Out with the old: Northwest residents skip spring cleaning, garage sales in favor of donating used stuff year-round

While spring is often thought to mark a traditional time for household cleaning and purging unwanted items, a new poll from PEMCO Insurance finds that a majority of residents in Washington and Oregon skip the annual ritual of spring cleaning and opt for regular deep cleans throughout the year.

According to the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, just 14 percent of residents say they wait until spring for annual household cleaning. Instead, most respondents (82 percent) prefer to keep their homes tidy with occasional deep cleans throughout the year.

“We were surprised to learn that ‘spring cleaning’ wasn’t as popular as we assumed,” said PEMCO Spokesperson Allison Leep. “In fact, the data actually suggest that people here prefer cleaner households than even regular deep cleans might offer – we learned that two-thirds of Northwest residents say they do some sort of cleaning chore at least daily.”

And when deep cleaning unearths unwanted possessions like clothing, kitchenware and dust-gathering exercise equipment, the poll finds that residents are most likely to get rid of old items by donating them.

“Even with the popularity of sites like Craigslist and Ebay, along with apps like OfferUp and Let Go, the poll suggests that most residents prefer to donate their used items, rather than profit from them,” Leep said.

But in the tech-centric Northwest, residents aren’t as quick to give away their electronics. The PEMCO poll finds as many respondents sell their used electronics (48 percent) as those who say they donate them (44 percent). Younger residents under 35 are twice as likely as their older counterparts to put their electronics up for sale (72 percent vs. 37 percent).

About two-thirds (63 percent) of those who choose to sell their stuff post items for sale online, preferring ecommerce over neighborhood garage sales or brick-and-mortar consignment shops.

Though more than half of households say they’ve put on their own garage sales in the past, the PEMCO poll finds that today only 18 percent of respondents who sell their unwanted items would choose to host a garage sale before selling their items online.

“When selling your things can be just a few clicks away, it’s easy to see how garage sales may seem like too much heavy lifting,” Leep said. “This could easily be a trend we continue to see as the sharing economy grows, too.”

For a complete summary of PEMCO’s poll results, visit www.pemco.com/poll to view the responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in November 2016.