So, you’ve finally decided to declutter your home. Awesome. Having a pre Konmari Checklist will help.
Why? Because the last thing you want to do is make your stuff someone else’s problem.
Put your dogeared copy of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up down for the moment.
Before you KonMari your place into a tidy stripe, you must first figure out what you’ll do with the stuff you no longer need.
Having a Pre KonMari Checklist Will Help
What is that and why is it so important? Well, decluttering is only half the job. Once you’ve identified everything that has to go, you must know where you’ll be taking it.
If you don’t, you’ll risk derailing your declutter project. Along with taking up valuable space in the garage or basement, there’s the added concern that you’ll have a change of heart and haul everything back into the house.
The horror. Amplified.
Responsible Decluttering Starts at the Store
Sometimes, the most responsible way to declutter your stuff is to not buy it in the first place. Impulse purchases rarely live up to their expectations. If you have your heart set on something, ask yourself these questions before you hand over your credit card.
- Do I really need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Is it good quality?
- Does it spark joy?
- Is it useful?
- Can I rent or borrow one instead?
Take the time to think about each question in detail. This is best done at home (without wine). Very often, putting some distance between you and the desired object will be enough to stop the impulse train.
Been there, done that, didn’t buy the t-shirt.
What Does Responsible Decluttering Entail?
At its most basic, responsible decluttering means disposing of your unwanted stuff in an environmentally-friendly way. Landfills are filling up at an alarming rate, with people tossing everything from food scraps and newspapers to batteries and clothes in the trash.
It’s easy to put everything on the sidewalk and forget about it, but at some point we’re going to pay the price for our laziness. Decluttering mindfully takes more effort, but the benefits are worth it.
Along with doing your bit to protect the planet, you also have the opportunity to make a difference by donating your old stuff. You could also sell it for extra cash or upcycle it as a gift for a friend.
Provided said friend has hippie leanings. Old stuff isn’t everyone’s thing.
1. Electronic Waste: The Bane of Modern Day Life
Instead of relying on mining companies for new gold, silver and bronze, Tokyo’s Olympic planning committee came up with an ingenious alternative. They mined the metal for the medals from 47 tons of recycled electronics.
Your old phone or laptop may seem harmless enough, but it’s actually full of toxic chemicals, like heavy metals. Depending on the age and condition, there are any number of things you can do to dispose of your electronic waste properly.
You could give it to a certified e-waste recycler, sell it, donate it to a civic institution (school, prison, etc.) or return it to the electronic company you bought it from originally.
However you end up disposing of your old electronics, make sure you format them first. Having your information end up in the wrong hands is a mess you don’t want to clean up.
2. Give Your Old Clothes a Responsible Send-Off
The way around this is to buy well-made clothes that will last longer than a week, a month or even a season. Their initial outlay is higher, but because they last so much longer they end up being more cost effective.
Nothing lasts forever, though. You’ll either wear your favorite t-shirt to rags or outgrow the style. It’s time to think outside the box when this happens.
Old long pants can become new summer shorts, for example. Zips can be mended or replaced and faded jeans can be dyed. If you’re over a shirt that’s still in good nick, donating it to your local Goodwill (or similar) is always the best solution.
Even ratty, unwearable clothes can be put to good use. Manufacturers are cottoning on to the importance of disposing old clothes in a sustainable manner.
Our local charity shop turns unwearables into cloths for the car wash that’s attached to run by one of their homeless shelters.
Whatever you decide to do, at least you know you have options beyond tossing your old clothes in the trash. They deserve a better end than that.
3. From Trash to Treasure (or Toilet to Planter)
You’ll undoubtedly have more to declutter than old electronics and clothes. Whatever you’re planning to get rid of, it’s important to remember that one person’s trash is always someone else’s treasure.
The ugly chair with the wobbly leg, the slightly saggy mattress, the chipped mug, the bicycle with the rusty chain. Pretty much everything you no longer need or want can be recycled, upcycled, donated or sold.
We might not be able to turn the landfill tide completely, but by choosing to declutter responsibly we can at least stem that tide a little.
You’ll likely have a rough idea of what you’re planning to declutter (clothes, electronics, kitchen items, etc.). Take the time to research clothing banks, charities, recycling depots and so on beforehand.
When you’ve finished decluttering you can load everything in the car and take it to its new home right away. The sooner it’s out the house, the sooner you’ll be able to celebrate a job well done.
I realise that I lot of what I’ve suggested is easier said than done. But remember, anything that’s worth doing will require a little elbow grease. On the flipside, the reward is that much greater.
When you’ve not just decluttered your house, but also disposed of everything in the greenest most eco-friendly way (we’re talking Greta Thumburg stamp of approval), you’re going to feel like a superhero.
To decluttering infinity and beyond.