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These 8 Easy Rules Will Keep Your Home Neat All Year Round

We all have that hopelessly untidy space at home, you know the one that you vowed to clean for Chinese New Year and is still a pile of things 11 months later? But whether it’s a cluttered dining table or a haphazard stash of shoes, you’ve got to get started somewhere on fixing up your home.

And to help you out, we asked Valerie Chia, a professional organiser with her own tidying service, to share her own set of simple rules on how to tackle all sorts of messes.

1. The Living Room Display

Rule: Keep only one group of items that are essential to your living room space, such as remote controls, or a box of tissues

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Living rooms are usually spaces for entertaining family members or guests. Keep the amount of items in the area to a minimum, and don't leave items like homework there. This way you won’t have to clean up the space every time someone is coming over.

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Invest in tables with (hidden) storage features! Utilise these extra spaces to keep smaller items or magazines out of plain sight.

2. The Daily Shoe Piles

Rule: Keep your entryway clear with shoe stackers

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Get rid of shoes that are uncomfortable to wear and those that you simply do not love. News flash - you are unlikely to change your mind about liking them in the future anyway!

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Source: Daiso

Giving each family member their own shelf and limiting them to a set amount of space will help to keep your shoe cabinet neat. If there’s not enough space for your shoes even after decluttering, shoe stackers can also easily double up the amount of space you have. You can easily get shoe stackers from our favourite $2 store -- Daiso!

3. The Dining Room Catchall

Rule: Leave only one centerpiece behind (e.g. placemats or a candle)

Dining rooms should serve as, well, dining spaces. But, in Singapore, these spaces are often used by the whole family to carry out other tasks, such as getting homework done, or a space to entertain guests in.

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To keep your dining area uncluttered, ensure that there is only one centerpiece on your dining table when it’s not in use. Return other items that are not part of the dining room back to where they belong. Yes, that includes your snacks!

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Instead, try this easy fix - demarcate a space near your dining table and assign each family member a box for their belongings. This way, you can easily clean and categorise their items according to each individual, while keeping clutter off the table by the end of each day to dine together.

4. The Cluttered Kitchen Countertops

Rule: Only large appliances, which are used at least once a week, get to stay on your countertops

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If you don’t have the luxury of owning a big kitchen, countertop space is prime real estate. We get it -- it’s easy to accumulate things that we hardly use on our countertops. To make things easier, only keep big appliances that you use at least once a week (such as rice cookers, kettles and microwaves) on your kitchen countertops. Other items that are used less frequently should be returned to their respective places in your kitchen.

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Focus on hanging larger utensils that you use everyday, but are too irregular to store (e.g. ladles, scoops and scissors) on the wall. Consider attaching rods to the wall and hanging “S" hooks on them to instantly get more storage space! But, remember: dish racks and utensil holders are not permanent storage spaces.

5. The Messy Pantry

Rule: Easily have a visual picture of where everything is

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Do an inventory check once every 6 months to get rid of expired items or items that have gone bad. If you find that you’re not consuming as much food as you think, consider purchasing less food so that it doesn’t go to waste!

Explore: 14 Easy Ways to Work Towards a Zero-Waste Lifestyle at Home

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To aid in your pantry cleaning quest, sort your items -- such as dried food and liquids -- into categories using organisational boxes. Use binder clips as labels to easily keep track of expiry dates for your packet items.

6. The Overflowing Wardrobe

Rule: Easily see what you want to wear in 10 minutes or less

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Being able to see what you want to wear can save you precious time in the morning - time that you can spend sleeping. Section your wardrobe into different categories: gym, home and office wear, to easily visualise your outfit for the day in 10 minutes or less

Fabric boxes are also a great way to separate folded clothing pieces, according to various purposes, such as t-shirts you wear at home or those that are for exercising.

7. The Overcrowded Bathroom

Rule: Maximise space by using hooks and shelves

In Singapore, bathrooms are typically small and tiny. Once every 6 months, pick out those products that you’ve stopped using for awhile now. You can give them to someone else in your family, or if they have expired, toss them out.

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Place all your bathroom essentials on your shower rack - keep only those products that you love and use on a daily basis.

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Hooks in bathrooms help to create additional space without the need for drilling or purchasing a rack. Place the hooks on shower racks or door so you can hang your clothes or bath towels.

For those who need additional storage, try installing a bathroom cabinet to store items that you use less frequently, like extra toilet rolls or cleaning liquids.

8. The Out of Sight Storeroom

Rule: Store only things that do not have a space anywhere else in the house

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It’s easy to ignore the mess if it is hidden behind closed doors. Storerooms or household shelters are the smallest of spaces in Singapore apartments, so determine what items you absolutely need to keep there that do not belong anywhere else in the home. Toss items you won’t need in the next 6-8 months.

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Make full use of the vertical space in your storerooms by installing adjustable shelves. Containers are also a nifty way to categorise your tools, from things like paint to extra floor mats. Be sure to label each category carefully so that you can easily find items as and when you want. Bonus tip: Store items that you use least often at the top and those used more often at the bottom, so it's more accessible when you need to take things out.

About Valerie Chia

As the founder of Re-Org by Val, Valerie Chia is a professional organiser who aims to help individuals deal with their clutter at home. She facilitates and empowers individuals to re-design a more purposeful lifestyle, by curating items that are essential in their day-to-day routines. Here’s to re-organizing your everyday life for a fresh start!

(Apr 2022 update: Re-Org by Val is no longer operational.)

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