Want to Declutter But Can’t Donate Right Now? Leave a comment

declutter but can't donate right now at ASlobComesClean.com

If you’re reading this in the future, I hope you think to yourself, “Why in the world would I not be able to donate right now?”

But  my guess is that if you looked at the date when this post was written, March of 2020, you’d say “Ohhhhh . . . . ”

We’re living in a crazy time in history. We’re stuck at home, with nothing to look at except our own stuff, so the desire to declutter hits hard.

And many of us have the time. Events and commute times have been cancelled, so it feels natural to tackle the closet or the cabinet we’ve been pretending didn’t exist for who-knows-how-long.

I get it. This is a great time to get some decluttering done.

Except for one thing.

Most donation places are closed. Not all (so definitely call and check), but most. People are staying home, including the ones who might otherwise have been willing to come get your stuff if you posted it online.

It’s a fact. A strange fact that’s unique to this strange period of history, but still a fact.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a perfect solution for you. There isn’t a perfect solution. But if you’ve been around here for any time at all, you already know that perfect isn’t the goal anyway.

I have never been able to do perfect.

My main advice? Declutter anyway. Work through your stuff, making final decisions about each item as you pick it up.

Even though that stuff can’t leave your house immediately.

It isn’t ideal to stack a corner of your garage or your living room high with Donate Boxes.

But it’s better. And better is the goal. Even if you’re garage-less and the living room corner is your only option, a living room with a corner stacked with Donate Boxes that is otherwise pile-free with shelves that are no longer overstuffed is an improvement.

It’s better.

Yay for better.

Here’s the thing. If you’re decluttering, JUST decluttering, and doing it in a way that makes progress and only progress and never a bigger mess, you can make big progress during this time. Really.

The key is that as you pull each item out of a cluttered, make a final decision about that item. Once you decide, the item will go to its final destination.

The donatable Donate Box counts as a final destination, even though it’s only temporarily final. 

It’s final because once the opportunity to donate becomes available again, there’s nothing to do but donate. Haul that box (or those many boxes) to your car to take away or to your front door to be picked up.

“Temporarily final” is a phrase that could have justified scoffing a few months ago. I’m hoping it will be scoff-worthy again soon.

But for now, embracing “temporarily final” will take you much further in your decluttering journey than you’ll get by embracing despair because you can’t declutter perfectly.

And a living room that is decluttered except for a pile of boxes already-made-decisions in the corner is better than one with piles-of-decisions-that-you-will-have-to-make-someday everywhere.


If you’re new around here, and the idea of making final decisions about each item as you pull it out of a space is mind-boggling, don’t worry. It’s what I have talked about and written about for years. I have you covered. Here are a few links to get you started on this style of decluttering:

How to Declutter Without Making a Bigger Mess

How to Declutter: Sorting

My Two (and only two) Decluttering Questions

I also have a lot of podcasts on these subjects to listen to while you declutter. Here’s a recent one on decluttering in uncertain times and the challenges that presents.

If you want it ALL in one place, in instructional format, check out my books. How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind and Decluttering at the Speed of Life will teach you everything you need to know, and are available in all formats including paperback, digital, and audio. E-books and audio can be downloaded so you don’t have to go anywhere or even touch anything anyone else has touched. Go here for links to all of the formats.

when you declutter but cannot donate right now at aslobcomesclean.com


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