Want to do Spring Cleaning but not sure where to start, mama? Expert organiser Nathalie Ricaud is here with 5 key tips to get you started and keep you focused!
It’s that time of the year when the Chinese clean and clear their homes to sweep away the bad luck of the past year in order to usher in good luck. Though I am not Chinese, I do believe that a New Year is a wonderful time to get the de-cluttering and organising process started in order to embrace the new year afresh and rejuvenated. Here are my top 5 spring cleaning tips to increase your chances of success:
1. Envision how your space/life will look like once you get it organised
It will help you decide what belongs in your space/life and what doesn’t and will keep you motivated when the going gets tough. Ask yourself: How do I want to feel when I enter this room? How do I want to spend my time in this room? Do I need a calm or stimulating environment? Who should be using this room? Say you want to make your bedroom a place to rest and relax and escape from the kids; it’ll become more obvious you need to move the TV, DVDs, desk, toys, piles of dirty clothes, laundry etc. to other rooms.
2. Break down your project into manageable steps based on your concentration threshold and availability
If you want to de-clutter your home, start with one category of items or one room. If it’s your clothes, begin with your T-shirts or office wear. If it’s your kitchen, start with the pantry or the fridge. Book the time in your diary and treat this appointment with yourself as you would for any of your meetings or appointments.
3. De-clutter before attempting to organise and buying organising aids
We only use 20% of what we own (clothes, paper, toys etc.); the rest just takes up our space and energy. So keep only what you use and love and get rid of the rest! If you have problems parting with your things, start with “no-brainer” items such as the broken toys, the faded/stained/torn clothes, the old magazines and newspapers, and the expired food and cosmetics. Only once you’ve de-cluttered can you decide the ideal home for each of your belongings and whether you need to invest in storage systems, containers, and the like.
4. Purge by category
Instead of proceeding room by room, it’s more efficient to proceed by categories of items (clothes, books, toys, paper, kitchenware, memorabilia) if they are scattered all around your home. Although it can be overwhelming, it’s really powerful to realise how much you own in one category and take action. However, this method may not always be practical, especially if you have a large home, a large volume of stuff not easily accessible, or if you don’t have the ability to work on your project for long periods of time at one go. In these scenarios, I usually recommend a two-step approach: first, a quick-and-dirty room-by-room de-cluttering removing the obvious items that are easy to part with, then attacking the more complex decisions by category.
5. When the purge is over, get the items out of your home as soon as possible
You don’t want to start a pile of clutter elsewhere or have your family members rummaging in your castaways pile and blaming you for letting go of some items. I’ve seen it and trust me, it’s ugly!
Good luck, and Gong Xi Fa Cai!