Staying at home offers a chance to declutter, but what if you can’t donate?


The Value Village Donation Center is closed in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on April 1, 2020.

Andrew Vaughan / The Canadian Press

Taking an overcrowded closet or dusty boxes in the basement could provide more than the satisfaction of ending long procrastination.

In an era of increased stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the act of decluttering can have many benefits.

“At times like this, when you’re stuck at home, you may feel anxious,” said Lora Cristofari. “Clutter can create more anxiety. There is a liberating feeling of getting rid of some of these things. ”

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Canadians are encouraged to stay at home to help smooth the curve, and many take advantage of it to clean up and progress in areas large and small.

“Every person I have spoken to is like” I pass in a cupboard “or” What should I do with my photos “or” I pass in my old papers “, said the interior designer and organizer professional Jane Veldhoven.

“Everyone is getting organized. I think that tells us that it is because it makes you feel good. ”

But while it may sound gratifying, many wonder what to do with the clutter – books, souvenirs, clothes, etc. – which does not reach the trash or recycling bin.

Thrift stores are closed, garage sales are not taking place, and people may be hesitant to buy and sell online while trying to follow physical distancing recommendations.

Community Facebook groups known to trade items such as furniture and clothing have also calmed down in recent weeks, with the Toronto Palz Trading Zone (formerly Bunz) encouraging members to limit their posts to “essential” items.

Veldhoven said one option is to package items or put them in a container with a label to “give” or “sell.” Storing them in a garage or storage locker could work until things get back to normal.

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“Let’s designate an area that we’re going to call a green area, which means it can” get out “of my house,” she said in Halifax. “But it will go somewhere.” “

Cristofari suggested using transparent bins to see what’s inside and move them around a garage or shed.

“Take him out as far as possible from the room so that you can appreciate the work you have done, and he does not just stay in this room and just put it back in a cupboard,” he said. she declared.

Got a stack of old flash drives in this desk drawer? Veldhoven said taking charge of digital projects can also be rewarding in these uncertain times.

“The process of downsizing, decluttering, organizing, and putting things where you can see them, use them, and enjoy them – it gives you a huge sense of control,” she said.

Mess can be found in every room, drawer and closet of the house. It can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming to master it.

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“Start small and create a plan,” advised Cristofari. “Spend some time each day. So maybe it’s only 30 minutes a day. If you are really ambitious, you can watch an hour a day. ”

Veldhoven suggests that at the start, determine the area that needs the most attention. The master bedroom is often a good starting point.

“Normally, you wear 20% of what you have 80% of the time,” said Veldhoven of Halifax. “It’s true for almost everyone. So you can normally let go of a lot more than you think you can. “

His advice is to get everything out of the drawers and the closet before taking stock.

“Make a huge bunch and a mess in a way,” said Veldhoven, who plays in “The Big Downsize” on VisionTV. “Then take a look at the amount of time that has passed since you wore or used it. Did you forget you had it?

“But also look at what it adds to your life to keep these things?” “

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Cristofari, who owns the staging company for the Jax & Belle Home store in Newmarket, Ontario, said the approach also works in smaller areas like a kitchen drawer.

“You have to take everything out (and) look at everything you have,” she said. “Do you really need five spatulas in this drawer?” “

It’s also a good idea to keep a washcloth handy, added Cristofari.

“You’d be surprised how many crumbs land in this drawer,” she said. “If you don’t remove everything, you’re not going to see these crumbs. So while you’re organizing, you need to clean up.

“Do it at the same time. “

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