How to "KonMari" Your Life Without Hurting the Environment

Posted by Souley Green on

Have you ever heard of Marie Kondo, or the terms “KonMari” and “spark joy”?

Marie Kondo is known as a “tidying expert”, and her approach is called the KonMari Method. Her site states that it “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.”

Don’t forget to show your gratitude (Photo by rawpixel)

Sounds intriguing? If you want to know more, you can binge-watch (if you haven’t already) Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. Warning: While watching it, you might experience a whiff of guilt for that mountain of unused items you’ve accumulated over the years.

But don’t worry – you’re probably not alone.

If Marie has inspired you to follow her lead like countless others, you can start by asking yourself: Which items spark joy in my life? Or better yet, what’s next for those items that don’t spark joy?

Which of your belongings can make you feel like this? (Photo by rawpixel)

It’s easy for some of us to discard items that have little to zero emotional attachment. However, did it ever occur to any of us that landfills don’t exactly “spark joy”, in that they now contain trash that was mindlessly thrown out of our apartments to please our inner hoarding selves?

Well, here are some ways to remove unwanted items from our lives, and the planet will still thank us 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 men) do visit residences; just keep your eyes and ears open for their 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.

2. Swapping
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 with Swapaholic, or swap at a physical space – The Fashion Pulpit.

Other interesting swaps include a book swap, a plant swap and – surprise, surprise – a plastic swap! Follow these cool brands on social media for updates on the latest swap dates. You might be surprised to find new items that spark joy.

Their new owners will love them (Photo by Lauren Fleischmann)

3. Recycling

When we think of “recycling”, the first thing that comes to mind might be the iconic blue bin. Found at a majority of housing estates, the recycling bin has become the fastest way for many to discard unwanted items.

That being said, the recycling 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 don’t spark joy in our life, but the results aren’t good for the environment.

There are other avenues to recycle e-waste and daily household items. Simply sort them out, click on these links, and contact the respective organisations to understand their requirements and collection systems.

4. Donating
Charity and non-profit organisations do call out for donation drives from time to time. If your items are in perfect condition – yet you’d like to avoid the hassle of haggling prices with a Karang Guni – then join a swap party or send it in for recycling. Perhaps you’d wish to donate the items instead.

A library, welfare group or good cause might benefit (Photo by Toa Heftiba)

There are many channels in Singapore to recycle and donate our items. Here’s an extensive list, so take your pick: 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 they declutter.

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