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Tips and Guides

6 Decluttering Lessons From Manila's Clutter Diva

Meet Aling Puring, who makes a living out of buying junk. You can learn a lot from this Clutter Diva, and you might need her services, too.

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Original Article: Kathleen Valle Photography: At Maculangan Pictorial Direction: Carlo Vergara

If you’re one of those faced with mounds of clutter at home but don’t know where or how to start getting rid of them, you must have heard of Aling Puring Dy, a likeable lady who goes around buying the stuff you want to get rid of (talk about turning trash into treasure!). Aling Puring saves you the trouble of hauling your things to the nearest junk shop and haggling for a decent price. She comes to your house, negotiates a price for the things you want to get rid of, and then sells these at her store, which has its share of regular customers.

Take some pointers from the legendary Clutter Diva (she has been featured on countless TV shows and in magazines) on how you can get started on cleaning up your clutter—one mound at a time.

Set a date for decluttering.



Aling Puring marks her own appointments on her calendar to keep her schedule for pickups organized. In the same way, you have to pin down a date to face the seemingly Herculean task of decluttering. Do you prefer to do it on a weekend when there are no work-related calls or emails you have to attend to? Determine the best time of the day for you—early in the morning or the entire afternoon?

Have a game plan.



Aling Puring lumps together house visits within the same area in one day—a practical technique considering the traffic nowadays—and after picking through the items, loads them in her trusty L300 van. Here, you can take your cue from Aling Puring in terms of determining which part of the house you’d like to declutter first. Don’t attempt to tackle more than one area (for instance, the kitchen and living room at the same time) to avoid getting overwhelmed. Also, should you need to keep your chosen area off limits, you and other people living with you can still use other parts of the house without disrupting your daily activities.

Devise a system for organizing, getting rid of stuff, and selling it off.



Aling Puring practices the “same-day hakot” system, meaning she inspects items, negotiates a price, and then loads them into her service vehicle all in a day. As you declutter, make sure you have bins for things you want to give away, keep, or sell. Selling is a practical activity as there are people like Aling Puring who would trade cash for used things. If you’re selling your own clutter in a garage sale, stick on prices for each item for the convenience of those who are buying. “Natatawa nga sa akin yung mga anak ko kasi ako lang daw nakakagawa nun,” says Aling Puring. “Titingnan ko lang yung item, alam ko na agad-agad kung magkano ito pwede ibenta.”

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Take your time.



While you can set a deadline for completing your decluttering, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a moment to think of what you want to do with your things. Aling Puring, for instance, doesn’t immediately sell everything she buys. In her store, there are items that are not for sale because they’ve caught the Clutter Diva’s fancy. “Yung mga nandito, nagustuhan ko kaya ayoko muna ibenta,” says Aling Puring of the signed photographs and blue vases in one corner of her store. If something is holding you back from putting away an item with sentimental value, keep it first and dispose of it only when you’re ready to let go.

Don’t discriminate.



Purge indiscriminately, and without sentiment—if you cannot use an item or clothing, then you cannot use it forever. In the same vein, Aling Puring displays a lack of pickiness when rummaging through her clients’ clutter. “Gustong-gusto ako ng mga kliyente ko kasi ako lang daw walang pinipili…lahat binibili ko. Kahit ‘basura’ pa yan, wala kang maririnig sa akin na pintas.”

Reward yourself.



Aling Puring makes it a habit to bring her clients pasalubong (a bag of calamansi, some bananas, kakanin) whenever she comes over for an appointment. It’s a nice treat for doing such a Herculean task of getting rid of your clutter, don’t you think? “Ayokong pumunta na walang maiaabot, parang hindi kumpleto,” says Aling Puring of her pasalubong-giving. If you’re doing the decluttering on your own, there’s no reason you shouldn’t reward yourself after a day of decluttering: an hour of massage, a fancy dinner, or a piece of that chocolate you’ve been denying yourself all week. Go ahead, you deserve it!


Contact Aling Puring via her Clutter Diva Facebook page, at tel. (02) 241-6565, mobile 0917-333-7563, 0917-890-4799, or visit her secondhand goods store at 1170 Asuncion St., Tondo Manila.

Read the original article ("A Day In The Life Of Aling Puring") in the March 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details. 

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