Sustainability Victoria Issues Urgent Warning For Marie Kondo-ers

by: Lucy Jones | 1 year ago | News

Marie Kondo on Netflix’s Tidying Up. Image source.

If you've been binge-watching the charming yet terrifying Netflix show Tidying Up, then you're probably about to get rid of a whole lot of junk that no longer sparks joy in your heart. But have you stopped to think about where all your old stuff will end up? Since Tidying Up aired, second-hand stores have reported a massive increase in donations. These stores are already full of poor quality fast fashion clothing that they can’t sell. In Australia, our broken donations are costing charity stores millions of dollars a year. Unable to sell these goods, op shops are forced to send them on to rubbish tips that, according to recent reports, are nearly at capacity. Sustainability Victoria has urged would-be Marie Kondo-ers to consciously re-home their unwanted goods, instead of donating them en masse or throwing them away.

“The sudden spike in tidying up at home, combined with Christmas excess, New Year’s resolutions for minimalism and the fact that many op shops are still closed for the holidays, risks creating the perfect storm for waste this month,” Sustainability Victoria CEO Stephanie Ziersch said in a statement.

“While we’re encouraged to hear households en masse are busy clearing out the clutter, the question remains where are we sending all those bags of joyless garments and items once we’re done with them? All that clutter doesn’t just disappear once you’ve given it a kiss and thanked it for its service.”

Sustainability Victoria suggested that a seventh step — 'reflect on waste and take action to reduce, reuse, recycle and respect' — be added to Marie Kondo's popular KonMari method.

“Our simple request for Kondo-inspired declutterers is that instead of saying ‘thank you, next’ they instead find the joy in re-homing the items or recycling them thoughtfully and through the correct channels," Ziersch said. 

“In fact, there’s a Japanese approach known as mottainai that I suspect Marie Kondo would happily support. Quite simply, it encourages reflection on waste and action when it comes to reducing, reusing, recycling and respecting.”

Here is the organisation's proposed KonMari method: 

Step 1. Commit yourself to tidying up

Step 2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle

Step 3. Finish discarding first

Step 4. Tidy by category, not by location

Step 5. Follow the right order (clothes, books, paper, miscellaneous items, sentimental items)

Step 6. Ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”


Step 7. Embrace mottainai – reflect on waste and take action to reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.

We would also add another step of our own at the beginning of that method: consume less. People are buying more, using more and throwing more away. Our rampant overconsumption is putting pressure on charity stores, landfill sites and the environment. Cleaning out your wardrobe might improve your life, but changing your consumption habits could help to improve the world.

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