For months, I had a messy room. I thought everything was just okay until I found myself sleeping in the couch for a week or two because there were so many things on my bed. There were papers, unused clothing, books, bags…etc. Everything was a mess! Little did I know that the mess “outside” was actually taking toll on my everyday activities…and my “inner life.”
It was probably a month ago when I noticed that I would usually wake up very tired despite sleeping earlier than usual. Whenever I combed my hair, I would find more hair stuck in the wide-toothed comb. It didn’t probably seem like it but I was stressed!
And then right after one morning mass, when I found myself with more quiet time for meditation, it dawned on me why I was feeling more worried, pressured and tired: my room needed cleaning.
Moreover, I stumbled upon this video which made me really motivated to begin decluttering:
It took a day to actually get my room from messy to organized. I cleared out my bed, fixed my desk, cleared my closet for clothes I no longer use. As I sorted things into “what I need to keep,” “what I need to donate,” and “trash,” I realized that deep within, I was also going through a process of assessing what are the essentials and what I can let go of. There were keychains, conference ids, t-shirts, letters and other stuff that were very memorable but I knew I could no longer keep. I was trying to hold on to some World Youth Day-Madrid items when I realized that I really do not need to preserve the memory of it through them; the lessons of WYD Madrid had already been learned well enough to stay in my heart forever.
I proceeded to declutter my closet and saw that nearly half of it was taking unnecessary space already. It was either that I had not touched a certain top for a year or I never even used it at all! There were also pieces that I am so sure I could no longer use because I am now trying to be mindful with what I wear. Also, that video on minimalism gave me a eureka moment: deciding what to wear in the morning takes so much of my time! So I kept everything basic and left only the clothes that I knew I would regularly use. Not only did it give me more space, it allowed me to see that I no longer need to buy more clothes. What I had was enough for me to use and be presentable in class and in other engagements.
I also let go of bags, shoes and other accessories. I completely donated all the bracelets, earrings, necklaces I no longer touched because I was content with my gold necklace with two pendants and two watches I use (one digital one for everyday use and one for more formal occasions).
Even my books needed to be organized since most of the essential books I had were already in my Kindle. I kept majority of it, though, and placed it in our “library” in the room outside our house. I lined up for display in my desk only those that I normally use when I teach and preach. The rest that I still kept close because I wanted to reread them someday, I stored in one of the cabinets cleared because of my newfound take on what I wear.
As for make-up and other beauty items, I had to give the excess away. There was no use of “storing it for later” because I also kept those things to a minimum. There was that eye cream that I always forget to use, that lipstick that I can use but too reddish or too dark. There were tubs of lotion that mom hoarded later on, along with some clothes I let go. And there were skincare items that I think I could simply not use anymore.
Bottomline, when you see my room now, everything is reduced to the basics.
What did I learn from the entire experience and the days that followed after that?
- It is nice to stick to only what you need. It makes choosing what to use easier and it makes life simpler. When I reduced my clothing to only a significant number of tops, jeans and dresses, I realized that it does not matter if you wear the same thing over and over. I doesn’t matter, too, if it is out of fashion or in fashion. For as long as I dress modestly and nicely, that is enough. Would what other people say, matter? Nope. What matters is what you do with your life. It is not what you wear that will attract people or define who you are; it is your heart.
- With a few items in my room now, I could find things easily. I could also move around better even if my room is really small.
- I can sleep on my bed now and I found out that I wake up better. The back pains due to my upper and lower back conditions are now manageable.
- I stay in my room longer now and I feel peaceful about it. I think better, pray better, and work better, too.
- Decluttering my room allowed me to see the state of my heart, too. It was a concrete step in detachment. Detaching from the memorabilia allowed me to also detach from people and things and see the beauty of keeping close only a few. For people, not that I am pushing everyone away and being uncharitable but I saw how it was okay to keep much of what happens in my life to myself and to a select few. My former spiritual director was right in saying that the interior life should be between me and God, him and the one who forms me. I can still share but I am in no way obliged to share everything to everyone. It was liberating!
- A clean room made prayer more conducive. I have more quiet moments now and I need not stay in the living room often and drown myself in social media. I have more time now for spiritual reading and lesser time for Facebook. (Social media, I realized, can be so tiring!)
- Keeping things organized and clean allows me to view life with fresh eyes. When I wake up in the morning, I no longer wake up “in a mess.” It is now easier to stand up, get my breviary and do the lauds before I head to morning Mass.
Basically, one’s room really reflects one’s inner room. A clean and simple room free from “mess,” “attachments” and other “unnecessary things,” benefits one’s spiritual life. One good advise I also got from a priest was to make one’s room so simple that when we die, there is not much in it to give away and discard. It reflects a life lived in poverty-a life lived for God alone.
Because really, we do not need much; we simply need God.
(image source: https://www.c2educate.com)