I used to drop by the shops on my way home after a long, stressful day at work. The MRT train line which I take is dotted with easy-to-access malls. I\u2019d pick out a sports bra, a cute phone accessory, or a notebook \u2014 and head home feeling good. But as soon as I\u2019m back in my room and the beautiful packaging is unwrapped, the rush would wear off. That \u2018good\u2019 feeling turns into guilt and I\u2019d realise I\u2019d just wasted another RM200. The next dreary Wednesday evening, I\u2019d be in need of yet another dose \u2014 and off to the shops I go. Making the Decision to Declutter One Sunday night, while drowning in the many tasks I had on my to-do list, I decided to clear out the clutter in my life. I began my path to minimalism \u2014 for real. Truth be told, I had been interested in the concept for some time, having absorbed tons of listicles and videos on the benefits of minimalism. As an overthinker with way too much going on in her head, I wanted a life with focus and clarity. So I sat down at my desk and drew out a plan. \u00a0Clutter comes in three forms - physical, digital and emotional. Physical clutter was the easiest to get rid of, so that was where I started. Decluttering the Physical The Decluttering Process Five weeks \u2014 that\u2019s how long it took. Clothes, shoes, bags, books, CDs, cards my friends wrote me in primary school, little knick knacks I kept from my travels; I went through every single item in my room. I had two criteria: Do I use it often? Does it mean something extra special to me? If both answers are no, off to the black plastic bags it goes. Torn clothing and broken items went into the \u201cThrow\u201d bag. My clothes and bags, I gave to my family. The rest went into the \u201cDonate\u201d bag which I lugged to the donation bin outside my house. Now, whenever I see my aunt, there\u2019s a 90% chance she\u2019s wearing something that used to be mine. It\u2019s quite funny seeing someone 20 years older wearing what I used to wear. But my aunt\u2019s always been young at heart. How did the end of the process make me feel? Did it change anything at all? For One, I Feel Much Lighter All the \u2018Weight\u2019 I Gave Away They say getting rid of physical clutter helps with your inner peace. I truly believe that. Even if you are not attending to them, your things take up your energy and mental space. The laundry on your chair, the unpacked luggage from your trip three months ago and the letters waiting for you to tend to \u2014 these things cause stress and anxiety. Just like letting go of a heartbreak, letting go of unnecessary things was freeing. With each black plastic bag that left my room, I felt like I was slowly purging negativity from my life. Now when I get home from work, I don\u2019t have to see a pile of things that at the back of my mind I know I should sort through. I no longer feel overwhelmed and helpless. Decluttering has freed me not only from physical clutter, but also the mental strain that comes with it. My Relationship with Objects Changed With all the sales happening in Malaysia, it\u2019s hard to stop yourself from buying things you don\u2019t need. Especially with the mindset of having things "just in case". Yet, since decluttering, I no longer impulse shop. How? By making sure what I bring into my room serves a purpose, or has a very special meaning. After all, I worked hard to clear my room of the clutter. Do I really want to invite it back in? No! Now every trip to the mall is planned: Before I go out, I make a list of items to buy and stick to it. Also, I\u2019ve stopped losing things. I used to misplace things all the time when I was younger and I\u2019d run off to mum asking if she\u2019d seen it \u2014 a pair of jeans, or a crucial friendship anklet. I\u2019d go through all my drawers and stacks of clothes to find what I\u2019m looking for. Sometimes, it takes hours. Days, even. But since getting rid of everything I don\u2019t use, I don\u2019t have that problem. Everything is where it should be. I Created My Very Own Sanctuary\u00a0 Dr. Esslin Terrighena, psychologist at Mind Balance, Hong Kong, says that clutter makes us feel frustrated because it invades our home, which is a \u2018safe space\u2019. A safe space. That\u2019s exactly it. Our bedrooms are our special retreat from the world outside, a place where we can relax, find calm and do the things we love. Whenever I have guests over, they\u2019d often comment that it\u2019s \u201cso neat\u201d or \u201cso empty\u201d. Well, yes \u2014 everything that doesn\u2019t serve me is out of the way, so I\u2019m left with plenty of space to chill out. My room is just the way I want it now. It has everything I need, from my air purifier and lavender essential oils, to my yoga mat and pens for doodling. Everything I Need to Relax After a Long Day Most of My Money Now Goes to Experiences True to my age group, most of my money is now spent on experiences. (This must be the most millennial statement I\u2019ve ever made.) Thing is, many articles and videos online say minimalism will help your finances. Perhaps. Certainly. But in all honesty, minimalism hasn\u2019t translated to frugality for me. Just because I don\u2019t spend on things I don\u2019t need doesn\u2019t mean I don\u2019t spend at all. Instead, I now have more to spend on spas, travels and new dining experiences. I am working on saving more (really, I am!), but if I\u2019m going to be spending anyway, I\u2019d rather it be on pampering myself than on another dress I\u2019d only wear once. I Spend Less Time on Outfits I would love to be the conscientious working woman who plans her outfit and lays it out nicely the night before. But no, that is not me. I\u2019m someone who watches Netflix past her bedtime and wakes up right at the last minute after I\u2019ve pushed the snoozes to the max. This is why it\u2019s so important that I have curated a wardrobe that works for me. My clothes may not be on trend, but my style is personal to me, and I\u2019ve designed it to be in line with my personality and petite frame. My Wardrobe Before Decluttering\u00a0 Now that I have gotten rid of all the clothes that don\u2019t fit me well or look good on me, I can pick out an outfit in seconds. My Wardrobe After Decluttering\u00a0 While decluttering, I created a sort of system where everything I have has its own place. My accessories are in one drawer and my face masks and hair products are in the other. My going out shorts are in one stack while my home shorts are next to it. This makes it easy for me to find things and it\u2019s saved me a lot of time (and headache). The Decluttering Journey Can Be Difficult If this has somehow inspired you to get decluttering, understand it can get difficult. It is an emotional process. There were many times where I felt like I was being heartless: Throwing away a Christmas card from a friend I no longer speak to. Asking my mum if she wanted the bag she bought me that I never used. Returning an empty bottle to my boyfriend, which was once filled with this eczema cream he wanted me to try. (He reminded me it was the first item he ever gave me so well, now, I still have it.) There\u2019s Also the Fear of Regret Will I need this again in the future? Will I miss it? One of the hardest things for me to let go of was my Barbie CD collection. For one, this was my special thing. I never collected stamps or coins like other kids. This was the one and only collection I ever committed to. And two, my mum had spent a lot of money and effort hunting these CDs down for me. But I realised it was time. Let\u2019s face it. I\u2019m a 25-year-old who\u2019s never going to touch those CDs again. I don\u2019t even have a CD player anymore. I figured if I wanted to reconnect with the Barbie world, I could watch the movies online. So I packed everything up - all the way from the very first Barbie in the Nutcracker to my favourite Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper and to 2016\u2019s Barbie: Spy Squad. I gave it to my aunt\u2019s friend who had a daughter who would appreciate it more. Some items are easy to toss out; others are harder to say goodbye to. But the end result is so worth it. It sure has been for me. The next step I need to focus on now is getting rid of my mental clutter, clearing my mind of unnecessary thoughts and rumination. Minimalism and decluttering isn\u2019t just a trend started by Marie Kondo. It\u2019s a journey towards a different lifestyle. And my journey has just begun. For more articles on self-care, read I Transformed My Appearance by \u201cReprogramming\u201d Certain Habits. Here\u2019s How I Did It and\u00a03 Things Which Are Making You Lazy Right Now.