As a new year resolution, decluttering my house is on the top of my list. Inspired by Marie Kondo and the decluttering hype, I have already managed to organize several rooms in the house. However, one big problem about decluttering that nobody mentions is how it contributes to the dramatic existing waste problem. Seriously, watching the hundreds of garbage bags proudly thrown away in Marie Kondo’s Netflix series Tidying Up is appalling. In this day and age, we all need to be more responsible about our carbon, water and waste footprints. And there are many ways we can do that.
What to do and how to do it:
Before you throw anything away, ask yourself:
- Can I repair it or fix it? In today’s society, the tendency is to immediately throw away instead of repairing or fixing things. Unlike our grandparents, who mended socks and clothes, fixed and repaired furniture and household items, the majority of us dump anything broken. We need to change that. Have you ever actually tried repairing something? No, because you don’t know how to? Well, you’ll be surprised to know that there are easy step by step videos and instructions that show you how to repair just about anything. Search on google, on YouTube and see for yourself. You’ll see how easy it actually is. And the best is the feeling of accomplishment and pride afterwards. Still didn’t manage? Why not take it to the trendy new repair cafes and get help?
- Would someone else want it? Just because it does not “sparkle joy” to you any longer does not mean it won’t “sparkle joy” to someone else. Give it to a friend, to a family member, to a neighbour. Pass it on. In some cases you might even be able sell it on a second hand app, online, or at a garage sale or second hand flea market and thus even make a couple a bucks out of it. Otherwise, simply bring it to a charity organization and help those in need.
- Can I recycle it? Ok, so you cannot fix it and nobody wants it, but you still need to get rid of it. Recycle it. Almost all materials can be recycled nowadays. Yes, you might have to bring it to a Recycling Center. Be smart, ask around, inform yourself. For example, many companies nowadays recycle unwanted unfixable clothes for free. You simply need to bring it to them (examples are Monki, H&M and so on.) Some people will even come to your house and pick up old metal or old electronics for free.
Point is there are many alternatives before throwing away anything you no longer want. And extending the life of an item is one of the most effective ways to reduce our carbon, water and waste footprints. So by all means do declutter your house and get rid of all unwanted and unneeded items in your home. But don’t immediately dump them in the trash. More often than not, there are better greener alternatives. The best one of them all being buying less and buying smarter.