Comment: The trouble with moving house in a pandemic

Many charity shops are limiting donations at the moment, as they don't have the space for all the st

Many charity shops are limiting donations at the moment, as they don't have the space for all the stuff we're trying to offload. Picture: Getty

We’re at the panicked decluttering stage of moving house; removals and cleaners are booked, now we need to get rid of some of the excess stuff we no longer need.

Once upon a time this was a straightforward task: spend ages rummaging through boxes of things, reluctantly cast some aside, dispatch to charity shop – job done.

Not so much in these COVID days. Some charity shops aren’t accepting donations at all, and others are operating on a first come, first served basis on a limited number of days a week.

Determined not to miss out, we hit the Rennie Grove shop on Hatfield Road 10 minutes after opening, and found they only had space for one bagful.

Understandably, shops are struggling to cope with the demand for their services from people who used lockdown as the ideal time to get their house in order.

I also accumulated several bumper bags of ruined clobber during this time – the pale duvet that went for a spin with a blue biro, the clothes that are too worn for charity shops to resell. I’ve been dropping them to H&M’s recycling bin in return for £5 vouchers off future shops - win, win.

And with the shops being overwhelmed, I’ve also been looking to eBay and local reuse Facebook groups to get rid.

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Top of our ‘to go’ list was a too-small bike, an outgrown swing set, the dishwasher we won’t need (the new house has a nicer one) and the kids’ car seat that’s been sitting under a sofa for most of the last year.

Then there’s the mountain of outgrown school uniform. There’s never been a worse time to have loads of too-small stuff on your hands, with the PTA second hand sales on hold due to COVID.

We haven’t even gone in the loft yet. While this should be an exercise in ‘if I haven’t used it in a year, when will I ever use it?’ I’m looking forward to squirrelling lots of it away in the new house and getting set to ignore it for many more years to come.