My Journey to 500, Pt. III: The Last Stretch

Done with my clothes, done with my shoes. This morning, I decluttered all remaining stuff that are just gathering dust in my room. The task was actually simpler and easier compared to the first two, partly because getting rid of stuff that aren’t useful is a no-brainer.

While I was gathering all my things from all corners of my room, I was trying to recall why I even bought them in the first place (please refer to the GIF below). What automatically came into mind was my attempt to start a collection or have some decorations in my room. I realized these reasons are just plain illogical and mundane. I felt deceived – I spent my hard-earned money on such useless, depreciating stuff that I could’ve used for a vacation somewhere or even deposited in my trust fund.

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WHY????

With this in mind, I immediately dove into my shortlisting:

ACCESSORIES: Watches & Jewelry

Women my age would normally have more than 1 pair of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc. But for me, I haven’t been (and am not planning to) buy those diamonds. I have nothing against those who do opposite. I’ve just been more practical and secure as I’ll feel like I’m in danger all the time. I don’t plan to be mugged again, and don’t want to potentially put myself in debt. So no, thank you.

Currently, I have 9 watches and 10 pieces of jewelry. I only use here my pearl earrings and black watches, so it was pretty easy to trim it down. Here’s how it looks like now:

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What’s good about these chosen pieces is that it also matches my neutral wardrobe. This saves me so much time again as basically I have no other choice but these 5 items.

BAGS

For someone who hates bringing bags, I have quite a lot. I have 17 bags for different occasions in different shapes, sizes, whatever. But examining this loot, the ones I regularly use can be counted in one hand.

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From 17, I’m left with 6 –  1 backpack, 1 totebag, 2 satchels (small and medium), 1 carry on luggage, and 1 medium check-in (not in the photo). Each has a purpose in my life, and there are no “just-in-case” items.

BOOKS & MUSIC STUFF

Just like any other person, I feel this high whenever I see the spines of my CDs and books neatly lined up on my shelf. Unfortunately, this feeling is also temporary. After that fleeting moment, I go back to my normal routine and forget that I even own those items.

I checked out our ceiling-to-floor shelf here in my room and I tried to recall which books and CDs are actually mine (meaning I bought with my own money or given to me). I can only pinpoint 26 books and 30 CDs/music-related items. Here’s how it looks like pre- and post-declutter:

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For my CDs, I just kept with me all old Incubus records (Fungus Amongus, Enjoy Incubus, SCIENCE and Make Yourself) because Brandon Boyd wahahahaha. Good thing I have my 120GB iPod Classic so just in case I feel like giving these up again, I’ll just burn and upload it.

As for the books, I only left with me those I haven’t finished yet. The rest are up for grabs. I’ll post in a different entry all the items I’m selling/giving away 🙂

CONSUMABLES

For these items, shortlisting my toiletries was too easy since my hygiene/kikay routine has been minimalist ever since – wash, exfoliate, moisturize, brush teeth, take a bath. I don’t wear makeup (therefore I don’t own one) so this was not much of a hassle.

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I just removed all redundant items like the lotions, EDTs, and the depilatories. I don’t need to have more than one of those all at the same time.

GADGETS & SCHOOL SUPPLIES

This was harder to trim down as most of the things here I use daily – laptop, cords, pens, notebooks, powerbank, USB sticks, etc. I have approximately 20 pens, 5 USBs, 6 notebooks, 2 powerbanks, 1 laptop, 4 cords, and 3 wall chargers.

For this declutter process, I used the same principle as the one for the consumables. I just let go of the double-count items like my the pens and USBs since these can be easily bought and replaced. Obviously, I did not let go of the cords as my other gadgets will not be functional without it. Here’s the before-after photo:

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I’m left with just 1 pen, 4 notebooks, 1 powerbank, 1 USB (since I have a hard drive anyway). This is my EDC on a working day. Now that I’ve trimmed it down to just the essentials, my bag will be so much lighter it won’t be a pain on my shoulder.

TOYS

I’ve been collecting Legos since I started working, mainly driven by nostalgia and guilt for not taking care of my toys when I was a kid. When I started earning my own money, I said to myself this is my chance to experience the things I took for granted when I was young. I bought so many Legos everytime I had the extra money. And Legos are not cheap, mind you. Those Minifigures actually cost Php300 each. I could’ve used that to buy 3 cups of coffee each time I work/study out of home.

Buying and playing with the Legos made me happy for just 5 minutes. After I’m done with the assembling, the feeling just fleets away like nothing happened. Same as my book and CD collection, I love seeing them all displayed on my shelf. But after staring at them, I never even bothered playing with it.

These realizations made me want to get rid of them already so I won’t have that sayang feeling anymore. Examining my collection, I only left with me those that are useful and have sentimental value. From a whopping count of 34, I’m down to just 9 (7 here at home, 2 in the office).

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I left my Lego calendar, Lego cardholder, Gundam model kit, Ironman Funkopop, Lego Cars , and the Starwars minifigures for my desk to still have a bit of color and life.

Whew. I can’t believe it’s done. Checking the running count of all my belongings, I did not achieve the 500 as expected. I actually did better than expected!

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Apparently, I just own ~650 items, including my car. With the 3-phase decluttering process, I was able to get rid of almost 60% of my stuff. I’m down to 274. The arbitrary number I set early on, which was 500, was not much of a difference from my starting point. I guess I should’ve inventoried everything from the very start. But hey, this is not bad at all. I’m very very happy with the outcome as I’m left only with items that have meaning and purpose in my life.

In all minimalist blogs, podcasts, articles I’ve read, the concept that was consistently brought up was keeping only things that add value to your life. Ideally, these should make your lifestyle more efficient and effective so you’ll have more human bandwidth to allocate on things that matter most to you, like your passions, health, relationships, etc. Clearly, that Lego Shell truck was not able to contribute anything to my overall improvement as a person. It just gave me temporary happiness, and I felt that for a mere 5 mins while I was building it. All these realizations just made me even more determined to fix this part of my lifestyle. I want to be more intentional in all my actions. I want to put more meaning in my life by exposing myself in things that will contribute to my passions – music and marketing.

So what’s next? I’ll continue giving music marketing advices on Quora to widen my network in the industry, and Allan has agreed for me to help him declutter his wardrobe. So excited. 🙂

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Published by

Fatima Espineda

A brand manager by day, a business student by night, and a music lover forever and ever. My day job fuels my passion for business, marketing, and advertising. As a bonus, it also pays for my insatiable thirst to discover and experience good music. As corny and cliché as it may sound, I believe music is the ultimate escape from reality. In my case, it's my way of keeping my creative juices flowing. It fuels my imagination, gives colour to my life, and keeps me in touch with my emotions -- all of which, I believe, are important for me to become a better marketer. This will be my own online space where I will share the things I care about -- brands and bands.

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