What happens after you “Tidy Up?”

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If you’re like many Netflix bingers, some of your new year intentions may have been inspired by the organizing sensation, Marie Kondo. For those of you living under a rock, Kondos’ method (coined the KonMari method) has inspired millions of people to Tidy Up their own spaces by letting go of items that no longer “spark joy”. The KonMari method is very effective at getting things out of your space in a time efficient manner. But it begs the question-- WHERE IS ALL OF YOUR STUFF GOING AFTER YOU DECIDE IT NO LONGER SPARKS JOY?!

I know that when editing my own closet, I often struggle with instant gratification. Once I decide I no longer want something in my space, I want to get that sh*t out as fast as possible. Out of sight, out of mind, ya know? But I’ve learned it is essential, when editing things out of your life, to slow things down. Slowing down creates the time and space to inspire an awareness about the amount of things we consume and how to properly get rid of it. Before we get rid of anything we should first be aware of why it landed into our space in the first place. When we know the answer to that question, we can begin to break down this cycle of constant consumerism (an intuitive space planner’s dream). The first step― improving our own decluttering processes.

Recently I was on chatting with Friday, The Sustainability Concierge about the effects of the Tidying Tide (as I like to call it) on our environment. Currently, many of the clothes you donate to goodwill that are deemed unusable end up in landfills. Tons of clothes and other improperly sorted things are piling up with nowhere to go. Because of this, it’s fundamental to be aware of where our “stuff” goes once it leaves our homes because there is NO AWAY. Getting rid of our things in an environmentally conscious way is our responsibility as consumers.

Friday puts it best when she says that “if you are going to be purposeful about organizing your home, it makes sense that you are purposeful about how you get rid of things. It doesn’t have to be fast if it is purposeful.” It’s your duty as a consumer to do the research to find out what donation sites exist in your area and what they accept.

Some of my quick tips for eco-friendly decluttering:

  • Waste protocol varies by city and by state, so take the quick minute to google search what’s what in your area. For example, all batteries are considered hazardous waste in the state of California. They must be recycled or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility.

  • Textiles can always be reused! Many retailers will take old clothes, sheets, towels and recycle them for you. You can take your unusable clothes to H&M, Levis, and Northface to be reused or recycled (through iCollect).

  • Find a big clothing recycle bin near you! There are many bins (generally outside) that will take your clothes, shoes and household textiles. They also take household textiles including tablecloths, towels, beddings, blankets, and bedspreads. USAgain runs quite a few in the LA area. A simple google search should help you find one that’s close by.

  • Make sure to do your research! Things like old towels and blankets aren’t accepted at Goodwill, but they are accepted (and deeply appreciated) at your local animal shelter.

  • Last but not least, remember that old shirts make great rags! I love using my sun faded sheets and sewing them into napkins (can never have too many of those)!

If you have edited your closets recently using the KonMari method, I just want to take the time to let you know how proud I am of you for beginning to let things go! Your willingness to let things go means your are creating S P A C E for what you want to call in! As we enter into the month of March I want us all to reflect on how we can be more mindful consumers. What are our current habits as consumers? What are some ways we can insure our stuff won’t end up in a landfill? How can we incorporate environmental consciousness into the momentum surrounding decluttering?