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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My Journey to 500, Pt. II: The Shoe Purge

I’ve been incrementally decluttering my closet for the past 2 years, but I’ve always avoided going into my shoe closet because one, I love shoes, two, I ‘invest’ in them, and three, it’s my form of self-expression. Footwear is my ultimate weakness, so giving them up may also mean slowly letting go of a huge chunk of who I am as a person.

But I’m really serious about this new lifestyle I’m embarking on. Even if it breaks my heart, I’ve got to do it.

So here’s how my shoe closet looks like pre-purge. I took them out of the rack because I want to make sure there’s nothing hiding in the corners or whatever.

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Yes, I went through a pabebe phase, hence the pink and purple hooker heels

I have 36 pairs of shoes in total, and I’ve only worn half of it the past year. The rest are just rotting in my closet. Aside from the 3-point criteria  I established in Part I, I kept in mind these 2 additional things to know which pair I should either keep or let go:

  1. I thought of  3-4 major activities I’m often immersed in. What are the shoes that best suit those events/activities? For me, I’m normally in the office, school, in a concert, working out or travelling. Given these situations, it did not make much sense for me to keep my heels and boots so those were no-brainers. I just left with me 3 heels for formal events like weddings and my Chelsea boots because *fashion*.
  2. Since my shoes is a form of self-expression, I left behind my bright blue Vans sneakers and silver-toed slip ons. Now that most of my clothers are black, I’m afraid to look too boring/monotonous. Keeping these 2 pairs will add in a little variety so I won’t get tired of what how I look like and prevent me from shopping for more items.

With these five things in mind, I’ve transformed my shoe closet to this:

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My shoe collection is now down to 16 – a 56% decrease from my previous hoard. It was super helpful that I thought of those qualifications as everything in my closet now has a purpose and function:

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I made sure I stuck to the basic principle of minimalism being about keeping things that add more value, function, and purpose to ones life. It’s important to note that you don’t have to give up the things you love to exercise minimalism. In my case, I decided to keep the 2 bright-colored shoes because I felt that not having standout pieces will limit me from expressing myself to other people. Not being able to do so will drive me nuts, so I’d rather keep those 2 pairs with me than get frustrated for not being able to show my style for the sake of decluttering.

Two down. The last purge will be for my toys, books, bags, and other miscellaneous stuff. I’m shortlisting the items I’ll sell after I pin down those I will donate. Stay tuned for that.

Babayuuu.

My Journey to 500 (Pt.I)

I’m aware of the hypocrisy that this kind of movement/lifestyle has been receiving. And I know some of you might even think I’m doing this because I’m normcore/hipster.

No. I’m doing this because of only one reason, and that is to sleep longer on a weekday.

For those of you who know me, I only get to sleep for 5hrs from Monday to Friday  – that’s 3hrs less than what medical professionals have prescribed to be healthy. I wake up at 4:15am and leave the house at 4:45am so I won’t get stuck in traffic. My travel time will be 2x longer if I leave anytime after 5:30. I also don’t like being late, that’s why I’d rather be the one opening the office with the security guard than be useless on the road.

Over the years, I have improved on my sleep sched by setting my prep time on hyperlapse mode. I’m pretty confident that I might be part of the top 5% of women who only takes a maximum of 30mins to prepare for work. I’ve mastered the art of taking a bath for just 10 minutes, but what really slows me down is my “dress up” time. I’ve improved on this aspect by keeping my wardrobe in just three colors – black, white, and gray. But still, I can’t be faster than 20mins because of how much I take time deciding and looking for what to wear in my already small closet.

My shitty sleep schedule has taken a toll on my body – I feel it every day. And I’m not getting any younger. I see how this has severely affected my weight, metabolism, my level of concentration, and so much more. Every hour of sleep I miss means an hour less from my total lifetime – I want to live longer and enjoy life more, thus this project.

I will call this my #Journeyto500 as I’m planning to own only 500 things in my life – including my car, toys, books, shoes, underwear, clothes, toothbrush, bags, luggage, toiletries, etc. Basically, everything I have should be able to fit in my 2ft x 6.5ft x 3ft cabinet.

I’m planning to do this purge in 3 phases – 1st would be for my wardrobe, 2nd for my shoes (huhuhuhuhuhuhuhu I caaaaan’t), and 3rd for the rest of my stuff (books, toys, CDs, and other miscellaneous stuff).

First off, as mentioned, will be my wardrobe. I took a photo of my closet pre-purge. As you see, I already don’t have much as I’ve been incrementally letting go of stuff for the past years. It was just yesterday that I’ve finally had the courage (and time) to decrease my wardrobe by 50%.

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I have ~400 items in my closet. My goal is to half it by the end of this purging session.

I thought of only 3 things while I was removing items in my closet:

  1. There should only be one color theme so it’s easier to mix and match pieces. Obviously, my main color theme will be grayscale, aka white, gray, and black. There will be exceptions though wherein I’ll have to leave bright-colored items like orange because my job calls for me to wear my brand colors whenever there are events. Other than those plains and stripes, you won’t see any floral/hawaiian/aztec prints in my wardrobe. I used to wear those all the time, but not anymore now. I want to sleep longer.
  2. There should only be classic-cut pieces. This means no off-shoulders, fringes, plunging necklines, etc. Aside from the fact that I’m a “winter dresser” in a tropical country, I’ve decided that leaving out those adventurous pabebe clothes will give me less time to think if I’m showing too much skin or whatever.
  3. The items should look professional enough for the office, respectable enough for a presentation in business school, and casual enough for a weekend walwalan in Black Market. I hate bringing extra clothes whenever I have to go to multiple events in a day. To address this, I’ve decided to stick to my white/black/gray v-necks or even my band/festival shirts and partnering it with cardigans/blazers and signature black skinny jeans. It’ll be easy to transition from formal to casual as I only have one piece to put on/remove.

Taking these 3 things into consideration, I was able to trim down my closet from 390 items to just 175. I’M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Here’s what’s left:

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I had the hardest time letting go of my underwear because yeah – I wouldn’t feel clean enough if I see myself wearing the same thing every week. Sorry TMI – but I’ll totally work on this aspect. But yes. I’m down to just 175 items in my wardrobe from a *whopping* 390. This is how it looks like now:

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I freed up almost 70% of the clothes hangers, 100# of the drawers, 25% of my bottom shelves. It’s so fre$h and so clean, clean!

While I was going through this process, I can’t help but feel so light and free. Now that my closet is almost empty (and I’m planning to keep it this way, and probably even purge more now that I get to assess which pieces I use most often), I feel it will be finally easier for me to decide what to wear since I basically have not much choice anyway. Financially, I already feel it’ll be a huge help for me to control my Zalora addiction as it will force me to thoroughly assess first if that item I’m eyeing fits the 3-point criteria I set early on.

So there. I’m finally done with Phase 1. Next phase – and I feel this will be an emotional one – is to trim down my shoe closet. I’m already crying inside, but if it means getting an additional hour of sleep for me and more savings for me, then game on.

Babayuuuu.