A great way to recycle is to avoid the recycling center altogether. Surely my unwanted items are better suited for donation and will bring great joy to someone else.

I join the legions of spring cleaners who are Marie Kondoing the heck out of their homes. It’s a silver lining to the corona quarantine.

In case you’ve been in pop culture isolation, Marie Kondo is the organizational sensation that advises to get rid of things that don’t bring you joy. Minimalism is trendy, and Kondo’s take on how to simplify and organize is so popular she’s become a verb.

With fewer weekend distractions, closets, guest rooms and garages around El Paso are getting a good clean out. I have a big box ready to be dropped off, but I can’t. Donation centers are closed. I called six different organizations just to be sure.

There are stand-alone bins outside at some centers, but Teri Talamantes, the community and resource development director at the Salvation Army, told me about the challenges they’re having with those bins.

Talamantes confirms that El Pasoans are dropping off loads of stuff, which would normally be great. But with the centers closed, they can’t keep up with the volume. The bins fill up within a day and they only clear them three times a week.

Overflowing bins don’t deter donors, who will toss their stuff nearby if they are full.

Now, everyone in El Paso knows that anything left curbside is a gift to the community. Free stuff doesn’t last long and savvy consumers have taken to picking through the pileups. By the time Salvation Army gets it, most of the good stuff is gone, and there’s a great deal of junk left. They are stuck with taking care of it and at times paying to dump it.

In that case, why not save everyone the hassle and leave your stuff at your own curb and dump your own trash.

Organizations like the Salvation Army, Savers and Goodwill, use the donations as a revenue source to fund programs that help the community. If you’re donating in hopes of supporting them, then don’t do it right now.

You’ve already had this stuff in your house for ages. What’s another few weeks or months? It will reopen eventually. The Salvation Army is hoping they can as early as the middle of the month.

If you are determined to declutter and use the bins now, Talamantes asks that you put your items in trash bags that don’t take up as much space as boxes. And if the bins are full, come back another day.


One of El Paso Inc.’s casualties of the coronavirus pandemic has been our summer issue of Kids Inc. With schools closed, we had to cancel what is normally one of our bigger annual publications. Not all is lost, however, and this weekend we focused our B Section on families and children with some of the stories or features we would have included in Kids Inc. We appreciate a number of advertisers who agreed to support this transfer and hope we can resume Kids Inc. in the fall for back to school. Enjoy!


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