When it comes to decluttering, and improving the energy flow in your living space, Chinese New Year is the ideal time for cleaning out and refreshing the look of your home.

However, clearing out weeks, months, and even years of clutter can be a painful and stressful process.

So, we got some expert tips and storage advice from April Kwan, regional interior design leader of IKEA Singapore to guide us along. It may seem overwhelming, but tidying up can be easier than you think.

30 Quick Spring Cleaning Tips

Here’s your checklist of spring cleaning must-do’s to get your home ready for the Year of the Dragon 2024.

The first thing you’ll need to do is to sit down with a pen and paper, and allocate space. Set aside space or shelves near your home or room entrance for your keys, phone, mail and bag. 

Then, no matter which room or category you’re spring cleaning, always organise all your items according to accessibility.

When organising your cupboards, kitchen cabinets and wardrobes, place the most commonly used items in the most accessible space (usually the middle shelves or those at eye level), and the rest on higher or lower ones.

Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

1. Make use of luggage space

Throw out everything you don’t need, and store rarely-used items in your luggage!

Consider this the preparatory work to do, to make your spring cleaning more manageable. More things lying around in your room means more things to pack, right?

Keep seldom used objects like wide-brim holiday hats and winter clothing in neat boxes stowed away within the storeroom.

You can also dedicate a piece of luggage or two to store those coats for your snowy vacations, since the only time you’ll wear them will be on your next snowy vacation!

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2. Vacuum Pack Winter Clothes

Vacuum pack winter gears into storage bags (available from stores like Daiso and Howards Storage World) and store them in your luggage.

Pack in a charcoal sachet (from Daiso) to absorb any musky odours.

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

3. Get new shelves

If your room is overcrowded with new shoes, why not cave in and get more space for these? Instead of keeping them in individual shoe boxes, get a proper shoe cabinet that can be adhered onto your wall.

This new storage space can also store other belongings, when you finally get to clearing out the old, worn-out footwear that you’re likely never to wear again.

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4. Buy storage boxes and labels

Before you start on packing proper, stock up on more storage boxes to help organise your home. You can colour-code and label different boxes for your gadgets, books, stationery and other items that might otherwise lie around in your room. Plastic boxes (image above) can make each compartment more organised; this extends to your bathroom too! 

Storing your precious belongings in foldable boxes will also help keep the dust away, advises April; pick foldable or stackable boxes so that you can store them away when you no longer need them. For storing smaller objects like jewellery and makeup, you’ll find plastic boxes in assorted sizes extra useful.

And if you have half-a-day to clean up (or just focused 30 mins).

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

5. Box everything up

It is as straightforward as that, if you really need that timely reminder. Instead of hanging more items behind your bedroom door or leaving them on the table, why not store the frequently-used items in storage cases, then hide these under your bed? Your belongings will be within easy reach, while staying out of sight, says April.

Handy multi-functional stools like this can serve as a storage box, which you can keep with ease under your bed. You can also look for unused shoe boxes as a quick-fix storage solution for small items.

Don’t forget the other miscellaneous boxes that you may have lying around your house or storeroom, like the cartons from mandarin oranges you bought for Lunar New Year visits; these can help in that impromptu cleanup.

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6. Roll Your Towels

Roll up your towels like a log and adjust the height of your wardrobe shelves to about 10cm high to store them. It’s easier to take them out than if they were stacked up.

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7. Fold your bedsheets

Fold bedsheets neatly and place them into their corresponding pillowcases so it’s easy to find each set.

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

8. Clean under your mattress

The space under your bed, as well as the gap between the headboard and the mattress, are areas that many homeowners tend to overlook when spring cleaning.

However, it’s important to ensure that they are regularly cleaned as it’s easy for stagnant energy to be trapped in these tight spots. You’d also be surprised at the amount of dirt, lint and dust collected over the course of a year.

Take this opportunity to get new bedsheets too!

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9. Surround yourself with your lucky colours

Colours can affect your mood so it’s essential to surround yourself with hues that can boost your spirits on a daily basis. At the same time, giving your living room a new paint job is the fastest way to change up the look of your home.

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

10. Top up your rice bin

Rice is an important staple in many households and a symbol of wealth in the Chinese culture. Remember to clean out your rice bin and top it up with a new bag of rice for auspiciousness in the coming year.

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11. Rebalance your finances

CNY is a great time to go through your finances to ensure that your bank accounts are in the pink of health. Other than repaying bills you may have overlooked, it’s also essential to review your credit card bills, household expenses, and see where you can save and splurge.

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

12. Remove old CNY or Christmas decorations

Do you still have images of last year’s zodiac animal up on the walls at home, or torn decorations from the previous CNY? It’s time to remove them and put up new ones.

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13. Replace your door mat

Not sure how to begin your spring cleaning? A good way to start would be by replacing your old doormat. Aside from leaving a good impression on your guests, it also makes your home feel welcoming and warm.

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Last-Minute CNY Spring Cleaning: 20 Tips to quickly declutter your house

14. Clean out your fridge

Don’t dampen the festive mood with stale or rotting food at home. Go through your groceries in the fridge and ensure that all expired products are thrown away.

At the same time, you can also make room for storing all the ingredients you need for the sumptuous reunion dinner spread. No more space left in the fridge?

Consider using a steamboat delivery service instead.

Store & Label Food Containers

The next time you buy food containers, go for the clear and squarish ones instead of the opaque round ones – they take up less space in the cabinet and fridge, can be stacked, and let you see what’s inside. 

Place leftovers at eye level in the fridge so they dont get forgetten, and keep a roll of masking tape and a marker in the topmost kitchen drawer, so you can label containers to mark what you keep inside.

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15. Have a Stationery Station

Use a cutlery tray to sort out pens, pencils, colour pencils, markers, crayons and any other stationery. One with deep compartments is great if you have lots to keep. Place it in an accessible drawer and get the kids to pop in their stray pens in there consistently.

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16. Prepare a Documents Drawer

If you don’t have time to file documents like warranties, credit card bills and insurance documents, chests of short drawers (available from Muji and Ikea) are useful for organising documents. Go through them once every six months to recycle or discard what you don’t need to keep.

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17. Keep Paper Clips Together with Magnets

Attach a magnetic knife rack to the inside of your drawer with strong double-sided tape and let it hold loose bobby pins and paper clips.

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18. Declutter your shoe cabinet

Shoes protect our soles from the ground but they also pick up dirt and grime. Making room in your shoe cabinet also gives you the perfect excuse to go out and get new ones!

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19. Check your pipes and drainage

Stagnant water is a definite no-no in the home especially since it can breed pests such as mosquitoes. Remember to check your pipes to ensure that they are not clogged, and while you’re at it, put in some elbow grease and give your bathroom a good scrub.

There’s nothing more invigorating than seeing a freshly cleaned bathroom with gleaming tiles and pristine white grout.

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How To Keep My Home Tidy After CNY?

20. Brighten up the corners of your home

Negative energy collects in dark corners, so make it a point to sweep the corners in the bedroom and living areas.

In addition, you can also direct positive energy to flow into your surroundings by placing signs of life, such as new plants and lights, to corners of the home.

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21. Scrub down your floors

Not literally, of course — but a thorough, gentle cleaning won’t hurt. Start off with sweeping or vacuuming the entire place, then mop the floor with a mixture of warm water, a gentle cleaning solution, and a splash of vinegar.

During the mopping process, avoid getting the floor too wet as water can warp your laminate tiles or hardwood — make sure you wring the mop as much as possible in between. Use this opportunity to wipe down the skirting as well. 

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22. Shine your mirrors & windows

Using just water alone to clean glass may result in streaks. Instead, make your own inexpensive cleaning solution by mixing equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, then giving it a good shake. Spray this solution onto glass and wipe with a cloth — be careful not to let it drip onto the frames as the vinegar may discolour wood and iron.

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23. Get rid of cockroaches & lizards

Nobody likes cockroaches and lizards! Avoid being an unwitting host for these unwelcome visitors by clearing out any potential breeding grounds — this includes piles of old newspapers and cardboard, and any untouched containers in the store room.

If you spot any cracks where pests might get in, seal them up with caulk or sealants (available at all hardware stores). Spritz corners with a mixture of water and tea tree oil, as the scent deters pests.

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24. Clean your sofa & cushions

It’s best to hire a professional to steam your sofa once in a while, especially if it’s a fabric one, but a good vacuuming session can also remove dirt and dust effectively.

Don’t forget to remove the covers for washing if you can! If you have a leather sofa, you can gently wipe it with a damp cloth and clean it with leather conditioner or saddle soap.

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25. Clean your cooking stove

A greasy stovetop doesn’t just look unappealing, it’s also a fire hazard. To clean your stove, make sure you switch off the gas valve and all burners first. Disassemble the removable parts, including the grate, cap, burner, and drip. Scrub each one in hot soapy water, then rinse thoroughly and towel dry. 

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26. Scrub tile grouting

Give your grouting a good scrub to avoid any unsightly brown spots. You can create a paste using a mixture of water and  oxygenated bleach powder, such as Kao Bleach Colour powder.

Leave this paste on stubborn stains on grout for a minute, then scrub with a toothbrush. For tougher stains, add lemon juice to the mixture. After the grout is clean, keep it that way with some grout sealer, available at all hardware stores.

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27. Polish all wood surfaces

Wood needs to be polished every now and then to maintain its lustre. Clear everything off the table, then wipe down your wooden table with a damp cloth and gentle cleaning solution (make sure to check beforehand that it’s okay for wood).

Afterwards, polish using a microfibre cloth and wood polish — we love Howard Feed-n-Wax for this. Let it sit overnight, then buff again with a dry cloth in the morning to remove any excess polish.

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28. Declutter wardrobe & shoe cabinet

This is an excellent time to downsize your wardrobe and shoe cabinet! Toss or donate the items you no longer wear often, and invest in some wardrobe organisers to sort the rest.

You may also want to put in a small desiccant dehumidifier to keep the place dry and mold-free. As a final touch, toss in a scented wardrobe sachet for a fresh smell every time you open the door.

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29. Clean ceiling fans

Use this opportunity to bring out the ladder and clean those out-of-reach places! If you’re worried about dust falling from the ceiling fan, use an old pillowcase. Take the pillowcase and wrap it around the fan blade, just as you would a pillow.

Pull off the pillowcase, wiping the blade as you go, so that the dust falls into the pillowcase instead of onto the floor. You can try this trick with larger pieces of cloth folded in half as well.

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30. Bring in good energy

After getting rid of all that dirt, it’s time to fill the house with new energy. Bring in some new plants, or add a splash of colour in the form of new cushion covers, floor mats, or other home accessories. You’re all ready to welcome in the New Year.

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