It’s always surprising how much junk one can acquire over the course of a year. Filipinos, in particular, are fond of clinging onto things for sentimental reasons. This packrat mentality makes it easy for clutter to accumulate, filling the house’s blank surfaces, empty cubbyholes, and even the most unsuspecting nooks and crannies.
“It’s always a plus to start the New Year clutter-free,” says New York- and Toronto-trained professional organizer Kat Ong (www.spacethatworks.com). January represents new beginnings and an opportunity to start fresh - without the hang-ups, junk, and excess baggage of the past. “There’s nothing more liberating than to rid yourself of the unnecessary. And de-cluttering helps maintain balance in your life,” says Ong.
Physical clutter is just the beginning - as soon as you clear out your environment, the rest of your being (emotional, spiritual, etc.) can easily be affected, too. “De-cluttering helps you feel lighter and more in control of the things in your space,” she adds.
Start now “You can start with an area that is ‘clogged’ - one that’s been needing some air and attention for some time,” suggests Ong. “You can also go the other way and choose an ‘active’ area instead - one that you use a lot and see every day.” Sorting like items together and creating categories can help you edit what you need and what you don’t.
Creating “keep,” “throw,” and “give” piles can also make the de-cluttering process less of a struggle, especially for those who have too many things. “This simplifies decision-making and allows you to segregate things that need action right away,” advises Ong. “Keep what you love and use. For objects that you think you may need in the future, specify where and when you’ll be using them, and ask yourself if their future use is realistic.” Remember that holding on to some items because it would be a waste to throw them away also means keeping things that actually have no use.
De-cluttering should also leave no room for sentimentality. It is one thing to hold on to objects for the memories they represent; it’s another to never throw anything because you are too tied to something from the past. “Be ruthless in your decision-making,” says Ong. Once you’ve collected what you need to keep, store them in proper bins and containers to avoid starting the clutter cycle all over again.