I describe myself as frugal, but
once in a while often, I cross the ‘cheap’ line.
And I don’t want to be cheap. Being cheap puts me in a scarcity mindset, as opposed to the abundance mindset. You can’t be someone who is both ‘I believe I can earn as much as I want’ and ‘why buy the better option when the cheap option exists’. They’re contradictory of each other.
In May 2019, I started a 30-day decluttering challenge with the following objectives:
- Get rid of old things that no longer ‘sparks joy’ and makes me feel cheap when I use them
- Return items borrowed from friends and family
- Sell, gift or donate items that still have value
- And ultimately, declutter my house and thus, my head
Here’s everything I got rid off during the decluttering challenge. Note: They don’t necessarily add up to 30 things in 30 days. Some items are multiples.
1. An old eye mask. Had to tie the elastic bands to make it fit my head.
2. A well-loved H&M dress. Not the best quality and only lasted 10 months until it got too ‘hole-y’. But it was a decently comfortable night dress.
3. Pillowcases. They’re clean but turned this disgusting yellow colour. Long overdue.
4. A loose hair tie. I kept this one particular hair tie for no reason for years.
5. An old kurta. It was a thrift shop find that was lovingly used until past its prime.
6. An old skirt. I have a bit of an attachment to this skirt, but it’s time for it to go.
7. Old tanktops. Thrown away a few ill-fitting tank tops.
8. Two old mugs. The chipped and stained ones, the same ones described in my article about the downsides of frugalism.
9. A chipped Japanese teacup. It was a pair – the other one broke a long time ago. A bit sad to say goodbye – it was a gift from a good friend.
10. A broken roller lint. It was broken, don’t know why I kept it.
11. A car mobile charger holder. A flimsy thing given for free from an online vendor. I don’t have a car and no one I know wants it.
12. Old namecards. Trimmed down my namecard collection from hundreds of cards to below 50 cards.
13. An expired foot cream. Self-explanatory.
14. Multiple pens that dried out. Self-explanatory.
15. MUJI Bedsheets. You’d think everything MUJI is high-quality and will last a while right? Not really. The bedsheets didn’t even last a year before holes started appearing in them. Very disappointed tbh.
16. Expired bottle of fish oil capsules. For obvious reasons.
17. An old handbag. Present from mom but never used, and the elements made it old and unrepairable. Don’t tell her.
18. Tefal nonstick pan. The nonstick coating came off.
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Is it normal for Tefal non-stick pans to become like this after just 2.5 years of usage? . Anyway, I’m throwing this out. Anyone have suggestions for good nonstick pans suitable for induction cookers? Lazada midyear sales is coming up . #tefal #fryingpan #nonstickcookware #nonstickpan #lazadamalaysia #lazadasales
19. JBL earphones. Because you don’t sell or gift used earphones away, eww.
20. Old underwear. Tis’ time.
1. My mom’s luggage bag. Borrowed for a trip and returned right after.
2. My partner’s folder. One of those ‘no rush to return’ items. But finally did.
Sold, Gifted or Donated:
1. A pair of Nelissa Hilman shoes. [SOLD] It looked good in the stores, but painful to walk in. The search for the perfect nude/brown heels continues.
2. A pair of sneakers. [GIFTED to a friend]. Black sneakers in Converse style but not Converse brand.
Plan to sell, gift or donate:
Quick note on this section. These are items that are still too good to throw away, yet don’t have the time/energy/motivation to sell, gift or donate yet. It’s not strictly considered decluttered items, but I’ll include them here anyway for self-reminder. #perkofhavingyourownblog
1. Two bottles of non-alcoholic wines. One red wine, one white wine. Got them from Estonia specifically to cook with or resell to Muslim people who always wanted to taste wine but wanna keep it halal, whichever comes first.
2. Three bottles of shampoos. Not suitable for my hair.
3. A bag full of rarely-worn clothes. Don’t we all have this?
4. A Soap & Glory Body Polish + Body Butter set. Maybe I’ll just use this myself, let’s see.
5. A few books that I don’t want to read again. Oh btw check out my bookshelves, sorted by colour ^_^
Lessons learned from decluttering challenge
#1 – I cleared out a bunch of stuff from the decluttering challenge, but also replaced (sone of) them with newer items
I know that I do tend to keep some things for far too long, because they still technically ‘work’. Prime example: wearing a super worn-down piece of clothing.
That’s cheap of me, because it’s not like I can’t afford to replace them. Again, I don’t want to be cheap.
The decluttering challenge gave me the opportunity to replace:
- The chipped and stained mugs with new ones
nonstick pan with a new one
- The old, holey bedsheets and pillowcases with new ones
- Some old, worn-looking clothes with new ones (went on a shopping spree at my sister’s shop)
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When your sister is forced to be nice to you because you’re a paying customer at her boutique 😂 . Check out @marquise.my! Uniqlo vibes, lots of mix-and-match items. I got 7 tops that I can pair with my existing wardrobe. Gotta stretch the clothing budget 😁 . For the plus size version, go to my other sister’s shop @malaysiaplussize ✌️ . #capsulewardrobe #minimalismmalaysia #shahalam #plussizemalaysia
I’m not going to replace everything though. Because…
#2 – I want to be mindful of things I consume from now on
While I’m at a good financial place in my life now, I sure can’t afford buying exclusively free-trade, ethically-sourced-and-produced items. And if I can’t do that, that means I am directly contributing to the harmful effects of fast fashion / other consumption products.
So I’m going to do the next best thing: buy less. Consume less. Buy things I love, sure, but only a few as opposed to a lot of it.
This is hard, because marketers and advertisers sure know how to get to your head and create that desire.
Doesn’t mean I can’t fight back. We all know that stuff doesn’t make you happy, experiences does.
Related: Why We Can’t Stop Spending Money
#3 – Clothes is really a trial and error thing
About 20 pieces of clothes (including shoes) get thrown out, donated, gifted or sold during this 30-day decluttering challenge. That’s quite a lot, in quantity and in $$.
And you know, even though I loved all of the things I bought during the purchasing process, it is hard to predict what I’d really end up liking, and what I’ll never wear ever again.
My plan for that bag of unwanted but good-condition clothes now is to reuse, sell or gift what I can. Quite thankful of communities like the Beli Nothing Project and Kloth Cares that can help extend the lifecycle of these clothes and keep them out of landfills.
#4 I really like the mindset that Marie Kondo taught
One thing that I really love about Marie Kondo is her attitude to things we no longer need. She taught us how important it is to thank the items individually for serving us. At one point, each of them made us happy, and we have to be grateful for that feeling.
Doing this to some nostalgic but old items helped in this decluttering process. I’m glad I got to say goodbye to them.
#5 – Decluttering cleared out my head
Messy environment, messy head. I’m happy to report my head is less messy now 🙂 I wanted my environment to reflect my current values, and I did it.
For now, at least. I still have the tendency to go back to my default ‘save money’ mode as opposed to ‘earn money’ mode. It’ll be a lifelong process.
Do you do decluttering challenges?
I think most people do, right? Especially while cleaning the house during festive seasons, a ‘might as well’ thing.
What I *am* curious about is what you do with the items. Do you tend to throw them out? Sell them off? Donate them (to who?) Keep them out of sight?
Let me know in the comments section 🙂