Decluttering 101: Does your home really need that 24/7?

As we inch closer to our second anniversary as “homeworkers,” most of us have probably joined Home Buddies, a home improvement group whose members satiate their boredom by renovating some parts of their house — tinkering on various nooks to make it more inviting, and even participating on online budols as they endlessly add to their carts various homeware and décor. But where do we draw the lines between wants and needs?

If you’re an active maximalist, and have always wanted your home to look like a museum, look away. This article isn’t for you.

There’s a fine line between harmoniously designed rooms, and rooms that should be on MTV’s Pimp My Ride, an American TV series produced by MTV and hosted by rapper Xzibit, with each episode restoring and customizing cars in poor condition. To avoid this mistake of over-crowding your home, here are tips you can start on.

• Know what you need and what you don’t need. As Marie Kondo always reiterated, take out what doesn’t spark joy. It’s only February, so it’s still never too late for you to start over. And since starting new doesn’t need an exact date, remember that you can always see more of what you don’t use every time you decide to do it in small batches.

Start by storing away some unnecessary objects that are in the way of holistic spacing within our homes.

Start with your kitchen. Which plates, mugs, utensils, and other tools do you rarely use? Give them away or sell them. In the living room, look at your various décor and couch pillows. Do you really need eight fixtures? Five pillows? For your room, start with your bookshelf: just keep those that are really your favorites, and sell or give away those that you’ve already read and re-read. This way, you’re slowly (but surely) letting go of unnecessary items.

• Shelves for what? Don’t overdo the art of displaying random things in your shelves. Storing too many pots, bowls, or even collectibles seems inviting to the eyes, but cleaning them is hard work. At this point, consider the time you’ll be spending on reorganizing them.

Sometimes these “space saving” shelves that make our homes appear more organized are the ones that decrease space and add clutter — discard unnecessary shelves!

• You don’t need trays for everything. Ceramics in pastel colors are everywhere — on online shops, home stores, and on social media. It’s nice to look at, and tempting to collect. But at what cost? Will you bring all of them with you in case you relocate?

These home additions only make your home look like a whole kitchen. Plus, you don’t always have to use trays at home — making them useless.

Here’s what you probably need: a coaster, a tray or two for your kitchen and dining area, and something for your fruits to sit on, and one big organizer for your makeup, skin products or accessories.

• Art and prints on your wall. As a film enthusiast myself, I’m all for putting up various posters of my favorite movies in my living area. It brings me absolute joy and helps me remember what it felt like to be in a movie house, particularly the cinema lobby of TriNoma, again. But as I’ve mentioned, cleaning is hard work. So be smart in choosing prints you can’t really let go of.

Having all your faves and hobbies put up on your wall is one thing, but stacking them all together makes it look overcrowded and overwhelming.

Besides, we’re really still hoping to physically get back to the old glory days of packed cinema houses, with the smell of popcorn wafting through the dark room.

• Addressing our toxic habits. The bottom line is, we’re all just victims of capitalism. We think every purchase — be it homeware, K-Pop photo cards or appliances — will bring us happiness and peace of mind. Although it can raise our happy hormones, it all boils down to the harms of active consumerism, which in turn, can make our lives (and spaces!) feel overcrowded and cluttered. The amount of waste we throw out everyday is obscene. And talks on plastic, metal, and carbon waste management is an even bigger topic that we need to address.

Sometimes, it’s all about our weird and unreasonable spending habits which are results of seeing too many trends on social media. You don’t always have to follow them — instead, follow what your home’s needs are telling you!

Maybe 2202 is the year we start criticizing our own purchasing and designing habits that the trends we see online have ingrained in our minds. Not everything should be followed — this impulsive lifestyle only makes us lose and waste so much money, space, and energy.