Clean Up and Simplify Life

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Are you the kind of mom who keeps all her kids’ artwork, letters, baby teeth, baby hair etc.? Do you still keep your high school/college memorabilia like the class shirt signed by your crush, old class cards, letters from ex-boyfriends or pressed flowers? Why do you still keep them? It’s hard to let go, right? But what if all these are no longer useful, no longer relevant in your life now, will you still avoid cleaning up? How will you simplify your life by de-cluttering?

One of the reasons our small family does not own a lot of things is because we don’t have our own home yet. We have very limited space now and we make do with what we have. We haven’t bought any major household item except for a refrigerator and kids’ beds. Still, I do not have the urge to shop and shop until I drop mostly because I don’t have the financial capacity to do that! haha!

We only have the essentials. One set of dinnerware given by my mom and a few extra plates that were hand-me-downs. A set of old and new pots and pans. I don’t need a walk-in closet because I only have 5 piles of clothes inside it while my husband only has three piles. Do you know that my husband has more pair of shoes than I do? Each time we receive any gift from family, we make sure we purge our closets and discard anything we don’t use anymore.

Joshua

Speaking of purging, we have this regular practice of doing a “general cleaning” of our clothes, kids clothes, toys, books and all our other so-called possessions. We do this as often as we can during school breaks, holidays or even on weekends. After a day of purging we are left with bags of trash while our closets, rooms and kids toy boxes are neat and tidy again. Those we don’t need are either sent to the trash, given to younger nieces and nephews who would want them or to the helper.

We have also donated some household items that we no longer use to ReStore of Habitat for Humanity. We’d rather let others benefit from the household items we don’t need than sit at home gathering dust. We used to do garage sales but it gets tiring as not all the items get sold so we end up still having additional clutter in the house. It’s liberating to clean up and de-clutter the home.

Recently, I made a huge step in de-cluttering. I had to deal with the kids’ homeschool portfolios. These are kept in big plastic bins in the garage. Though it’s not really creating clutter but it’s taking up space and has become an eyesore. Parting with these memorabilia is not easy. I have kept them for six years and I have no plans of throwing them away. Looking at their past work and achievements (which I rarely do) documented in portfolios reminds me of how they have improved all these years.  IMG_3304

After attending the De-Cluttering seminar of Ms. Cindy Soriano last January, I realized I really did not need to keep. Nor do I have to pass them on to my kids. I was holding on to something that has no value to them. Since they have already passed the grade level and have report cards as proof, then there is no need to keep them.

One afternoon, my husband and I emptied out that portfolio bin. We were able to clean out about 8 binders and had papers piled on the ground for trash. When our son saw what we were doing, I asked him if it was okay for me to let go of all of his portfolios. He simply asked why and I reasoned that there was no use for them anymore. He agreed but asked him if I could keep the “best” ones. IMG_3303IMG_3308

That gave me an idea to grab one binder and keep their best composition, artwork, and project. And since the binders were in very good condition, I was able to sell them to other homeschoolers too.

Here are some suggestions by Ms Cindy Soriano in living a clutter-free life:

  • Have a place for everything
  • Put items where you use it most
  • Go out with money you need for real errands
  • Plan your trips (mall, supermarket etc.)
  • Keep a list
  • Keep in budget
  • Ask these questions when tempted to buy: Do I really need it? Can I afford to pay in cash? Do I have room for it?

I have always believed in simple living. I don’t dream of having a big house with lots of cars parked in the garage. I want a simple home with a functional kitchen. I am not a fan either of house decorations that fill every nook and cranny of the home. Too many knickknacks in a home is a turn off.  If we have a home of our own, I want minimal yet functional furnishings and appliances. I don’t need a lot but only those that will help me serve and care for my family.

In addition, I have subscribed to Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist, who pushes for the simple and minimalist living. The bestselling book of Marie Kondo has become the go-to guide for de-cluttering and simplifying the home. It’s good to know that a lot of people are embracing the simple, less cluttered life.

In reality, having a lot of possessions and money do not equate happiness. We will not find true happiness in buying and accumulating stuff. We will find joy in Christ who gives us what we truly need: salvation, joy and peace.

Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil. Proverbs 15:16