Decluttering After Emerging from Quarantine

What the lockdown has created

It's hard to believe that it's only been one year when the lockdown began, but with restrictions that are getting closer to easing up, most of us are getting excited. What has happened in this last year has also created an unknowing crisis that might be pretty obvious for most homeowners and residents. 

The pandemic has created a national clutter crisis that has seen greater amounts of goods and items being stored in your home.

Many more home deliveries have become more common as most people have spent massive amounts of time at home.

stack of boxes in garage

Amazon has snatched up most of the worlds supply of cardboard to meet the demands of online shoppers during the COVID-19 shopping surge.

There has also been an increase of home offices created in an attempt to limit movement and reduce contact with those who have COVID-19. 

cluttered home office

Arizona ranked #6 in the U.S. for best places to work from home during the pandemic.

With so much time being spent indoors, the focus on practical upkeep around the home has largely been ignored. This is why many residents are contacting us with home clutter issues.

The damage of stockpiling and hoarding

households stack

Not only is home clutter an issue for being able to move around your home easily, but it also brings up another highly dangerous issue. The first reason is simple fire safety and can become a deadly situation in a matter of seconds if candles or open flame ignite excess clutter. This is especially dangerous with boxes, packaging, and flimsy plastic products that will readily burn faster than other materials in your home.

The act of hoarding is not a common trait but has become a growing problem in the last year. Unfortunately, the act of hoarding became an essential way of life due to Covid, yet for an entire year, it had to be expected. But now that many states are now reopening and restarting, homeowners are now looking at an emerging notion that it's time to make a big cleanup around your home.

Time to declutter

man with clipboard in hand

There's still no reason that giving your home a good spring cleaning is simply a good practice that we should all observe. But it starts with the three pillars of cleaning and organizing that you should know about. This includes knowing how to evaluateseparate, and eliminate items in your home. With such a swift and sudden pandemic that swept into our lives, the result was obvious that our homes and lives began to become cluttered and disorganized.

It's mentally a healthy act to declutter your home and beautify aspects of it both inside and out. Starting this process can be overwhelming to think about and just like everything else, even cleaning and organizing all starts with careful planning. Time is an essential part of reducing clutter. It also takes a bit of decision-making to determine where all this clutter should go.



Determine what part of your home is hit the worst

It's a good idea to start a checklist of every room in your home. This is as simple as going from each room and taking notes and giving them a rating. How poorly they rate compared to other rooms in your home will determine which rooms need to be organized first. You can rate these rooms with stars and give the worst rooms with fewer stars. Alternatively, you can give a rating that is similar to a report card using A, B, C, D, or F.


Document the crime scene

You want to take pictures of everything using your smartphone or digital camera. The reason that you're doing this is to document the cleanup process. Sort of how most of us like to see the before and after of how much each room was improved and cleaned up. This is also a great topic to tell others about when you complete a big cleanup and decluttering your home. It might help encourage them to make the same steps as you did.


Start a timeline and set goals

As mentioned before, time plays a big part in your cleanup process and you should make scheduled hours that you dedicate to clearing out your clutter. This will also set aside time where you decide what to keep and what to throw away. Make a chart or mark your calendar what you hope to achieve over time. It can be 2 weeks or a whole month but have a concrete time when you want to finish with everything.


Create a staging area

Find a room in your home or garage where you have enough space to set up a staging area. This is an area where all the selection will take place. Items can then be separated and picked out and put into one of three categories. These categories include one pile for garbage, recycling, and donation. But have enough space for deciding if you want to sell these items in a garage sale, yard sale, or online.

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Establish a sorting system

women packing households into boxes

When it comes to the sorting system, you will want to start collecting certain items that all relate to what can be recycled. It makes sense to recycle so some items can be recycled correctly and not end up ruining viable items meant for recycling. Since there's a growing need for legitimate recycling, this helps recycling plants improve the economy and your community. It also helps to create jobs as the economy starts up again.


Collect useless items

Items like plastic bags, plastic-based packaging, leftover yogurt containers, washing detergent, and soap bottles, and plastic food jars are all ideas for recycling. If they have paper labels, these will need to be removed. Packing peanuts should be collected and stored inside boxes so they can be recycled for shipping. If you have newspapers and toilet paper tubes that don't have plastic coating like most magazines do, these need further separation.

Take all your left-over candles and melt them down to make a whole new candle as a side project. If you have items that are broken, these should all go into their own box to be further decided what can be recycled or thrown out. Don't forget that old makeup and beauty supplies will also need to be tossed out if they're sitting around. Food from plastic jars needs to be washed before it gets recycled.


Take advantage of leftover shipping boxes

One of the biggest challenges is tackling the number of shipping boxes that may have been shipped to your home over the last year. Use bigger boxes to hold items for your selection process while smaller boxes can be for smaller items like expired cosmetics, shaving cream bottles, and used-up deodorants. Turning these boxes into storage bins helps keep your cleanup process more organized and better contained in your staging area.


Prevent spills from left-over containers

There are always small amounts of plastic bottles, laundry detergent, and fabric softeners that have small amounts leftover. Even bottles and soda cans should be completely emptied and washed out. This way you have less chance that liquids will leak out when you crush them. Plastic bottles can be flattened so they can be stacked and packed into shipping boxes meant for recycling. Don't forget that aluminum cans be sold to recycle centers too.

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Organize your closets and all your clothes

cloths and other items arranged in cabinets

Your home will have plenty of closets and cabinets where things are haphazardly stashed, adding to the endless amount of junk that might build up. You might end up finding items that are put into closets and cabinets that have no reason to be there in the first place. In some cases, rooms that you intended to be living spaces have been turned into unimpressive storage rooms for dry food items and beverages.


Closet purge and what to get rid of

Your closet by now has likely become overstuffed with clothing and items that are making it impossible to find anything worth wearing. You can easily spend a day or two going through your closet and selecting items that need to be retired or donated. There might also be clothes that are too worn or not easy to repair. Carefully fold and place clothes you don't need anymore into two boxes meant for donations or selling.


Clear away your COVID storage room

Do you have a Covid room in your home where all of your supplies are being held? These rooms need to clear out and put into areas where they will best be stored. You may need to reorganize kitchen cabinets and spots in your garage where dry goods can be stored more effectively. Now that the restrictions are slowing lifting in many areas, stocking up on food supplies isn't going to be a priority as it was before.


Seasonal decorations and items

Understandably, this last year didn't offer the same celebration of the holidays as years before had enjoyed. That doesn't mean that your holiday decorations were put away correctly from the previous year. These items need to be organized better and according to each holiday. You can use left-over boxes to update these collections and throw out old decorations that are outdated or broken. Don't forget to label everything clearly afterward.

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Target key spots in your home

You can choose to put priority on key spots in your home that were placed higher on your priority list. Rooms or areas that scored the lowest and need immediate cleanup will all vary. But when it comes to organizing, this can also include more than just removing clutter. It can help upgrade and improve these rooms too, especially for allowing friends and family to visit your home once again.


Kid's room cleanup

Kid's rooms are always going to be sore spots for daily cleaning anyway. But one way you can start to improve their rooms is by collecting old and finished coloring books and sorting through old kid's toys. Get your kids involved and let them select which goes to charity and what gets thrown out. Obviously, this includes outgrown clothes that don't fit anymore. These can go to charity or even second-hand stores such as Goodwill or Salvation Army.


Reclaim your bedroom

There's no way to tell how disorganized your bedroom has become after an entire year of quarantine living. But now it will make sense to start cleaning everything up, changing your bedsheets, and cleaning your drapes. You can also go through all of your closets, and cabinets to organize clothing and shoes. Selected items that are worth selling can be set aside while donation items should go into separate bags or boxes.


Reorganize living rooms

Wherever you spend the most amount of time, your living room is most likely going to have a lived-in look. These areas will need special cleaning and organizing so they will be ready for friends and guests that will soon be visiting. This is a good chance to use that upholstery and carpet cleaning machine that's been collecting dust in the closet. Also, take the time to wrap up cables and cords behind the television that have gotten out of control.


Put extra cleanup for your home office

Most home offices were put together in a hurry and that wasn't well thought-out to be an effective office setting. This will be an opportunity to upgrade and organize your office area. This will also be important to give everything a good cleaning including computer screens, keyboards, and computer equipment. Office equipment should also get a good clean-up and wipe down to bring back a new fresh look.

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Determine what goes where

decluttering process flow chart

The end goal of giving your home a full-blown declutter is determining where the items you clear out are going to go. There will be some obvious choices if these include sending them to the garbage, but for more decided items, you'll need to make the ultimate call.


Recycle Vs Freecycle

Everyone knows what it means to recycle but have you any idea what freecycling is all about? This is when you donate things to charity, these items can also be tax-deductible. Giving to charity is also subjective depending on who you contact, so you want to know what you donate will go to people in need. In some cases, you can request who these donations will end up going to.


Have a garage sale

One of the best feelings in the world is having a garage or yard sale, which will need to wait until restrictions are fully lifted. These select items can be sold for whatever you feel they're worth, but most often people like to barter. At the end of the day, whatever items you haven't sold can be given away. You can also have a second sale with discounted prices if you don't want to donate them.


What to donate?

Items that are good to donate include clothing, shoes, coats, and clothing accessories. You can also donate furniture or electronic items that you want to get rid of. There are many things that you can donate but the most common items will be clothing. You can call local donation centers in your city or town and arrange to drop them off. You might be lucky that they'll offer free pick up so you don't have to travel at all.


Selling-off select items

If you have certain items that are worth money but you don't want to keep them anymore, should be sold online. The methods that work best include eBay, Facebook, and Craigslist. Certainly online advertising works better if you use words that aren't going to get you in trouble, but eBay is most likely better for collectible items. It will also be determined how much interest there is for the items you want to sell for the highest price.

Do you need to rent a dumpster?

If you have a lot of garbage that needs to be thrown away and cannot be recycled, you might need to rent a small dumpster. These are 5 times as large as your typical garbage container and are easy to request by making a simple phone call. They drop off the dumpster and you fill it up and then these containers are taken away. The service price includes the cost of delivery and pickup and is usually fast and friendly.


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