The current state of our world and resulting shutdowns leads to a bit of a dilemma when trying to get rid of your clutter.
When you can’t leave the house, donation centers are closed, or contact isn’t preferred, you must get creative when getting rid of your stuff.
Here are several genius ideas for getting rid of your clutter, even if your area is shut down or if you don’t want to have contact with others:
1 – Charity pick-up options, often veteran charities
Although many charity locations were closed at the start of the pandemic, most are open again. Even so, you may wish to avoid the possibility of contact with others.
Look around in your area for possible charitable donation pick-up options. Many charities run for the benefit of our veterans offer free pick-up options.
Simply find a location in your area, give them a call, and arrange for a date and time.
I actually used this service when my children were very young and I was working full time outside of the home. I would leave my donations on our front porch, and they would pick up the items while I was at work!
It was a win-win situation.
2 – Local churches
If you prefer to donate to a church, call around and see if any are offering pick-up options for your stuff. If they are not, you may wish to see if they have any volunteers that would be willing to help with this easy, contactless option.
Even if your local church isn’t offering pick-up service, there’s a good chance they offer some sort of contactless drop-off option or would be willing to work with you for any needed donations.
3 – Local charities and thrift stores
Even though many thrift stores are open again (at least in areas that aren’t in a complete shutdown), you can usually arrange a contactless drop-off of any donations.
Our local donation centers actually have employees taking donations from your car, but I’m sure if you asked them to allow for a contactless drop-off, they would be more than willing to accommodate.
Ideas for local charities:
- St. Paul de Vincent
- Veterans of America
- Women’s shelters
- Homeless shelters
- Food banks
- Animal shelters
- Community centers
Start by searching these suggestions online, then call facilities local to your area. Sometimes it just takes a simple phone call to confirm their processes!
4 – Facebook Marketplace
Facebook marketplace can be a gold mine for getting rid of your clutter…like you can actually make money on your
Don’t worry. You can easily sell on Facebook with no contact.
Simply create a Venmo or PayPal account (or gasp, agree to use cash), leave the items on your front porch, and rely on the good ole’ honor system.
Most people aren’t trying to rip you off, so the honor system works well for an easy contactless delivery.
Related Post: Selling Your Junk on Facebook Marketplace
5 – Online Consignment Shops
Did you know you can sell a lot of your stuff without ever leaving your home?
If you have nice clothes with some resale value, try sending it off to an online consignment shop.
With the pandemic closing many corporate offices indefinitely, many of us no longer need our super large business casual wardrobes.
The only drawback to trying to sell your nice clothes, the market for those buying nice clothes has also shrunk.
My favorite online consignment shop is with Thredup. You can print a clean-out kit label, and you can even schedule a pick-up with USPS. You never have to leave your home, and there’s a chance you’ll make a few dollars.
6 – Sell your stuff online
If you have nice items with some value, there’s a chance you can sell it on eBay or Poshmark. Selling on these sites isn’t free, but they are fantastic online outlets for reaching tons of potential buyers.
You can even print your own shipping labels at home if you want to avoid the Post Office!
7 – Bin drop-offs
I don’t know what to really call them, but have you seen those drop-off bins for clothes and other random items around town?
These are great options for getting rid of items without contact with anyone or going inside anywhere. The trick is making sure they are still in operation, so they aren’t overflowing with items.
Don’t leave your stuff next to these bins. Only use them if you can get your stuff safely inside.
You can often find these bins at local retailers, schools, donation centers or even at grocery stores.
8 – Facebook Groups
Many communities have created local groups on Facebook. Some of my favorites for getting rid of clutter are Buy Nothing groups or local Buy-Sell-Trade groups.
These groups are great when the regular outlets aren’t working for you.
If you want contactless exchanges, that is always an option too.
Simply search on Facebook “buy nothing NAME OF YOUR COMMUNITY”. See what comes up, and ask to join.
9 – List your items for free AND as a “lot”
My youngest outgrew a size of clothing during the height of our pandemic shutdown. She was able to wear big sister’s hand-me-downs, but I was stuck with three garbage bags of clothes with no plan to get them out of our house.
Pre-pandemic, I would have taken the outgrown clothes to a kids’ consignment shop. For any clothes not purchased, I would immediately take to the local charity’s donation center.
I could not sell the clothes or give them to the local donation center.
I could have waited a few weeks for things to open back up, but instead, I listed the entire lot of clothes for free on Facebook Marketplace.
The deal was they had to take all three bags, no sorting through the bags. If there was something they didn’t want, it was now their responsibility to donate it.
This worked out fantastic! There was a mom in the neighborhood who was having her own issues, as she couldn’t get out to buy new clothes for her daughter who just moved up a size.
When you have clothes, shoes, dishes, old movies, books, or any other items that are similarly related, you can always list them as a “lot”. By doing so, you ensure the entire group of items goes out, rather than trying to get rid of each item individually.
When listing your items, simply take a picture of the whole lot. Don’t worry if all the individual items aren’t visible.
10 – Have a “free stuff” party or free garage sale
If you have a whole bunch of stuff to give away and your neighborhood is on shutdown, have a “free stuff” party or even a free garage sale.
This isn’t your typical party or typical garage sale, as you aren’t trying to collect money. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about breaking any rules by having contact.
Get all the items to your garage, front porch, or somewhere similar, and put a quick small note on your give-away items that says “FREE”.
Then, set a date and time for your big event.
Finally, get the message out to your friends, family, and/or neighborhood.
You do not have to be present for this to be a success or break any rules. Simply place your items in a designated area in front of your home, remember to tag them as “free”, and then invite others to come and take them!
It may sound weird, but remember, others need things right now too. Your old stuff may be a big blessing for friends, family, or neighbors.
This idea is inspired by an article I read once regarding an older couple looking to downsize their home. It was pre-pandemic, and they wanted to share all their blessings with their favorite people.
Their solution was to throw a party!
The couple prepared appetizers, drinks, and had only one rule. If you came, you had to leave with at least one thing. It worked beautifully for getting rid of stuff. The best part of the whole story, they were able to share their stories and memories about items with the people who took them.
11 – Make your adult kids come get their stuff
If you are holding on to clutter that belongs to your adult children, it’s time to get it out! Call your kids, and tell them to come get their stuff.
If they won’t come and get it, take it to their house and leave it on their front porch. Not kidding.
It sounds harsh, but once your kids are adults, it’s time for them to take all of their stuff with them.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold on to memories of your children. You may have a box or two full of memories from your kids. Hold on to that stuff, if you like.
However, if your kids have boxes of trophies, stuffed animals, books, etc., that they want to keep, it’s time for them to keep those memories inside their own four walls.
12 – Roadside pick-up with a FREE sign
I lived in a neighborhood once where we could set something out a couple days before trash day and it would be gone within hours. It was an almost guaranteed method for getting rid of something that was in decent shape but not worth the effort to try and sell or haul away.
Expert tip: Check the weather first. You don’t want to ruin something with rain/snow before someone has the chance to pick it up.
If no one wants your clutter, it may be a sign it has no value and should probably be thrown away. Luckily, it’s already on the curb for trash pick-up!
13 – Trash
I hate filling up our landfills with unnecessary trash, but sometimes, it is unavoidable.
The best thing about living a simple, more clutter-free lifestyle, is you have a huge impact on the environment with all your new habits future foward.
Does it change that your excess junk is hurting the planet now? No. However, you are moving in the right direction for a new way of living.
Get clutter out, even during a pandemic!
Shutdowns and a pandemic make getting rid of clutter really difficult. However, you don’t have to be stuck holding on to it.
Get it out of the house and clear your space!