Our staff book club is reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It has sparked numerous conversations!
Beginning a new year always seems to inspire a fresh start. You try something new, lose weight, tidy up your abode. This year Netflix’s new series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has encouraged even more people to tackle their accumulation of ‘stuff’.
As my readers know, most of my posts focus on helping others, alleviating suffering or upcycling. So, this post is no different. I wish to share with you how I am riding myself of years of collecting and providing others with options as well. Let’s face it, we can’t all just throw our stuff out; our garbage dumps are full enough! There’s quite a few programming ideas here too. Your library makerspace/programming may be able to capitalize on the KonMari craze and score some wonderful assets. Here are a few ways you can help others and yourself:
- Donate to thrift shops or consider selling your items to local consignment shops. I’ve used an online consignment shop, ThredUp, to sell my good quality, still usable items. They take clothing, shoes, handbags, scarves and costume jewelry.
- Cotton t-shirts can become dog toys for an animal shelter or rescue group.
- Bras. Let’s face it we’ve all purchased a bra or two (or more) that looked and felt fine in the store for the five minutes we had it on in the dressing room. Now what to do with it after we discovered the painful truth. Donate to Free the Girls, or another upcycler/recycler organization.
- I found some socks leftover that I’ll make into catnip toys.
- Donate to Friends of the Library at your public library or a local group collecting books. We have the Book Fairies nearby.
- We host an annual Read to Feed book sale. We gather used books and sell them students and staff for a nominal fee in our school library. All proceeds go to Heifer International, an organization striving to end world hunger.
- Upcycle for crafts. Blackout poetry. Using die cuts (I.e. Ellison) cut out letters for library displays. Decoupage. I written about sustainability and also have a LibGuide on upcycling various household objects.
- Over the course of tidying up, I’ve shredded quite a bit of paper. We use the shreds to supplement our pet rabbit, Gin’s, habitat.
- Non-sensitive paper items can be put in the recycle bin. Help the world!
- While going through my make-up draw I found several eyelash/eybrow items. Wash these up and send them to Wands for Wildlife.
- Fun programming idea: Turn that draw full of takeout chopsticks into Harry Potter wands!
- Towels can go to your local animal shelter.
- Turn pillowcases into Little Dresses for Africa. Our animal shelter will take pillowcases – they use them to capture and collect snakes!
- My husband passed away this summer, so this is a difficult category for me. I’ve offered my children various items. One son has my husband’s stethoscope, and another has his art easel. I believe these sentimental items will ‘spark joy’ in their homes.
- I can’t seem to part with my husband’s favorite shirts, so I believe I’ll have teddy bears made from the fabric. I’ll give these bears to future grandchildren and great-nieces and nephews. Since I can’t sew well, I’ll turn to Etsy for this.
- If you’re looking for memorial ideas, take a look at my Grief and Bereavement LibGuide.
- Every year I go to ALA Annual and some years, MidWinter. While there, I always buy a conference t-shirt. I don’t actually wear t-shirts (ever), but they take up an entire drawer of space. So, I’ve decided to make them into a quilt using Project Repat, one of many online quilting services. Now I’ll have a needed blanket for my guest room and it will ‘spark joy’ remembering all the conferences, people and places.
When handling your items there are three categories: throw away, keep, relocate. Try to upcycle as much as you can when throwing away. And don’t forget to thank each item!