Kate Pierre

Kate Pierre
Design articles

When I Marie Kondo’d My Apartment : What I Learnt About Recycling

Simplifying. Reducing. Recycling.

Creating a more minimalistic lifestyle.

Curating the amount of ‘stuff’ you have in your apartment or house, can be a daunting task. And with the latest fad of what is essentially, ‘cleaning up’, comes the concept of Marie Kondo. The Japanese organizing consultant and author, who is now on Netflix with her show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’


Holding an item and asking yourself if it brings you joy.


An interesting concept to grasp.


How can an inanimate object bring you joy?


Does this plastic Christmas plate with a snowman on it, bring me joy? 

If I only use it once a year, does that count? 

And as I hold it, no fond memories come rushing forth, but its novelty earns a space in the cupboard.


As I start on my wardrobe, my more practical side asks, “Have I washed this in the past 12 months?’ and, ‘Am I likely to wear this in the next 12 months?’

If the answer to both of those is no, it goes into the black garbage bag, that will go to the charity store.
If the answer to question #1 is yes, but no to question #2, then it goes into the black garbage bag.
If the answer to question #1 is no, but yes to question #2, congratulations object/article of clothing! You have passed round #1 and you can stay!


For me, there are two parts to this action of ‘cleaning up’.
Firstly, I need to clear some space! I have lived in my current apartment for nearly six years and I arrived into the country with one check-in suitcase, a carry-on suitcase and a small backpack. How did I get to this?!

Secondly, how can I recycle what I don’t want, or need anymore?

What now happens to my ‘things’ that don’t bring me joy?


Some are taken to the local charity store (the still wearable and good quality pieces) and hope that they bring someone else a little joy.

I recycle what I can through my apartment buildings’ paper and plastics bins, but what about furniture and shoes and pots and old electrical cords and worn-out clothing?
Where and how can I reuse or recycle these? How can I bring new joy to these unwanted items?


The old saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, springs to mind.


Below are my three biggest learnings for recycling items that no longer bought me joy.


Saly Army#1 Clothing & Footwear

The biggest and possibly the easiest items to recycle or re-purpose.

Items that are still in good condition can be donated to charity stores. When I go thrifting, I love rummaging through rails of clothing to find a hidden gem or two and I know others who love this too.

Taking a little time to research which charities are currently looking for donations, can be a daunting task. Below are just a few that I personally like.

My Sisters Closet https://www.bwss.org/

Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre dewc.ca
Covenant House covenanthousebc.org
SPCA Thriftstore spca.bc.ca
Atira Women’s Resource Society atira.bc.ca

For footwear, if you have odd shoes, or shoes that are beyond repairing, these can be donated through one of the donation bins scattered around town. This ensures that they go to a sorting facility and can be disposed of correctly, without ending up at the landfill.

Give favourite pieces of clothing a new lease on life! If you don’t have the skills to fix it yourself, there are many events and workshops around the city, that can help!
My favourite is FixIt, by frameworq.ca however there are plenty scattered around metro Vancouver. A quick Google or Social Media search can locate one closest to you.

I have so many tshirts that have stretched out of shape or are just a bit tired, that have been relegated to my pyjama pile. Win for me as I get to keep these comfy tees, I just don’t wear them in public!
Items that are worn, and that are a little beyond repair can be re-purposed into cleaning rags.


#2 Appliances

Slightly trickier, as unless you have the right skill set, you probably can’t repair or know how to recycle these on your own. Depending on the appliance, it may be worth your while checking to see if it can be repaired, before recycling it.
There are also great initiatives around the city who appreciate donations and my favourite is FreeGeekVancouver


#3 Single Use Plastic

This is the hardest item I find to avoid using, as so much of our food and every-day products come wrapped in plastic.
Plastic shopping bags are easily replaced with fabric shoppers. For vegetables and bulk foods, you can buy cloth bags, such as those from organicbags.ca
recyclebc.ca has great information on their easy-to-use website. They also note a hotline if you are unsure – RCBC Hotline 1-800-667-4321

A lot of these websites will tell you to avoid buying products with single use plastic where you can. However, not all product at this time, can be bought without plastic packaging of some description.
As the need becomes bigger and more consumers demand less plastic packaging, the industry will change, however change does take time and if we recycle what we can, we are still doing our part by reducing the amount of single use plastic that goes to the landfill.

Minimalist apartmentAs I look around my now minimalist apartment and admire my handy work, I am struck by a couple of things.
First of all, how much ‘stuff’ I had acquired that wasn’t actually used regularly. It makes me wonder if I actually needed it, or if it was a ‘nice-to-have-in-an-emergency’ type of need.


Consumerism at its best.


The second is, that I don’t need to keep buying ‘stuff’ just because it is on sale or to stock-up! I just buy what I need, as I need it. And what I don’t need, well, can just stay on the shelf!

I’d love to hear your stories of how you recycle, reduce and re-purpose! Leave me a comment below!

Beauty products

Eczema : The Red, Raw Truth & 6 Home Remedies Using Ingredients From Your Cupboards

No matter what time of year it is, our skin, the bodies largest organ, requires a little extra care, especially for those who suffer from eczema.


Eczema is an umbrella term for a group of diseases which are caused by inflammation. This in turn, causes dry, itchy, sensitive skin that if left untreated, can turn into an infection.


Keeping in mind, that there is no cure for this dis-ease, and with the old saying, prevention is better than cure, we have compiled a list of home remedies from adult eczema suffers (myself being one of them) and dermatologist advice.


If you think you may have eczema, your GP is the first health care professional to turn to. They will help diagnosis your specific condition and provide a treatment plan or refer you to a dermatologist.


Eczema is a symptom of a break in the skins barrier, which would otherwise keep bacteria from penetrating the epidermis.


Why some people are more prone to eczema than others is unknown. Research has shown that when an irritant or trigger makes contact with the immune system, skin cells do not behave as they ‘should’, resulting in inflammation.


This makes the condition specific to each individual. Environmental factors, food intolerances and allergens, are just a few examples of what may be a trigger.


Skin specialists can be one of your greatest resources as they have a variety of handy tricks that can make life a little more bearable. Some of the tips below, came from dermatologists. However, you are the expert on your own body.


There are so many products that claim to reduce itching and redness, and it can seem like a daunting task to find what works for you. It is through trial and error that sufferers find a combination that works. Recommendations from others is a great place to start. Talk to friends and family. Eczema is hereditary and you may find that what works for a relative, may work for you. For example, both my sister and I avoid dairy products, a trigger for many sufferers.


Although eczema is more commonly seen in babies and young children (20 percent worldwide), in adults this is approximately three percent.


Adults who suffered from eczema as a child, may continue to suffer as an adult however it is usually a much milder form. According to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, 2/3 children do grow out of eczema, although they are prone to dry skin in adulthood.


The following tips are just suggestions.

I cannot stress enough, just how important it is to listen to your own body. It will tell you what it likes, and most importantly, what it doesn’t like.

Water as remedy against eczema6 Home Remedies : Using ingredients you have in your cupboards


1 : Drink Cold Water
Seems simple enough, right?!

A lot of the time we simply forget to drink during the day.

Start your day off with a glass of water, perhaps with a slice of fresh lemon. Keeping yourself hydrated during the day is a great routine to get into. Water also helps to flush toxins out of your body.

Inflammation within the body generates heat and by drinking water, you can quickly lower your temperature.

Drinking also forces you to slow down, so your body can complete the task. When a flare-up hits, you body and mind become agitated. In order to drink, you need to be relatively still.

2 : Ice It

Wrap an ice cube or TWO in a clean tea towel and apply this directly onto the skin. If this is too cold, wrap the ice in a few more layers so your skin gradually adapts to the temperature.

This takes the heat out of the eczema, and the desire to itch will start to die down.

A pack of frozen peas is just as effective!

3 : Baking Soda Bath

Run a lukewarm bath and add about four tablespoons of baking soda.

Bathe for 15-20 minutes.

Pat dry your skin and slather your skin in moisturizer immediately after.

Bed time is the best time for this, as your body starts to slow down after the day and it can also aid restful sleep.

An alternative is to add a tablespoon of baking soda to a bowl of lukewarm water bowl. Apply to the effected areas with a soft cloth.

Sea salt is an alternative to baking soda, or you can try a combination. For sea salt, start with four tablespoons and you can always add more if you prefer. Pink Himalayan salt chunk are another alternative to sea salt.

These options are anti-bacterial and can help to reduce infection and aid the healing process.

4 : Occlusion Wrapping

Basically this is wrapping your limbs in cling film. Sounds weird, but it works!

I’d recommend starting with either your arms and legs as they are the easiest areas to wrap. Try one arm, or one leg to see if this option is for you.
When my eczema was at it’s worst, my dermatologist recommended doing this. I thought he was crazy. But at that point I was desperate to try anything!

I ended up using this method a lot and would buy cling film in bulk!

The heat generated by the wrapping, helps the moisturizer to penetrate deeper and faster into the layers of your skin. Sometimes the heat generated is too much and can cause itching, so use this with caution. I would experiment with how tight I wrapped my limbs. If it became too hot, I wrapped my limb slightly looser, so I could pull the cling film away from my skin to let some of the heat escape.

After applying moisturizer, wrap the effected areas in cling film. It can be difficult to move after you have wrapped, so it’s best to do it once you are ready to sleep and in bed.

Moisturize to help prevent eczema4 : Moisturize

Word of caution – test each moisturizer or oil on a small patch of skin first, before lathering yourself up.

When your skin is itchy, it’s telling you that hydration is required. Relief can come as quickly as applying a layer (or several) of moisturizer onto your skin.

Look at the ingredients on the back of the bottle. The lowest number of ingredients, the better. Also, try to avoid fragrances and lanolin. There are moisturizers on the market specific for eczema, which is great! However, what may work for one person, may not work for another. Again, it’s trial and error. But your friends will be happy with your rejects!

5 : Oatmeal Bath

Grind oatmeal so fine, that it mixes with the water and does not sink to the bottom of the tub.

You can buy this from your local drug store, or you can do it yourself at home. A coffee grinder or food processor will do the job.

Soak for 10 minutes.

Rinse off afterwards in a lukewarm shower. Pat your skin dry before applying your moisturizer.

Meditation to help prevent eczema

6 : Meditation

This may seem a little airy fairy, but there is no harm, right?!

When the itching begins, the mind starts to spin faster and faster and we get caught on a loop.

A loop of, ‘this is itchy I need to scratch. Oh, I shouldn’t have scratched. Now my eczema is painful, weeping and oozing. I should know better not to scratch, but it’s still itchy, Oh, I shouldn’t have scratched.’

Closing your eyes, and breathing deeply through your nose, can help your mind to slow down. Listening to a meditation, which reminds you to breathe, can also be helpful.

Find one on YouTube and listen to it as you fall asleep.


There is a lot of information out there and there are many websites and organizations that are great resources! They offer practical advice and knowledge as they are led by health professionals or by sufferers themselves.

Below are just a few.







As someone who has suffered from eczema all their life, I know how hard and frustrating this dis-ease can be.

This is not just a physical dis-ease, as it can effect your mental health as well. Talking and sharing our experiences is a great way to combat this, both physically and mentally.

I’d love to hear your experiences and what your go-to remedies are.


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