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Recently, makchic’s editor-in-chief shared her experience decluttering her house using the KonMari method – the Japanese art of tidying one’s home. Founded by Marie Kondo, the KonMari method is detailed out in Marie’s best-selling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” The popularity of the book led to a show called “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” which is trending on Netflix.

Photo credit: Marie Kondo Facebook

The show couldn’t have come at a better time. People went on a decluttering frenzy as part of their New Year’s resolution. But with cleaning, comes bags of unwanted junk. Now, the big question is, “What do I do with all these stuff?”

Here, we explore options where you can discard your junk and even breathe new life into your unwanted items.

1. Department of Environment Malaysia – E-Waste

The Department of Environment Malaysia (DoE) classifies e-waste as non-working or obsolete electric and electronic appliances. Little do we know, we can reuse, refurbish and even recycle these broken appliances. The DoE has enlisted collection points all over Malaysia that receives and recycles your e-waste. As of now, companies listed receives television sets, refrigerator, washing machine, air conditioner, computer, mobile phones, and other small appliances.

2. Kloth Cares – Old clothes, toys, bags, and other fabric items

Unwanted clothes often end up in landfills and make up 4% of solid waste. Fortunately, there are other options besides throwing them out with the trash.

Kloth Cares launched a Fabric Recycling Initiative with 69 bins located in the Klang Valley. The needy will receive donated clothes that are still wearable. Unwearable fabrics will be repurposed into industrial cleaning cloths or recycled to fuel cement kiln.

Do keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram for locations of new bins.

3. Medal4Awesomeness – Running Medals

For old running medals that have never seen the light of day, there is Medal4Awesomeness. They welcome medals of distances from 10km, half marathons, full marathons and above.

Using marathon running as a metaphor, Medal4Awesomeness hopes that the medals will motivate underprivileged and terminally ill children to fight on despite the challenges they face.

Medals should be in good condition and lanyards removed before donating. They currently do not have a dedicated collection point, but they often announce pick-up points on their Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Photo credit: Medal4Awesomeness Instagram

4. H&M and Monki – Clothes for Vouchers

 H&M and Monki reward members of the public with 15% and 10% vouchers respectively for every bag of clothes donated. Depending on the condition, clothes will either be re-used or recycled. Shops will receive and sell wearable clothes as second-hand items. For old and damaged clothes, they are turned into recycled fibers for use as insulation and cleaning cloths.

5. Miscellaneous Items

Cash Converters Asia and Buy Sell Trade accept items that are in working condition for cash in return. There isn’t any limit to what you can sell as long as it has a resale value. You can sell off household wares, gadgets, toys, and even sporting items. House call services are possible if you have many large bulky items to sell.

Photo credit: bargain basement

6. Donate to charity

Kechara Soup Kitchen is a community group that provides help for impoverished individuals. They seek used clothes, raincoats, umbrellas, shoes, and hats. Items should be clean and in good condition.

Kedai Bless accepts second-hand clothes, shoes, small furniture, home decoration and also jewelry. 50% of their profits are donated to causes such as Myanmar refugee children, and the Orang Asli settlements.

Islamic Relief Charity Shoppe receives donated items such as clothing, kitchenware, and books. These items will either be stocked for emergency assistance or sold at a discounted price. Their charity causes receive proceeds from each sale.

Bargain Basement has two branches in IOI City Mall, Putrajaya, and IOI Puchong. They accept clothes, accessories, houseware, ornaments, and books to name a few. They also offer pick-up services for bulky items. Local charity homes such as the Autism Café Project and Yayasan Chow Kit have benefited from their proceeds.

The Salvation Army has four Family Thrift Stores in Melaka, Ipoh, Penang, and Kuching. They welcome any second-hand items that are useable and in good working condition. Recyclable items such as newspapers and tins are also accepted. The needful will benefit from donated wearable items while the stores sell off the rest. Proceeds from each sale are used to fund their community projects.

As tempting as it may be, try not to refill the voids that now you have in your home. Check out these helpful green tips and links to help you stay on track.

 

So it’s the time of year where families usually take time to reflect on the year that has gone and review aspirations for the year to come. Here are some suggestions that families might want to consider.

1. Take Time Out To Be Silly

Take time out to crack jokes, turn up the music and do silly dances, make up funny songs about each other. This temporary break in parent and child role will lighten the mood and show your child a different (fun) side of you.

Show your kids your fun side! Image credit: iStock

2. Exercise

Encourage and support each other to pursue or continue taking on a sport of their choice, and congratulate ourselves for just turning up! If you are trying something new, there are training apps available like couch to 5k that got me pounding the pavements. Or better still,  find a sport or an outdoor hobby that the whole family can enjoy together, and get moving!

Who knows where your new hobby will take you? Image credit: 123RF

3. Walk, scoot, bike, use public transport

We love our cars despite it being bad for the environment and our waistline. Think about walking or cycling to run that small errand; or taking the train for that trip into town. Travelling together will give some time to focus on the children as we are not concentrating on the traffic, especially when we are taking long trips.

 

4. Start a new family tradition

Families are what they are because of what they do together, in their own quirky ways. It is the comfort of routine that provides a sense of security to the children. Simple activities such as Friday movie nights at home, exploring a new place a month, a family book club, or trying out new recipes are rituals that will bond as the family discovers together.

Movie nights at home is more fun when each family member takes turn to choose the movie. Image credit: freebiemom.com

5. Eat Healthy

In our harried life, we rely on tahpaus and eating out. Eating more vegetables, salads and fruits is one way to eat healthier; as is eating less meat or cooking our own food. Again, start small by refusing that second helping and having fruit instead, packing your lunch a couple of days a week, or having a meat-free day.

 

6. Reduce waste

Plastic pollution is a problem that our children will be unfairly burdened with. Taking a container for your tahpaus, using reusable shopping bags, refusing free samples and straws will bring down consumption. There are online groups sharing ideas on how to reduce waste such as tips to pack food for the whole family from the hawker stall without plastics or styrofoam.  Why not take it a bit further by also starting your own compost bin!

Reduce, reuse and recycle. Image credit: iStock

7. Share the work within the family and community

The organising and doing to run a family can be shared in many ways with spouses and children. They could take on roles such as planning holidays, routinely cooking meals, or doing the grocery shopping. The more work gets spread out, the more everyone feels a sense of belonging because of their contribution, especially the children. This sense of collectivity can be extended to volunteering at the children’s school, a non-profit, your neighbourhood’s gotong-royong and becoming a part of something bigger.

 

8. Buy less or buy nothing!

Everyday, we are inundated with seductive messages to consume that is environmentally unsustainable . There is a growing movement in Malaysia to reduce consumption through swapping or selling preloved items through online Facebook forums or freely giving it away. Instead of throwing it away, why not learn new skills to repair your own electronic items? Or make your kemahiran hidup (living skills) teacher proud by mending that dress? Need a baking tin but only bake occasionally? Why not pinjam kejap (borrow for a while) from your friend? If you are feeling convinced, how about trying to buy nothing for a year?

Are we being consumed by our consumption? Image credit: tinycabinbigdreams.com

9. Take care of yourself

This one is the for moms. Pencil in a day without the kids every month. If it is not possible at the moment, try a couple of hours. And please use that time only for yourself. Read, run, journal, catch up with friends, take a bath, watch a movie, eat cake! Sit in silence. Tell your family that it’s “mummy’s me time”.

 

10. Reflect

Reflection provides opportunities to learn from mistakes, make sense of our thoughts and feelings, to accept ourselves, to be grateful and to do better. It need not be done once a year, as we usually do with resolutions, but integrated into our daily lives. Some people do it while driving, praying, exercising, and some journal. The key is to provide the quiet in your mind, go inwards and connect with yourself, and resurface to connect with your family. For example, we try to talk about our day, what our mistakes were, and what we appreciated. We could do it more frequently, and that’s one of my daily resolutions!

Reflection allows us time to be with ourselves, so we can be better with others. Image credit: www.upliftingcontent.com

The past year has been one of great inspiration for us all Malaysians, with renewed hopes and aspirations for our nation. May we all continue to develop ourselves, so we can better our families and our communities. Here’s to another amazing year ahead!