In a recent decluttering webinar hosted by professional organiser Fay Wolf, people all over the country signed on to Zoom to get how-to tips while sequestered at home due to the coronavirus. ”There’s room in your life to do something right now, ” said Wolf, author of New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else).
“Now that we are at home we are faced with our stuff. But we have an opportunity to take action and feel better.”
People on the webinar confessed to feeling fearful, sad and jittery as they shared free guided-meditation apps and journalling strategies as well as their recent decluttering victories. They are not alone.
On March 18, Goodwill Southern California closed its stores and donation centres in response to the escalating Covid-19 pandemic. By March 24, many of the centres were so overwhelmed by drop-offs that the nonprofit appealed to Los Angeles residents to stop.
”As much as we love to accept donations, we can’t take them right now, ” said Marla Eby with the US nonprofit Goodwill. “People are dropping things off, and it is becoming a health hazard, especially in the rain. We are asking people to organise their things at home and have them ready when we reopen.”
Professional organiser Marla Stone, author of The Clutter Remedy: A Guide to Getting Organized for Those Who Love Their Stuff, isn’t surprised by the “corona cleaning.”
“March is normally the month people clean out their garage regardless of the sequestering, ” said Stone. “We’re like the bears that come out of hibernation.”
Most professional organisers have their own method. For Marie Kondo, it’s the Kon Mari Method. Wolf likes to use sorting bins labelled ”donate, ” “trash, ” “recycle, ” “shred” and “other rooms.”
“That’s the most important thing. There is a huge push to get rid of stuff. When I go into a home I tell them, ‘You don’t have to get rid of anything.’ As soon as I tell people that, they start heave-hoing their stuff out of the garage.”
- Ask yourself: Is it useful? Does it serve a purpose? Is it sentimental? How sentimental?
- Do I love it? If it’s something you love and it makes you happy, then it’s a keeper.
Categorise your stuff
- Grouping items by category helps you to get rid of stuff. Stone said the main reason her clients remain disorganised is because they don’t do this.
- Fine-tune your categories. That way there is order. Organise your books. Contain items in the bathroom in zip top bags. Put electrical cords in a bin. That way, you can see what you have and realise that you don’t need the objects.
- Focus on what you actually use. How many blenders do you have? How many dishes? Have they been sitting there for 16 years? If you have space and are sentimental about them, keep them; otherwise, get rid of them.
Use clear bins
- Categorise and use clear and concise criteria. Ask yourself: Will I use this, and if so, how often? Is it serving a purpose? Is it sentimental?
- If it’s something like camping gear and you don’t camp, ask yourself, “What’s this item doing in my real estate?” If that answer is nothing, pass it forward.
- If there are things, such as Christmas platters, that you use only a couple of times a year, put them in a bin and store them away from your everyday items.
-Organise important papers when you finish organising your office. You can’t categorise paper in a cluttered environment.
- Don’t put items that can be used in a trash can, dumpster or a junk truck. Think about individuals and organisations that might be able to use them.
- Consider using free e-waste and toxic waste disposal centres.
Where to donate now
- Leave the item on your driveway or porch for pickup. Or place it on the sidewalk with a sign marked “free.”
- Donate to family, friends and neighbours. Stone developed membership sales group pages on Facebook so she could donate directly to people.
Selling your stuff
- Free online advertising helps you avoid shipping and returns. Companies such as Venmo and PayPal make it safe to accept and pay money, protecting both sellers and buyers.
- Make sure you communicate clearly about what you are selling, including any damage, scratches, discolouration or odours.
- If you’re a buyer, do your research and make sure it’s not an impulse purchase. Be careful when picking up an item.
- Try trading groups online where people barter for the things they want.
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