From getting the house ready to settling new year buys for the entire family, Chinese New Year can be one of the most stressful times of the year. But it doesn’t have to be the case. According to Valerie Chia, professional organiser and founder of Re-Org By Val, all you need is proper planning ahead and some extra hands on deck. She shares five quick tips to get you started on your spring-cleaning journey and help you do things a little differently this year.
1. Start Spring-cleaning Early
The key to making spring-cleaning a success is to start early. Plan your spring-cleaning at least a month ahead. This would give you a minimum of four full weekends to fully focus on decluttering and to consider multiple ways to organise items around your house. The idea is to help it stay organised throughout the rest of the year.
The new year is also the right time to set new habits for you and your family. Thus it is important to approach spring-cleaning with a larger goal of keeping organised for the rest of the year. Starting early would also give you and your family some time to adjust to the new arrangements.
You want to avoid the situation of chucking all your items into empty spaces around the house because you left things to the last minute. Decluttering often takes up more time than expected. So give yourself a longer runway to do that.
2. Prioritise Important Areas
Life is always unpredictable. So you may have followed the suggestion to start early, but still find that you don’t have enough time. And that is okay, once you prioritise the areas that are the most important for you. For starters, I always suggest beginning with the most visible areas first. You can then work your way to other areas of the house that can be organised at a later time. Ideally, start with areas that you also tend to use on a daily basis. It gives you more incentive to keep it organised, especially if you are having guests over.
With that said, keep in mind that it may not be possible to spring-clean your entire house within a month, so prioritise the top three areas in your house that need to be decluttered and cleaned first, and start with that. For example, you may want to prioritise your storeroom, if it means that it will help you organise the living room, and provide you with extra space to store your rarely used items.
3. Make Spring-cleaning a Family Affair
Once you have decided when to start, it is time to call for a family meeting. Don’t be afraid to make spring-cleaning a family affair. You can start getting your kids involved in the organising process from as early as five years old by making it an activity which your child gets to experience with you. For slightly older kids, you can task them to clean up their room and check in with them on a weekly basis.
Don’t think of involving your kids in this process as an additional burden for them on top of schoolwork. By starting your kids young, you are allowing them to make more independent and responsible decisions that concern their own welfare as they get older. It is also important for them to understand the responsibility that comes with the regular upkeep of a household. Moreover, the maintenance of a household often depends on everyone playing their part rather than just relying on a particular individual to clean up.
4. Set Realistic Expectations
It is important to set realistic expectations, especially when you involve other people in the process. Expect that the organisation may not meet your standards, as people have different organising patterns and processes. So look at organising on a longer horizon rather than on a short-term basis. And set realistic and achievable goals that everybody can reach in time for the new year. That’s another important reason to start early — to give your family a chance to adjust to a new routine. It also allows you time to check in with them on a progressive basis.
Keep in mind when you are involving the family to make it as pleasant an experience as possible. Treat it as a learning experience for you and your family (yes, that includes spouses too). Don’t let this spring-cleaning experience be one where bridges are burned, and they swear off helping you forever!
5. Do a Little Every Day
Make spring-cleaning feel more manageable by doing a little organising every day, rather than leaving it as a big endeavour to tackle on the weekends. Break it down into small everyday tasks, like taking one evening to declutter the shoe rack as part of cleaning out the living room.
By doing small tasks each day, the workload of spring-cleaning becomes less daunting. It also helps get you into the habit of organising on a daily basis.
Spring-cleaning may not be the most fun experience for many. However, it can actually be a rewarding experience if done right with proper commitment. Hopefully, these five tips can help you get started on a rewarding lifetime journey of organisation and decluttering.
*BONUS TIP* Ask for Help When Needed
Don’t be afraid to ask for external help if the task of spring-cleaning gets too overwhelming for you or when you are strapped for time. Options include hiring cleaners to help with the chores so that you can focus on decluttering, or getting a professional organiser like Valerie to help you with the process of decluttering and organising. There is no shame in asking for help or wanting to shortcut the organising process for yourself.
Valerie is offering SingaporeMotherhood readers a complimentary consultation and 10% off any Re-Org By Val package from now till 1 April 2021. Simply email her at [email protected] or WhatsApp 9855 1801 and quote “SingaporeMotherhood” to enjoy this promotion.
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