You might have binge watched the debut season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, and experienced a whiff of guilt hit you hard for the mountain of unused items you’ve accumulated over the years. Well, you’re not alone.
For those confused by the reference made at my introduction, you’ve probably not heard of the following trend words/ phrases: “Marie Kondo”, “KonMari”, “Spark Joy”. To quickly bring you up to speed, here’s a brief introduction:
The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.
Now we’ve got that sorted, some might ask, what’s next for items that does not spark joy in my life?
It is easy for one to discard items that have little to zero emotional attachment. However, does it occur to us that the landfill does not spark joy for trash that was mindlessly thrown out of our apartment to please our inner hoarding self? Here are some ways to remove unwanted items from our lives, and the planet will thank you for it.
1. Earn some moolah for your junk
We might be familiar with Karang Gunis in Singapore. Although not a frequent sight, Karang Gunis (or Rag-and-bone) Man do visit residences door-to-door with a signature honking sound. Karang Gunis are known to collect second hand items that are in good condition. In exchange, an agreed sum will be given for items collected.
Swapping is a fun way to declutter without hurting the planet. You can choose to organise private clothes swaps between friends, participate in a swap event, or swap online! Other interesting swap includes book swap, plant swap, beauty swap and, surprise surprise, a plastic swap! Follow these cool brands on social media for updates on latest swap dates. You might be surprised to find new items that spark joy.
When we think of “Recycling”, the first image that comes to our minds would be the iconic Blue Bin. Nestled below majority housing estates, the recycling bin became the fastest way for many to discard unwanted items.
That being said, bins are often contaminated with food waste and non-recyclable materials, resulting in the whole lot being sent to our incinerator. It might be the most convenient method to discard items that doesn’t spark joy in our life, but results are not highly effective to our environment.
Charity and not-for-profit organisations do call out for donation drives from time to time. If your items are in perfect condition— yet you would like to avoid the hassle of haggling prices with a Karang Guni man, join a swap party or send it for recycling—perhaps you’d wish to donate the items instead.
There are many channels in Singapore to recycle and donate your items. Here is an extensive list to take your pick (You’re welcome!): Where to Freecycle, Recycle and Donate in Singapore.
Don’t forget, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While we love the idea of being mindful of our material possessions, we’d like to urge KonMari advocates to integrate eco-friendly steps when declutter.