Things I’m Leaving Behind In 2020

A 30-Day Decluttering Diary And A Few Sustainable Tips

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It took my room a few tidying up until I realized that the rules of minimalism just aren’t for me. With that, I decided to come up with my own decluttering process — one that is pressure-less and most definitely realistic.

I am a firm believer that decluttering need not be extraneous and overwhelming. It can be a therapeutic activity that allows us to be in touch of ourselves and our surroundings. It can say a lot about what we value, who we are or perhaps, who we once were.

As my advanced New Year’s resolution, I decided to declutter at my own pace. The only rule is to find at least 1 (one) item a day, which I no longer need. From there, I decide what I want to do with them — either repurpose, throw out, donate, or re-gift.


What it is: An electric shaver box
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as a gift box!

Online shopping became my best friend since this pandemic started. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the only box I have lying around my room, but I decided to start easy today. I initially thought of throwing it out, but then I realized that Christmas is coming up and I cannot properly gift-wrap to save my life. After all, people just rip them out anyway, so what’s the use of having fancy prints on them? Boxes like these are sustainable alternatives to store-bought gift wraps — and I have yet to find more!


What it is: A shoebox
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as a gift box!

I think I bought the shoes that were in it late last year. Only God knows why I kept its box in my cabinet. Well, it’s a pretty fancy one with its handle and all. So far, I have two gift boxes!

What it is: A brush pen set
What’s going to happen to it: Re-gift

Yep, I found two items today. This was given to me a year or two ago by a college friend. I appreciate how she recognized my appreciation for art and gifted me something that mirrors my personality. Unfortunately, I am not the crafty type; and I have very poor penmanship that are not worth of any fancy writing material. Good thing I know someone who will give better purpose to these brush pens — my high school best friend!

Re-gifting is quite a taboo concept. Many would say that it is tacky and inconsiderate. However, I think that these ideas are outweighed by its advantages. Re-gifting, for one, can save people money especially during troubled economic times (like now). Don’t let the Holiday season guilt you into opening your purse! If anything, presents are meant to remind our loved ones that we care for them and that we remember them. Re-gifting can be thoughtful. What’s the difference if you find a good present for your friend in your closet or the department store?

Overall, I think regifting should be a universally acceptable practice — with a few caveats, of course. First, it should be common sense not to re-gift in the same circle. If your cousin in a different city gives you something that you want to give to your college friend, then go for it, as long as you are sure that they are not affiliated in any way. Second, make sure that you are re-gifting an item that is in good condition and in its proper package. My greatest tip would be to think like the person receiving the gift; imagine how you would feel and if the gift is in any way useful to you. In my case, I have an untouched brush pen set that I want to re-gift to my friend who is passionate about painting and caligraphy. I know for a fact that it is something useful for her, which is why I want her to have it.

If you wish to know more about the etiquette of re-gifting, then I suggest you check out this helpful list by I found on the internet.


What it is: Columnar pad (10 columns)
What’s going to happen to it: I’m giving it away!

I needed columnar pads when I was taking my accounting classes. Unfortunately, I got this fresh set a few days before the lockdown, so I was only able to use a few sheets. I don’t need it anymore because I (fortunately) already passed the course and sincerely have no interest in pursuing independent studies about it. The good news is that I have a cousin who majors in Accounting! I messaged her and asked if she might need this pad — she said yes!


What they are: Random plastic waste
What’s going to happen to it: Donate

Plastic waste from my sunscreen, product samples, cotton pads, ink cartridges, and many more. I used to just chuck these items in the bin, but I think I saw one of my friends post about non-profit organizations that collect and recycle plastic wastes. I shall look for them!


What they are: Jeju Aloe Ice container
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

Today, I finished up my Jeju Aloe Ice from The Face Shop. Don’t worry about my face, I already bought another one in advance. I’m not a zero-waste person (mainly for practicality reasons), but the amount of plastic and pollution that we feed our planet never ceases to bother me. Looking for plastic waste is not even a challenge, all we need to do is look around — we’re surrounded by it. I’ve written up numerous unrealistic New Year’s resolutions in the past, but this time, I hope to commit to something that is doable and impactful.

By the way, I finally know where to donate all these plastic waste I have at home! — they are called , or The Plaf for short. This social company aims to tackle marine plastic pollution, mainly by collecting and recycling plastic before they even reach the oceans. I did some deep-diving into their website, and came into the realization that I was not living a conscious lifestyle after all. Waste segregation and minimization are not very common practices, especially in the Philippines. Even if I personally lessen my purchases, regular grocery items will always have plastic in them.

While regular consumers like ourselves have no control over the amounts of plastic produced; The Plaf, and many other organizations, at least help us have a say on where they go.


What it is: (broken) Laptop cooler
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to an organization collecting e-waste

I only recently learned that donating electronic waste (or e-waste) was a thing. My brother used this cooler for a while until his laptop was upgraded. It somehow found its way into my room and is no longer working. I messaged and on Facebook to see if I could send them some e-waste we have lying around the house. Unfortunately, their collection drive is postponed due to the pandemic.

Oh well, my search shall continue!


What they are: My dad’s old and outdated calling cards
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as gift tags!

Not so sure if calling cards are still a thing nowadays, but they were definitely a professional must-have before. With how fast-paced the corporate world has become, I won’t be surprised if there soon comes a convention where people just hold up their QR codes for others to scan.

I used to paint on these calling cards with watercolor when I was younger, but I don’t really see myself getting back into that anytime soon. I shuffled them for a while, thinking of what to do. Finally, it dawned on me that they resembled gift tags!

Just like the boxes I found earlier, these calling cards are perfect for a sustainable and thrifty Christmas. The best part is that I can easily personalize them! Who knows, I just might find time to paint again.


What it is: 1,000 piece mini-puzzle
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to a non-profit organization

I bought this 1,000 piece puzzle set in the early weeks of the coronavirus lockdown. I saw a lot of people on the internet doing all kinds of activities and I thought, “hey, maybe I have the patience to complete a really complicated puzzle set,” — turns out I don’t. I don’t know how Daniel Radcliffe does it, but based on his interview a few months ago, he has been building these huge lego structures I obviously don’t have the attention span for.

Anyway, puzzles are educational toys, right?


What they are: Plastic waste from online shopping
What’s going to happen to them: Donate to

You know, I have too much of these, I just haven’t found them all at this point. I, like many others, have been online shopping like crazy since the lockdown started. It’s convenient and safer, but also harmful for the environment. It’s a good thing, however, that initiatives such as The Plaf exists to help solve the oceanic waste problems that we currently face. They have multiple around Metro Manila, so it should be pretty easy for you to find one closest to your neighborhood.

DAY 10

What it is: some stickers I got for free
What’s going to happen to it: Gift to a friend

Okay, I used to be the type who puts a lot of stickers on their laptop, but I’ve already outgrown that phase in my life. Even today, I still get a lot of stickers I have no use for — they usually come as a freebie. Most of the time, I just give them to my brothers, and they somehow always find use for it. I got these Bumble stickers as freebies, and I feel like it would be such a waste to throw them out since they do look cute.

DAY 11

What they are: Old phone and charger
What’s going to happen to them: Donate to an organization collecting e-waste

I haven’t yet found an organization that is currently collecting e-wastes. So, I’m just collecting these items in one box until I reach one!

DAY 12

What they are: A marketing and law book
What’s going to happen to them: Donate to

The book on the left, I bought on a whim; the one on the right, my friend lent to me and asked me to do whatever I want with it because he does not need it anymore.

The good news is, I finally found a Non-Profit Organization where I can donate my books and some educational toys, like puzzles! They’re called Books For A Cause and they accept all types of reading materials (suitable for children, of course), school supplies, gadgets for display, and many more. Most of their donors bring over their books through courier services, so you literally don’t need to leave your house to contribute to a good cause. If you visit their Facebook page, you’ll see how they bring over the books they collect to numerous public schools around the Philippines. If you happen to have some reading materials at home that don’t anymore serve you any purpose than collect dust, then it might be time to look for a new owner for it — and Books For A Cause is a good channel to help you in that department!

DAY 13

What it is: Another box
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as gift box

I got a faux Airpods a few months ago because, why not? I barely use them anymore because earphones without the wire just feels so uncomfortable to me. Anyway, I’m on track to repurpose its box for a small gift. Perhaps a scrunchie or a necklace would fit in here, I suppose.

DAY 14

What it is: Finance book
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

I bought this secondhand book like two years ago. I don’t work well with numbers, so all this book give me are bad memories. Despite my bad blood with maths, this book is no doubt very helpful for senior high school students who wish to pursue a career in business.

DAY 15

What it is: Expired card
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

Don’t worry, this is a years old membership card. It’s made of regular PVC plastic, and can therefore harm the environment.According to CUSEUM, these cards break apart in smaller pieces when throw away. In effect, they get ingested by animals.

Membership cards are everywhere. Upon expiration, it gets renewed and a new card is issued. More membership means more plastic in the food chain. Big companies have yet to embrace biodegradable or electronic cards, but until then, we shall stick to proper disposal.

DAY 16

What it is: Managerial Accounting book
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

I borrowed this book from my college roommate earlier this year. Accounting is the worst nightmare of my life that I felt like I needed additional references to help me survive it. I finally passed the course a few months ago and ultimately forgot about this book like a real trauma shock. Anyway, I found this under my desk and messaged my roomie about it.

She said she didn’t need the book anymore and gave me her blessing to donate it; but before I do so, I shall ask if any of my friends need it!

What it is: Magazines
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

I used to collect these artsy magazines a few years ago. However, I think I’ve already outgrown them. It’s a good thing that Books For A Cause accepts all types of reading materials!

DAY 17

What it is: High School Musical puzzle set
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

I found another puzzle set! I used to be crazy about High School Musical when I was in grade school. With that, I collected all types of merch from clothes, bags, school supplies, even this puzzle set. This one isn’t as complicated as the 1,000 piece I bought recently, but it’s also too easy (even for a 7 year old). I hope its new owners will love it as much as I did!

DAY 18

What it is: A few more books and magazines!
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

Digged some more and found more books! Many of these are high school textbooks and old magazines that I even forgot I had. Putting them all in one box reminded me of Toy Story 3 when Andy was debating whether he should store his old toys in the attic or donate them to kids. It can be quite difficult to let go of some items we’ve had for a while but we also have to consider whether they’re even still serving their purpose in our lives.

There’s really no use being this sentimental when decluttering, but we sometimes underestimate the power that books have. They have the potential to shape the future, and inspire and equip individuals. If they are just stored away with no one to read, then they are not doing what they are made for — change the world.

DAY 19

What it is: A few more books and magazines!
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

An organization I am part of, The Taft Initiative, is currently holding a toy drive to give to less fortunate children this Christmas. This isn’t necessarily a toy, but it’s a Buzz Lightyear pouch, so I guess it’s acceptable… right?

Anyway, my brothers have more toys than I do, so I shall tap on them to contribute on this.

The Taft Initiative’s Toy Drive doesn’t run all year round. Thankfully, there are numerous non-profit organizations that aim to bring happiness through play in various communities around the Philippines. A really good and successful NGO I found is called . So, if you happen to find some old toys you once enjoyed as a kid, maybe learn to let them go like Andy did in Toy Story 3.

DAY 20

What it is: Another box
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as gift box

Okay, I think I have enough gift boxes now. It’s time to buy gifts…

What it is: A (broken) mic set
What’s going to happen to it: Donate

This is actually my brother’s old mic set. His old stuff like tripods and this one somehow made their way into my room uninvited. It doesn’t work anymore, so it’s going in my e-waste box. I haven’t found an organization to donate these to yet, but my search shall continue!

DAY 21

What it is: More books + a repurposed Hoegaarden box
What’s going to happen to it: Deliver to

I found more books to donate and officially sealed them in this Hoegaarden box I got after buying over a dozen bottles of beer… yep, Merry Christmas! As of writing, these books have been sent and delivered to the Books For A Cause HQ in Taguig City. It wasn’t easy to let them all go, but as Woody said to Andy as he was driving away, “So long, partner.”

Also, don’t worry, I didn’t donate ALL my books. I still have a lot I can read on my shelf. The books I donated are ones that I don’t use anymore — and never will.

DAY 22

What it is: Sustainable gift wraps
What’s going to happen to it: Give to our relatives

Today, I helped my mom wrap gifts for our relatives. I also recently found out that most, if not all, of glossy colorful gift wraps are not actually recyclable because they are made of mixed materials — like glitter, metallic texture, toxic paint, and the like. However, unlaminated paper such as kraft and other up-cycled wrapping materials are a good way to go when it comes to conscious gifting.

The thing is, you can be creative, environmentally friendly, and low-cost all at the same time! As seen in the picture, my mom and I used old paperbags and wrapped strings around them so they’d at least look presentable. We also used some paperbags I made using my old photocopied notes for class. There are a lot of things we used to wrap gifts with such as this year’s calendar, magazine pages, and the like. For some gifts, we just opted to put a string and tag around. Gifts don’t always need to be wrapped anyway, it’s good to be straightforward from time to time (haha).

Anyway, we’re in the middle of a health and economic crisis, so you have every excuse to be cheap this year — gift or no gift.

DAY 23

What it is: Trash
What’s going to happen to it: throw ’em out

Okay, I just realized that I haven’t been documenting things that I actually do throw out (I’m sorry). I usually just find them and chuck them out into the bin. With that, I dedicate this day to things I actually throw out. While it’s useful to repurpose or donate clutter you find in your room, you won’t always find any use for them — realistically speaking.

DAY 24

What it is: Old photographs
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as “postcards”

I took some really nice pictures for a photography class a few years ago (here’s a peek to two of them). However, I’m not really a big fan of my photography skills or photos I ever took. So, I absolutely have no desire of putting them up. With that, I’ve decided to repurpose them as some sort of postcards to give my friends for Christmas. It’s a really nice and sustainable way to deliver a really sweet message to a dear friend.

DAY 25

What it is: Some more plastic
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

The Holiday season is generally a wild time for plastic waste. People buy more on December compared to any other month in the year. We can be extremely frugal, but once the Christmas breeze is in the air, everyone’s suddenly willing to open their purses and swipe their cards. If you’ve seen Bird Box, it’s kind of like that.

More consumption also means more waste. This Christmas, I tried my best to collect as much plastic as I can from gifts, groceries, and giveaways, so that I can save them to donate to The Plaf. I know it’s not much, but hey, baby steps.

DAY 26

What it is: Repurposed boxes and paper bags
What’s going to happen to it: Wrap gifts with

I spent the night wrapping some gifts to give to my friends. I know I’m already a day late, but whatever, we celebrate Christmas longer than anywhere else in the world here in the Philippines. I wrapped my gifts with some old boxes and paperbags I found earlier, and used my dad’s old calling card as the gift tag. I know they look a little bit funny, but that’s just a small price to pay for sustainability and a tight budget, okay?

DAY 27

What it is: More plastic waste i put in bigger plastic wastes
What’s going to happen to it: Donate to

My 30-day decluttering is almost over and today, I got to say goodbye to so much plastic waste I have lying around at home. I’ve just sent my plastic donations to The Plaf and I couldn’t be happier of what this decluttering project has come to. A part of me feels good because there’s now less clutter in my room, and another part of me feels good because I know that all those plastic won’t end up in the ocean.

I know that as mere consumers, there’s really so little we can do to benefit the environment. But as the common saying goes, “change starts within ourselves.” We can’t expect for a better world to occur before our eyes, if we aren’t even willing to make the littlest sacrifices for the change that we want to see.

DAY 28

What it is: Random things I found that I no longer need
What’s going to happen to them: They have different fates

The make-up brush and paper scraps are going straight to the bin. The little plastic package wrap from my sponges will be going to my new plastic pile (to be donated). For the fate of the desk organizer, I have yet to consult my family if they want to keep it otherwise, it’s going straight to my plastic pile as well.

DAY 29

What it is: Bread tag
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as chord label

Did you know that bread tags can be very useful — even beyond keeping bread fresh — as chord labels? I’ve kind of known that for a while, but I guess I never really bothered as I didn’t need them yet. Thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, however, I’ve spent more time at home than I ever did in the past that I actually found time to complain about the jumbled electric chords in our kitchen. With that, I’ll never look at bread tags the same way.

DAY 30

What it is: A box
What’s going to happen to it: Repurpose as “plastic trash bin” especially for NYE

This box has been sitting in my room for a while, mainly because I didn’t know what to do with it and how to dispose it purposefully. As the year nears its end, I finally found the proper ending for this clutter.

Holiday celebrations are like garbage supernovas. The more you feast, the more you litter. My family and I will only be celebrating New Years’ Eve at home, so I definitely expect a lot of (plastic) waste to come. I’ve decided to save this box as a “plastic trash bin” especially for NYE. My mom and I are planning to prepare several dishes and open some gifts from Christmas. With that, an extra waste bin space will come in handy.

Hopefully, I get to fill up this box with more plastic in the coming year, as an effort towards an environmentally conscious and sustainable lifestyle.

Marie Kondo, like many other minimalism and home organizing gurus, will tell you to pile up all your belongings in the living room and spend your entire day — or week — choosing a few good items that “spark joy.” I think all these rules and unrealistic expectations on tidying up make decluttering even more challenging and overwhelming than it already is. The thing is, it does not need to be. You can most definitely do it at your own time and pace.

I did my year-end decluttering in a span of 30 days; and I didn’t even get to fill up my trash bin that much because I donated, gave away or repurposed most of my clutter.

I’m not sure what your New Year’s Resolutions are, but I bet many of us want to start the year with a clean slate. With that, maybe you can start your 2021 by adapting a more conscious lifestyle.

Always remember, big leaps start with baby steps.



salut! i write about the books i read and my late night thoughts.

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