What To Do After You Konmari Method Your Life
Are you as obsessed with Marie Kondo in 2019 as I am? Has Netflix actually gotten us all up off the couch and into a collective frenzy of cleansing our lives of clutter with the Konmari Method?
If you answered “yes” to either of those questions then chances are you’re also currently staring at bags full of clothing, books and papers, clutter and other household items that our tiny tidy Japanese fairy godmother has taught us no longer spark joy.
I read an article this week that thrift stores are getting bombarded across the country because of the show’s surging popularity and have even seen Instagram stories of Celebs like Adam Rippon clearing out their closets. I took the plunge this past Monday (leaving myself very little time left in a three day weekend) to complete Step One: Clothing. Around 4:55pm I was starting to worry I’d made a huge mistake...BUT I am so glad I powered through and now have a giant hamper of items that are ready to spark joy for someone else.
But this whole process got me thinking about: what happens to these items we are all letting go of en mass? It’s great that thrift shops are being overwhelmed, but will there be a cut off point where the reach capacity and sadly our donations start to become true trash? Of course the thought of my contribution to landfills had me shuttering in horror, so I started pulling together a list of offloading alternatives.
Of course, I don’t mean to undo any of the clutter clearing beauty of the Konmari Method, but there are *some* instances where upcycling or donating in a non-traditional way just may be better than loading up all those trash bags full of unwanted items and dumping them on to someone or some other thrift store. Some items are a little more complicated to get rid of like old batteries (do they go in the trash or need special disposal?? I am never sure what to do.).
Wherever you are in the process, look through the list below for some creative solutions for your purge!
Here’s what to do with all the stuff that no longer ‘sparks joy’:
Step One: Clothing
If you’re willing to store them a little longer (but now in a tidy way!) you can try to sell some of your clothing, shoes and accessories on apps like Poshmark (use code BDEMM at sign up to instantly earn $5!). But if you’re more in the mindset of clearing these items out ASAP, then of course find a great donation location or try these unique upcycling ideas:
Clothes and shoes in good shape - Skip the overwhelmed thrift stores and Goodwills and donate directly to organizations that support specific causes or need certain kinds of clothes like Dress For Success or local violence and domestic abuse centers.
Denim - Madewell and Cotton have partnered to create Blue Jeans Go Green, a program that takes your unwanted denim pieces and recycles them, keeping them out of landfills and into insulation for new Habitat for Humanity homes!
Clothes in ruff shape - Give your pup a new bed that smells like you! Molly Mutt makes it easy to up-cycle your old clothes and bedding into a brand new bed for your best furrriend. I’ve also been using my orphan socks as toys for my pup Maxi by filling a water bottle with treats and stuffing in a sock. She LOVES these DIY toys and I have stopped spending a fortune on other toys she forgets about in a day.
Absorbent fabrics like fuzzy socks, old sweaters, and towels, etc - Try this easy tutorial on how to up-cycle them into reusable Swiffer pads!
Thin fabrics like old tee shirts, or cotton bedding - DIY your own reusable cling wrap with this easy video from Goodful!
Step Two: Books
Books in good shape that you don’t mind storing a little longer - You can list and try to re-sell some of the books you don’t mind hanging on to for a little longer on sites like Amazon, ebay, .
Books in decent shape that you want to get out of your home right away - there are so many programs that desperately need donations of your gently used books like schools, prisons (!!!), children’s hospitals, nursing and retirement homes, overseas to soldiers, day care centers, homeless shelters and of course: libraries. Do a little research about who in your community needs the kinds of books you’re getting rid of.
Books in bad shape - Ask your recycling center if they accept books.
Step Three: Paper
Compost these non-glossy paper items: expired coupons and unwanted paperwork; newspapers, shredded office/school papers; junk mail; torn up cardboard boxes; wrapping paper, greeting cards
Magazines and glossy papers - use as wrapping paper for gifts or line drawers with them!
Step Four: Komono
(Miscellaneous - As we know from Marie, this category can be further broken down by room.)
Old mascara and makeup wands - This amazing organization needs you to donate your old mascara wands to help them clean off animals with the gentle bristles!!! Join the awareness campaign #WANDSFORWILDLIFE by sending in your old (cleaned with soap and water) wands and help spread the word by sharing on social media! What’s better than getting rid of clutter AND knowing that clutter is off to help animals?? The answer is nothing.
Candle wax - I have searched high and low for a place to send used candle wax to be recycled but have not found an easy way to do this (biz opportunity???) so the best suggestion I have here is to start making your own candles from the waste of old ones. It seems easy enough…
Candle jars - turn them into pretty bathroom storage with this simple tutorial!
Compost these: natural loofahs and sea sponges, hair and nail clippings (ew), Latex balloons and gloves, cotton balls and swabs made from 100 percent cotton.
#5 Plastic items - Thanks to Preserve, the company that takes #5 plastic items (ie. yogurt cups, Brita water filters, and plastic caps, etc) and turns them into toothbrushes and more, you can now drop off those items from around your house at your local Whole Foods market! The Gimmie 5 program helps reduce the stream of single use plastic and recycles that harder-to-deal-with-kind-of-plastic we use so often. Or check out TerraCycle and their many programs for different difficult-to-get-rid-of items.
Glass jars - up-cycle into bulk storage or a windowsill herb garden!
Non-perishables - donate to your local food bank, especially for furloughed government workers right now!
Expired food - You may have to deal with a little ick factor or change your perception of what is actually ‘gone bad’… but there are a surprising number of ways to reduce your food waste after tidying up. Check out these ideas on how to start a counter top compost bin, find your local food scrap drop off location, ways to save money by wasting less food or this gorgeous list of ways to reuse coffee grounds.
Compost these: matches, toothpicks, and bamboo skewers; algae, seaweed, and kelp; stale or moldy bread, crackers, and cereal; wine, beer, and liquor; natural corks from wine bottles; jam, jelly, and other fruit preservatives; dry pet food; old herbs and spices; coffee grounds and paper coffee filters; tea and tea bags. NOTE: Do your research on composting! it’s so important that you know the difference between what can be thrown in the pile, and what should either be recycled or sent to the landfill. By taking the time to do this research, you are setting yourself up for a far more successful composting experience.
Refrigerator magnets - turn them into a chic uniform set that will instantly transform your kitchen.
Electronics and tech - You can instantly get rid of this kind of annoying clutter by sending them into Gazelle who will appraise their value and send you a check! Make money and get rid of clutter in one step without having to store anything waiting for it to sell!
Phone cases and original boxes - Did you know people will by your old Iphone empty boxes?? List them on apps like Mercari or ebay.
Office supplies - donate to school programs
Batteries Guide - finally answering this question for myself!
Luggage and suitcases; small appliances and furniture - If any of these items are worth trying to re-sell try apps like: OfferUp, LetGo, Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
Wedding/party/hobby, craft supplies - Recycle your wedding supplies here. Craft and art supplies can be listed on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace
Step Five: Sentimental Items
An easy way to reduce the clutter of sentimental items is to turn them digital. I recently digitized all of my family’s home videos using this easy tutorial or you can have a service like Southtree do it for you! Now we all get copies to take with us into our adult lives and no longer run the risk of losing them to damage or loss AND freed up all the space those clunky VHS tapes were taking up on the shelf.
Get printed photos, kid’s art and old band posters out of the tucked away piles and up on the walls easily with services like Framebridge (Get %15 OFF with my referral link!) or turn them into photo books with services like Artifact Uprising or Shutterfly.
ticket stubs - Make a memory shadow box!