‘Take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘does this spark joy?’
If it does, keep it.
If not, dispose of it’.
As you work through the KonMari process, you’re likely to find yourself getting rid of hundreds of items. Marie Kondo herself once consulted a couple who discarded close to 200 bags!
Nobody in their right mind wants to put that amount of (for the most part) perfectly usable ‘stuff’ into landfill just because it doesn’t spark joy anymore. But many of us get stuck in the trap of keeping bags of clothes or books hanging around for days or weeks. At first you look at them each time you walk past and think ‘I’ll do that this afternoon’, but as the days roll past, you sort of stop noticing them. Before you know it, they’ve been there for a week or ten days and are starting to gather dust. You might open the bag on a ‘nothing to wear’ day to grab a top that fits, or to pass to a friend a book you remembered seeing…..somewhere.
A good way to combat this is to plan beforehand where your discards will go, and when you will have time to dispose of them. With this in mind I’ve started you off with 6 things to do with your discards that are better than landfill. They’re Malta specific but of course wherever you are you can find similar good causes:
- Happy Paws have branches in Santa Venera and Marsaskala, and profits from sold items go towards rehoming and neutering / spaying stray animals. Truly a sustainable cause! They prefer to receive seasonal items as storage space is limited, but otherwise can accept any items in good condition except for large furniture.
- Join one of the ‘Recycle Malta’ Facebook groups and post your items. Stipulate a date they need to be taken by, and wait for replies – you won’t earn anything for your items but it’s a quick way to get unwanted things to a new home.
- The Foodbank accepts food donations at its site in Valletta. Items must be in date, non-perishable, and from the list on their website. Perhaps buddy up with others in your building to organise a box to be taken to them? Truly an excellent place to send foods to.
- Refab Malta collects textiles for recycling. They can use clothing, bedding, curtains, shoes (paired), belts and handbags. This reduces the amount of textiles going to landfill and allows unusable items (holey jeans etc) to be reworked or regraded. There are bins around the islands, collection points at several schools, or you can arrange a collection from your home.
- Civic Amenity sites accept clothing and textiles, wood and furniture, electronics, toys, old medicines, paint and batteries. Definitely load up the car as you work through the Komono category and spend a very satisfying morning saying goodbye to those miscellaneous ‘bits’ that have been hanging around!
- Reuse.com.mt is a great initiative where users can post items they want to get rid of, or browse for items they need. Items therefore go to somebody who needs them instead of landfill. Truly an example of one man’s trash being another’s treasure.
And here are 3 things not to do:
- Give them to family members without prior discussion. How many times have you been given something and kept it out of guilt? Don’t get someone else into a situation where they’re surrounding themselves with items that don’t spark joy.
- Place it in the street ‘just in case someone wants it’. Things either get rained on, damaged by the sun, or just broken. And then taken to the dump….
- Put it in the storage room or garage ‘for when someone needs it’. That day may never come, or it will be so far into the future that the item will be damp / damaged / rusty / out of date.
Whatever you decide to do, keep the focus on the following:
- Think where you want the items to go. Call to check they are accepting donations (BUT do not delay if not – find another worthy cause!
- Enlist the help of a neighbour or family member beforehand in removing your discarded items
- Organise your discards into ‘bin’ and ‘recycle’ as you joy-check
- Aim to have them out of the house the same day
TL;DR? Don’t automatically put your discards out for the bin men. Use one of the six Malta-specific ways of passing them on and reducing landfill. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Do this quickly – ensure items are sorted as you discard and taken to the car to be dropped off that day.