“Your spaces have an impact on your well-being through your senses,” said decluttering coach and professional organizer Ally Canita at the February 22 webinar, “Space Care is Self-care” organized by First Philippine Holdings Corporation. Canita is a member of US-based National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, which offers continuing education and online coursework through NAPO University, credentialing through the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers® (BCPO®), and hosts an annual conference featuring industry experts.
Canita, who is also an International Coach Federationcertified executive coach and a certified meditation and mindfulness teacher with the School of Positive Transformation, explained that the five senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching) interpret the environment as “upping” or “draining” your vibe. In other words, one’s specific environment can enhance or diminish an individual’s quality of life.
“Clutter disrupts energy flow,” said Canita, who recommended mindful and intentional decluttering via three simple steps.
The first is to intend or to be clear about what you want to experience or achieve through decluttering and organizing. This will motivate you to pursue the activity until you make your intention a reality.
Second is to notice or to just look at each room or space in your home. She suggested creating a map of the floor space of your home. Mapping on a sheet of paper will make it easier for you to identify the purpose of each room or space, the position of all the furniture, any broken appliances occupying space, the most and least used spaces, dark and narrow areas, and clutter.
Third is to align or adjust all the elements or things inside a specific space to match the purpose or intention for that space.
Start with one room and identify the purpose of that room. Check for things inside the room that do not contribute to the purpose of that particular room. For example, if you are focusing first on your bedroom and the purpose of your room is for finding rest, peace and some quiet, identify which furniture and other items in the room belong or do not belong there. For each item that you can see, ask yourself how it aligns with the intention of that space. In this way, you define what clutter is for you.
Clutter refers to things that are not being used, in excess and not necessary. They vary according to a person’s life stage, lifestyle and intention. It is important to ask, “What is disrupting my energy?”
Some things may be better moved to another space in the home or disposed of altogether. For example, if you have accumulated piles of books for bedside reading and have allowed the piles to just grow inside your bedroom, these books, if they have become clutter or unnecessary in your bedroom, may be transferred to shelves in the hallway, or if already read, may be given away to friends or even to public libraries.
Many parents find they still have the clothes, books and other things used by their teenagers when the latter were still young toddlers or preschool age. As individuals progress through life stages, the things they use and prefer change, making the things they used and preferred fall under the definition of clutter.
Canita advised to declutter according to intention, which means adhering to the purpose of the room, your life stage and what you want to achieve from the exercise. She said there is no need to do everything in one day as this will only introduce stress into what otherwise would be a healthy activity that would enhance your overall well-being.
You can categorize items by frequency of use and assign them spaces in the room in which they are used. Things always used should be in the prime spot or within arm’s reach. Things usually used should be in the same room in open or easily accessible storage. Things often used may be in the same room in closed storage. Things only sometimes used in that room should be relocated to a different space. Finally, things rarely used should be stored off-site or even disposed.
Canita walked participants through an exercise called “The Abundance Box.” The idea is to get a box and fill it with things you haven’t used for a while. Have a partner hide the box. After 30 days, recall all the items you have put inside the box while only your partner sees the contents. You may re-own the items you remember and share or give away those you have forgotten. “The Abundance Box exercise allows us to repeat the cycle of blessings by re-owning and sharing,” said Canita.
She shared a list of organizations that receive “clutter” on behalf of those who may benefit from them: Wear Forward, a champion of circular fashion, sells, buys, rents, swaps and donates preloved, upcycled and sustainable clothes; Basically Borrowed, a sustainability fashion advocate, upcycles unwanted clothes as thrift shop or ukay-ukay finds; Humble Sustainability, a circular economy start-up, is a professional liquidation company for aging stocks, excess inventory and the like; Green Trident, a recycling facility in Valenzuela, accepts all kinds of paper, plastic and metals/household appliances for drop- off/donation; Nanboya Philippines buys preloved luxury goods; and Hand & Heart, Goodwill, Caritas and Library Hub Philippines all accept book donations for the disabled, out-of- school youth, mobile libraries, and their various beneficiaries.
There are plenty of Facebook groups and communities dedicated to sustainable fashion and the circular economy that would gladly advise or actually help you not only get rid of your clutter, but also find places where they are better suited or needed.
The decluttering process may be done in the same way with your office space. If you have returned to the office, check if all the things within your work space help you achieve the purpose of your cubicle for productive work. Still, make your home a priority because “a healthy home environment is a basic need.”
(Story/Photos by:Carla Paras-Sison)