We know the dread of thinking about cleaning up weeks or months of clutter — or years even, for the incorrigible hoarders among us. Yet it’s the one thing you have to do since relatives and friends will be visiting soon for Lunar New Year.

how to declutter for CNY FAST, 5 steps to decluttering your home for Chinese New Year

Make your room and home neater than it has ever been with these tips! Image: Corbis

Tidying up can be easier than you think; you can even do it in 30 minutes or less! We share easy tips to try, along with some storage advice from April Kwan, the regional interior design leader of IKEA Singapore. These are the steps to making your usually messy room(s) and home instantly neater, before the nosy relatives arrive.


Make it a priority to shop for more storage tools as soon as you can, to help with eleventh-hour spring cleaning; you’re also making each subsequent cleanup much easier if you sort them well.

1. Get a new shelving unit, if needed
If your room is overcrowded with new shoes, why not cave in and get more space for these?

Ikea TRONES shoe cabinet, 5 steps to decluttering your home for Chinese New Year

Shoe cabinet from IKEA. Image: IKEA

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.

2. Buy (more) storage boxes and labels
Before you start on packing proper, stock up on more of such boxes to help organise your home. These will help you to sort your belongings into related boxes. You can colour-code and label different boxes for your gadgets, books, stationery and other items that might otherwise lie around in your room.

IKEA bathroom GODMORGON box with lid, 5 steps to decluttering your home for Chinese New Year

Plastic boxes like this can make each compartment more organised; this extends to your bathroom too! Image: IKEA

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.

3. Throw out EVERYTHING that you don’t need
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? If you need more help with cleaning out your closet, read our step-by-step guide here.

4. Store and organise the items you rarely use in your luggage
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!


5. Box everything up (and hide them under your bed or in the storeroom)
It is as straightforward as that, if you really need that timely reminder.

Ikea KIVIK footstool, 5 steps to decluttering your home for Chinese New Year

Handy multi-functional stools like this can serve as a storage box too, which you can keep with ease under your bed. Image: IKEA

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.

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.