5 Things to Get Rid of Now That Stay-at-Home Orders Are (Slowly) Being Lifted — And 3 Things to Keep

updated Jun 29, 2020
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Credit: Minette Hand

As we’ve adapted to all the changes that have swept over us recently, one of the ways we’ve adjusted is to become a bit more comfortable with clutter for a while. We’ve all been at home. That’s meant responsibly stocking up on supplies (to minimize going to the store), cobbling together work- and learn-from-home stations, and acquiring some new tools to help us cook all these meals. Of course, this also means that stuff probably isn’t leaving your house as much either. (If you’re not going anywhere, your excess stuff isn’t, either.) As the country slowly opens back up, it’s time to thin things out.

Note: We’re not saying to run out to donate things to Goodwill; we’re merely saying it’s time to take control over your home again. Don’t overwhelm the system!

Here’s a list of what you might want to let go of to declutter at home, and what you might want to hang on to.

Credit: WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock

4 Things to Declutter Right Now

1. Paper

Paper clutter is a massive energy drain. While most of our energy has been directed at making the best of some bad situations, those paper piles have probably grown. It’s time to deal with them. Grab the recycling bin and sit down to go through each sheet, one by one, making quick decisions and taking action on things that need it. You’ll feel so free once you’ve whittled them down!

2. Packaging

Getting rid of boxes and packaging might not have been a priority for a while, and keeping items in the containers they came in may have even helped corral your quarantine things. But it’s time to get rid of the excess: Recycle and toss packaging you don’t need, and put everything possible where it actually goes.

3. Returns

Some stores like Costco had paused their return policies (for obvious reasons), and others weren’t open at all. If you have piles of stuff that’s been needing to go back (and you’re feeling healthy!) then you can venture out to make the return. Even if you’d rather not visit the brick-and-mortar locations, you can tackle returning some things through the mail. These bags make it especially easy.  

4. Extra Hobby Supplies

Quarantine brought so many of us back into long dormant hobbies or even gave us an opportunity to delve into some new ones. If your new or renewed hobby or craft outlet isn’t something you think you’ll continue, find a friend who wants your extra supplies. A sitting stash can pressure you or make you feel guilty (why aren’t you baking bread anymore?); lighter feelings come from sending unneeded items to others who will use them. Plus, if you don’t think you’ll ever actually learn how to get a victory garden going, this will free up needed space.

5. Cooking Tools That Are Beyond Repair

All this cooking has likely taken a toll on some of your kitchen gear. If, say, your wood cutting board has warped drastically or your favorite casserole dish has a crack right down the middle, there’s no point in holding onto these things. Any gear that can’t be repaired should be tossed or repurposed to make room for the stuff you can reliably use.

3 Things You Should Keep

1. Extra Containers

If you ordered more food storage containers (glass or plastic!) to hold your leftovers and your meal prepped ingredients, you’ll obviously want to keep them. Weed out any old pieces that are super-stained, cracked, or missing the matching lid or bottom.

2. Organizers

All those bins and baskets you got to help corral the accoutrements of work-at-home and distance learning? Keep ’em! Having containers on hand for organizing loose items during different seasons of life can make a big difference in the overall tidiness of your space — and therefore your own mental state. 

3. Backup Supplies

It’s possible that quarantine shopping has left you with a backup of necessities like printer ink, hand soap, or baby wipes. Even if it feels like they’re taking up too much space, hang on to these items that you will eventually use. Sending them out the door in a flurry of space-making will cost you time and money down the road. Be sure to keep an inventory of your extras, especially if you’re storing them in creative places, so that you don’t forget you have them replenish unnecessarily.

What are you decluttering this week?