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How To Marie Kondo Your Way Into Zero Waste Living

Marie Kondo is having a major moment. Not only does she have a massively popular book and a new TV show, but it seems like everyone in our social feed is actually using her methods to clean up their homes — going through each item they own, category by category, and keeping only what sparks joy. It’s a tidy revolution!

One side effect of this mass movement that no one’s talking about? The way the KonMari method can support a zero waste lifestyle, or at least the beginnings of one. If you’re already thinking about KonMari-ing your life, we fully support you — and here are a few steps we’d add.

Clothing

The method tells you to take out all the clothing you own, and then go through it item by item and keep only what sparks joy. Of course, whatever you don’t keep you should donate (and look into donating ethically). But here’s an extra piece of the process, created by Us: once you’re done, look at each item you’re keeping. Internalize why it’s valuable to you. Then, next time you want new clothes, make a conscious effort to buy something only if you know it has similar value and longevity.


Books

This one is controversial for book-lovers, we know. But it is a good chance to evaluate why you buy books instead of borrowing them! Once you’ve completed this step, get a library card, and use it often — and make your book purchases less frequent than your library trips.

Papers

Honestly, thinking about all the papers there are to deal with in life makes us feel like lying down for fully ever. They just keep coming! So after you’ve KonMari’d your way through yours, take an extra half hour and digitize as much of it as you can. Get an app that helps you easily unsubscribe from junk mail. Double check all the places your bills come from (the bank, insurance, etc. etc.) and be sure you’re signed up for email-only communication. Make the paper leave you alone.


Miscellaneous Items

Sustainability-wise, these ones are harder to make clear calls on — but, do keep sustainability in mind as you complete these steps. For example, as you go through your old spices in the kitchen, think about transferring the ones you are keeping to glass jars instead of plastic containers. When you find five half-empty toothpaste tubes in the bathroom cabinet, consider trying Bite. And again, whatever you donate, donate sustainably. You can get info about the best way to recycle almost anything here.


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