Marie Kondo unexpectedly stumbled into my life after Christmas and kept me busy for the better half of the holiday season. In her critically acclaimed show called „Tyding up“, Marie, a japanese cleaning expert and founder of The Konmari Method asks contestants one simple question:
„Does the item you’re holding spark joy? If it does, keep it. If it doesn’t, let it go.“
What turned out to be a surprisingly easy task for me personally became quite an emotional challenge in my job. As a sustainable event manager and consultant, I have numerous event staples that, from an ecological point of view, do not spark joy in my life anymore. Convincing clients who request them and guests who love them to „let them go“ as well was, however, much harder than I expected.
Nevertheless, seeing how liberating it was for Marie’s contestant to part ways with items they no longer treasured, I decided to fundamentally declutter my event concepts. Here are 5 event classics I tidied out:
Printouts usually end up in the bin. Why? Because flyers and brochures don’t spark joy. They may seem important and irreplaceable at first, but it’s time to take a closer look. There are plenty of electronic alternatives available, from state of the art conference apps to electronic invites and interactive schedules. These e-solutions are not only less harmful for the environment but also leave lasting impressions, as they often simplify your guests life at your event.
Have you ever used one of those tiny white wine plastic cups that seem to be a staple at Swiss events? You accidentally squeeze it et voilà, there’s a huge crack in the middle. Plastic items are the epitome of the Marie Kondo methodology: the longer you hold them, the less joy you feel. That’s why I’m trying to avoid plastic cuttlery at all cost. Not only do reusable cups and plates look more appealing, they are also much better for the environment. If single use items are required due to security reasons, I opt for biodegradable alternatives.
Truth be told, goodie bags are my kryptonite. Who doesn’t like free stuff, right? Right. I’m not ready to let them go just yet but I’m trying to use the Konmarie Method to my advantage. Does the item I’m about to order spark joy? Is it unique and useful? I chucked away so many branded pens, lighters and USB sticks during my cleaning frenzy, it made me realize just how wasteful SWAG really is. Next time you choose give aways, make sure it’s something your guests need. Otherwise, it’s just money wasted.
Balloons are hazardous when they enter the environment. They can take years to break down and this gives plenty of time for them to travel and encounter many animals that may mistake them for a tasty snack. That’s why it’s best to avoid balloons altogether. I’m not arguing that they spark joy in your guests life (especially if they bring kids), but something that kills animals should not be part of any event concept. Balloon races are still one of the most popular traditions in the Swiss wedding industry and it is time to change that. Releasing plastic into the air is downright iresponsible these days and we should all know better by now.
Something that also doesn’t spark joy in my professional life anymore are leftovers. A huge pile of food at a buffet is a gross visualization of how wasteful events can be. I made a vow to order less for my clients and guests. Less variety, less meat, less quantity. I learned that it’s okay to run out of certain menus before the last person in the queue made its choice, and that’s something I have to teach my clients as well. Less food does not define the overall quality of your event – it’s quite the opposite.
Marie Kondo says it best:
„The space in which we live should be fort he person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.“
The more I learn about the environmental impact of the event industry, the more I realize that leaving certain traditions and staples behind is the only way forward. I used to not care about the environment when hosting an event, but that attitude is gone, as it does no represent the person I am becoming now.
Now, on to YOU. What does not spark joy in your Eventprof life anymore?