Day 15

Welcome to Day 15!

If you listened to Bea Johnson’s Ted Talk in yesterday’s post or have seen the previews for the third instalment of War on Waste tomorrow, you’ll have taken note of the excessive amount of clothing that we buy. In truth, we have excessive amounts of just about everything. Not only is it wasteful to purchase and throw away so many items that often go unused, having so much stuff also creates a feeling of being overwhelmed in your own home. I would posit that part of zero waste is also about regulating your own time and energy, and how often have you spent precious time looking for an item you were certain you had only to end up late, dishevelled and in pieces because you’d torn your house apart trying to find that one thing?

It’s time to start:

~ Decluttering ~

If this strikes terror or shame into your heart, fear not! You’ve not only got my good self leading you on this journey but the lovely Marie Kondo of the book ‘Spark Joy: the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up’.

Today we’re going to start with clothes. Here’s how it works:

Grab some boxes/giant plastic bags (plastic bags if you already own them, boxes if you don’t – supermarkets and stores will be more than happy for you to take them away).

Get all of your clothes together (exception being dirty clothes or those in the can deal with those later!) and put them in a pile. Yes, that means taking everything out of your wardrobe. I promise this won’t take long, and you’ll probably find a lot of forgotten items this way. Into the pile they go. Yes, I know, it’s a lot. Don’t worry, no one is looking but you – and potentially the other members of your household. Why not encourage them to do the same? You can have a pile-off!

OK, so you’re staring at a giant pile of clothing and probably feeling surprised/mortified by how much you actually own. This is really the beauty of Marie Kondo’s method. You get a great sense of perspective by seeing everything in the one category, in the one spot, all at once. The next part is to pick up each piece of clothing and assess it. Marie Kondo would ask ‘Does this spark joy?’ I would also add ‘Do I need this item?’  Some items may no longer have any practical use, but you feel tied to them for sentimental reasons. That’s A-OK. No one is forcing you to throw anything away, but you do have to examine each item individually. Sometimes you don’t love a certain piece of clothing but it goes really well with something that is hella joyful. You’ll probably know before you even pick it up whether it’s staying or going.

If it stays, welcome it home. If it’s to go, thank it for all the good times and put it in the donate bag/box. If it’s too far gone, you’ve now got a rag to replace your paper towel a la Day 14! If you can’t decide, put it in a mixed feelings bag/box. As you work your way through the pile, you’ll get more of a sense of how your wardrobe is going and how you want your look to be, which will give you more clarity to deal with those mixed feelings. If you still can’t decide, leave it in your wardrobe for a month. If you’ve not gone back for any item in all that time, do not open that bag/box! Just take it to your nearest op shop bin and don’t look back.

The main thing is that you should sit with the pile until the sorting is done. Unlike other de-cluttering methods that advocate sorting through an item per day, this method is really effective because it de-clutters in one fell swoop and not only is the process over swiftly, but you see an immediate difference, and that gives you the boost to keep going.

If you want to post any before/after photos, feel free – in the meantime, happy de-clutter week!


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