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10 quick ways to declutter your home before CNY

If you haven’t already started on your spring cleaning, remember that you’ve only got 8 days left before the Lunar New Year! For those who have always struggled to keep your place neat despite all the storage built into the home, fret not for here are 10 easy and effective tips to start decluttering today.

declutering tips

1.    Define clutter
Be clear about the items that need to be cleared out. Anything that is not used within the past six months, belongings that have no financial or sentimental value, or clusters of duplicate items that you don’t use often such as multiple sets of cutlery, can all count as clutter that you should get rid of.

2.    Keep everything in its place
“You should always have a home for everything in your home. With neatly labelled storage boxes for things like Thank You cards or toys, the whole family will know where everything should go. Organisation is about progress, not perfection. Just start small by spending 10 minutes every night to clear your desk and you’ll see a difference,” Kristina Karlsson, founder of Kikki.K, on some tricks she applies to her own household.

3.    Accessibility matters
Ensure that your belongings are all in full view when you open the cupboard doors or pull out the drawers. Remember: out of sight, out of mind. And before you assign a storage location for something, consider if it’s easy to place the item back in that exact location. If it’s even a slight hassle to put it back in place, it’ll end up as clutter somewhere else in the house and you’ll end up wasting time searching for it again.

4.    Dump dusty items
Remember how your parents used to discourage you from buying something you’d regret by saying: “It’ll collect dust.”? Well, if there’s anything that’s collecting dust in your home right now, it’s a pretty clear sign that it’s underutilised and should probably make way for something more indispensable.

5.    Clear by categories
“Declutter by item category, not by room. Working by category allows us to see clearly the amount of items and duplicates we have in that category,” says Haw-San Au-Yong, founder of Edits Inc, a professional organising service. She also suggests starting with easy categories like clothes and kitchenware, and work your way up to items that possess sentimental value. “Handle one item at a time and ask if having it in your life makes you feel happy. If not, trash it.”

6.    Sleep on it
If you find it hard to make on-the-spot decisions about whether to bin certain things, allocate a compartment within your cupboard to store these on-the-fence items. Reassess these items a couple of months later, and if you have not found the need for any of them, it’s time to either donate or chuck the whole lot.

7.    Exercise restraint
Go to the source of all the clutter around you and nip this problem in the bud. Besides hanging on to redundant possessions for too long, are you also guilty of acquiring too much? Add whatever you’re yearning to buy to a wishlist first and revisit it a couple of weeks later, or simply stop to think whether you really need the item before taking it home. The answer is often a definite “no”, so let it go!

8.    Profit from pre-loved items
All hail the arrival of Carousell! Now selling second hand clothes, collectibles, and CDs are easier than ever – just snap a picture of the item with your phone, post it up on the app, and wait for the offers to flood in. You just have to resist the urge to buy items off the app while you’re at it!

9.    Keep the tidiness up
The longer one puts off decluttering, the more intimidating the task will be. It’ll always be easier to flex those organisational muscles once a month (make it weekly if you’re looking for an ambitious New Year’s resolution) than wait till the end of each year because the task will be 12 times more difficult physically and emotionally.

10.    Take action immediately
“Statistics shows that getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% housework in the average home,” Georgina Wong, CEO of Asian Professional Organisers, reveals. She often guides her clients on the F.A.S.T sorting technique when it comes to getting rid of clutter:
Forward, gift or donate things not used within the past six months;
Action it immediately if you can complete the job within two minutes – and move to S;
Store or file for reference;
Trash it when it’s broken or doesn’t fit.

Sources: Asian Professional Organisers, Edits Inc, Extra Space Self Storage Asia, and Kikki.K.