Clearing The Clutter


Is your home beginning to look like this?


If your home resembles the messy luggage car of a wrecked train, then you’ve some serious clutter issues that you need to get off your hands.

With medical studies showing that stress levels are directly related to mess levels in the home,  and even Feng Shui telling you that clutter drains you of your chi or internal energy, there’s no need for anyone else to nag at you to clear the clutter.

We know you’d have probably given up trying to tidy up a long time ago, simply because you didn’t know where to start. So we’ve come up with a set of empowering rules to give you the courage to pry yourself from the vicious cycle of procrastination, grab that feather duster and attack the clutter.

– Remember Your Trail

Remember that you left that book on the armchair after reading, or that plate of cookies on the sofa during the commercial break. You don’t have to jump up to put back your plate into the kitchen the minute you finish your cookies, or your book back on the shelf as soon as you close it, as long as they aren’t forgotten.

Backtrack when you have the time and clean up after yourself. After all, if you’ve time to lean, you’ve time to clean.

– Enlist The Family’s Help

Half the day’s tension comes from thinking of the pile of work needing attention. When faced with a pile of dirty dishes for example, establishing a nightly washing routine would be a good idea to get things going.

But roping in the rest of your family after meals to form a production line of soaping, washing, drying and keeping can give you a clean sink within minutes.  A routine soon becomes second nature and a spontaneous act, which does not appear tiring either.

It’s not easy to establish twenty routines all at once so start of one routine at a time, and allow the family to get used to it before moving on.

Boy & RobotsTrain The Kids

For those lucky enough to have a domestic helper, you’ll find that your kids barely know how to clean up after themselves.

It’s easy to let your kids watch their favourite cartoons and get the maid to keep clearing after them every few minutes, rather than watch the little ones take hours to pick up their toys.

But this exercise is worth your time and patience.  Children should learn that they’re responsible for their mess and that it is theirs to clean if they wish to be rewarded with a TV cartoon. Learn to find the joy in seeing your toddler pick up each toy with his tiny hands to put it back in its place.

When the kids grow a little older, continue being firm about them cleaning their rooms and putting their things away. Don’t succumb to taking ”Just chill, Mum” for an answer.

You too should lead by example, earning the respect of your children when you practise what you preach.


Accomplish several jobs simultaneously. While waiting for the soup to boil, it’s easy to lay the table, clear a sink of dirty dishes, and while they dry, put away the day’s shopping. This is a time-saving technique that eases the work burden and increases efficiency.

– Fight Procrastination

It’s human nature to put off till tomorrow what you can do today. You may conveniently dump bags full of groceries at the doorway and think of putting them away later, but this simply complicates matters when work and junk starts piling up.

So while that cup of coffee brews, put away all the packets in their right places and you might find your cup of coffee even more relaxing. Get it into your head that the ten minutes spent clearing up today is less time than the hour spent clearing up tomorrow.

– Less Stuff, Less Mess

In the first few years of setting up home, numbers matter to fill the house. But pretty soon, quality overshadows quantity. At such a time, it’s important to avoid impulse buys and consider whether you really need that extra bowl or vase. When it comes keeping things tidy, If there’s anything you should procrastinate on, it’s shopping.

Avoid wasting perishables by buying only what you need and not picking up extras offered on discounts. This helps in saving money and managing the stuff you eventually cart home.

– Sort It Out

A home is easier managed when space is set aside for even the most trivial of items.  Assign a corner to old newspapers and another to reusable plastic bags  folded and sorted according to size.

Keep linen, and clothes in neat stacks but take out the item needed without disturbing the pile. Instead of prying out the bottom shirt and uprooting the entire pile in the process, try picking up the pile up till that shirt with one hand, removing the desired item, and then putting the rest back in its place.

There you go; train wreck no more.

author avatar

Anu Seth is a writer, editor and journalist with over 15 years of experience, writing on a diverse range of topics. She writes with sincerity and has had interesting experiences living in different parts of the world. As a mother of two, she prides herself on keeping a good home. Singapore remains her favorite country.