By Amelia Young for Boston Compass (#125)
July 22, 2020
Hey good people! My name’s Amelia. I’m guest-writing this month’s Trash is Tragic, with Mel’s blessing. It’s great to be here.
If you’re reading this, I’d bet my finest sidewalk chalk we have two things in common: concern for the environment and knee-jerk neck-crane for sidewalk freebies.
As of this writing, I’m avoiding all indoor shopping except for groceries. However, I’ve been wearing the same 3 pairs of pants for 6 months, and a roommate and her furniture are moving soon. This plus budget and sustainability concerns got me thinking: How can I exchange used goods in the pandemic?
The following is my personal system for safe COVID-19 curbsiding.
A longer version lives on the Brain Arts website, and additionally covers donating, purchasing, and exchanging. What a bargain!
NOTE: I am neither a doctor nor a public health expert, so please use your own judgment, and keep current with scientific findings and CDC guidelines.
Check with housemates - feelings about curbsiding, safety, space use
Pack: hand sanitizer, phone, wallet, keys, tote bag(s), hand tools if needed
Wash hands, put on clean mask, then shoes - this order means I don’t touch my facemask with my shoehands
I always maintain social distance from other pickers (6 feet, ideally more).
If other folks get too close or aren’t wearing masks I ask them to follow safety measures, then leave if I’m uncomfortable.
1: All outdoor objects are contaminated
2: If I touch something, my hands are contaminated
3: Anything I touch has now been contaminated by me
Check for ordinary issues: bugs, water damage, mold, cracks, functionality, etc.
In my house we don’t bring something inside until it’s been cleaned
In-between spaces (entryway, driveway, porch) temporarily hold new items
After depositing my haul, I immediately clean myself:
Wash hands pt.2
I use 4 main methods depending on the object:
Current studies say COVID-19 can survive on surfaces up to 72h (3 full days) under normal conditions
I put stuff in a predetermined spot where it won’t be touched, or in “lie fallow bags,” then label with date/time
After 3 full days, I do any other needed cleaning
Cloth items go straight in the washing machine, hot cycle
If fabric is delicate, I let it lie fallow (3 days), then cold cycle or handwash
HOT H2O + SOAP
For water-safe objects, duh
Better than rubbing alcohol because it removes more dirt (which can hold onto virus particles)
Useful for electronics and other water-phobic objects
Using washable cotton rags reduces waste
With all the college campus lockdowns, 2020 is starting to look like The Year Without Allston Christmas. However, I truly believe that if we’re careful, and keep love in our hearts and masks on our faces, every day can be Allston Christmas.
A toast to your good health,