There’s nothing like spending 23-24 hours a day in your home to make you more aware of how much Stuff you have. If you’re tempted to do a whirlwind job to freshen the look of your place, be smart. Some things should be discarded. Others should be kept. Here’s an article to help you see the difference.
5 Things to Get Rid of During Quarantine—and 2 to Keep
As most of us are spending more time at home right now, decluttering has landed on the top of many to-do lists. In some ways, there’s never been a better time to organize. When we’re spending more time cooking at home, we learn exactly which kitchen tools and appliances we use—and which we will probably never touch. And taking a break from work outfits helps us focus in on which pieces we actually need in our wardrobes.
On the flip side, donations can be difficult right now, with many organizations closed or switching to remote work. Plus, there are some things we would normally place at the top of our “to toss” list that we’re definitely hanging onto during quarantine. As you declutter your closet, kitchen, and bathroom, here’s what to do with the stuff you no longer need, as well as the items we’d recommend keeping, at least for right now.
Toss: Kitchen Appliances You Never Use
Let’s face it: If you aren’t going to use that bread maker during quarantine—at a time when it feels like everyone is baking sourdough—you may never use it. As you spend more time in the kitchen, set aside all of the tools or appliances you notice you never use.
Donating or selling these items can be challenging right now, so if you’re able to stash them in an attic or basement for the time being, it may be your best bet. Make sure they are clean and dry, and then store them in plastic bins or container that protects them from dust. Once the quarantine is over, you can donate the entire box to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or sell each item on eBay or Craigslist.
Toss: Clothes You No Longer Wear
As many people have already figured out, quarantine is a great time to comb through your closet. If you’ve been living in PJs and sweatpants for the past few weeks, you now know which items you wear and which you don’t. Sort through your loungewear first so you feel like you’re making progess.
Next, take a look at your work wardrobe. Especially if you haven’t been to the office in a while, some time apart may give you a fresh perspective. Considering that some items may only be worn for special events or big presentations, set aside anything you haven’t worn in the past 12 months.
You’ll likely want to wait to donate or sell your clothing at a later time. Considering how long coronavirus may last on clothes, it’s safer to wait to donate these belongings. For now, wash any garments that should be cleaned, then fold them neatly in bags or boxes so they’re ready to donate.
Toss: Old Cosmetics and Toiletries
If you’re going to the grocery store less frequently, you may find yourself rummaging for extra soap, shampoo, or makeup in the back of your medicine cabinet. But be careful and check that you’re not using products that may be expired and could cause skin irritation. Consult our Makeup Expiration Date Checklist to make sure. If you have empty bottles to toss out, check to see if they can be recycled.
Toss: Old Papers and Mail
Quarantine (along with tax season) makes this a good time to go through your documents and papers. Start by getting rid of any papers you definitely don’t need, like expired coupons and all of those mailed credit card offers. Then, sort through old bank statment, medical bills, and other papers, filing those that you need to keep into clear categories. As many of us are finding ways to do everything—work, exercise, even visit museums—online right now, it might be the right time to switch to digital bank statements to cut down on paper clutter in the future.
If you have a shredder at home, put it to use. If not, cutting the papers by hand may work if you don’t have an overwhelming amount.
Toss: Expired Pantry Items
It’s likely you’ve already crossed this to-do off of your list, but if not, there’s never been a better time to toss out expired items in your fridge or pantry. This way, you won’t have to worry about your family eating food that’s past its prime. An added bonus: You’ll gain so much extra space for the food you’re suddenly stockpiling.
What can you tackle in the next 10 minutes? Check these 6 common foods that are likely expired, and learn exactly how long things will last in the fridge or freezer.
Keep: Extra Bedding Sets
If you have more spare bedding sets than you need, you might want to hang onto them right now. As we’re trying to wash our bed sheets more often, having a couple extra sets in the rotation will let you always have clean sheets without devoting all of your time to laundry. The same goes for bath towels. [If you don’t have a washer and dryer in the house, having more bedding sets may save you from having to go out as often.]
Keep: Food Storage Containers
If you have a cabinet overflowing with plastic food storage containers and lids, sorry, it may not be the right time to toss them out. While these containers often land on the top of our declutter checklists, during quarantine, they’ve become an essential. As many of us cook more at home and are avoiding food waste, these containers can be used to store and label leftovers and prepped ingredients. Also, if you’re currently transferring packaged grocery items to containers, this storage is a must-have.
The one exception: If you’re currently ordering food delivery, you should recycle the packaging it comes in, according to our delivery safety tips.