Pandemic Forces Homeowners to Launch ‘Purging Tsunami’

August 13, 2020

With the pandemic forcing more Americans to spend extra time at home, homeowners are decluttering and taking part in a “purging tsunami,” The Washington Post reports.

“People are feeling their spaces right now,” Gretchen Rubin, author of nine books about decluttering, told the Post. “Some people feel like nesting and just want to paint everything. Others feel claustrophobic. Many have figured out they need more elbow room. Some are thinking, ‘I don’t want to waste something I’m not using. I want to put it back out in the world.’”

Many homeowners are cleaning out storage rooms in their house to make space for a home office. Michael Frohm, chief operating officer for Goodwill of Greater Washington, says donations have jumped 20% over the last year. They’ve had to rent temporary warehouses to store all the extra donations. Homeowners realized they “didn’t want all that stuff in back of them during a Zoom call,” Frohm says. “They were forced to clear it out.”

But how do you get rid of everything? During the pandemic, yard sales are uncommon, some charity donation drop-off centers remain closed, and some municipalities are limiting bulk trash collection. Some homeowners are renting dumpsters to toss things they are unable to donate. Others have gone online to try to sell items in online marketplaces to earn some extra money.

Other companies are stepping in, such as Washington, D.C.-based 1-800-Got-Junk, which reported a huge surge in business since April. “As waste removal, we were considered an essential business,” Claudine Rubin, owner of the D.C. franchise of 1-800-Got-Junk, told the Post. “Many dumps were closed to the public, and bulk pickup was suspended in a lot of areas. You couldn’t make donations. That’s where we got our spike.”