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tidying up with Marie Kondo & bare market

photo by Nirvar Pangarkar

Author: Laura Yurincich

Been inspired by Netflix? Thinking of Marie Kondo-ing your place? bBare mMarket Blogger Laura guides you through how to purge sustainably. 

Over the past few years I’ve become more of a minimalist and have really downsized the amount of stuff that I own, so I was very happy that Marie Kondo has come along and inspired others to do the same. The only issue I have with the Marie Kondo phenomenon is that it doesn’t provide guidance on what to do with objects that “no longer spark joy”. 

So, I’ve created a quick guide to help you go through the decluttering process, and notes on how to prevent a build up of “stuff” again in the future. 

tidying up clothes

bare market blogger Sarah has already come up with a comprehensive guide to downsizing your closet, so I won’t spend much time here. Just remember that your old clothes should be sold, donated, repurposed or recycled. They do not need to be added to the landfill!

To be a conscious consumer and buy less in the future, only buy clothes that fit when you try them on, that you know you’ll wear, and that are made with quality - so they’ll last longer. 

photo by Tu Tu 

tidying up books 

Once you’ve decided to reduce your book collection, you have many options on how to move these books onto the next chapter of their life (see what I did there?). 

  • Sell them. To a local bookstore, at a garage sale, or online. 
  • Donate them. Thrift stores are an easy one, but you can also call up your local library and see if they take donations, or often times you can donate them to one-off book stands (say at your doctors office or workplace) that sell books using the honour system for a local charity. Day care centres and also often accept children’s books. 
  • Trade them. I’m a big believer in the trading app Bunz, but if it’s not in your area, you can always join a local trading group on social media. 
  • Recycle them. If a book has been destroyed and is no longer readable, check to see if you can recycle where you liveit in your local recycling. In Toronto it’s possible, but I recommend that you remove the cover from any hardcover books beforehand. 

In the future, buy less books by using your local library, or borrowing books from friends. I am unfortunately unable to use my library to the fullest extent because I spill water on 90% of the books I own, so to reduce my book collection I created a system. I buy books from my favourite used book store, and then sell them back once I am done reading them. The books that have a lot of water damage are donated once I am done. It’s not a perfect system, but it works for me. 

tidying up papers 

Papers are the easiest to tidy. Scan or take a picture of any records you need, file them on your computer and then shred and recycle anything with sensitive information on it. Repurpose any documents that do not have sensitive information – you can use them for grocery lists, or craft materials for your kids. 

To prevent paper buildup in the future, switch all the bills and mail you get to email where possible, and cancel your junk mail

tidying up miscellaneous items

If the item is in working condition, I recommend donating it to your local thrift store. When donating a unique item, I often put a sticky on it to let the future buyer know what it is, and where they can find more information on it so that they can use the item to its fullest potential. 

Before you buy another miscellaneous item, ask yourself if it will continue to spark joy for you in the future, and whether it will really add value to your life. To prevent receiving miscellaneous items as gifts, be sure to tell your family or friends what you really want for your birthday/holiday/wedding. For instance, we firmly told family and friends not to bring us gifts for our new home, because we knew we’d end up with items that we didn’t need or desire. 

tidying up sentimental items 

Like miscellaneous items, what the item is depends on where it should go. I recommend selling or donating what you can; or offering the item to family members if they would appreciate them. Sentimental items can also be repurposed!. For example, old clothes and fabrics can be made into a blanket. 

It’s hard to prevent certain sentimental items from coming into your life, but there are certain measures you can take. Think about what you really want in the future, versus what we’re told by society that we need or should have. 

For me, I already know that I don’t want any type of engagement ring in the future…something my boyfriend is thrilled about, so it should prevent anyone from holding onto a ring that isn’t theirs in the future. so it should prevent any future children of mine from holding onto the ring once I pass. 

next steps 

Before purchasing anything in the future ask yourself if it will really bring you joy in the long run, or if you are purchasing it for the temporary rush that shopping can give you. If you think it’s the latter try waiting a few days before buying it to give yourself time to consider whether you really need that item in your life. If you decide you don’t you just successfully saved money and the planet all in one go.


About the author: Laura graduated with a Master's Degree in Political Science from McMaster University, and is currently a hardworking bureaucrat. She was drawn to bare market for its package free laundry detergent, but has stayed to share her experience transitioning to a low waste lifestyle. 


  • Hi Natasha! We have a few articles on the bare blog that might support you, check them out:

    1) What to do when it’s time to toss your clothes

    2) How to care for your clothes to extend their life

    bare market
  • Since great tips but i need a little more detail on WHERE & HOW to repurpose or recycle some of my old clothes. I have old clothes that are no longer wearable or are under garments and would love to know where I can find places to recycle them.



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