Cooped up? Why Not Cleanup?

film camera, phone, and coffee on top of a table with a bike against the wall behind it
The weather got you pinned down inside? You aren’t alone as all across the nation moms and dads are starting to feel the walls closing in; but what if cooped up family time could be fun, productive and rewarding? Ahead we’re going to show you how to turn the dog days of winter into a great time to declutter, but first we wanted to jump to the best part: how your decluttering efforts can help America’s veterans. Just CLICK HERE to schedule your free donation pickup, and on the day of your choosing our professional and courteous drivers will come to your home regardless of the weather and carry away the gently used household items you no longer want!

Now is the perfect time to crank up your clean up and declutter plans for three main areas of your home. We have some useful tips on how to take stock of your kitchen, children’s bedrooms, and your living room, and determine what stays and what you can happily donate to others. Donating to support our veterans makes cleaning up meaningful and rewarding, and coupling decluttering with donating makes them each productive and fun!

When we are cooped up due to the weather, keeping indoor spaces neat and clean can feel mundane. Piles of this-and-that stack up and it can feel like endless cleaning. But look at the bright side – being cooped up gives you the chance to really take a look at what you have, what you need, and what you want. Instead of just tidying up each room, how about you enlist your cooped-up family for an all-hands-on-deck declutter?

woman relaxing on the couch with her laptop on her lap and her cat next to her on the couch staring at the camera

Here’s what you need to make it creative and entertaining:

Party Time

To get your Cooped-Up-Clean-Up Campaign off to a great start, think about making it a party! Food and music are great ways to make cleaning out pantries, cupboards, and closets more party and less chore. Bring on the chips and salsa, Rice Crispy treats, and tunes; before you know it, you will have made happy memories as you’ve created a clean and organized home.

Game Plan

All your team needs is a game plan. Assign jobs for each member of your team. You will need “keep”, “toss”, and “donate” boxes for each room. Set a time limit for each area, but be sure to make the time limit challenging. For example, put a 30-minute countdown on the kitchen decluttering and see how much you can accomplish. By adding urgency, you’re sure to keep your teammates busy and it won’t be so easy to get distracted.

Rewarding Experience

Everyone loves recognition and rewards, so be sure to acknowledge your team’s contributions and productivity. Plan a lighthearted award ceremony after each room is completed. Awards can be simple and heartfelt. Writing a simple note of thanks, or invest in some ribbons. Your local craft store is a great place to find affordable awards. Everyone contributes in meaningful ways so be sure to acknowledge all the members of your team.

handwritten thank you note on golden orange paper with a heart and red pen in background

Now let’s take a look at each area in your home for tips on how to declutter and re-organize, sit back, and enjoy.


You are prepared to take on one of the most cluttered up places in your home. Often called the hub of the house, the kitchen is a catch-all for just about everything. This most used area has “stuff it” places — cupboards, drawers, shelves, counters, and pantries – that are perfect spots to hide items that may or may not have any purpose anymore. The best example is the infamous junk drawer crammed with stuff  (dare we say “junk?”) that is never used. But you are prepared to take it head on with your “keep”, “toss”, and “donate” boxes and your energized team.

Keep: Glasses, plates, baking dishes, pots, and pans that you have used in the last three months. Take a good look at your kitchen linens and only keep the ones that are in good condition and fit your current décor.

kitchen racks with multiple of the same items showing

Donate: Kitchen “donatables” are all of your good-condition glasses, mismatched plates, outdated linens, and working small appliances. We often pile up duplicates of items and then only use one. Consider donating your duplicates to help support veterans and their families.

Toss: Chipped, broken, and stained kitchen items may need to simply be tossed. Look at the back of your cabinets and the deep recesses of your pantries for items that you may have stuffed away. The junk drawer is a treasure trove for toss items. Used-up pens, expired coupons, random paper clips, and junk! Here’s your chance to get the junk out and your drawers clean.

Kid’s Room

Next to the kitchen there is no other place with more duplicates and unused items than your kid’s room. Especially after all that holiday gifting, there is no better time than now to have a keep, toss, and donate party!

Keep: Your keep boxes should contain only the items that your child currently wears, plays with, or otherwise uses. Chances are, the closets, drawers, and areas under the beds are stuffed to capacity with outgrown, worn out, and unused items. Check the size labels of the seasonal clothing and shoes. Even if your little one’s still fit in last summer’s shoes and clothes, you know they are not going to fit when summer actually rolls around again. 

stack of baby girl pink clothes with sleeping owl face booties on top

Once you are done, your keep boxes will contain clothes, shoes, toys, books, and other items that are 1) sized right 2) current season appropriate 3) in use regularly by your kids.

Donate: Donating your children’s good-condition clothing, shoes, toys, and other items is a fantastic way to help other children while teaching your own the fun of giving. That’s right, fun! Kids grow out of their stuff every 3-6 months. This means nearly everything is gently used or worn, making them perfect for donating.

Toss: Broken toys, used up coloring books, worn out clothes, and shoes are most likely better off tossed. A good rule of thumb would be “can I see another child benefiting from wearing or using this?” If the answer is no, toss it.

Living Room

Now you’ve made it to the home stretch of our Cooped-Up-Clean-Up Campaign! Got the fire cranked up in your living room? Wait, your place doesn’t have a fireplace? No problem, you and your team are warm enough already thanks to your decluttering efforts. Now that you’ve made it to the living room, set your timer to just 15 minutes in order to ensure one final big push. Now take a moment to scan the room and asses everything you see. Generally speaking, things at eye level are keepers, things cluttered in the corner can go.

happy black and white dog's face closeup to the camera

Keep: The TV, the sofa, and especially the dog. Okay kidding aside, now that you’ve scanned the room you’ll want first to take control of the items that don’t belong there. Have your teammates put their clothes and toys back in their rooms where they belong, while you can quickly remove the trays and old coffee mugs that have been away from their kitchen homes for far too long.

Donate: One of the quickest and easiest ways to dramatically change the look of a living room is by removing and donating the books you no longer need, but are still just collecting dust on a bookshelf. Maybe you can replace them with more recently read novels you had stacked by your bed? Another fast fix is to replace a wall hanging or two with ones that you’ve had in storage in your closet or garage — combat the dreariness outside by adding some new, colorful art indoors!

Toss: Remember the junk drawer in the kitchen? Chances are, you have one in the living room as well… so dive into that first. Then toss the magazines, newspapers, and catalogs that you’ll never read again. Finally, have a teammate grab the vacuum and not just clean the carpet, but also take this opportunity to dust the moulding along the floor as well.

And just like that, you’re done! Well, sorta. Now that you have boxes full of keepables, donatables, and trash, it’s time to conclude the Cooped-Up-Clean-Up Campaign by assigning each collection to a teammate…with the keepables heading to the areas where they belong, and the trash heading to most likely your recycle bin, or maybe your garbage can.

But what about the donate boxes? They are the easiest to deal with. Just CLICK HERE to schedule a free donation pickup, and on the day you choose just leave them outside marked “VVA” and a Pickup Please driver will gladly take them away, leaving you with a tax deduction receipt.  Remember that because of your generous donations, the VVA is able to provide much needed support to our veterans and their families in your community.