My husband and I moved here in Cebu back in 2005 as newly weds and like most new couples, we worked hard so we could buy household items, appliances and things which we thought were necessary in starting a family. Fast forward to 2016, we now own more stuff than we really use in our daily lives. Totally impractical and not to mention the space that they occupy in the house drives me bonkers. Cleaning has become a burden and I am unable to find storage space for the things that we really need and use.
Solution? De-clutter. I let go of the things we don't really need.
I de-clutter on a semi-regular basis now, I let go, donate and sell things that are left unused for over 12 months in a yearly basis (sometimes twice a year!). My philosophy on this is that, if we haven't used it for 12 months, I'm sure we won't be needing it anytime in the near future.
I have to admit, de-cluttering is hard! Being the hoarder that I am, I find it hard to get rid of things. Even the useless ones! As a matter of fact, I still haven't decided how I'm going to let go of the oven toaster that we haven't used for almost 3 years. Ha!
Despite this sentimental holding on to material things, I force myself do it to save space and sanity.
It can be hard to keep track of things and harder to clean the house and I find it easier to just simplify and try to minimize whenever I can.
Things that I let go are usually clothes, bags, magazines and books, kitchen items and knickknacks! If you're anything like me, here are a few things that you can do to transition to a minimalist type of living.
1. Purge your closet - Get rid of things that you haven't used in 12 months, clothes that do not fit and similar clothes that come in different colors. Seriously, how many t-shirts do you really need in life? I haven't figured this one out yet but I am sure it's not 50. Take everything out from the closet and I mean everything. Sort them out, cut the number into half if you can, then cut it into half again. The rest? Donate or sell. The bright side? You make other people happy or you make extra cash!
Tip: If you can bring down the number of clothing articles to 30 per person (excluding underwear, house clothes, socks and uniforms), not only will you save up space but you will save on water and detergent. You don't need to wash as many clothes! Huzzah!
2. Clean out all used textbooks. - I have 2 kids who goes to school. 9 school years in total for one kid and 3 school years in total for the other one. Can you imagine the number of textbooks that we have accumulated over the years? I kept them for several years before I let them go thinking that we might be able to use them in the future? How many do you think did I actually get to use? Not as many! Let them go.
Tip: Keep at least 2 science books for future reference and cut outs because I cannot count the number of times I had to look for pictures of living things and non-living things for school projects!
3. Organize your kitchen - I have to admit that this was the hardest. I love kitchen tools! I love fancy plates, wine glasses and oh the gazillion Tupperwares! But ask yourself, how many times go you get to use everything? How many cooking ladles and strainer do you really need? And lastly, how many glass jars do you intend to collect? Out they go!
Tip: Save your favorite jars and buy soy sauce, vinegar, sandwich spread and cooking oil in tetra packs. Just transfer them over. That way, you won't be adding jars to your collection plus you get to save money.
4. Limit the number of toys - My kids used to have more toys that they actualy play with and they were just taking up space in the bedroom, the living room, and we even have toys in the kitchen cupboard! Solution? I gave each of them a basket and asked them to put their favorites inside. The rest? We gave them away.
Tip: For every new toy they get, they need to donate one.
5. Experience instead of material things - Your kid will not remember the number of toy cars or dolls they had and I am pretty sure your husband won't even remember how many shirts he will ever own BUT I do know that they will remember that awesome trip to Alcoy, to Cordova, and that vacation to Iligan for many years to come.
Tip: Stop buying remembrance items from every vacation or trip! These knicknacks will just gather dust at home and if you calculate the cost, they can get quite expensive!
I guarantee that as soon as you de-clutter and organize, you will feel a sense of achievement! Plus, the house will feel and look cleaner and spacious! I don't know about you but I find it easier to think and I feel more relaxed if everything is in order. I realized that I get mad easily if I see clutter everywhere. Minimalism is an on-going process, I know that I can still de-clutter some more but I am taking things one day at a time. And the final tip is to think 100 times before getting new items. Do you really need it???
Jhanis V. - Top 10 Blogs Voice Boks Comedy Edition, featured on BlogHer.com, HumorWriters.org, Bloggys 2015 - Finalist, Family and Relationships Category. She blogs at The Vanilla Housewife and The Cebu Gazette.
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