Spring clean and help the Salvos

Fri 13 Sep 2019

New research reveals that most Australians (68%) struggle to get rid of their things, despite no longer using them because they feel attached to them (58%). Old electronic devices and mobile phones came high on the list of things they that people find hard to part with. The research shows that this struggle to let go of things, once useful or valued, is contributing to Australians feeling stressed due to clutter building up in their homes. Whilst most of us tend to hold on to unused belongings with a fear of missed opportunities to reuse them, this fear is irrational as the results show Australians rarely reuse the items again.

Australians’ inability to say goodbye to certain things that they once found useful or valued is contributing to a build up of stuff in Australian households, with nearly 9 in 10 Australians feeling like their old things are cluttering their homes, according to research commissioned by MobileMuster, Australia’s government accredited mobile phone recycling program.

The findings show that the struggle to let go of things no longer needed is causing more than half of Australians to feel annoyed at themselves (58%), despite the vast majority of people (89%) admitting that they would feel happier if they could get rid of their old things.

Professor of Psychology Mike Kyrios, Flinders University, says: This research shows that keeping hold of things that we no longer need or use can be stressful because not only does it clutter our homes, but our old things often weigh us down mentally as our things act as reminders of our former self which can actually stop people from feeling free and living in the present.

“Psychology tells us that many of us have an inner conflict between feeling attached to our things because we have spent time using and enjoying them but when it comes to letting go of them we can struggle as we find it hard to detach ourselves from them, despite knowing that we will feel happier and freer if we let them go.”

When it comes to the things that we struggle most to let go of, clothes and shoes top the list, closely followed by old electronics and mobile phones, with 63% of Australians admitting that they find it hard to get rid of these things. With electronic waste (e-waste) growing at three times the rate of general waste in Australia and 25 million old mobile phones stored away in drawers across the country, being able to disconnect from old electronic devices is an issue that needs addressing.

The research showed that people have strong attachments to their mobile phones more than any other electronic device. However, when people move on to using a new phone, one in three Australians struggle to get rid of their old phones because they want to keep it as back up, despite 73% of people never going back to using it.  The majority of Australians (three in four) that have got rid of the old one admit that they haven’t missed it.

Professor Kyrios continues: “We know that many people struggle to part ways with their old things because of FOMO – or a Fear Of Missed Opportunities, which often leaves us holding on to things in case we need to use them again, but in reality, we never do, and they just clutter our space. At this time of year we know that people want to do a spring clean and create more space in their homes, so it’s the perfect time to flip this FOMO on its head and consider the benefits of letting go  by clearing our homes and creating a cleaner and freer way to live.”

The beginning of September marks the start of spring cleaning season with 78% of Australians intending to declutter their homes this year. The majority of people (83%) express that they are more likely to declutter if they knew their old stuff would be recycled or were going towards something positive (88%), like a charity.

The research shows that 9 in 10 Australians agree that getting rid of old or unused items would make them feel happier and freer in life. Now is the time for Australians to act and do something positive with their unused household items. Reusing or recycling these items is good for our health, our homes  and the environment.

“We know that people want to let go of their old things but sometimes need a little extra motivation to help them make the final break,” says Spyro Kalos, Manager of MobileMuster, “so this September, we’ve partnered with the Salvos Stores to encourage more Australians to kick off their spring clean and dig out their old mobile phones for recycling. For every mobile phone collected by MobileMuster this month we will give $1 to Salvos Stores to support the great work they do in your local community.”

Australians can recycle their old mobile phones and accessories at their local Salvos store or drop them off at one of MobileMuster’s 3,500 collection points across the country. Alternatively they can be posted back to MobileMuster using a free recycling satchel, available at Australia Post or the MobileMuster website.

Find your nearest drop off point.