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Netflix Cleaning Craze Puts Charities Under Pressure

16 January 2019 at 5:24 pm
Maggie Coggan
While January is traditionally the biggest material donation month of the year for charities, the Marie Kondo “Tidying Up” craze currently sweeping the nation is putting charities under extra pressure, with many now calling for the public to donate mindfully.  

Maggie Coggan | 16 January 2019 at 5:24 pm


Netflix Cleaning Craze Puts Charities Under Pressure
16 January 2019 at 5:24 pm

While January is traditionally the biggest material donation month of the year for charities, the Marie Kondo “Tidying Up” craze currently sweeping the nation is putting charities under extra pressure, with many now calling for the public to donate mindfully.   

On top of the usual spike in post-Christmas donations, Stephanie Ziersch, acting-CEO of Sustainability Victoria said Marie Kondo’s Netflix documentary series had sparked masses of people trying to declutter their homes, and charities would soon be facing the brunt of their clear outs.

“Marie Kondo’s Netflix sensation, combined with Christmas excess, New Year’s resolutions for minimalism and the fact that many op shops are still closed for the holidays, mean we’re facing the perfect storm when it comes to waste,” Ziersch told Pro Bono News.

While Kondo encourages the public to “spark joy” in decluttering, Ziersch said it was just as  important for those inspired by the series to find the joy in rehoming unwanted items thoughtfully.     

“Remember the clutter does not just disappear once you’ve given it a kiss and thanked it for its service,” she said.

“Our simple request is that people inspired by Marie Kondo find the joy in rehoming the items thoughtfully and through the correct channels instead of saying ‘thank you, next’.”

Jacquie Dropulic, St Vincent De Paul NSW retail development manager, said despite being prepared for the busy Christmas clear-out season, and making messaging clear about it’s pick-up service for donations, donating during business hours and coming back if a bin looks full, dumping was still happening.

“People unfortunately do tend to leave their donations, and it’s a shame because the weather gets into it and then donations are spoiled, in many cases we can’t use them and we are forced to get rid of them ourselves,” Dropulic told Pro Bono News.

Red Cross head of retail, Richard Wood told Pro Bono News accepting donations over the counter had proved to be far more effective for the organisation.  

“In the past we had more bins than we now do… but we find that the yield from the bins does tend to be lower than the quality of the products that we get when they’re donated directly over the counter,” Wood said.

He said most of the time people wanted to do the right thing, and donated unusable items because they were confused.

“There can be some confusion sometimes about what we do and don’t accept, and if they just bring it to us, we can clarify with them on the spot,” Wood said.     

He added charities needed to think smarter about their donation options – down to where the bins were located.

“I don’t think the charity bins can be regarded as just one option. Location is also important, if you’ve got one [bin] in an unattended council car park as opposed to on private property… you’ll find that there’s quite a degree of difference in the quality of the donations as well.”

While Dropulic said the bins were effective for St Vincent De Paul in some locations like schools or churches, there were consistent problems with them.

“The problems happen when people can see the bin’s full but they still leave their donation because they don’t know what else to do with it,” she said.

“We do ask people to always ask at the shop or ring one of our central numbers to see what our donating options are rather than just leaving it next to the bin.”  

To help people dispose of their goods thoughtfully Sustainability Victoria has compiled a number of simple tips:  

  • Consider selling unloved items on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook.
  • Contact your local charity group to see if they are willing to pick up your unwanted furniture.
  • Gift your once-loved items to a friend or family member.
  • Take your old TVs and computers to drop off points where they are recycled as part of the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme.
  • Drop your mobile phones and tablets off for recycling at MobileMuster collection points found at phone shops and post offices.
  • Offer your good quality clothes to charities who will resell them for fundraising purposes, or potentially give them to disadvantaged people.
  • Contact your local council to find out how your items can be recycled locally.

Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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  • Avatar Cassandra Jordan says:

    We need to look outside the square for prevention and solution strategies. This is not a new problem. This is the footpath outside Vinnies, Waverley, NSW Eastern Suburbs every morning of the year for about 20 years. The charities and their paid and voluntary staff are working so hard already. Members of the community are to blame – non-salable goods are dumped and charities are spending $$ on their disposal rather than on the homeless and other services.

  • Avatar Travis Walker says:

    Helpful article! Thanks for the share

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