How you can help save the planet using the KonMari method this Earth Day.

Unless you live under a massive rock, you're probably well aware of Japanese organizer Marie Kondo's decluttering revolution that has swept the globe.

But did you know that the “tidying up" method that promises to improve your life by ditching the things that don't bring you joy can also help you make the world a better, greener place?

According to Caitlin Roberts, a Master KonMari Consultant and founder of Los Angeles-based Minimize with Purpose, home organization can contribute to sustainability by exposing our subconscious shopping habits and introducing more purposeful decision making.


“By confronting all of the items within our homes utilizing the KonMari method, we are given the unique opportunity to learn about how and why we have consumed in the past," she explains. “Learning to identify exactly what items support your lifestyle (and how many of them you actually need) encourages you to shop more consciously moving forward."

Roberts also says that gratitude is another big part of the KonMari method of home organization and sustainability. “When we show gratitude to the items we have selected to discard, we spend time locating the best possible way to recycle, reuse or repurpose," she adds. “When we respect the items that have supported us, we are more committed to finding them a new home and a new purpose."

With that in mind, there are some items you should NEVER throw in the trash, as they can be super harmful to the environment.

These include lights, batteries and electronics, mercury-containing items, household and garden chemicals. Instead, go online and look for local resources that will help you dispose of or donate them safely and properly.

For other less toxic items, however, there are a variety of eco-friendly, sustainable options for donating or reusing — which could, in turn, bring you a lot more joy.

Reusing household items

While there are national organizations like Goodwill that have locations where you can take items like clothes, furniture, electronic and even toiletries to rehome and repurpose them, starting with local groups in your community can be easier. See if groups like Buy Nothing, Freecycle and Facebook groups like Moms Helping Moms cater to your area. There will usually be takers for pretty much anything — opened bags of flour, mismatched dishes, old socks even half-used face creams.

West Midlands Police/Flickr.

Building scraps and materials

Did you do some renovating recently? Don't toss your scraps in the trash! They can actually be transformed into works of art. “You can turn your scraps, overstock and other materials into art and education by donating to a tinkering school such as Los Angeles based reDiscover," says Roberts. These schools help children cultivate their creativity by upycling sustainable materials — aka your junk.

Most of these types of schools have their own donation policies, but some of the items they often look for include large lumber, full or ½ sheets of plywood, (no paint or varnish), bamboo, pipe, rope, casters, pulleys, hooks, wood screws, corks, bottle caps, lids, large or appliance cardboard boxes, cardboard tubes, berry baskets, reusable shopping bags, pipe cleaners, wire, buttons, wooden toys of any kind, balls of any size or material, tape, glue, hot glue sticks, paper clips, rubber bands, crayons, markers and pens that work.

Costumes, Prom Dresses and Gowns

Do you have any old costumes hanging in your closet, perhaps from an ambitious Halloween party long since past? Don't worry, we all do. If you donate them to your local community or school theater group, they'll get a second (and hopefully third, fourth and fifth) showing. There are also groups like Ween Dream that take costume donations so they can give free Halloween costumes to children in need. You can donate from anywhere in America by shipping them to the Ween Dream headquarters in New Orleans.

The same goes for old wedding gowns, bridesmaid and prom dresses. There are a number of resources that will recycle those glam gowns you are never going to wear again by donating them to people in need. A few of these include the Angel Gown Program, which will turn your beautiful wedding gown into a burial gown for infants that pass away in the NICU, and Becca's Closet, a program that provides prom gowns for girls who can't afford them.

Arts & Crafts Supplies

If you envisioned yourself a painter on weekend, bought a bunch of supplies, then let them sit and collect dust in the closet, don't just toss them. “So many schools and community centers are desperate for art supplies, and the teachers can use all the support they can get!" notes Roberts.

You can even donate used markers thanks to Crayola. The color-friendly company has banded together with schools across North America as part of the Crayola ColorCycle program. Through this initiative, students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada collect and repurpose used Crayola markers, and are taught about sustainable practices in the process.

Denim

Every one of us has a pair of jeans they've held onto for way too long that is far too holey to wear out in public. That's where Cotton Incorporated comes in. They recently launched their Blue Jeans Go Green denim recycling program, an innovative way to give your jeans a new life. This program transforms your donated denim into housing insulation. And as an added bonus, when you make a donation at your favorite retailers — including Bloomingdales Madewell, American Eagle Outfitters and Rag & Bone — you can get a discount on your next pair!

However you decide to handle your spring cleaning, we hope that you consider doing it with the planet in mind.

The environment is in a precarious position no matter how you slice it — it is more important than ever to practice mindfulness when it comes to getting rid of things. So, instead of tossing those items that no longer bring you joy into the trash, take a little bit of time to find them a better home. It will help you feel better, bring joy to others, and help keep this planet we call home a more habitable place.

Terence Power / TikTok

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It was filmed before face masks were required, so you can see the boy's beautiful reaction to the song.

Power uploaded it to TikTok because he had just joined the platform and had no idea the number of lives it would touch. "The support on it is unbelievable. I posted it on my Instagram a while back and on Facebook and the support then was amazing," he told Dublin Live.

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Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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