5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

Make space for your house, and your soul

By CS Ming / 25 January 2022

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

It’s that time of the year already? Yawnzzz. Source: Freshysites.com

  • Take it slow
  • Why declutter when there is no clutter in the first place?
  • Buy what you need, not what you want
  • Put them aside for a year

Chinese New Year approaches, and we are all so very busy in our house. Take it from me because I am writing this article with one hand and sealing angpau packs with the other. Oh, the joy of multitasking! Anyway, for those of you who don’t know, it is an age-old superstition for us Chinese to clean up the home for the Chinese New Year.

I think this superstition is super silly, but my mom thinks otherwise. Something tells me she is just looking for an excuse to make a slave out of me. Enough about my woes, let us observe the meaning of this act, which is symbolic of ridding the house of bad luck and misfortunes of the past. Sounds pretty cool eh? And with the pandemic continuing to rage across the globe, we could certainly use some good luck. 

I am quite a prince myself, and I do not want to ruin my perfectly manicured fingernails. Hence I will leave the heavy cleaning like mopping and sweeping to my parents. So what can we possibly do? I know. Let’s help declutter the home. There’s so much stuff crammed in my drawer anyway, and I really need to locate that Victoria Secret magazine I lost a decade back. 

But I want everything in the house!

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

No you don’t. Repeat it again…slowly. Source: Medicinenet

Do your hands feel sweaty, and your heart beats quickly? Yes, that is the effect of the terrible pressure pressing down upon us as we decide what to throw and what to keep. Everything feels so important and nostalgic, yet we simply do not have the space to house all of them. 

Oh, the terror! Want to hear some good news? I have sweated buckets for the past three days, so you do not have to. Every traumatising event feels more manageable once we break it down into manageable bite-sized pieces. How do we do this, you say?

Step one, take it slow

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

Take a nap, champion. Because tomorrow, we ride at dawn! Source: Verywellmind

Start small if you are unsure how to proceed. Always begin with the places that are relatively easy to deal with, such as your bookshelf, closet and drawer. You can turn your cleaning process into a routine by allocating 10 to 15 minutes a day to tidy up a corner. Once you have acclimated your body to the effort, increase it by a notch or two. As for me, I will stick with the 10 minutes (deep yawn).

Step two, prevention is better than cure

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

Keep in touch with your altruistic side by donating clothes you no longer wear. Source: Freepik

You wouldn’t need to declutter a space if it was never cluttered in the first place! Sounds easier than done, because we Malaysians certainly love to shop. Those who follow the fashion trend religiously will find their wardrobe closet overflowing with clothes very quickly. Stop and take a moment to gather your thoughts. Fashion is a volatile industry, and its ever-changing nature means that you will never be able to catch it. 

The trick is to buy what you need and not what you want. Yes, there is a huge difference. Human desire is bottomless, and we must understand that our wants are less important compared to our needs. Although I wrote this, I am still having trouble understanding it.

Step three, Need vs Want

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

Trust me. You don’t need them as much as you think you do. You will see. Source: thespruce

Is it really necessary to buy a drill when you only fix your furniture once or twice per year? Or perhaps a measuring bowl for that cookie recipe you saw on TV, which you never baked ever again? Maybe you could save money and space by borrowing it from your neighbour instead, or even better, just rent it! But of course, we don’t borrow things such as a toothbrush and…well…you get the idea. 

Every time you intend to buy an item, always ask yourself—can it be substituted with something else among your possessions? If the substitute is almost identical in function, then you really don’t need the extra. Also, choose from an array of durable and high-quality items. Merchandise with a short lifespan requires replacements every now and then, which creates a stockpile of junk in your home. They also contribute to the alarming rise in landfills.

Step four, the one year house rule

5 Steps to Declutter Your House For The Coming Chinese New Year

Time will tell. Source: Unsplash

Can’t decide on what to throw? Simple, place all the items into a dedicated box and set it aside for a year. If the items in the box remain untouched for 365 days, then it is safe to assume that you don’t need them as much as you think you do. It is time to remove them from your life or space, whichever sounds better. Do not be emotionally attached to belongings that are unimportant to you. Leave space in your heart for those items that you truly need and love. Mari Kondo must be so proud of me right now.

Step five, enjoy the coming new year

You must be reclining on a sofa, sweaty and tired after a day of honest, backbreaking work. The home is squeaky clean, and everything appears tidy and in order. Great job there! You are set to enjoy a clutter-free Chinese New Year, which I hope will bring clarity and order to your life. What about me, you say? I’m still…working on it.

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