Marie Kondo’s famous minimalism and decluttering movement is making waves with it’s rejuvenated success on the hit Netflix Series: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. At MASS, we absolutely love the idea of minimizing how much ‘junk’ we are bringing into our homes, and we believe in the power of her “Spark Joy” approach. The lifestyle she exhibits can have an incredibly positive environmental impact by reducing how much waste we actually create, and this is a fantastic step forward for waste diversion. However, we have noticed that many people who’ve been swept up by the wave of decluttering have likely been inadvertently sending large amounts of material to landfill and contributing to a significant problem facing our planet. Today, we are exploring how we can each participate in this popular phenomenon with waste diversion in mind.
Today’s post is a guest post from Nathalie Heyden. Nathalie Heyden is a student at the University of Waterloo, who is currently completing a co-op placement here with our team. Nathalie will be writing about sustainability, waste & recycling, compost & so much more. We invite you to read along and follow her on this exciting journey with our team. This post is the first in a two-part series exploring the KonMari phenomenon & how decluttering can be approached with a waste-conscious approach.
Have you ever looked through your ‘junk drawer’ and felt as though you have found every electronic cord except the one you were looking for? Do you feel overwhelmed when you see the boxes in the corner from when you moved in five years ago but never got around to fully unpacking? You are not alone. Many Canadians are hooked on Marie Kondo’s Netflix sensation ‘Tidying up with Marie Kondo’ where she teaches us the art of organization and decluttering.
Tidying up with Marie Kondo
In this Netflix series, Marie Kondo teaches us how to sort through and tidy-up our possessions using the KonMari method. If you have not yet (binge) watched any (or all) of the episodes, I highly recommend you do so.
Kondo takes us through five different categories of sorting our belongings: clothing, books, papers (the dreaded receipt/scrap paper/old university notes drawer *shudder*), miscellaneous (all other household items not listed) and sentimental belongings.
Kondo places an emphasis on appreciating our belongings. We are asked to hold on to items that “spark joy” and to be grateful and to give thanks when departing from items that no longer serve a purpose in our lives. This practice of gratitude reminds us to value our items. I believe this practice is very important, as it creates a foundation to become a mindful consumer. Instead of buying into fast-fashion, it is time we take care of the items we own and be sure to invest in quality goods that will “spark joy” far into the future.
Now that you have “KonMari’d” your entire house, I am sure you have noticed a key step missing from her perfectly-folded-joy-sparking solutions. We are all left wondering: how and where do we dispose of all of our unwanted possessions? Most of your items are probably in relatively good shape, they just need to be relocated to new homes. Remember that your ‘junk’ could be someone else’s ‘treasure’. Just because you do not see any value in an item it is not destined for the bin; someone may be able to find a new use for it.
When it comes to your wardrobe, your first thought might be to drop your clothes off at a thrift store. If you would like to donate your items to a second-hand store, it is best to first call in-advance. Is this particular store accepting donations right now? Do they accept the types of items you are looking to donate? Be sure to do your research. Did you know that second-hand stores only sell 25% of what is donated? Better options than sending your clothing to a second-hand store would be hosting a clothing swap with all of your friends, organizing a yard sale, or even posting your items on a buy-and-sell Facebook page (you could even make some money!). Did you know that in North America, more than 11 billion kilograms of textiles are sent to landfill every year? Markham Ontario has even taken to banning textiles from their landfills as it has become such an issue.
Did you finally go through your junk drawer and get rid of those cords belonging to electronics you no longer own? Instead of sending them to landfill, find a proper electronics drop-off near you. For bulky items such as furniture and appliances there are many options to consider before landfill. If you still feel attached to a piece but it feels out-of-date try repurposing it DIY style. Pinterest is full of ideas such as: turning doors into shelves, chairs into bedside tables, you name it! If you are okay with parting from your furniture and appliances and they are in relatively good shape, you can donate your items to various charities and organizations including Furniture Bank, Habitat for Humanity, and others. If the item is in rough shape, look into the various recycling programs your municipality or neighbouring municipalities may offer. For example, various municipalities have started to recycle mattresses.
If there are no possible ways to repurpose your items, that is when it is sent to landfill. Your last resort should be sending items to the bin. When you go to take your non-recyclable clutter to the curb, hold onto this memory for every time you go shopping in the future. When buying a product think about what the life of said product will look like. How long will you be able to use it for and where it will end up when you are done using it? Practice mindful shopping.