After the de-clutter: Reduce, reuse, recycle and add value other people’s lives. 

Marie Kondo doesn’t talk much about what to do with the items that don’t spark Joy. There are some references to bagging and binning her beloved childhood teddy, but nothing covers what to do with the clothes, books, ornaments that didn’t make the grade. Once you have thanked them for their service they just disappear. Now that would be the magic of tidying up!

This is one of the reasons I couldn’t become a diehard Kondoite! The waste factor of my decluttering really concerns me. The idea that people might take her too literally and hire a skip for all their clutter is horrifying. Marie Kondo talks about being thankful to your possessions for the job they do for you. Now I’m not sure I’m going to feel as deeply for my things as Marie, after all she thanks her socks for cradling her feet! But I do believe that the things in my life should serve a purpose, add value or bring joy. 

The pile of stuff I am choosing to discard has served its purpose; either in the thrill of the purchase or the uses it served me at the time. So I should thank these things and move on guilt free. But if I threw these items out I would feel tremendous guilt.

Thankfully I had done a fair amount of prep for my declutter and reminded myself of a few things I’d learned: The Minimalists had me covered. They are huge advocates of responsible waste and urge anyone purging their clutter to add value to other people’s lives while they do so. 

The minimalists have a different view point from Marie Kondo on possessions. They are just things. If they are not adding value to my life then I should let them go. They go a step farther and suggest that as well as the direct benefit to me of decluttering, lightening the burden a lot of these things have become; mental clutter, physical clutter, emotional drains, that they can go on to fulfil a new purpose and add value to someone else’s life. 

Now like most people I think, I hope! I felt the financial weight of my declutter build as my discard piles grew and grew. Even though I am an avid eBayer, there were still hundreds of pounds worth of clothes I wasn’t planning to keep. Eeep. So it’s natural to want to try and recoup some the perceived loss right?

I have made the conscious decision  to value the letting go above any monetary return I get from selling. The Minimalists urge people not to “nickel and dime” themselves to try and recoup small amounts. Value your time! Is spending 10 hours listing, packing and shipping clothes worth it to net £30? Not for me it isn’t. So I will follow their advice an only sell the big ticket items and happily donate the rest to charity. The idea that my cast offs go to someone who needs or just wants them makes me happy. Knowing that they don’t end up in landfill makes me even happier. I choose to donate my clothes to a children’s charity so it’s a double win. Someone gets a useful bargain and the charity gets some extra money.

When I finished my declutter roughly half of my clothes went to charity, and I have a strict 2 listings and out policy on the clothes on Ebay. If they don’t sell after two listing periods then they go to the charity shop! As a side plea. Please don’t drop and run when you donate. Go in and register with them and for gift aid. I give to Barnardos so they get the tax back on my donations and I get a lovely letter every now and then telling me how much my donations raised. 

One aspect of the KonMari method I loved was reusing things that bring you joy in a different way. Some of my belongings bring me joy but are unused and that drains some of the joy for me. Repurposing them helps me prolong the enjoyment of well loved items. 

For example I bought a set of coloured ramekins with matching spoons in Rome airport. I saw them through the window and had to go in. I walked out. I didn’t NEED ramekins. Our flight was delayed, so I periodically visited them. My Husband (then fiancé of 24 hours, we got engaged in Rome) urged me to buy them. I resisted. I didn’t need them, they would break in transit. I didn’t NEED them! In the end Husband persuaded me they would make a nice and practical momento of our trip. I caved. I bought them. But I did use them and I do love them. They bring me so much joy. But 5 years later we are down a few matching spoons, and I have used them less and less in order to preserve them. Thanks to reading Spark Joy I know I need to use them or lose them so they now sit in my make up drawer and hold cotton buds, Kirkby grips etc. They are a gorgeous pop of colour in my drawer and remind me of my engagement, my husband and all the delicious desserts I’ve made in them. 

Joy all round x

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