Rays of Splendour


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Decluttering life part 1 – clearing the room from life’s excesses

Lately, the state of my room stifles me. This is ironic seeing that my room is pretty neat and everything’s placed in its proper compartment. However for some reason that I’ve yet to figure out, I’ve been slowly noticing the things inside my room.

10 sets of files containing readings from university (which I’d graduated from in 2006) occupying the top half of the bookshelf. Even more sets of readings bounded together in the second row of the bookshelf. More files from the teacher training days (2007).  Beside the bookshelves are two cupboards . Clothes are spilling out of one cupboard. Too many sets of tops, jeans, dresses and more to be counted. Countless bags (for formal occasions, traveling, etc) being placed in a heap inside a big box in another cupboard. When I opened the drawers located in front of the two cupboards, I found them to be filled with random items like old birthday and teachers’ day cards, unused cosmetics and stationery, membership cards, old bills and many more.

The following thoughts have been running through my mind since last week (not in order):

  1. Why do I own so many things that I don’t use/need?
  2. Why did I buy all these clothes?
  3. I need to throw away these files as I haven’t touched them since the last time I filed things inside them back in 2006.
  4. I need to throw away all these items in the drawers.
  5. If all these things are gone, this room will be less stifling
  6. If all these things are gone, this mind will be less cluttered

I realized one thing as well – I’ve been a victim of commercialization (and hoarding which explains why I still kept all the files) and the items I’ve purchased haven’t brought any benefit to my life. The purchase of countless of clothes is one glaring instance of how I’ve blown off thousands of dollars into an unbeneficial pursuit. Even though the cupboard where I placed all my clothes is practically bursting at its seams, the reality is that I haven’t worn half of the clothes inside it even once since I purchased it. Most of the clothes were bought on a whim – I was convinced that I needed to own it at the time of purchase.

At the end of the day, this whim simply resulted in a wastage of space in this room and played a role in the depletion of the Earth’s resources and worse, its degradation. For example, the demand for clothes here in Singapore have fueled the need for its production in the textile industry in China. Since the textile industry needs to meet the demand, they need resources in the form of workers, cloth, electricity, etc. Workers aside, ensuring the supply of resources like cloth and electricity would definitely impact the Earth. The Guardian and Greenpeace have done extensive reporting on the links between environmental degradation and the textile industry and with every word I read from these two sites (and many others as well), I started feeling bad.

The full enormity of my actions have truly caused me to be ashamed of myself. I’m an advocate when it comes to saving the environment but I’ve overlooked how my spending habits have played a role in harming it. Additionally on a personal level, the accumulation of items in this room is increasingly causing me to be stifled. I feel like I’m entrapped by life’s excesses.

Hence, I’ve set out this goal for myself for this vacation – to declutter this room. At this point in time, I’m glad the Town Council here has installed those recycling bins at the ground floor of each building. They will certainly come in handy as an outlet to dispose all those recyclable items in this room.