May 25, 2016

Clutter weighs us down! Big time.

For a number of days I was feeling a bit low. I would be okay at night, especially when I start spending time with my favorite person in the world, but during the day, I was not at my peak energy level.

It was easy for me to attribute it to the following: I got sick after my US trip, my presidential candidate did not win (but yey! my VP won!), one of my helpers had to leave, lack of exercise and the heat!

One day I just decided to shake it off by starting my day early on the treadmill, no more thinking. After breakfast, I had a number of items in my to do list but guess what I ended up doing? I started to de-clutter my library desk. It was my first time to use that desk after quite some time because the aircon had just been fixed the previous day.

So there I was filing, throwing, reading, noting all those piles of paper, one at a time. I tried not to mind that my clock was ticking and my to do list was waiting. After a couple of hours, my desk was clear. And there’s a bonus. I finally found something I thought I already lost!

After that, I felt a considerable weight lifted off me. Our library still needs a lot of purging but I would need the help of the boys to decide what to get rid off and what to keep. But my desk was clear and that was good enough and I was cheerful as I started to do and tick off items in my do list. Despite the delay for two hours, I accomplished all the things I lined up for the day!

The following day a similar thing happened. Before I took a shower the clutter in the bathroom and my dresser caught my attention. Without thinking I started going through all those gifts and take-home amenities from hotels, towels not properly rolled or folded. My God! I must have hoarded dozens and dozens of toothbrushes lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners. I just picked a few pieces and put everything else in a box and gave them to our helpers. Then I proceeded to my dresser getting rid of lip balms, old make-up, pens that don’t work, nice boxes that I kept, transferring some scents to a cabinet to be used as room fresheners.

It still needs further purging but I was able to clear up a considerable space.

There are times when I wish I could just wave a magic wand and banish all the clutter! But I swear I’m a kalutit! That’s the Ilocano word for mambubulok or pack rat! It’s also reinforced by the fact that I can still fit in my really old clothes. (Okay, I’m not complaining about this, as I want to keep my size for the rest of my life.:) ) But how I wish I could do what a super orderly friend of mine does. Whenever she buys a clothing item (shoes, clothes, even bags) she gets rid of something 1:1! What a superb discipline. Unfortunately, I don’t have that discipline. My Ilocano genes tell me, “Don’t! Sayang! You’ll still be able to use it!”

And so I just try to help myself with a bit of structure here to work around my own circumstances and peculiarities. Let me share some with you.

  1. Have a filing system that works easily. The norm should be once a letter or any item comes in, decide on the action right away. Respond, throw, file. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. Image 01
  1. Have stages in parting with old items. You might find this OA but you see getting rid of old belongings has a sentimental element to it, so what I do is to have stages. I put them first in the uppermost part of my cabinet, which is very hard to reach. After a year of not using it or wondering about it, I get rid of them, usually during our Lenten Cleaning.

Image 02Treat your closets, especially the easy to reach part, shelves and counters of your bathroom, kitchen and dresser like prime real estate properties. Imagine those items renting space. If it’s an item you hardly use, it doesn’t have a right occupying that prime space.

Image 03

  1. When shopping, imagine your closet before you buy an item. Yes it may look good on you, but does it still have a space in your closet? I’ve stopped myself from buying clothes and shoes several times because of the vision of my crowded closet. If it’s way to pretty to pass on, then maybe you should mentally do an inventory and decide what item (a similar item or something you’re not fond of) you will give up once you arrive home with your new purchase.Image 04
  1. Be charitable. Think of the utility that a recipient of your item will have. Chances are, it will be a lot higher than its utility just hanging out in your closet. Image 05
  1. If you’re the type who loves to do garage sales, by all means have one periodically. Make a tradition out of it. No buying of new stuff until after a garage sale.Image 06
  1. Take photos of each item you buy – shoes, bags, pants, tops, dresses and put them in a place you can easily see when you open your closet cabinets. I’ve tried this before but I found it hard to update my printing. I have yet to try if I can just use electronic photos arranged in albums on my ipad or phone.Image 07
  1. Schedule at least once a year of general cleaning and make it mandatory to get rid of a minimum number of things. We do ours during the Lenten season.Image 08

I would be the first to admit that observing the above items consistently, is easier said than done. When you find yourself accumulating stuff again, just pause and go through all the above items plus your other measures and do them all over. I promise you will feel better after a de-cluttering session!

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The series of workshops of Security Bank’s Smart Saver Kiddie Camp continues. Talk 3 will be on June 1, 9:30 am at Pegi Waffles, P. Guevarra St., San Juan.


The next talk will be at the Kiddopreneur at Shangri-la Mall on June 26, 2016. Watch out for the next schedules of this Workshop Series.

Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. 

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