house clear-out

6 decluttering lessons we’ve learned from lockdown

26th Jul, 2020

The most severe lockdown measures have now been lifted here in the UK, bringing widespread relief from homeowners and businesses all over the country. But while the lockdown may have been particularly stressful for the majority of us, there have been a few upsides. For example, spending a lot more time in our houses made it easier for many of us to see exactly which of our possessions still deserved to be there with us, and which possessions didn’t!

What’s more, it also got us thinking about the best ways to get rid of these now unwanted items. Some people still choose ‘upcycling’, using local community groups on social media to find new homes for items still in good condition, passing them onto friends or other people in need, or taking them to charity shops. And of course, when all’s said and done, you can always hire a skip for anything that’s of no use to anyone anymore. Here, we’ve summed up some of the most useful lessons we’ve learned from the lockdown – both in terms of sorting out our clutter, and the best way to dispose of it.

Tricks to help you make the tough decisions

We don’t need to say it – chances are that the name ‘Marie Kondo’ is already hovering somewhere vaguely in your mind, with that characteristic sort of politeness often associated with the lady herself. Part of the reason she’s become so successful is that she’s managed to teach really tough lessons about hoarding and letting go, while making the whole process seem a lot more simple and much less scary. You probably already know her now-famous mantra off by heart – namely, does [the item] spark joy?

Maybe you find that helpful, or maybe you don’t. Either way, here are a few other helpful ways of looking at things:

“That might come in useful one day”

If you ever find yourself thinking this phrase, or a variation on it, then spoiler alert: chances are, it won’t. Another handy question to ask yourself is “did I know I had one of these before I found it?” Again, if the answer is no, then you’ve not needed it in your life for a long time – so you probably don’t need it in your life from now on, either. If you’re still not sure, it may help to set yourself a time limit. If you haven’t needed (or used) the item again in the next six months or a year, you can safely find another home for it. In most cases, you can always buy another one should you need to.

new year clearout

Don’t keep broken, torn or decaying items.

If they’re broken or otherwise past their best, chances are that you’re not using them. If they’re purely functional, such as a laptop cable or SCART lead, that can make the decision pretty straightforward: just get rid. But things become a lot harder where, say, clothes are concerned. Maybe it’s an old Christmas jumper, or a favourite tie, or even your wedding dress. Then, it’s a question of asking: can it be repaired? And if it can, will you ever wear it again? If you’ve answered no to one or both of those questions, the decision is more or less made for you.

On the whole, clothes don’t make the best sentimental keepsakes anyway, mostly because of that very tendency they have to decay and fall apart. The same goes for letters you can no longer read, or wedding tapes that will no longer play. A sentimental item only retains its value for as long as you can enjoy it. If it’s no longer good for its original purpose, and it doesn’t help you revel in your memories any longer, it becomes just like any other piece of junk – and that means it might be time to finally say goodbye.

Rethink how you store your possessions

Speaking of memorabilia and sentimental items, it’s never a bad idea to go through your treasured possessions, and have a think about whether there are any ways you can store them more efficiently and effectively. Photographs, letters, CDs and DVDs are all amongst the sorts of items that can now be encased in wallets and binders rather than separate boxes and files.

There are multiple advantages to doing this – not only can it help you to save space around your home (no more towering stacks of DVD cases, for example), but in the case of valuable or sentimental papers, it can help better protect them from being nibbled on by pests and insects like silverfish, which are absolute devils for getting into places they’re not supposed to be.

Getting rid of things… the right way

There’s more to decluttering your house than just identifying what you’re going to get rid of. The next step (and arguably the easier of the two) is to actually remove it from your life. But depending on the type of waste at hand, there are right and wrong ways to do this, and many of these were thrown into particularly sharp relief during the recent lockdown. Here are some of the most important lessons:

Don’t leave things outside charity shops

It might seem like you rarely walk by a charity shop without seeing a large pile of items stacked up outside. While this is normally a well-intentioned act, charity shops have actively discouraged it more passionately than ever since Covid-19 became a more tangible threat to the UK population. A big part of the problem is that when stuff is left outside, volunteers have to bring them into the shop themselves, and they have no way of knowing how safe it is to do so. They also have to take particular care to minimise the risk of infection as they move the donations to safe areas within the premises.

Instead, it’s far easier for them to control the risks when you take the time to bring in your donations yourself, during working hours. This way, they can ask you to move it to a safe area yourself, so that they can then decontaminate it as they see fit, in a way that minimises risk to their staff and other customers.

Compost food waste at home when you can

When councils across the UK scaled back their services to the bare minimum at the height of the lockdown, more people than ever found themselves with the problem of how to deal with rising levels of food waste (especially at the height of hot weather, which certainly doesn’t help!). As a result, sales of garden composers rose, as they provide a great way for homeowners and tenants to keep on top of their garden and food waste. If you don’t own one yourself, it might be worth considering – experts are still predicting later spikes in food waste across the country, as panic-bought items begin to reach their sell-by dates.

food waste

Don’t burn your garden waste

This is perhaps the most important bit of advice we have to give, as it concerns a very real safety risk. When council collection services were scaled back, rising numbers of homeowners took to setting backyard fires as low-cost alternative way of dealing with their garden waste.

Unfortunately, these sorts of fires are frequently dangerous, and wind and weather can make them unpredictable in enclosed garden spaces. UK firefighting services reported a surge in callouts across the country, many of which concerned back garden fires that had gotten out of control. While the lockdown may be over for large swathes of the country, it’s still an important thing to bear in mind!

So, how else can you get rid of your garden waste? Easy – that’s what we’re here for. Hiring a skip is a great way of getting rid of your garden waste, and here at Skip Hire Network our aim is to make the whole process as simple and easy for you as we can. Just head on over to our homepage to get your instant skip hire quote today!