“The days are long, but the years are short,” is probably the kind of sentiment that people would think of when they realize that 2015 is ending. It’s ending and the time for some serious self-reflection has arrived: What have you done, and what will you do? It’s time to say goodbye to a year that might or might not have been uneventful for you. But, we say: Congratulations on making it this far! Or not.

You open your closet to find clothes you haven’t worn; go through your shelves only to find unfinished books; and probably the worst hugot moment to ever cross your year-end: leftover sentiments for things you don’t even remember having. While you cook up some neat New Year’s Resolution on a dusty sheet of paper, you might want to think over and decide to clean up for the end of the year instead. Letting go is a way better option to clear out feelings. It might even be better than the New Year’s Resolutions that you might not even have the will to complete.


Take it from the Japanese and actually clean the house all over. Not only will it be therapeutic in so many ways, but it will bode well for the year to come. In Japan, the culture of thoroughly cleaning a house is called the oosuji (大掃除), an act that happens at the end of the year to get rid of the clutter of the year and usher in the New Year with pure hearts and cleaner households. As the local superstitions would say, and as the neat freaks would harp: It’s not good to welcome the New Year with a dirty house.


Let go. You and I both know that hugot is overrated. While a big thing for this year, you might want to go through all the stuff that binds you to some painful memory. You might find expired candies in your memory chest, which will attract nothing but insects. It’s time to clear out your head and your heart.

To do the second one, go through your stuff and label them appropriately into things that you don’t need and things that you’ll still be using. This will probably include clothes that don’t fit you anymore but you still hold on to in the hopes that you’ll fit in them by 2016. It might be harsh but that’s exactly what you need to be when dealing with things like cleaning up. Overlook it and you’ll end up quite the hoarder.

Cleaning (4)

Be systematic. Clean one area at a time, and keep everything in order. You might end up losing one or two important things that you don’t have plans of throwing out just because it got mixed with the garbage from the other room.

Start early. It goes without saying that an early start would give you enough time to clean an entire area (or not, if you live in a mansion), with side dishes of throwbacks one item at a time. Starting early in the morning will also give you a clearer idea of how to go about it, and it will give you sufficient breaks, too.


The “One-Year Box” is included in an article on the blog Zen Habits called “15 great decluttering tips.” If unsure whether to throw out some items that you think might be useful in the future, put them in a box labeled “The One Year Box,” seal it, and open it one year later. If you have successfully gone through another year without opening this box, then you didn’t really need it and therefore, it needs to be get rid of.

Sell stuff you don’t need. Indiscriminately throwing out stuff just because this list told you to might be too drastic, and obviously unappealing. Therefore, the idea of turning your junk into cash is the answer. It’s effective and it will make you richer by a few thousand pesos or so if you actually want to earn that much. But just the same, throw out expired food items, please.

Vacuum cleaner in action

Have someone help. This is will come in extra handy, because sometimes personal decisions tend to be clouded by sentiments. Therefore, having a person you trust clean up with you will give you a better grasp of rationality. Make this person your voice of reason, and argue over the pros and cons of decluttering.

Stay focused! Motivate yourself. You’re cleaning up the mess of the previous decade (or so) and you need breathing space. Or maybe you need more spaces for the new stuff coming in for the New Year. Whatever your motivation is for cleaning up, remember that it isn’t because of superstitions but rather tidying up is a human obligation that needs the sheer force of will. As they say, the house is a reflection of its owner and surely, no one wants an unkempt, dirty space!

But regardless of whether you’re doing this for 2016, or just one of your whims that coincided with the end of the year, it’s very important to keep your vision clear and go through with it. Perhaps, you might even include a point or two about curbing your impulsive purchasing tendencies for your New Year’s Resolution so you won’t have to go through too much year-end cleaning trouble again next year.


This article was first published in our December issue.