orphaned items together in extra boxes and bags and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Consider it a tax-deductible gift to the nation’s veterans, made in the true spirit of Boxing Day. You may not be landed gentry, but every little bit you give helps veterans access health care, housing and other resources.
Take advantage of a pandemic-era “Boxing Week” to get rid of the things you don’t want and show your appreciation for those who served. Happy New Year from the Organizing Blog!
ClothingDonations.org is again scheduling pickups throughout the country. But with coronavirus cases and hospitalizations again on the rise, readers may be wondering whether or not they can make their donations safely. The answer is yes!
Donations can be made without coming into close contact with other people and risking viral transmission. Simply put your lightly used clothing and household goods into boxes and bags, then place the boxes and bags in a designated area such as the front porch for pickup on the scheduled day.
A ClothingDonations.org truck will visit that day and take that used stuff away with a contactless pickup — without even knocking or ringing the doorbell. In your donation’s place, the driver will leave a receipt so you can deduct your donation.
If someone in your household has already had COVID-19 and recovered, it should be safe to donate your used things, too. Early on, it was found that the virus could survive on hard surfaces for 24 to 72 hours. Transmission between people, however, has since been found to be mostly a function of airborne droplets. As long as you donate things that have been washed or wiped down, in other words, there is little chance of passing the virus on your stuff.
You can continue to wipe down high-touch surfaces in your home and use hand sanitizer after touching unfamiliar surfaces to protect yourself. But you can be secure in the knowledge that donated goods aren’t a significant vector for disease.
The same goes for shopping at the thrift stores ClothingDonations.org supplies with used goods. Donated by families like yours, those one-of-a-kind finds spend sufficient time out of circulation before being priced for sale.
Finally, remember that a clutter-free home is a home that’s easier to keep clean. So as you sort through and eliminate some of your stuff, you’ll actually be making it easier to keep your place COVID-free.
With new lockdowns and restrictions, you may find soon yourself with plenty of time at home to declutter. Box and bag that stuff up and visit ClothingDonations.org to schedule a pickup today!
The Organizing Blog regrets to inform readers that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted ClothingDonations.org’s regular donation pickup services. We are currently unable to collect your donations in all but a few areas of the country.
If you are unable to schedule a donation pickup at our websites, that’s likely because service in your area is unavailable at this time. To check on your location, call the pickup number for your state listed at ClothingDonations.org.
We will resume pickup service as soon as it is safe to do so for our donors and drivers. We encourage you to revisit the site when the social distancing guidelines designed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus start to ease.
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders may provide the extra time you need to get started on #decluttering tasks you might have been putting off, however. Be sure to revisit the Tales From the Closet archives for advice on all kinds of #cleaning, #organizing and decluttering tasks.
Take advantage of your newfound down time to sort out the stuff you no longer need, want or find useful. Bag or box those castoffs and set them aside; we will pick them up as soon as we can resume donation pickup service safely.
We appreciate your support and patience during the COVID-19 pandemic and hope that you, your family and your friends are safe.
Quentin Butcher, Business Director, Vietnam Veterans of America