Time to get rid of your lockdown impulse purchases?

Are your quarantine treats starting to stack up?

Brown parcel sat on a door step

It seems many of us in Britain went on a bit of an online quaran-spree during lockdown.

Online spending reached an all-time high in 2020, representing almost one third of all purchases made in May.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Meanwhile, online shops saw huge booms in sales numbers, as Brits took to digital shopping with gusto.

Source: Econsultancy

And who could blame us? With bars, restaurants and shops closed and nothing else to do but stay at home, retail therapy was one of the few luxuries we had during lockdown.

Unfortunately, this hedonistic hobby has left some of us with a pile of purchases which - while we're sure they made some sense at the time - now seem a little frivolous.

It's time, therefore, to get rid of all that tat we treated ourselves to last year - time for the big quarantine clear-out!

Here's how to go about it...

1. Sort the wheat from the chaff

Many of our online purchases were totally necessary and have lots of long-term value.

Home exercise equipment, blankets and books were some of the hottest-selling items in 2020, but there's no reason these won't be useful in the months and years to come.

Source: Shopify

It's the frivolous things like nail polish and jigsaw puzzles (not to mention that kayak) which you may want to think twice about.

The question you have to ask yourself is: assuming there may never be another lockdown, are you ever going to use these things again

2. Can you share the love? 

Wait! Before you reach for the bin bags, think about whether someone else might like your items instead.

Re-selling and recycling will help reduce the amount of items you send to landfill, which will lower the environmental impact of your post-lockdown clear out.

This is especially important when it comes to items such as clothes. WRAP estimates that Brits might throw away up to 67 million items of clothing after lockdown, many of which could go to new owners.

Source: WRAP

Many of the items you bought in lockdown will have re-sale value. Even if you may not think anyone would want them, there is sure to be someone, somewhere who’s looking for what you’ve got. Even if you only ask for the price of postage and packaging, it could help someone to enjoy your unloved item.

And if you can’t sell things yourself, there’s sure to be a charity shop that would gladly accept your stuff.

2020 saw a huge surge in items given to charity stores, but many are still asking for new items to sell – especially as lockdown drastically impacted their sales.

Source: British Heart Foundation

And if all else fails? You could try leaving the items outside your home with a ‘help yourself’ sign.

3. Check out courier donation services

Whether you’re still cooped up at home or you’ve simply gotten used to the convenience of doing everything online, you may be interested to hear that you can still recycle from home.

Courier donation services exist for everything from books, to technology, to clothes – and they couldn’t be simpler.

Search online to find a courier that suits you. They’ll send you a pre-paid box or envelope, and all you have to do is fill it up with your unloved purchases and post it back.

This is a great way to get rid of lots of clutter in one go, and you can rest assured your items will be sent to a loving new home.

4. Finally… make sure it doesn’t happen again!

Now you know what a slippery slope it can be, perhaps it’s time to make a plan to stop your impulse spending getting out of control again.

It’s only natural to want to treat yourself, but if you find yourself buying things online to pass the time, it can become a bad habit – and one that leaves you with lots of decluttering to do.

As you sift through your quarantine treats, ask yourself why you bought each item and what sort of mood you were in at the time. This will help you to spot patterns that lead to you hitting that ‘Buy now’ button.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to manage your money, Halifax has everything you need online. Just visit our Managing Your Money page.

And remember – at the end of the day, you mustn’t be too hard on yourself. After all, there was no right or wrong way to get through lockdown – and if it made you feel good at the time, that’s all that really matters!