spring cleaning tips to declutter your home story

Image: anikasalsera/123rf

Unless we’re taking time off work, we want to be able to get organised and spring clean as swiftly and effectively as possible. Space is a luxury in Singapore, which makes decluttering that much more important for us. Whether you want to make space for new things or just downsize your clutter, we’ve got some tips to get you started. 

#1 Prepare the right tools for the job
First of all, having the necessary cleaning equipment on hand will make the process a lot speedier. The decluttering comes first, but before you return items to their storage containers you’ll want to clean them out. Have rags (wet and dry), buckets of water, trash bags, gloves, and a vacuum for the mountains of dust you are about to unearth. 

Next, you’ll need a firm and ruthless mindset for cutting down on junk. If you think you might not be able to throw things out and hoard too much, this is where you bring in a friend or family member to help you out. There’s no shame in lacking the willpower to downsize your life, we’ve all struggled with decluttering in some way or other.

#2 Prioritise
With so much else to get done before Chinese New Year, it’s very likely we won’t get everything cleaned and decluttered in one session. Break things down into several smaller cleaning sessions to make sure the more important spaces are dealt with sooner. 

If you want to achieve certain things, it’s good to make a list of what you hope to get out of the spring cleaning. Something like “make room for more kitchen equipment”, “clear drawers to make space for books” or even “deep clean mattresses”. If you’ve got multiple rooms to tackle, go one at a time instead of starting in three rooms at once and feeling overwhelmed without a complete room to show for progress at the end of a day. 

#3 Make sure there’s a place for everything 
Having a place for everything in your home not only makes your life more organised, it also helps you figure out what you need or should throw out. If something has nowhere to go, it’s only worth the effort finding it a home if you are going to use it. 

I like making sure I have a storage box or container for all my things, even beauty products and tools that I keep on a countertop. Storage boxes keep things organised so your surfaces aren’t cluttered, and also keep your things from getting dusty. One of my favourite types of drawers to keep things minimalist and tidy are the acrylic storage units from Muji.  

#4 Cut down on multiples
We’re all guilty of this, whether it’s owning too many candles, makeup tools, red nail polishes, or shoes. With most things, all you need is one, and maybe one as backup. Anything further is excessive and a space waster. Yes, buying each of those four pairs of black pumps may have seemed necessary at the time, but in reality you find yourself wearing just one over and over again. 

When it comes to clothes, there is at least one way to stop yourself from buying similar items. Try cataloguing your wardrobe using one of the many wardrobe apps that lets you sort things by colour or type. You can pull it up on your phone whenever you’re out just to make sure you’re getting something you don’t already have. 

#5 Love it or lose it
This one sounds simple enough, but the sad reality is that most of us are guilty of holding onto things we don’t need or even want. Saving something just in case you might need it some day or will be able to lend it to someone in the future is hardly worth the space. If something doesn’t serve you (you don’t need it, love it, or use it often) it doesn’t deserve a space in your home. 

Try sorting all your stuff into three piles: to keep, to throw, and undecided. Store the undecided items in a box for a few months, and if you don’t find yourself digging through the box to get to something within six months, you can probably throw the lot out (or donate it).

#6 Don’t let sentiment or fear get the better of you
Sure, the item was a gift from a loved one or someone. But if you don’t particularly like looking at that item or using it, then it’s only going to take up storage space and become a part of the clutter. This is where you have to think with your head instead of your heart, or get a third party opinion on whether it’s time to get rid of it. 

If you’ve got something you’re afraid you’ll need someday but haven’t used in six months, you’re likely never going to use it. Some exceptions like winter wear can be stored properly and brought out when you’re planning a trip. Unless you travel often, keep only essentials like versatile or statement coats, sweaters and thermals. Anything else that costs less than 20 dollars and is easily available is something you can repurchase when necessary.