With the stay-at-home order, some of us have found more time to begin spring cleaning. But most donation centers, drop-offs, and secondhand stores are still closed or not accepting donations at this time.
While this is may seem like an inconvenience, resist the urge to throw usable items, such as clothing, electronics, furniture, and toys, in the trash. Here are some tips that might help.
Can you reuse or repair the items and keep them longer?
Are there ways you can still use or repurpose your stuff instead of trashing it? Take this time to find a new use for those belongings. Although donation is much better than throwing away usable items, it’s even better if you can reuse or repair them and avoid the purchase of a replacement. Now's your chance to learn how to mend and alter clothes, do basic repairs on lamps or appliances, or peruse YouTube for instructions on reupholstering or upcycling furniture and tackling other reuse projects. Watch the many upcycling or "flipping" shows online or on streaming channels for inspiration on turning old items into something new and stylish. Even if you've upcycled or fixed something and you still don't want it, perhaps you can store it to donate later or share with a friend or neighbor.
Sell or give items away
See if someone in your neighborhood can use your unwanted items. You can list items for free or for sale on social media groups and exchange sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, and Craigslist. Connect with someone who is excited to have the item(s) you no longer need or want. And these transactions can still allow you to practice social distancing.
Label, organize, and store for now.
Do not drop off donation items at closed locations. If you’ve exhausted opportunities to reuse, repair, or repurpose these items, label boxes clearly and store them in your home or garage. Once donation centers re-open, you can drop them off, but not all at once. Make a plan to gradually donate so those organizations aren’t overwhelmed. Call them and ask if they have the staff and storage for your items before you bring them.
What about curbside collection of bulky items?
Some trash haulers are no longer collecting bulky items during COVID-19. If your bulky item can't be repaired, reused, upcycled, given away, sold, or stored for future donation, contact your hauler to determine if they’re still offering collections or when they’ll start offering those services again.