Moving can be stressful enough in the best of times, but now there’s a list of restrictions, protocols, and uncertainties to navigate. In the various articles about how to manage the different components of a move in light of COVID-19, there’s one area that hasn’t gotten as much attention: Decluttering.
One of the most grueling, yet most critical, jobs to prepare for a move is to streamline your household items – decide what you want to get rid of, and pick what you’ll be taking to your new home.
Then, once everything is sorted, you need to figure out how you’re going to dispose of your unwanted goods. The three primary ways are:
- Tossing your junk
- Donating your goods
- Reselling your items
The problem is, how do you get rid of your stuff when many places have closed or are no longer accepting items?
At MoveSnap, we offer personalized, location-based information for our clients looking to streamline their households before they move. Since coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown kicked in across the country, our support team has remained available, finding ways to help support our clients with their needs while keeping up-to-date on where they can dispose of their items.
Here’s a list of what we’ve found on how to safely declutter your home for a move during COVID-19.
Of all the ways to get rid of your stuff, the one that does the most to give back to the community is through donation. Clothing, baby gear, furniture, textiles, kitchen appliances… you name it. Each item you give away has the opportunity to go to an individual or family in need while also reducing waste.
That’s all become far more complicated with COVID-19. Some of Canada’s leading donation services, including Diabetes Canada, The Kidney Foundation, Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Habitat for Humanity have all temporarily suspended drop-offs until further notice. This decision was made to help protect everyone – from the staff to donators and recipients of those donations. While charities acknowledge the generosity of Canadians wanting to give, they ask if it’s possible to hold off on dropping bags of items, which are now closed.
If you are able to bring your unwanted items with you to your new home and deal with them after you move in, that’s probably the safest option. However, if you need to clear up space before you go, here are some options we’ve found.
What’s still being accepted
PUDO, a parcel pick-up and drop-off service, has recently announced a charitable initiative to help store and distribute new and gently used clothing, children’s items, and footwear to organizations whose supply chains were impacted by COVID-19.
There are also small grassroots organizations in many cities accepting donations of clothing, children’s items and household goods. These organizations are mainly community outreach-based and service the homeless and women/family shelters.
Because they’re busy on the ground, many of these organizations haven’t put out announcements beyond local advertising, making them a bit of an effort to find. A good place to check for any of these donation spots, then, is on your social media message boards, or by doing some search engine legwork to see what’s in your area. Some places we found in cities across Canada that are still accepting donations include:
- Sanctuary (Toronto) – Asking for tent donations so the homeless can shelter safely, also taking clothing and other household goods.
- Sistering (Toronto) – Accepting new clothing and baby items if you have things that are still in packaging or haven’t been used).
- Furniture Bank (Toronto) – Accepting curbside, no-contact furniture pick-up.
- The City of Toronto has also set up a portal to help people donate key items, including new and unused household items.
- Grace Inn Shelter (Belleville) – Accepting food, new clothing and hygiene items.
Mission Old Brewery (Montreal) – Accepting various clothing and hygiene items.
West Coast & Prairies
- Wildlife Thrift Store (British Columbia) – Accepting clothing, footwear, household item donations.
- Streets Alive Mission (Lethbridge, AB)
- Homeward Trust (Edmonton)
- Oyate Tipi (Winnipeg) – Accepting furniture donations.
- Fredericton Homeless Shelters (Fredericton, NB) – Now accepting all donations.
MoveSnap clients can contact their personal concierge for help researching additional local options. There’s also the opportunity to help support these wonderful charities by donating money to maintain their services during this challenging time.
2. Junk Removal
The good news for clutter crusaders is that at least one major national franchise is still open for business. If you can’t drive to the nearest dump yourself, or your junk volume is too high, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is a professional, courteous, and prompt full-service junk removal that is currently performing safe, curbside, no-contact pickup for residential customers.
Now more than ever, people across the country need electronics to stay connected. If you have working devices you no longer use, the Canadian Electronic Recycling Association announced a pilot program to redistribute used devices to households in need – particularly for students who require iPads or laptops to do their online learning. Non-profit organization RecycleMyElectronics.ca is also accepting donations to clean and redistribute to households in need.
For the DIY crowd, some landfills across the country are operating. Across the province of Ontario, for example, waste drop-off depots have been slowly reopening to the public as of May 19. The City of Toronto has just announced the partial re-opening of three major junk, recycling, and yard waste facilities. The facilities will operate at reduced hours and you can check the schedule of the nearest depot. Your MoveSnap concierge can also help you research locations in your area.
3. Reselling Your Items
After the first few weeks of chaos, many people have resumed community-based buying and selling of their used goods. These transactions take place entirely at the discretion of the parties involved in the sale and are often conducted through places like Facebook Marketplace and Kijiji. Because it’s not an official sale, it’s up to whoever is buying and selling to set clear boundaries about cleanliness, packaging, and drop-off/pick-up protocol.
How to donate or re-sell safely
The question you’re probably asking right now is whether it’s even safe to donate these items? The good news is that there are ways to safely prepare items for donation and resale. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released its safety guidelines for how to properly clean any surface items during COVID-19:
- Put on gloves. Gloves can be disposable ones you throw away after one use or reusable gloves dedicated for cleaning and disinfecting only.
- Scrub with soap and water. Any household cleaner and water will do.
- Disinfect. Have you been able to find Lysol wipes on store shelves? If so, you have found the mythic pot of sanitized gold at the end of the rainbow. Disinfectants are scarce these days, but Health Ontario has put together a list of guidelines for proper cleaning and disinfection. And if you can’t find anything in the stores, you can also prep a homemade cleaner.
- Wash clothes thoroughly. Launder clothing on high settings, then place items in a sealed plastic back for minimum 24 hours.
- Wash hands when finished cleaning.
As circumstances change from week to week, MoveSnap is here to help with your upcoming move and keep you informed about your moving questions and concerns.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.