FOR two weeks now, we have been busy taking out old stuff from cabinets and closets for sorting and disposal. After years of procrastination, we were forced to de-clutter after new cabinets are about to be delivered and we need to create space. My son has outgrown his kid’s cabinet and needs a bigger one.

The clean-up yielded a mix of old appliances, books, school papers and clothes. There was a non-working VCD player and tapes (good as a museum piece), cables, old-broken microphones, non-working TV set, mini-component and old compact discs. The "baka-pwede-pa" attitude has kept these gadgets in our house for many years.

Then there were old magazines some dating back to the grade school days of my kids, old notebooks, school projects and old toys, some of which were broken while others still in perfect condition. There were also old and obsolete books and other school materials.

The bulk of the items we took out were clothes. In my nine years as city councilor of Mabalacat, I accumulated so many t-shirts, jackets and jogging pants. Surprisingly, there were also brand new polo shirts, most of which still have tags. I forgot all about them. I have no more space in my closet so they were put away.

All the usable items were given away. I should have done this a long time ago. The old stuff were disposed properly, especially the electronic equipment. The old papers were recycled while all usable school supplies were kept. I removed all my old polo shirts from my closet and inserted the new ones.

While the clean-up was simple housekeeping, I was nonetheless reminded of the present consumerist society. The proliferation of big shopping malls and the convenience of online shopping have caused us to accumulate so many things. This "hoarding" has cluttered our homes with stuff we don’t need.

Sometimes the buying spree reaches a point when we feel suffocated and overwhelmed by our belongings. Worse, we find ourselves buried in debt especially when we keep using our credit cards and indulge in unnecessary spending.

I guess it's time to slow down and keep our belongings to the smallest possible number. Live a simple, stress-free life. Focus on needs, not wants. Resist the temptation of buying something just because it’s on sale. Embrace minimalism, a lifestyle that is all about living with less.

Having less stuff is also good for Mother Nature. It reduces our impact to the environment. It means less usage of precious and non-renewable natural resources, water and electricity. It also results in less wastage and less emission of greenhouse gases. Experts say that consumerism is a huge contributor to climate change.