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10 Simple Strategies To Adopt When Decluttering

Where there’s a will to clean, there are many ways to help clear.

By Chris Ong      24 June 2021

With WFH being the default, you might have ended up with a bigger mess at home since you are staying in more, or discovered that your living space is more cramped that you originally might have thought it to be. Instead of waiting for your next annual spring cleaning ritual, why not start now, since you are spending more time at home? But, before you begin your quest of re-organising your living space (and quite possibly, creating a clean-up catastrophe), try planning ahead with these decluttering tips to help keep you and everything else, in order.

Pencil In A Date
Photo: Shutterstock

Pencil In A Date

There are always those amongst us who feel that decluttering is something that can be done daily or that you will declutter when you have the free time. Well, life happens, and so does procrastination, busyness and laziness. Instead of ending up with an endless list of reasons-slash-excuses, fix a date just for decluttering and clear your schedule so that you can keep to it. In that way, you can try and ensure that you have one whole day dedicated for cleaning, clearing and reorganising.

A Timer For A Task

Even if you have one whole day set aside for decluttering, it is advisable to set an amount of time to complete one single task. It’s all about keeping yourself motivated and efficient, and enabling yourself to move on. Without setting a time frame for a specific task, you might try to do more (it’s easy to get obsessed with cleaning up once you get started) and end up getting lost in your self-created “wilderness”. Stick to a half-hour to perform the task, and set another date or time to complete the process if you need to.

Declutter
Photo: Shutterstock

Daily Decluttering

If you really are hard-pressed to find a full day to do a deep-clean or find that you neither have the energy nor stamina to execute XX number of tasks in one day, perhaps a daily decluttering ritual is more your pace. You can try conducting a 15-minute “reorg” everyday,  one that is not part of your daily household chores. Slow and steady might just win the race in your battle with clutter.

Set Mini Goals

For daily and even large-scale attempts at decluttering to really work, you do need to set smaller-scale, practical and achievable goals so as to stay motivated and focused, and not be overwhelmed or give up. Start with a small task if you must – for example, try disposing of worn-out socks and undergarments or cleaning out one work desk drawer, before progressing to heavier undertakings.

Create A Checklist
Photo: Shutterstock

Create A Checklist

While reorganising your space and organising your mini goals, it will help to form a list of all these goals and the specific decluttering tasks, timings and time frames connected to these goals. It doesn’t have to be too complex or too broad in breadth – in fact, the simpler it is, the easier it is for you to stay on track and accomplish these goals and tasks.

Do Not Multitask

You might think that you are really efficient or that you are a multitasking expert. You might be… or you might just be wrong. Undertaking multiple projects at once – like say, cleaning out your bedroom wardrobe while clearing your work table in your study room simultaneously – might seem to be a productive way to help you save time. But, it’s best not to, in case you cannot complete both tasks or you end up with multiple, larger messes spilling across your living space. It’s best to focus on one goal or task, so as to get it done well or thoroughly within the time frame that you have set aside for it, and not get distracted by other less important or side chores.

Daily Decluttering
Photo: Shutterstock

Make A Big Mess

There is bound to be some messiness involved. Do not fear the mess – actually, it might help to create a huge spill or pile at the start. You can dump all of the items from a single desk drawer or shelf on the floor before sorting them out. It can help in letting you have a look at everything at once instead of undergoing the more arduous and time-consuming task of removing and deciding on one item at a time. Plus, you can get to clean the shelf or drawer while you are at it. Just make sure to have an open or large-enough floor space for the clutter to gather first.

Sort Your Clutter By Piling Them Up

By piling up your clutter, we mean sorting them in “Keep” and “Throw/Donate” piles (you can have another “Maybe” pile for items that you aren’t sure about or are to be decided upon at a later timing). Doing so can help you figure out quickly and easily what to hang on to and what to discard, and clear out a single large space or area in one shot.

Simplify Your Decisions
Photo: Shutterstock

Simplify Your Decisions

It pays to be ruthless – form and stick to a simple criteria for keeping or discarding an item. It can even be just that one criterion of whether the item works or is usable, or not. For clothes, it can be based on what fits or doesn’t, or whether it is still in fashion; for stuff with an expiry date, such as food and beauty and grooming items, rid yourself of those that are expired or close to expiry.

Get Some Help

It may be useful to enlist the help of friends or family members in your effort to declutter. It’s not just about having extra hands or assistance with physical labour, but about obtaining the second opinion of people whom you trust and who know you best. Your loved ones and besties can be both objective (they can help say “no” when you try to hoard every single thing) and also objective (they can remind you how important or significant a keepsake can be or that you might regret in letting go since they know you well).


Featured image: Shutterstock

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