It’s 2021 at last! And never before has clearing out your house and starting afresh been sooo needed.
Clearing out for storage, charity and recycling is the perfect way to reset and refresh your home; particularly after a year that’s proven how important a calm, happy (and Zoom-call-ready!) home is.
But how do you clear out & declutter effectively during lockdown? As we remain inside to protect our communities and NHS, with limited allowances for going outside, it feels an impossible task to actually get rid of your old items.
However, there are ways to complete your clear out, in a safe and ethical way. You can even make a difference to local charities or people while you do it!
So if you’re ready to sort out and declutter, use our helpful, lockdown-friendly guide to clearing out your house & saying goodbye to 2020, once and for all 👇
Please note that during Tier 4 lockdown, blue self storage is only open for critical & essential workers. So while you might not be able to access your unit at the moment, you can still get ‘storage ready’ for when you can! See all Covid-19 updates →
Useful tips to get started
Sometimes, the whim to start clearing out your house will take you by surprise – other times, you really need to pray for motivation!
So the first thing to do is to block off a couple of hours and stick to the time you choose.
Going through your rooms, wardrobes and under the bed can be an arduous task, so use these tips to stay focused:
- If you’re doing this with a family member, agree which rooms you’ll each tackle, and which you’ll sort together
- Plug in your earphones & listen to a podcast – it requires more focus than music, and you don’t want to get distracted by the stuff you unearth
- Following on from that… If you find nostalgic or sentimental objects, don’t let it distract you – put them aside to look at later
- Take tea or biscuit breaks during the process but set a break timer for 10 minutes only
- Open ALL the windows in your house – you’ll get hot really quickly and you can let fresh air in (essential when you’re disturbing old dust)
- When clearing out spaces, leave them clear – don’t try to fill them up or ‘shuffle’ around furniture to fit – this comes later
- Avoid putting piles of stuff on your bed or tables; you’ll only have to move it again later
- Found mould? Use mould spray or bleach and water to wipe the wall or ceiling, and use a hairdryer to dry off quickly*
*When using mould spray or bleach, pop on one of your face masks, open windows, and do it early enough in the day that you won’t still smell it going to sleep
Sort into limited piles
Our top tip is always: know your destinations. Have you got stuff to give to charity? Things beyond repair that can be recycled?
Sort your things into 5 main categories:
- Other optional donations (like giving away for free on Facebook groups)
- Recycling centre
Then use a sharpie to label green recycling bags or cardboard boxes with ‘charity’, ‘recycling’ etc, and try to put items in the correct bag/box as soon as you sort them.
If you just move them to another surface, you’ll create more work for yourself – and you’ll be at risk of ‘reassessing’ them later, where your conviction might waver.
And be strong – don’t let yourself create extra piles like ‘Might Want This Later’ or ‘Can’t Decide Right Now’. A good rule of thumb is, if you forgot you had it & haven’t used it in 6-12 months, give it away.
For all the stuff you want to keep in storage, our crucial, #1 tip is: use identical boxes, and don’t fill them too full.
Instead of a higgledy-piggledy jumble of sharp edges and sliding piles, the boxes make it easier and neater to stack inside your house, until you can visit your storage unit or donate the items.
And something we’re all guilty of is over-filling the box because you can tidy things away quicker. Your back won’t thank you for it later, so keep the weight manageable and don’t be afraid to use extra boxes when you need them.
Pack & protect your treasures
Even if it feels like a pain, wrap and secure your more delicate objects in bubble wrap, plastic bags, tissue paper – whatever you have to hand that will keep them safe.
We know, it’s annoying, but you’ll be so glad you did when you unpack them in the future.
*NEW* – Get your packaging materials delivered!
It’s hard getting all the stuff you need for packing during lockdown – so to make it easy for customers, we’re running a limited time offer where we’ll deliver all the packaging materials you need to your home!
From boxes to bubble wrap, from mattress covers to masking tape, order what you need via email or phone and we’ll deliver to you*.
*T+Cs apply. See bottom of this blog for info.
Offload unwanted items
Once you’ve identified the stuff that’s not for storage and sorted it into ‘charity’ | ‘local giveaway’ | ‘recycling’ | ‘rubbish’ piles, here’s how you can offload your things in a sustainable way.
Option 1: Donate to a recycling centre’s charity containers
While charity shops remain closed under lockdown, recycling centres (on the whole) are open.
Lamby Way, a recycling centre helpfully located on the way to our Wentloog storage location, has charity containers for books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, bikes and more.
Please check restrictions before planning your visit.
Option 2: Donate to those who need it most
Your old kettle or GCSE English textbook could be just the thing someone desperately needs; particularly when we’re confined to our own 4 walls with no real shopping opportunities.
Our lovely sponsored charity, Cerebral Palsy Cymru (CPC), are always grateful for donations to fill their 4 shops – and while they can’t accept donations at the moment, they’re asking for people to save up their donations for when they can accept them. This is the ideal time to use those proper packaging boxes for a streamlined charity pile!
They’d particularly love your pre-loved clothes, toys, books and bric-a-brac for post-lockdown donations – not only that, but if the pandemic has inspired you to help out wherever possible after lockdown, they’d love to hear from shop volunteers! (Email email@example.com for a chat).
The CPC team are also pleased to report that their free storage unit at our Llanishen facility has come in hugely handy for storing seasonal items and Christmas donations – so thank you to all who donated their things over the festive season.
And to give away any smaller, quality items, British Heart Foundation is running a freepost donation service, where you can send your donations to them for free from your nearest Collect+ location – result!
Option 3: Give away to family, friends & neighbours
You can also find Facebook groups dedicated to helping your local community, like this Covid-19 Support and Positivity Cardiff group who welcome helpful items listed for free. For selling, use groups like South Wales Sales or sites like Cardiff Freeads.
For super local giveaways, why not take photos of your items and share with your friends and family? You never know what someone needs – you might have just the thing!
And if you’re not using luxury items or high-value stuff, perhaps you could know a frontline worker (maybe a teacher, a doctor, a nurse) who could do with a boost and your generosity – it could make their week.
More about our practical ‘clearing out your house’ guide
The New Year is a hugely popular time for clearing out your house and decluttering; it marks a fresh start, and never has there been a year more appropriate for this than 2021.
Okay, the usual ‘new year, new me’ isn’t quite welcome this time around – but if you can’t face attempting Dry January, and your typical ‘join the gym’ resolution can’t be realised, there are still ways to refresh & restart for the coming year, and that’s through your home.
While we stay inside during UK-wide lockdowns, our thoughts turn to our immediate surroundings. Are our homes feeling calm and prepared for a new year? Is it a space of ‘zen’?
If you’re thinking this, you’re not alone; UK homeowners spent an incredible £55 billion on home renovations since March 2020, making our nests more comfortable and Zoom-call-ready.
But if this trend passed you by, or if you’ve somehow accumulated more ‘stuff’ than you’ve lost, now’s the perfect time for a New Year house clear out.
And while you may not be able to offload all your clutter during lockdown restrictions, you can use our useful tips to get ready and prepared for when you can. Happy clearing!
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*Packaging materials delivered to your home: T+Cs apply
Delivering packaging materials to customers is something we are currently trialling as a limited time offer. Available upon rental of a storage unit (or for customers with existing storage units).
Available for customers within the Cardiff area only. Available on the assumption we have adequate staffing available – in the unlikely circumstance of staff illness or shortage, we may postpone your delivery but will inform you as soon as possible.
We’ll aim to deliver your materials within the next few business days after purchase, but deliveries may be subject to local COVID restrictions.