Australians across the country are in a decluttering frenzy and businesses are feeling the effects of the search for minimalism in 2019.
New year’s resolutions and enthusiasm around the Netflix documentary featuring organising queen Marie Kondo have combined to make this week a busy one those in the organisation and waste removal spaces.
Kondo is a Japanese organisation consultant whose 2011 book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up outlines a method of decluttering where an individual reviews their personal belongings and keeps only those that “spark joy”.
Mobile Skips managing director Jacob Spencer hasn’t watched the Marie Kondo documentary, but he is aware of it through clients of the portable skip business.
The company turns over more than $3 million and offers mobile bin drop off and pick up for households that are wanting to clean out.
“We target specifically those people looking to clean out at home in an easy way,” Spencer says.
This week the company will field more than 500 requests across the country from households looking to offload hard rubbish collection.
“Our busiest time of year will be this week,” Spencer says.
Mobile Skips works with a range of recycling partners, with Spencer saying the biggest worry from clients is that once their hard rubbish is collected “someone’s not just going to tip it into a hole out the back”.
‘People want that uncluttered feeling’
Spencer says business is booming as Australian households turn to minimalism and search for easy ways to dispose of hard rubbish.
“People want that uncluttered feeling, and I’ve seen it — they get that anxious feeling, of ‘I can’t wait to get rid of’ things’,” he says.
Founder of Decluttering Queen, Monique Sartor, is currently turning her organisational skills on her own house.
“This is my week to get on top of everything,” she said.
The Sydney interior designer runs the side hustle to help clients dispose of the things they no longer need, with January being a peak time for reviewing items.
“Over the course of the year, it gets out of control,” Sartor said.
Entrepreneurs in the vintage and second hand space say the rush to cull items has more complicated flow-on effects.
Nicole Jenkins says she “lives in the second-hand economy” as a vintage clothing expert and founder of Circa Vintage.
She says the rush of affection for Marie Kondo is a positive thing, but warns that those de-cluttering need to think carefully about where they’re sending the items they’re getting rid of, because there’s already a strong supply of second hand clothes out there.
“Instead of just throwing things away, consciously seek to find a good home for it,” Jenkins says.
“It’s a mixed blessing for those of us who trade in second hand goods.”
While the movement will increase the supply of vintage products available to buy, Jenkins says the vintage clothing space has been challenging in recent years. She has operated Circa Vintage for more than a decade but announced via her blog she is intending on winding up operations.
Melbourne second hand business Nook Vintage operates in the homewares and furniture space. Co-owner Rachel Lewarne says the rush towards minimalism is having an impact on the company’s approach.
“People are putting their money into a really good investment piece. People aren’t buying a lot of small items anymore,” Lewarne says.
ook Vintage sources its products from sellers across Victoria, with word of mouth being a strong driver for uncovering gems.
Lewarne says she doesn’t expect January clean outs to have a direct impact on the types of vintage products Nook can find to resell, preferring to maintain the company’s secret sources of quality products.
However, the continued move to smaller living spaces and minimalist spaces is having an impact on the vintage business space.
“Now people are looking at multi-function pieces, because of small spaces. There are a lot of terraces and small homes, and they want pieces that can work for, example, as a desk and a dining table.”
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