How to declutter responsibly during the coronavirus lockdown

The coronavirus lockdown has presented many of us with an opportunity to get some much-needed decluttering done. But with tips and charity shops closed, it can be difficult to know how to dispose of your waste responsibly. That’s why we asked Scott Hawthorne, a waste management expert from, to share his advice.

See the UK government’s latest coronavirus advice here.

Cluttered garage - how to declutter responsibly during lockdown

Now is a great time to declutter, and not just because many of us are stuck at home with time to spare: clearing out unwanted items can help to reduce stress, make your home easier to clean, and even raise some cash.


Of course, with non-essential travel banned and many services ground to a halt, the downside is that it’s more difficult to dispose of your waste. But it’s not impossible! Take these tips on board so that you can safely enjoy all the benefits of decluttering during the lockdown.

Make the most of your bin collections

While we should avoid putting any additional strain on the service at this time, it’s worth taking full advantage of waste collections that are already taking place. If you have room in your wheelie bin before it goes out, do just enough decluttering to top it up. Resist the temptation to place recyclable items into your general waste, though.

You can find the latest information and advice regarding wheelie bin collections on your local authority’s website — the East of England Local Government Association has a full list for the region.

Please note: If someone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms (see the NHS website for information), it’s important to dispose of contaminated waste like cleaning cloths and tissues carefully. Hertfordshire Council recommends double-bagging contaminated waste then storing it for 72 hours before putting it into your wheelie bin.

Start a compost pile

Starting a compost pile is easier than you think and allows you to turn all kinds of waste into nutritional compost, which can then be used in your garden or donated.

As well as food and garden waste like eggshells, grass cuttings and vegetable peelings, you can compost materials like paper and cardboard — extremely helpful when you’re decluttering. You just need to keep the right balance of green waste and brown waste.

The Royal Horticultural Society has lots of great advice to get you started.

Put non-organic waste to one side

If you have space in a loft, shed or spare room, consider using it to temporarily store non-organic waste — in other words, anything that won’t rot. This will allow you to declutter your most used spaces and make it easy to quickly remove unwanted items once the lockdown rules are relaxed.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to label bags or boxes so that you remember where the items should go. For example, you could have one box for charity donations and another for paper waste.

Of course, even if you don’t have spare room, it could be well worth sorting and putting all these unwanted items to one side ready to take away later.

Repair and upcycle

Adopting a ‘make do and mend’ mentality can work wonders at this time. If you have items that are collecting dust because they’re broken, make use of online tutorials to see if you can fix them. With a little bit of care and attention, there’s a good chance that you can restore today’s clutter to its former glory.

Up cycling crockery for plants

You could also try upcycling or repurposing — turn old crockery into planters, let the kids get crafting with old newspapers, or use jars as utensil holders. There are lots of creative ideas to be found on Pinterest if you need some declutter inspiration.

While the lockdown presents a good opportunity for many of us to start decluttering, it’s important that we don’t increase pressure on already-strained services or put anyone at risk by disposing of our waste irresponsibility. These tips should allow you to clear out your home with a clear conscience. 

For more self isolation tips and ideas and information on doorstep deliveries in your area why not check out our Facebook Page or Groups dedicated to your county CambridgeshireNorfolkSuffolk. Those dog lovers out there would be barking mad not to join our Doglife Group and vegan’s, you’ll be pleased we have one dedicated to you too.

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