declutter during covid

dallasannie

I saw an article in the media this morning talking about dcecluttering during this covid time and about how over full the venues are with cast off junk and clothes and such.

One business that is doing well is the folks who haul junk. But, one problem is that they don' have as many ways to get rid of it, either.

Some of the usual suspects are full to the brim with stuff and are only taking limited amounts.

I think that there are two sides to this at this moment.

The first side is that we have too much stuff and need to get rid of it and not to go out and buy more. So. there is lots of it. But a lot of it is pretty useless stuff and not really the things that anyone really needs.

The other side is that there may be a budding market for good second hand things that do fit into the category of need.

While we are getting rid of the unwanted stuff, there may come a time when we look to the resell market for those things that have come to be in short supply and are of more need.


I think that kids toys are going to be among those short supply things in the coming holiday season.

One good business that might see some good times in the near future are these shops that deal in reselling kids clothes, toys, games,beds, and the like.

It is going to be a sparse holiday gifting season this year, for better or worse.

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joyfulguy

Are the garbage trucks still operating?

Hiring?

An option for the shutdown-related temporarily unemployed?

Confession time: my (substantial) clutter has been (minimally) alleviated ...after almost five months.

ole joyful

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maifleur03

May be only in some areas but here at least main thrift stores have sorting operations that they send stuff to so things are seldom sold in the area that they are donated. Only a small percentage of donated stuff ever goes on the thrift store shelves. What is not used is sold on a secondary market either to other thrift stores normally in groups of material, furniture, dishes, clothing, etc. One store has a monthly auction of these items that resellers bid on the items. The bigger companies send things overseas to be sorted.

What people think of as specific charities are often owned by a company that manages the locations and then pays the charity and agreed upon amount.

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Alisande

I've sold and/or given away a lot of stuff since the pandemic started. I've been pleased at how it's gone. The honor system has worked out well, resulting in no-contact transactions.

When the pandemic started I had bags of clothes in my car, originally intended to be donated to thrift shops. But I wasn't going anywhere, and at some point the shops closed temporarily, so I just advertised the clothes for free on Facebook's marketplace. After that, we gave away numerous items as well, and sold even more.

I also continued to list items on eBay. I observed that a much larger number of people than usual bought something from me at night and then canceled the sale in the morning. I finally decided they were probably doing some "pandemic drinking" in the evening and came to their senses in the morning. Or they just got carried away with online shopping, and their spouse brought them to their senses in the morning. :-)

This wasn't limited to eBay either; some Marketplace buyers changed their minds, and one man I invested a lot of time in, giving him directions, etc., just never showed. Some were just annoying. A woman messaged me about an item I was giving away for free. I told her I had arranged with someone to pick it up the next day. She replied, "OK, I'll give you $20." I guess she thought I was going to tell the guy it wasn't available anymore, and gratefully take her $20.

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beesneeds

Heh, I started decluttering during the winter- some injuries left me kind of homebound and decided that was the time to get on it as a early start to spring cleaning.... then as I was getting wrapped up with that, C-19 happened and I didn't have anywhere to drop the stuff off!

Now most of the local resale places are opening back up- but got bombed with everyone else dropping off their decluttering. So for now, the clutter is cluttering my enclosed back porch instead of the rest of the house, lol.

Part of the backup is that I tend to donate to a few local places- as in really local. Churches and community services. Most of what I got to donate is stuff like nicer office clothes and such that would be of good benefit to the folks that shop for business clothes on the cheap. Gently used cold weather stuff for another place. A small stack of nicer housewares that go to another place because they usually have more of a dearth of nicer housewares. A couple stacks of books to go to the local women's and children's places, a couple more to the library book sale.

I shop at most of these places too, they are wonderful. I also shop at the bigger/more commercial places sometimes too.

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aok27502

I have been volunteering at our local Habitat for Humanity Restore for the last two months. We are in a rural community, and we stand alone, no other organization. In addition to building supplies, we have furniture and a LOT of housewares and clothing. We sort everything that comes In our door, and almost all of it hits the sales floor. We only discard clothing or textiles that are too stained or tattered to sell. Those get sold by the pound to a scrap buyer.

We are currently awash in clothing. So much so that we are having a flash sale, every piece of clothing is 50 cents. People are getting some serious deals! But we are getting it in about as fast as it's selling. At this rate, the entire community will be decluttered in no time!😁

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nickel_kg

I'm in a college town. Lease turn-over day was earlier this week and apparently there is always tons of furniture discarded at all the student housing complexes. One woman posted that she manages one of the complexes and they contact the local charities for first dibs, but the scale of it overwhelms their capabilities. Much of it is junk, but still plenty of life left in basic dining tables, chairs, desks, etc.

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Jasdip

I'm still looking for the perfect harp for my candlestick lamp. I need a 7" and the one I bought is an 8" and it doesn't look great.

I found a lamp for $10 today with the right harp (I measured). My plan was to buy it and trade out the harps and return it for a store credit. Darn, they only take returns on clothing and shoes, nothing else. No bedding, household items, books etc because of Covid. So there goes that idea.

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marcopolo5

Beesneeds, Do a search for Dress for Success. They are a group that only takes clothing suitable for an interview or returning to the work force with a small budget. They outfit people with the proper clothing for little cost or free. I usually take my things on hangers to keep them from being wrinkled. Outfits together so volunteers have less work.

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dedtired

Our thrift shops are asking for donations. They were closed for quite a while and so now they want things. They may regret asking!

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OklaMoni

The one I just visited had NOTHING worth buying. Pretty well the same ole, same ole stuff as back in February.

Moni

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lily316

Pre COVID, I hit the thrift shop every Tuesday on seniors 1/2 off day. I have not been back since they reopened. I don't go anywhere except for the grocery store and Target every few weeks. I have turned into a slug. With going on six months of quarantining, you would think I'd clear out stuff but I have not done anything.

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beesneeds

marcopolo5... Dress for Success does not take mens clothing, and I really don't feel like driving to another state just to donate a bag of clothes. Or even if they were open for donations in my state, it's several hours across my state and back. I'll donate the stuff to the local charities just as I always do. Places are starting to calm down enough around here that they aren't so swamped. The stuff can wait a week or two.

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dallasannie

maifleur, thanks for your insight into the adventures that await our cast off junk. What a complicated journey it takes!

All of this effort gone in to dealing with so much stuff that was excess to begin with. It does not deserve so much energy and so many resources to be poured in to it.

These manufacturers can make any darned useless thing and are held to no account for the environmental wastes and destruction beyond the most obvious and basic limits.


I really do believe that if we did not squander our resources in so many of the ways that we do, that there would be overall more quality of life for more.

There is a lot of destruction and harm done by the making of all these useless one time use, throw away items that never really served any real function that was of value. It would apply to a wide spectrum of material goods. So many of these things have negative value that actually cost more to dispose of than it did to produce.

We consumers tend to think in term of how much we pay for it in money. The real cost is so far beyond the most obvious.


We comfort ourselves with the thought that it is going to the aid or pleasure of another person. That is a lie that we tell ourselves to make us feel better. The real truth is that, if it was not good for us, it is very likely that it will not be a good thing for most others either. It is unlikely that you are going to match that item with someone who really has a use for it.

Much of what we give away is like a solution looking for a problem. We try to find some use for it because we have it. This is quite different from a problem or a need that is looking for a solution. This is perverse and simply backwards.


We have sold ourselves out for the convenience of cheap goods.


I saw an article this morning about a new process to reclaim the value of cotton fibers from used clothing. It involves a highly intensive process that produces a type of cellulose based fiber similar to rayon. It involves high tech processing and equipment and chemicals to render that cotton from the other synthetic fibers that are mixed in the fabric.

Not many clothes are made of all natural fibers anymore and it is not as if it can be shredded and reused if it is mixed.

The reason for this need to reclaim the fiber It is not intended to address a shortage of fibers. Rather is to address a burdensome excess of waste.

Cheap manufacturing and massive consumption and cast off of these cheap items are the culprit.

If we did not create this mess in the first place, we would not have to be looking at reclaiming them and dealing with them by such drastic and highly complex manners.


All of this junk and cheap clothing is simply not worth it. There are better ways to do so many of the things that we do, and there are also so many things that we do that we really should not do, ever. We are much too accepting of creating junk because we can just throw it away.


Did you ever wonder where "away" is? "Away" is in the massive mountains of landfill and in the streams of used stuff such as maifleur delineated for us. There is no "away" where it just disappears. Some of that stuff will live for an incredible amount of time, long after we are gone.


"Declutter" sounds so benign. It really is not, at all.


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Alisande

We comfort ourselves with the thought that it is going to the aid or pleasure of another person. That is a lie that we tell ourselves to make us feel better.

Dallasannie, while I agree with much of your thoughtful post, I don't think we're lying to ourselves about donating or reselling--at least not all the time. Remember the old saying, "One man's trash is another man's treasure?" It became a classic for good reason.

Almost all the clothes I wear come from thrift shops. They were donated by others, and now enjoyed by me. When someone drives all the way to my house (in a rural area with no reason for them to come other than to pick up something), you can be sure they want or need the item I'm selling or giving away.

So true what you said about natural fibers. I use recycled, 100% wool clothing for my rug hooking. Years ago I could find plenty of woolen plaid men's shirts at the Salvation Army, and sometimes women's skirts, but not so much anymore. Now I get most of my wool from blazers, which are a lot harder to cut down and leave more waste.

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dallasannie

But, alisande, matching the right person with the right need to the item is the most difficult fine tuning that we try to make.

Many decades ago I bought a slew of wool skirts at a yard sale. These were the old fashioned ones from way back when. They were tailor made, not factory produced. They were the real deal wool.

I took them apart, washed them and cut them into bias strips and created a braided rug. I used the rug for some years and then some of my stitching began to come apart so I stashed it a basket where it lived for way too many years.

I got it out some time ago and decided that something would have to be done with it. So, I began to repair it. That was tedious and to address all of the issues I would have to release it and resew or rebind the entire rug.

I rolled it up in a ball out of frustration and put it out for free and someone took the chance to take it home and fantasize about doing something with it. Good luck to them. I cut myself out of that. I have neither the time in life nor the patience to put so much effort into something that I don't need.

I did render a couple of wool jackets into the mix, but the skirts were much better. The jackets had too much inner structure under the wool and yielded too many smaller pieces. Also the jacket wool was thinner.

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Alisande

Dallasannie, when I wrote that post I never thought I was addressing another rug maker! I don't braid, but I love the look.

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dallasannie

As I am continuing the pare down of all things in my home, I turned an eye towards my own wardrobe. Being that I have empty closets now because of how much I sent on it's merry way, I decided to pare down the main selection into just what I wear on an everyday basis. The rest of them went to be hung in one of the empty closets.

I have envisioned a very simple and pared down wardrobe for some time, but did not want to actually get completely rid of the things that don't fit into that photo shoot that I have in mind. So, I created that "photo shoot" wardrobe in one place that happens to be the laundry room. I find it so easy to just use the laundry room as my closet because it makes it so easy. to just hang things up, and I have the space to do so. So, I really like this idea of clearing things out and only filling back with the most desirable.

But, at this time being what it is, I am a bit reluctant to get rid of some of the things that have been problematic. The reason is that I believe that what we have in our possession right now might assume a new value in the coming times. While I may want them get rid of them right now............I am being cautious. I don't have an enormous amount, just have some of those things that just don't seem to fit me or my life. Some are never worn. You know you have those things, too!!!

As I pare down to my own personal uniform with my me made linen items I will use this small space with my small selection of photo shoot worthy items and smile with admiration at those few that were chosen to be there.

Meantime, I am going to hang on to some of these things that are quality things yet have never found their purpose in life. Having emptied so much space of the things that I really am happy to have gone, I have space to keep something that I have reconsidered the possible value of.


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samkarenorkaren

I happened to be decluttering today and when I went to take my garbage out I tripped and fell. I have a little less clutter but now I have a sprained wrist. What a way to start the weekend

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yeonassky

I seem to have broken my decluttering barrier again. I was frozen in place for a couple of years and the stuff was mounting.

I am at the point where I have to get rid of a bunch of ruined t-shirts and get a bunch more. In order to do this guilt-free I've decided to dispose of anything I don't love the look of on me. I'm getting rid of things even if they're too tight. I am tipping the scales down right now and could hang on to them but won't!

Except for a few select pieces I've been able pare quite a bit down so far.

I must admit I love robes of all things so I'm going to keep every one of my five robes. Shamelessly.

I did get rid of a robe that did not fit properly even though I loved it. I am now looking for something similar. Cotton very pale pink with Gray lines checked. Don't ask me why I have the taste I do. Even so I did not like the fit. I don't usually lose weight in the upper part of my body very easily so I knew that problem would continue.

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OutsidePlaying

I have sold a few things in Poshmark lately and may try to sell in Mercari. I was selling a lot of better things in a nice consignment shop but she closed after the winter season. She wanted to retire and didn’t want to sign another 5-year lease in the space. So she has offered to help a fairly new St Vincent DePaul’s thrift shop that is now open. I have not been there yet but may try to consign some winter things.

I don’t have as much anymore because I don’t buy as much now. And most of what I buy is much more casual or workout wear. When I first retired, I donated a lot of things to ‘Dress for Success’.

A non-profit in our community is also opening a small thrift store in about a month, so I have been holding some household items to donate there.

A friend posted the other day that one of the Goodwill stores in the city had closed. I haven’t been in, or donated to one, in many years. There are usually a couple of ‘Kids Market’ type events here a couple of times a year that are very successful for both sellers and buyers. DD used to consign, work and buy when my DGD was small. She always came away with cute boutique items for her as well as some toys and other items. I don’t know if Covid will restrict those taking place, but maybe. There certainly wasn’t one in the spring.

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petalique

I am low on stamina, but a few clicks here and there help us out.

Unfortunately, the Yahoo Groups FreeCycle has closed down, but there is still Craigslist.

Dallasannie, while I do get a lot of what you are describing, overall, I have to disagree while agreeing. But I sure do get the desire to find a best fit home for some things. Our mom would drive us a tad bonkers with her seeking perfect matches in various realms. I think you might have burned yourself out. And I truly understand how that can happen.

I have had up and down medical woes and many commitments over the years. Then we inherited a lot of family things as our parents “aged out” of housing all sorts of thing. Huge collections of family photos and professional photos. Tools, furniture. Then there is the “our” stuff.

On the other side, I have given great stuff away ($2500 organic natural/real, barely used queen latex mattress in a protective covering. Too firm and it took up too much real estate. I probably could have gotten some real useful cash for it, but pre Marie Kondo and with fatigue and aches decided just to give it away. Lots of calls and it went to a nice couple who’d been sleeping on the floor. They were thrilled, I was happy.

When we need something, I keep watch on Craigslist etc..

Free pretty new good brand clothes dryer

Free, nearly new KA white dishwasher. Guy said the grinder/disposal made a noise. We bought new crumb grinder. Nothing was wrong with it. Quiet unit, 3 years now. Purrs. Free. The couple really just wanted stainless, not white. Yay.

Our smooth top kitchen range with convection fan oven broke on the top. Part not available. Found a free one, used it for a year, but burners were without enough OOMPH. One day, I looked for a used convection oven. Bada Bing! Local, nearly new. Spotless. Not white, but stainless-black. $200 versus $900 to $1600 for DW new. It had barely been used. Super clean. Shiny. Manuals online, for free. Score!

I’ve given plants, shrubs, whatever away. Met a good buddy or two.

Alisand, I have a colorful, not drab large oval braided wool rug that my sweet late MIL made. Needs to be repairs and resewn a tad. I have pure wool — kilt from Scotland, a navy pea coat, and some wool challis I bought decades ago before I came to understand that orange, spring leaf green and soft brown (paisley) were not the best colors for me. And I was never doing to use that otherwise wonderful fabric. I can use some of the (3-4? Yards) fabric to fix a few braided rugs, but, instead of my searching high and low for the one or two souls who might find it useful, I want to offer it to you. And, I always figuredI’d have time to get around to creating “painted” hooked rugs with nuanced shading, not “by number.” Who knew life is rich and jam pack with “To Dos?”

PM me if you like it or want to see pic of fabric. And that doggone wool plaid short kilt, about size 8 or 10. Pleats stitched down at waist to hip. Looks cool with leotards or opaque stockings and kicky boots. Above knee length. Circa 1968. Too sweet to tear into strips for a rug (read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar — remember the comment on her boyfriend’s or MIL’s rug? All that labor and care by a woman, only to have men’s thoughtless shoes trod over it. Wonder if that help conclude her decision to head toward the gas oven. Incredible sad. What a talent losses.

~~~

I love, collect, fix up vintage sewing machines. They take up time and space. Sometimes people give machines to me. I tune up machines for others, give some away. Help people resolve problems via online. Never worry about finding the perfect recipient who will appreciate something. Even a working vintage sewing machine (usually) will migrate to an appreciative new owner. Some don’t. One point A to point B efficient acquaintance just chucked a lovely Singer Redhead (“red eye”) treadle into the trash without even bothering to look for a taker. (“Free at curb...”). She’s a ismissive sort who Is e known for decades. A bit defensive, cold. Well, lo and behold surprise, a few weeks ago, she got into another psychological projection snit and hung up on me. Truly. What tha?! I am not surprised and don’t miss walking on eggshells. But, jeepers.

Upshot: life has depth, connection, meaning and challenges. Give thoughtful fairness and decency. Don’t fritter time away over “stuff” you no longer want to fuss with. Share love, peace, goodwill, passion, fun, creativity. Don’t fret over dusty possessions or shallow, imperious people. There’s a lot of important real connection within your walls and beyond your threshold.

Peace, stuff and beyond stuff ;-)

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desertsteph

I have turned into a slug. With going on six months of quarantining, you would think I'd clear out stuff but I have not done anything.

That sounds like me and I have many rooms, closets and boxes to go thru! hopefully things will find a good home eventually thru our local GW.


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salonva

This is an ongoing process for me. I am one who does fairly regularly go through stuff,and when we downsized 2 years ago, I did that bigtime. Still, I am amazed at how much we have.

In the past, I did utilize the charities that would pick up from my front steps. For other items, I used freecycle which was great because so much was totally desirable and usable and went directly to someone who wanted it.

In our new area, freecycle and nextdoor are used quite a bit. In addition lately, there is a FB group Buy Nothing which is very specific to location , but it's wonderful. It's very active. The great part is that things really get re-used instead of trashed, and paid for again and again.

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Alisande

Petalique, that is so nice of you to offer me the wool! But I am like a quilter who jokes, "She who dies with the most fabric wins." I've been hooking rugs and mats and things since the early 1980s, and collecting woolens all this time. I know I have more than I will ever use, and in fact occasionally sell off some of it on eBay.

I can practically guarantee that if you offered the paisley on eBay it would sell quickly. Paisley piano shawls used to be the most desired wool for rug hookers. They've just about disappeared, but your wool sounds close. Rug hookers love patterned wool, but they buy solids too. Someone recently sold a single yard of plain orange wool on eBay for $25 + $10 shipping, for example. I also see wool challis sold to collectors of vintage fabrics. But thank you so much for that nice thought!

Re vintage sewing machines, after we moved here in the mid-1970s my husband bought me a new sewing machine--a Kenmore, top-of-the-line at the time. I used it a great deal when my kids were small, but in recent years it became too heavy for me to lug up and down the stairs so I put it away and bought a Brother.

The brother is lightweight and pretty, and it has worked well when I use it, which isn't often. But my first pandemic project was to clear out the alcove where I had a lot of stuff stashed, including the Kenmore sewing machine. My intention was to sell it. I have all the attachments, including monogramming supplies, etc., and I thought maybe someone would want it. I cleaned and oiled it, and set it up to see if it still worked. I was making face masks at the time, and wow--it handled the layers of pleated fabric with ease! Better than the Brother.

Then I looked up my model, and found that some consider it to be a gold standard of sorts, and worth a lot more money than I'd thought. But now I don't want to sell it. Nor do I want to carry it back upstairs. So it's looking as though it will sit on my dining table forever. LOL

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dallasannie

petalique, are you sure that your free cycle closed down? Maybe the one by you did. Maybe you are aware that it went to some other format a few months ago, or maybe a year ago. I don't really remember. It went to some other host and you had to sign in again and all of that. Then maybe the one in your area did actually quit.

Freecycle is good when it works for you. Sometimes I have gotten too many things at once on the list and it gets confusing.. I try to offer only a couple of things at any one time.

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