So you've Marie Kondo'ed your life, now what do you do with the excess?

Kristine Tarbert
Senior Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer

Netflix sensation Marie Kondo’s show Tidying Up has seen thousands of Aussies decide it’s time to purge their lives of things they no longer need.

From unwanted clothes, homewares, and excess shoes, we’ve been emptying our wardrobes and rooms, but the movement lead to an unexpected problem.

The Marie Kondo effect lead to an unexpected problem. Photo: Netflix

Those piles of unwanted items have been ending up at charity shops, or being dumped at already overflowing bins, to the point where even op shops are saying they are no substitute for the tip.

Charities around the country spend millions of dollars a year to send unusable donations to landfill, reports, and even organisations like Lifeline got to a point this month where stores were at capacity and unable to accept donations.

Charities said they were at capacity this month. Photo: Getty

So we decided to figure out what other options there are to get rid of your excess goods, that are responsible, and doesn’t involve a trip to the tip.

Decluttering specialist Jo Carmichael says there are so many other ways to “respectfully” dispose of our unwanted items.

“There are so many other ways, which both helps out our community and those in need, while saving them from landfill,” Jo tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Unwanted clothes

One of the biggest results of the ‘Marie Kondo effect’ is the huge amount of clothes no longer wanted or needed. And it turns out there are more organisations that could take some of them off your hands than you may have thought.

“Women’s and men’s refuges and homeless shelters happily receive good quality clothing, toiletries and some homewares,” Jo tells us. “To locate the donation drop off points, contact your local council or community centre.”

Do you have clothes you no longer need? Photo: Getty

There are also groups that specifically collect business clothing and accessories, for example Dress for Success, for women, and Dress for Work, for men.

“They collect and distribute business clothing and accessories to help those returning to the work force who cannot afford it,” Jo says.

Major clothing brands are also starting to realise the value of repurposing old clothes.

H&M for example provide a service for recycling old clothing or fabric donated to the shop. You’ll even get rewarded on your next shop. The donation bins are generally located near the cash registers. 

“The clothes you donate are recycled, and do not need to be H&M product,” Jo explains. “It is a great place to donate used and worn out clothing – which you can not take to a charity store.”

Clothes can be taken to more places than charity bins. Photo: Getty

Beauty items

There are a host of organisations that will take your unwanted and unopened beauty products.

Beauty Heaven, Beauty Bus Foundation, Family – To – Family, Give and Makeup are just some of the few,” Jo says.

In countries like the UK and the US, stores like &Other Stories are even rewarding people for bringing back their empty beauty containers (think tubes of lip gloss), for 10 per cent off. Perhaps this is something that can also be introduced here.

There are so many more organisations that you had probably heard of. Photo: Getty


Of course it’s not just clothes and beauty products we’re getting rid of. Things like books, blankets and even bikes can easily find a new home.

“Many school and churches collect football boots, books, stationery, and sports equipment, which they distribute when groups go on educational visits or immersions,” Jo tells us.

“Knitting wool and sewing items can be donated to nursing homes or community centres, where people join together to make rugs and blankets for others.”

Jo recommends keeping an eye out for news of donation drives in local papers or school newsletters.

Lions Club and Rotary organisations also collect goods for those in need. You can take your used towels and blankets to animal refuges or vets, who will be able to re-use them, and your bikes can be given to groups such as GiveNow and Bicycles for Humanity.

If you have more time

Of course if you’ve got more time on your hands and are happy to go through and photograph things, and field messages and phone calls there is always the option to post your free items on the internet.

The internet has plenty of sites to get rid of free items. Photo: Getty

Sites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, and Team Zilch are great for passing on unwanted items that could have a second life for free.

“Within Facebook there are pages like Eastern Beaches Freebies, Northern Beaches Freebies, Hills Freebies etc,” Jo says. “You become a member, and post photos and information about the goods you want to give away for free, in order to keep out of landfill.”

Jo says the most important thing is to not let the need to get rid of the items put you off giving your wardrobe and home a good clean out.

“Be brave and keep on donating those things that are no longer important or needed,” she says.

“Decluttering is like yoga for our homes, so keep the fresh air flowing and dispose of our things respectfully – for their are plenty of new homes out there waiting for them.”

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