Have you seen Tidying Up with Marie Kondo yet? Netflix sparked a whole new wave of joyful closet cleaning with the series premier. Whether you’re using the Kondo method or not, we’re here to help you clean up and out with a circular mindset. Remember, there is no such thing as “away” when we’re talking about our stuff. Throwing it “away” or giving it “away” doesn’t make it magically disappear from the planet.
Waiting until you are surrounded by the stuff that is no longer sparking joy for you is a sure way to send more than you need to landfill. Before you begin your tidying up time, do your research on what options you have for the things you no longer want. Find out what organizations accept which sorts of donated items. Ask them how much of what gets donated is actually used and what happens to the rest. Refresh yourself on the current guidelines of what your local recycling services accept, and in what form or level of cleanliness they require the items.
The right spot
To tidy up using the KonMari method, you take everything out, pile it all up, and go through one item at a time looking for that spark of joy. This sometimes leads to huge piles of things in the middle of your room. If you can’t get through the pile fast enough, it becomes a big pain and can lead to a precipitous trashing of things that could be recirculated instead. Before you begin, pick a spot in your home or office where going through a whole pile won’t overwhelm you or get in the way of everyday activities.
Swap it out
Have your friends been swept up into tidying up as well? It’s the perfect opportunity to throw a swap party. Just because that sweater doesn't spark joy for you anymore, it doesn't mean it won’t spark joy for someone else. There is a good chance that you have a friend who would gladly give new life to your old favorites. This is one of the places social media can be very helpful: take a few pictures of items as you go through them and post them to your personal network, Craigslist, or local community swap lists.
What’s in the box?
If you store something in its original packaging or come across a brand new, never-opened item, you don't have to get rid of the box if the item no longer sparks joy. The packaging might be the perfect fit for organizing something else. You may not need that second slow cooker, but the box works great for vertically folding your t-shirts.
Divide and declutter
The KonMari method suggests going through your stuff in a specific order; clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous, then sentimental items. This helps you build up your momentum by starting with items that are more easily swapped out and replaced and gives you a more confident understanding of what sparks joy as you move on towards the more challenging sentimental items. We also love how this division gives you an automatic pause between categories to follow through with taking outbound items to where they best belong next. It is much easier to find a new purpose for that stained sweater and to swap a whole shelf of slacks if we can focus on ideas for more similar items and materials all at once. This also helps with staying mindful and tidying up our minds as we go through our belongings.
Has the KonMari method inspired you to tidy up? Any suggestions for how you’ve done it circularly? We’d love to hear your stories! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.