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Tips and Guides

RL Tips: How to Live with Less

Start the New Year right by getting rid of your junk and making room for better things

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Photography: Louie Aguinaldo

As a child, I used to dread my mom’s version of spring-cleaning, which she liked to schedule around the beginning of each year. That was the one day my mother tied on her bandanna and did her full-on hausfrau routine, sparing nothing—she terrorized dust bunnies, cobwebs, and purged our home of all filth and excess in time for Chinese New Year. The end result was always a spotless home and more space for the kids to accumulate junk until the next major cleanup. 

Speaking of mothers, our current throwaway consumer culture has finally met its match—Mother Nature, heaving back at us with floodwaters choked with trash and belongings ruined in an instant. The recent weather calamities prompted us to rethink our purchases, to give to those in need, and to be more mindful of disposing our garbage. These disasters also make us ask ourselves: Do we really need all this stuff? Think of this guide as your way of defragging and rebooting your home, getting rid of non-essentials and giving you new room to grow. After all, if you can’t make space for good things to come into your life, how can they fit in at all?

Read the original article in the January 2010 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to summitnewsstand.com.ph/real-living for more details.  

Say goodbye to clutter

Do a clean sweep of your home or space, assess, and group your junk into these three groups:

TRASH. First off: throw items that are moldy or dirty beyond belief, un-fixable, and have no material or sentimental value. If the pack rat in you prevents you from doing this, do what Project Runway’s Tim Gunn says—take a picture, it lasts longer. If an item needs minor repairs, keep it. But if it almost costs as much as buying a new unit, you can sell off your old appliances to your local junk shop or repair center for spare parts.

SECOND-LIFERS. Donate, give away or sell—this is what you do to the other items that are neither here nor there, because someone else might need it. Communities in the process of rebuilding may appreciate what you can offer: old toys, schoolbooks, kitchenware, bed linen—even a tabo.

KEEPERS. These are the items you can’t do without or buy replacements for, or have intense sentimental value for you like old family photos or your wedding gown. If you’re having a hard time deciding what should be deemed indispensable, pretend that you’ll be moving to another country. With imaginary prohibitive shipping costs in mind, you will pare and whittle down your possessions to the most important ones.

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