Jumpstart Your Decluttering: Watch Marie Kondo on Netflix

images via  condo living

images via condo living

Get inspired to declutter your life this year by watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix. You can binge watch the 8 episodes, or watch it one by one as it inspires you to make changes in the different ‘categories’ in your life.

Let me tell you a secret: Before I declutter or start tidying my home, I ALWAYS WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF THE KON MARI METHOD to:

  1. Get me pumped and excited to declutter my own stuff. It’s not easy, even for someone who does it professionally because of emotional attachment to my own stuff. It’s easier helping other people do it because I’m more objective.

  2. Get inspired by space and life transformations. This assures me that the end is worth the time and effort.

  3. Find decluttering and organizational ideas that I would like to apply in my space.

Each person has different tidying up needs, and I love how Marie Kondo’s show reflects different situations and how she applies or tailors the #MarieKondoMethod for each client’s needs.

It’s so important to feel that our unique situation is heard by our professional organizer, and that there is no one size fits all solution, because we all have unique spaces, needs, personalities and histories.

The one thing consistent with Mari Kondo’s method is this:

Does this Spark Joy?

The end result is that you keep only what Sparks Joy in your life and a space that truly makes you happy. The result usually spills over to the rest of our lives with better, less stressful relationships with homes and housemates/family members.

Please check out the trailer below. I hope that it gets you pumped to declutter your life in the new year and to learn what truly Sparks Joy. Letting go of what doesn’t Spark Joy gives space and honors the stuff that truly make us happy.


This TV show isn’t the end all and be all, so do not expect to become an expert in the Kon Mari Method, just by watching the show.

  • The secret to the Kon Mari Method is the folding so that each item can stand on it’s own and be stored vertically to see everything in your storage at a glance. If you don’t see how to fold a certain item, it’s always just a google or youtube video away.

  • The value of hiring a professional to help you declutter in the Kon Mari Method is to teach the entire family to tidy their own stuff. It’s not about having someone come do it for you, then not knowing how to maintain it. On the contrary, YOU each need to do your own decluttering, so you each know how to maintain it. Once you do the hard work, you will want to keep it tidy forever because you know how hard it was.

  • If you have read the books below, this TV show shows you the process visually, but as always the books are more detailed in explaining stuff. So if you are into the details, I highly recommend her books. It’s good to refer to when you are stumped on a category:

Thrilled that my hubby’s KonMari-ed closet was featured on her IG

Thrilled that my hubby’s KonMari-ed closet was featured on her IG

After more than a decade of decluttering each time we moved countries as a diplomat’s wife, it felt like I was perpetually drowning in clutter, but that all changed a few years ago, when I found the Kon Mari Method. It is the only method that really works! I read her books, watched her videos and applied the Kon Mari Method to my home. Since then I have also helped numerous clients declutter their homes using the Kon Mari Method. I specialize in helping people declutter before and after moving homes, to make the move less stressful.

Some people are able to do this on their own, but if you are in need of support or coaching, the DeclutterMNL team caters exclusively to Makati-based clients, and some nearby areas like BGC and Alabang.. We also do virtual coaching for clients who aren’t in the area.

Watch out for our next post:

marie kondo netflix.png

Decluttering The Mind: Mentally Preparing For The New Year

The New Year is just around the corner and with the Holidays in full-swing, there’s bound to be added clutter to our already jam-packed homes. Next thing you know, New Years Day is over and it’s suddenly 2019 with confetti strewn across the floor, left-over food, and gift wrappers everywhere with nowhere to go. All this visual chaos can amount to triggered anxieties: Where do you start? Where do you put all of this? Why is there so much clutter?! It can be an extremely overwhelming experience to finally see all together how much of a mess the holidays can make, but the beauty of the coming New Year is the new rounds of resolutions that everyone takes part in; and more often than not, keeping a clean home and a mentally healthy mind is on that list.

Mental health can be a very complicated and intricate thing, and from a research done 20 years ago, it was found that there were already 36% of the Filipino population suffering from this; on top of that, there is a whopping 1 in 3 people who suffer from mental health disorders.

So why is decluttering and cleaning a recommended exercise for those under the mental health belt?

Reference: 1 in 3 Pinoys Has Mental Health Problem


"Sometimes the feelings inside me get messy like dirt. And I like to clean things. Pretend the dirt is the feelings. This floor is my mind. That is called coping.”

  • Crazy Eyes, Orange Is The New Black

AKA you. You are loving you this year.

AKA you. You are loving you this year.

And it’s exactly that: when we physically clean, it’s almost a direct correlation to our mental process.

There is a rhythm to wiping, scrubbing, and sweeping; a kind of focused meditation that goes along with it. According to an article by Leo Babauta called “Mindful Simplicity: Decluttering and Leaving No Trace”, cleaning is a good way to practice and boost your focus and mindfulness.

Reference: Mindful Simplicity: Decluttering and Leaving No Trace


When you begin to clean, exercise your mind and do as follows:

  • Refuse any thoughts that come through

  • Focus on the rhythm of your hands as you sweep, wipe, or scrub

  • Regulate your breathing

As you do this, watch the dirt wash away and reveal a cleaner surface underneath. When thoughts come through, be it problems you want to think about, the current stress you feel, or situations you need to think through, try your best to silence your mind and revert back to focusing on the task at hand.

Once you are able to get into the rhythm of things, the peacefulness of cleaning takes over and thus creates a sense of serenity and clarity once all is spick-and-span.

Think of your mind as the grimy and cluttered surface- There are too many distractions, too much dust that can pollute the rest of your things. When you wipe, and scrub, and clean until everything is neat and organized, it’s like you’re wiping, scrubbing, and cleaning your thoughts as well. When you’re outside world is in order, there’s more room for your mind to breathe amidst the anxieties flurrying inside. Less clutter, less things to worry over.

With the New Year coming up, it’s maybe time for a literal fresh start. Get up and kick off 2019 with a clean home. Take your time and start slowly until one newly tidied corner of your room becomes an entire house of clutter-free clean. It’s time to clear your space and your mind. Trust us, your mental health will thank you for it.

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How To Avoid Mindless Gift Buying

Impulse buying is a phenomenon that plagues most of us - it urges us to buy items we would most likely regret purchasing after. In the midst of the hectic Christmas season, let’s be mindful of this tendency and avoid it; the best way is to

  1. Understand the phenomenon.

  2. Apply the learning to a practical everyday shopping situations.

  3. Then look for alternatives.

The occurrence is frequent and widespread, with both internal and external factors encouraging us to impulse buy.

How To Avoid Mindless Gift Buying

Influences to impulse buying include Lack of Control, Stress Reaction, and Absorption (Youn & Faber, 2000).

  • Lack of control commonly deals with “playing things by ear” and poor planning, so scheduling and organizing purchases by writing on your planner, for example, before you shop would be a good way to reflect and control.

  • When a person is stressed or experiencing negative emotions, he or she results to “quick fixes” like impulse purchases, so having a cost-free, go-to mood booster like going for a quick run, would be a better route.

  • Absorption plays a role in how people respond to environmental and sensory cues. Marketer-created environmental and product factors including colors, smells, sounds, textures, and locations can increase the likelihood of engaging in impulse buying. (Eroglu and Machleit 1993; Mitchell 1994) So don’t buy into it - even if your favorite insta-influencers looks amazing in it, or tells you that you have to have it, ask yourself if it’s something your recipients would truly love and cherish for a long time.

Here are some tips to follow to avoid mindless gift buying.

1. Stay away from stores that sell low quality products

Absorption deals with how a buyer responds to his or her environment. Some shops emotionally entice and provide stimuli (colors, sounds, promotions etc.) that make buyers feel like they have to purchase an item. Oftentimes they get away with the trickery without notice! When you enter a store that caters to a vibe or aesthetic that you are particularly drawn to, you find yourself following a feeling when you buy something instead of your own rational and practical mindfulness. Examples are when you enter a store like Daiso or Miniso and you see all the cute fun items they have for sale at super low prices.

Internal and external factors work hand in hand to give you a high when you buy something impulsively, only to make you realize later on that what you have purchased is not only impractical, but more often than not also harmful to the environment and unsustainable! When buying gifts this Christmas season, it is important to keep in mind that cute and cheap things easily sway buyers; a little self-reflection and a harder look into sustainable gift-buying can and will go a long way.

How to Avoid Mindless Gift Buying

2. It’s the thought that counts

When giving gifts to loved ones, try to picture them using the item you gave them. Think to yourself, will this person really enjoy this gift? How long will they be able to use it? And the most important question we often forget to ask, when they are done with this gift, will the materials decompose in a way that is good for the environment? It also helps if you really know the person you are giving this gift to. A tip is to make sure whatever item you’re getting them is inclined to the person’s hobbies or interests, to ensure it’s something they’ll enjoy and be able to use for a long time.

3. Giving food as gifts

Another tip to avoid mindless gift buying, is to get them food. During the Christmas season, you’ll find lots of Christmas bazaars, or boutiques in every corner of the city. In these affairs you will find stalls selling different kinds of food that are wrapped with pretty ribbons ready to be given as gifts. It can be anything from delicious pastries, to beautifully arranged fruit baskets. The beauty of giving food as gifts is there’s minimal waste, since the gift itself will be eaten! In my experience, when I receive food as gifts, it’s never disappointing because during the busy holiday season, it’s great to have little yummy treats to snack on throughout the day. But be wary of things that look or sounds delicious, but aren’t in reality. Ask for a taste test before you use your hard earned cash to buy food for your loved ones.

4. Giving eco-friendly presents

Shampoo bars, metal straws, wooden toothbrushes, reusable bags — just some of the eco friendly items that have been slowly rising in our market today. These make great gifts because not only are they useful, they’re great for the environment. This may also inspire the receiver to start a more eco-friendly life, to be more economically conscious. When I first got my first wooden toothbrush given to me by a friend, it really got me into using more products that help reduce the production of plastic. It didn’t feel that different to a regular plastic toothbrush, plus knowing that it was made of a material that would decompose a lot faster than plastic really sold me to the idea of using it. Reused wrapping materials will best fit the eco-friendly gifts!


The next time you go to a store that sells cheap items, before you buy, ask yourself: What are my reasons for this item? Will the item be useful for a long duration of time? Is it sustainable? Is it harmful to the environment? It goes without saying that things you know for a fact are sturdier or of higher quality cost more than promo items. If the quality stuff prove to be way over your budget, however, you do not need to turn to impulse buying when in promo stores, because you always have the option to make gifts yourself! It will not only cost less, but the human aspect in what you are giving will be more prevalent; that way, your emotions are more in line with rational and heartfelt work and not wasted on impulse buying.

Sources: Impulse buying: its relation to personality traits and cues

images: hautestock

How to avoid mindless gift buying

Embrace JOMO

"You're enjoying what you're doing in the here and now and not on social media broadcasting or seeing what everybody else is doing." - Director of trend-forecasting Ann Mack

I read this article on huffingtonpost and I am so surprised that it was written in 2014, when it is still so relevant today. So many people still feel FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. I observed that people feel FOMO more acutely here in Asia, as compared to when I was in Europe where the pace of life is slower than a 24/7 Metropolis like Metro Manila.

This is one reason I decided not to continue with lifestyle blogging here, where celebrity bloggers dictate the newest food and lifestyle trends. I'm not into trends. I like to keep things simple and live life according to my personal needs. As someone who is bipolar and suffers from anxiety, simplifying and decluttering life has helped me have a life that is more meaningful while reducing unnecessary sources of stress, which I feel is a feat in a stress-prone city like Metro Manila. More on this in future posts. 

It echoes the movement begun by Arianna Huffington regarding the Third Metric - a movement to redefine success based on wellbeing and mindfulness - as well as a push to help your own creativity by giving yourself space to think.

It's one of the reasons I stopped posting food photos, just for the sake of posting them on social media. Instead, I'd rather enjoy the food and the company of whomever I am eating with. When I have time after, I might post it - or not. I don't want to be part of a movement that makes people feel like they are less or that they are "missing out", because they aren't traveling to a certain place, or they haven't tried a certain restaurant or trend.  

At the heart of my Decluttering journey is MINDFULNESS. When we declutter our space and lifestyle, we make space for mindful and joyful living. Simple yet better.

We can only do this with JOMO or the Joy of Missing Out.


"To live the lives we truly want and deserve, and not just the lives we settle for, we need a Third Metric, a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well- being, wisdom, wonder, and giving." - Arianna Huffington

I'm thinking of getting her book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder*  on Kindle, because this Third Metric resonates with me. Have you read her book? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


*May contain affiliate links, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.


Decluttering vs Organizing

People are always looking for ways to organize their things and after moving three times to three different countries in a span of six years, I got tired. It seemed no matter how organized I was, or how many organizers I had, things still got pretty cluttered. I even designed my own furniture bespoke with dividers in each drawer for crying-out-loud. That didn't matter, because I was still moving with a lot of crap, so even after hours of organizing, clutter would just recur in a few days. 


ORGANIZING: To arrange all the things you have into a system, without necessarily reducing.

DECLUTTERING: To remove unnecessary items, so you have less things to organize.

I decided to get rid of anything that I don't find TRULY BEAUTIFUL or USEFUL in my life. And when I explained this to my friends here in Manila, I kept getting told that my principles sounded like the Kon Mari Method. I was intrigued. 

Discovering The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up of Mari Kondo was indeed life-changing. I didn't get the book at first. Before buying the book, I watched some of her you tube videos first, to see if her method called to me. And after these first few videos I watched, I was hooked! 

  1. Kon Mari Method of Basic Folding
  2. Decluttered Underwear Storage
  3. How to Tidy Your Office Space
  4. Kon Mari Declutters a New York Home

We need to DECLUTTER FIRST before organizing so that the clutter doesn't just creep back in. It makes so much sense - a lightbulb moment!

But what makes the Kon Mari Method of decluttering different, is asking yourself "Does this spark joy?" It is a fantastic way to deal with the emotions our stuff inspire in us - whether we want to admit it or not. 

I used to ask myself all sorts of questions that temporarily helped me declutter:

  • Have I used this in the last year?
  • How often do I use it?
  • Should this be part of my 33 things (or some other random number)

But asking myself DOES THIS SPARK JOY? has totally simplified the process of decluttering. It's a game changer. 

I Kon Mari-ed my own closet and things, and my husband was so impressed with the difference in my closet that he also wanted to Kon Mari his own. This snap of his decluttered closet - we got rid of 1/3 of his clothes - was even featured in Mari Kondo's Instagram. I was ecstatic, of course!

Since embarking on my decluttering journey using the Kon Mari Method, I can say that it's true. Once you apply the Kon Mari Method to different categories of your life, the change is permanent - barring, of course, a shopping spree of unnecessary things. Because once you get used to having ONLY what sparks joy in your life, you will realize that we live with a lot of things that DON'T SPARK JOY. What do I mean?

  • If it makes me feel guilty for not having used it
  • If I feel bad that it was gifted to me and I don't like it
  • I realized it's not my color/cut/size
  • I've outgrown it
  • It's not my style anymore

If any of these statements are true, or if you touch something and it doesn't inspire a sudden lift in your spirits ("Spark Joy") then it must be disposed of.

We've come a long way since then, and have helped families create more mindful spaces, not just in Metro Manila but also as far as the USA, through actual and virtual decluttering consultations. 

I can't wait to share them all with you. 


*As the sole breadwinner of my family, supporting a hubby who has cancer, I am proud to be an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase through the links in this site, I may receive a small amount that helps me with purchases for my family's needs. Thank you!