For three days since Tuesday, my mother initiated what I call Operation Declutter. It was a series of general cleaning which heavily involved my books and personal stuff. Her rationale: I have to be ready with my things the moment I get married. Wow! Parang gusto na nila akong paalisin ng bahay.
Day 1: Cleaning my bookshelves, sorting out and storing in a Megabox all the least used titles, and disposal of what needs to be disposed of.
Day 2: Visiting all the handouts and seminar materials I have accumulated over the years, disposal of trash, and keeping things that still have value.
Day 3: Cleaning my shoe boxes, disposal of dilapidated, worn out, and unusable shoes. I also was asked to dust off the least visited spots of the house.
In my previous post, I planned on actually working out my bookshelf. But since the whole duration of ECQ is the perfect time for me to do all these things, I have no choice but to oblige. Thankfully, I finished the job. What a productive week!
But aside from the obvious fact that your surroundings will be clean, what are the other benefits we can get from decluttering?
Feeling of Satisfaction when You Finish
Though I was hesitant at first, and I felt tired every time we finish the day’s objective, I felt very satisfied and accomplished the moment I saw the fruits of my hard work. A tidier space, a packed and ready-to-go mega box, and an extra space due to stuff I’ve disposed of. If I hadn’t obliged to the demands of my mother to clean my stuff, the task will remain unattended which might become a hassle in the future. Perhaps some of my books will be damaged by bookworms! It would be a waste then.
Freeing Space for Other Things
Since I disposed of some of the outdated materials and handouts which I have gathered over the years, I have freed up some space for things I might acquire in the future. Plus, I was able to rearrange my stuff, letting me see the books I haven’t seen for a while. Now I’m enjoying the sense of “freshness” my decluttered space brought me.
Your Unused Stuff Can Be Used by Others
Some of my stuff, rather than disposing them directly to the trash, will now go to the hands of new owners. I have given out two used Bibles, and my mother has given out sandals and shoes to our neighbor. I have also collected Sunday school materials and coloring books I can give to some pastor friends. Rather than sitting inside a box collecting dust in our home, these things will be made more useful given away.
Knowing What’s Really Essential
Perhaps the hardest decision I made during the three-day cleanup was when I have to let go of my old journals. In the past, my journals were written on notebooks which I failed to take care of, so most of them are no longer presentable. I also asked myself: will these things still be useful? Or am I just being too sentimental? After careful thought, I let them go, keeping the only things that might be of help to me in the future. I learned that when you declutter, you’ll learn to weigh things based on their sentimental and practical value.
Extra Cash? Yes!
Of course, I wouldn’t just let my stuff go directly to the trash without benefiting me in return. So we sold the papers and all the pile of cartons and old notebooks to the junk shop and for three days, we were able to make a few bucks from it. Not bad.
Decluttering is a tedious task, especially when you love collecting stuff and you have this inkling that “this thing might be useful someday – not today, but someday”. But somehow, we have to let go of things especially when we are already bordering on hoarding rather than practicality.
For my three-day decluttering experience, I can say Marie Kondo must be proud.
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Congratulations on your spring cleaning. Keep it clean from now on.