Dealing With Stuff

From My Favorite Children’s Book Series: The Berenstain Bears
My room is a war zone. I’ve got stacks of wedding invitations, sticker labels, and envelopes on one side. A pile of clothes for a magazine shoot in the other corner. Our new microwave, rice cooker, and electric fan still in their boxes. It’s a mish mash of our wedding stuff, new condo knick knacks and my current daily life. Just looking at all the mess is causing me a lot of stress! So I thought I’d do some philosophizing while going through all my stuff (because I’m an Atenean and that’s what annoying Ateneans do—we love to overanalyze  and overphilosophize the living day lights out of everything and anything. Lahat ng bagay kailangan may meaning, kung walang meaning gagawa kami ng meaning! Hahaha).
Looking at my room made me realize how this little space represents my whole LIFE. Not that I am defined by my material possessions, but to some extent these things say a lot about ME. What type of person I am, what I’m into, what I’ve poured my resources into. Rummaging through my pile of gunk made me understand how much I’ve grown in the past year–things that used to be of importance before no longer hold value in my life now.

Despite my attempt to be OC, sadly, my room is a mess because I’m too busy to keep things in order. For our new home, I’m determined to do a full on martial law and keep it spic and span! Here are some of my random realizations about STUFF (brought about by my cleaning and dancing to Kylie Minogue):

1. I read this years ago and it’s been a personal practice ever since. If you haven’t used it for more than 6 months, GIVE IT AWAY. The fact that you’ve survived half a year without it only proves that it has been rendered useless. Detach yourself from it and give it to someone who will appreciate it more.

2. Don’t purchase something just because it’s ON SALE. There are probably a dozen items in my room that I bought on sale and never really used. Practice self control when dealing with sales because you might end up spending for items that will only add to the clutter at home. Don’t be mesmerized by the red tags and the 70% off markdowns. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. I only buy things on SALE if it’s an item I was really going to buy anyway. I got our headboard on sale, I was eyeing it for weeks and waited for the markdown. A bargain becomes a bargain only if you’re getting something you really NEED/WANT in mint condition and at a lower price. If it’s a slightly damaged feathery and sequined top that you know you’ll never ever pull off anyway, that’s not a bargain, that’s a waste of money.

3. Edit your wardrobe. When I was younger, I would just buy clothes on a whim. If it caught my attention and I had enough money to buy it, I would head straight to the counter. I was not a very wise shopper back in the day (hence the mountains of clothes I ended up giving to my cousins). These days, I like to REPEAT my clothes. Before buying a dress, I think of the many ways I can “work it”. If it shows versatility and potential for mixing and matching, then it’s a keeper!

4. QUALITY over QUANTITY. It’s better to have a few QUALITY pieces that will last you forever than to have a ton of fancy clothes that will lose its sparkle after a few washes. Same goes for other household investments. I’d rather have 3 pieces of furniture that are well made and aesthetically coordinated as opposed to having a whole room of stuff that don’t go together! Accumulating a lot of things does not make you look richer, it just makes you a hoarder.

5. Things are just things. Be prepared to lose them at some point in your life. Unless it’s a family heirloom or your engagement ring, it’s always nice to let go of things—this way you will become less materialistic. I gave away my TV to our family driver last week and it felt great. Of course it was a bit painful letting something valuable go (I saved up for months just to buy it!) but I realized that I rarely watch TV anyway and I could easily use the TV in our family room. Having a TV set in my room seemed excessive and so I decided to part ways with it and make Renante’s family happy.

When giving away items, please try to give away things when they are still valuable and usable. Don’t give it away when it’s practically trash already–worn out and damaged beyond recognition. When I was a preschool teacher, we had a program called TOY JOY. We would ask each student to give away his/her favorite toy to a less fortunate child. The whole idea was for the young child to feel the pain of letting something go, to actually give up something selflessly for another person. Of course, it was a nightmare for us teachers–trying to explain this to toddlers. Iyakan session talaga! But you’ll be surprised to see how much of an impact this made in their very impressionable minds. When you give, you have to give the best of what you can offer–to give cheerfully and lovingly, expecting nothing in return. 🙂

So there, STUFF.

7 Responses to Dealing With Stuff

  1. Guilty hoarder here… Specially BOOKS… 😀
    Thank you for the insights… And yes, I agree. It really feels good to give away stuff… And having only a few things makes cleaning & organizing a lot easier! 🙂

  2. Yes I totally agree with what you said Ms. Patty. “When giving away items, please try to give away things when they are still valuable and usable”. My mother also said that to me. My mother is fond of giving away stuffs that we rarely used anymore. Thanks for this inspiring post.

  3. Am also at a point where I’m letting go of a lot of things now that I’m done with the first part of my training 🙂 Thanks for the inspiring post!

  4. LOL on the overanalyzing and overphilosophizing stuff too! I think my hubby gets annoyed when I have a metaphor or analysis for everything. Haha. Wow on the concept of toy joy. Okay…okay…I shall go back to my pre-wedding stuff. I’ve been postponing my sorting sched forever! Time to give some stuff away too!