BY NG PAU LING
Free up your living area and destress with these practical tips
Searching for your personal belongings in a cluttered home can be a stressful affair. Nobody enjoys playing treasure hunt every day. From a feng shui point of view, too much clutter creates negative energy that will harm your health and vitality.
The obvious solution is to declutter your home. But decluttering is never easy because people are often fettered by their hoarding instincts. They avoid throwing away common items such as newspapers, bills, magazines, clothing and even foodstuff – shoving them into a drawer or closet.
Hoarders must be made to understand that their habit could lead to other problems in their lives. For instance, clutter reduces the amount of available space in a home. It also attracts pests.
From a financial perspective, hoarders tend to splurge by purchasing things they don’t need. It is especially apparent during a sale or promotional event.
As the saying goes: When you buy the things you don’t need, very soon you will be selling the things you need.
The first step of decluttering starts with the mind. Dig deep into your inner self and allow rationality to surface.
Ponder over these three questions as you prepare yourself for the long road ahead.
Q1: Do I have something similar?
Enough is enough
Most Malaysians seem to think that ‘more is better than less’ in our lives. But more isn’t always better, especially when you are spending time looking for a particular item in a sea of clutter.
Ask yourself: Can that item be substituted with something else among your possessions? If the substitute is almost identical to what you need, don’t go for the extras.
Q2: Do I need it?
Follow your rational mind
People are often confused by what they “need” and what they “want”. Human desire is limitless, and we must accept that our wants are secondary compared to our needs.
Do not be emotionally attached to belongings that are unimportant to you. Leave space in your heart for those items that you truly need and love.
Q3: Do I use it regularly?
Borrowing is the word of the day
We need tools and hardware for a handyman’s project. If the project is one-off, don’t buy the equipment. It is best to borrow or rent from someone else. Sharing is caring.
Throughout the decluttering process, you should ask yourself repeatedly these three essential questions. It is highly unlikely that the hoarding monster inside you will rear its ugly head again.
The journey of letting go
Start small if you are unsure how to proceed. Always begin with the places that are relatively easy to deal with, such as your closet and bookshelf. You can turn your cleaning process into a routine by allocating 10 to 15 minutes a day to tidy up a corner.
Clutter control is also associated with your purchasing habits. For your daily necessities, choose from an array of durable and high-quality items. Merchandise with a short lifespan will start piling up as you will need to buy further replacements quickly.
When it comes to fashion shopping, always be clear about the most vibrant part of your style. Blindly follow the fashion trend and you will rack up a huge bill, besides the number of unnecessary items and clothing, you will have on your pile.
Keep in touch with your altruistic side by donating clothes that you can no longer wear.
One year to rule them all
Can’t decide on what to throw? Simple, place all the items into a dedicated box and set it aside for a year.
If the items in the box remain untouched for 365 days, then it is safe to assume that you don’t need them as much as you think you do. It is time to remove them from your life or space, whichever sounds better.
After the decluttering process, set aside a place for every belonging. It is also important to develop a good habit of putting back the items that you have used. The change in mindset should help introduce some semblance of a system into your life.
Done? Then it is time to sit back and enjoy the beautiful view of your home. It is truly calming and rejuvenating to live clutter-free.
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Q:What are the three essential questions in the decluttering journey?
Answer question at http://bit.ly/SPdeclutter-2018.