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How to Marie Kondo, the sustainable way

Items not sparking joy? Read this before you turf them for good

Even if you haven’t jumped on the Marie Kondo train, chances are you’ll know someone who has. It seems like everywhere we turn we’re subject to a narrative of what is and isn’t sparking joy, and just about everyone who has immersed themselves in #konmarie living couldn’t be happier to (over) share.

Just like that we’re diving deep and purging clothing, books, kitchen utensils and everything in between. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for minimalist living, but if you’re keen to declutter and live your best Kondo life here are some things to consider to minimise the impact extreme tossing has on the environment;


If you’re following Emma Vidgen’s #mindfulfashionexperiment you’ll know about the error of her ways at going full Kondo. Simply getting rid of items that don’t spark joy can become problematic when you suddenly find yourself shopping for all the things you threw out six months ago.

Before you cull, ask yourself;

Is this item practical?

Will you need it when the cooler season arrives?

Is it not simply ‘sparking joy’ in that very moment in time?

Can it be used for another purpose? Old shirts or towels as rags, for instance?

If the answer is still a firm ‘no’ then remove the item.


There’s absolutely no doubt that getting rid of ‘stuff’ is liberating. Studies show immersing yourself in an environment that’s neat and tidy has a direct relationship to happiness, this after all is the entire premise of the Kondo Kool-Aid. But what happens to our things when we no longer want them? The reality is while we’re revelling in an elated state someone else is dealing with your literal – and physical – emotional baggage. According to ABC’s War on Waste, Australians throw away over half a million tonnes of clothes? every year! Charities like The Salvation Army are spending millions of dollars sending items that can’t be sold to landfill.


Think about contributing to the circular economy by selling your old items.  Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook groups are a good starting point. Organise a clothes swap with friends and family. Look beyond the collection bins and explore giving to daycare centers, schools, hospitals, nursing homes or local shelters. Ensure toys – for example – are in good working order, otherwise see if they can be recycled. A good rule of thumb is only donate items you would pass on to a friend.


What about all those other items? E-waste? Electrical appliances? Old bikes and scooters? More often than not things end up in landfill that can otherwise be rehomed or recycled. Find a nearby recycling facility to properly dispose of waste. Often they will have a retail facility attached that allows them to on-sell – for example, refurbished bikes – at a fraction of the cost of a new one.


Reduce, reuse recycle. And find joy in the things you already have!

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