Woman folding clothes

Keep Your Home Clutter-Free During Quarantine

April 20, 2020

It seems like everyone is either tackling projects during the recent stay-at-home orders or asking for our advice on how to keep their homes clutter-free during COVID-19.

Remember when tackling your own projects: since we are all operating with additional stress right now, this is probably not the time to tackle any projects that trigger an emotional response. I don’t know about you, but I am operating at Threat Level: “One-Broken-Nail-Away-from-a-Meltdown” right now. Try to focus on areas that affect your day to day but might not have a high emotional attachment, like the pantry or the bathroom.

As always, I recommend that you start small. After you’ve flexed your organizing muscle and understand your potential for focus, then move to areas that would have more significant positive impact on day to day life at home. Many people are still benefiting from the help of a professional organizer who can help virtually with goal setting and planning (timelines and resources), prioritizing tasks, guidance on how to structure a project, and accountability to get things done.

The change in seasons is also a great time of year for clothing/bedding to be rotated and refreshed. Locate only the current season’s clothing pieces in primary storage spaces like closet and dresser. This transition offers the opportunity to review what did NOT get use in the previous season as well as evaluate all items for fit and condition.

If you are suddenly conducting business from home, any organizing you can do to make your workspace more pleasant and palatable will be well worth the effort. You will gain the ability to focus and concentrate by removing visual clutter from your space.

What about the kids? Many of the families with whom we have been working are adding decluttering projects to the weekly chores list. If needed, our clients are still able to tap into the expertise of their organizing consultant. Through virtual organizing services, clients are opting to have a neutral organizing professional guide the kids through their projects instead of mom or dad in order to avoid conflict. We’ve been hearing about families getting creative by creating decluttering challenges: everyone works independently in their own space for 20 minutes and see who can come up with the largest quantity of donation items.

Speaking of donations: one standard by-product of an organizing session is a pile of items that you’ve decided to evict from your space. But what do you do with all those donations and consignments during quarantine? We’re hearing this question a lot lately, either during check-in at the end of a virtual organizing session or from all of our declutter do-it-yourselfers on our FB group.

Donation options may vary depending on locality. Here in Richmond, for example, our Goodwill stores are not open but the donation drop off centers have tables out for accepting goods. National online donation and consignment resources like ThreadUp, Poshmark, and TheRealReal have a 5-week delay in processing. So you can still send them your consignment items to get them out of your space even though they won’t be offered for sale any time soon. Many people are still using online tools like Facebook Marketplace for local redistribution and selling. Since the virus can live for three days on hard surfaces; whenever possible, implement no-touch payment and exchange practices. When you can, allow deliveries or other outside items to sit for a couple of days in their packaging before putting them into rotation in your space.

If there’s nowhere for your donations to go during quarantine, my recommendation to our clients is that they securely (as in sealed) bag or box up items for sale or donation and locate these items in a secondary area like a basement, garage, or trunk of the car. Label the outside of the bag or box with the name of the charitable organization or boutique that these items are destined for. Then, set a reminder on a phone or calendar for a few months from now so you don’t forget to move those things out.

One silver lining to being forced to stay in our homes is that we are fully experiencing our homes and their true potential. We have more time to devote to projects in the home and we are realizing what current spaces are NOT functioning for us.

Best of luck! Send photos of your projects so we can celebrate with you.