Is your home a big mess? There’s no better time than now to start spring cleaning so you can start the Year of the Monkey anew. Decluttering will help create more space, save money and reduce stress!

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Is your home a big mess? There’s no better time than now to start spring cleaning so you can start the Year of the Monkey anew. Decluttering will help create more space, save money and reduce stress!

My Reading Room

Unruly stacks of bills lying on desks. Wardrobes and drawers crammed with clothes. Kitchen cupboards filled with mismatched crockery, unused gadgets and containers with missing lids. Does any of this sound familiar?

It’s no surprise that many of us are guilty of accumulating clutter in our homes. The problem is we’re busy, so it’s easier to keep clearing the surfaces and shoving other things into cupboards.


Decluttering, experts say, is like losing weight. You need to set a goal or vision, find the motivation and put in steady work to get there. Start by declaring a problem area, such as the dining room. A lot of people eat on the couch because the dining table is too messy. But don’t start pulling things off the table, emptying cupboards and sweeping shelves. The key is to focus on one small area at a time and work in short bursts to prevent burn-out.

Sort out your belongings into three piles: “KEEP”, “NOT SURE”, and “THROW” (plus “STORE” if you have space). If most things end up in the “KEEP” mountain, ask yourself why. It could be an expensive dress that isn’t the right size, so try and loosen that bond.

If you find your emotional attachment to possessions tend to cloud your judgement, choose an area that’s fairly neutral, like the bathroom. Set the timer for 15 minutes and go through only one drawer at a time.

My Reading Room

The pros from StorHub share how to pack items for long-term storage

Vacuum seal clothes so they are packed tightly.
Loosely pack small items with desiccant in carton boxes to prevent mould growth.
Cling-wrap furniture to prevent damage during moving.

Need more storage space? StorHub provides instant room at 11 convenient locations, and comes with biometric and 24/7 access. Visit


For many, clothing can become clutter, whether it’s clothes that don’t fit anymore (because they might fit in the future), bad purchases that don’t suit (it was on sale), or old things (maybe I’ll wear it when I go to the beach). Not to mention those that still have their price tags on! People like to go shopping because it makes them feel good. So it helps to serve as a reality check about the full extent of our shopping habits.


Many women hold on dearly to their children’s baby clothes, arts and crafts, old school books and even shoes because they feel guilty about not always being there for them in their growing-up years. The practical thing to do is to photograph all these and pick one or two favourite items from each year to keep.


It’s time to review your collection of random cups, the unused bread machine and juicer, and any obscure kitchen tool. Don’t exempt the pantry. Check expiry dates of items, especially those sitting at the back of the cupboard, and if they are expired, they are good to go!


The benefits of decluttering can be lifechanging. You’ll save time because you can find things. You’ll feel calmer because everything is in order. And you’ll save money because you will stop buying stuff you already have.


So now that you’re enjoying the space and serenity, how do you prevent stuff from building up again? When it comes to the wardrobe, there’s a one-in, one-out rule. If you’ve bought a new T-shirt, toss the old, torn one out. Paper work tends to be a common headache because we don’t deal with it every day. Spend five minutes each day to take things off the surface and deal with them. Have a permanent charity bag somewhere in the house to save things that you don’t need anymore, say, clothing your child has grown out of. W

My Reading Room

Take this quiz to find out

1 You have more than three large collections of items that don’t serve any practical purpose.

2 You have more than 10 unopened items or outfits with the tags still on for over a year now.

3 Your dining table and study desk are piled with clutter.

4 You often eat out because you can’t see your stove top, microwave or kitchen table.

5 You often save things – old clothes, bubble wrap, boxes, even broken appliances – and think these “may come in handy someday”.

6 It takes you more than a day to clean up your house when you’re expecting visitors.

7 The door to your house and the doors to the bedrooms are blocked from opening.

8 You and your children are embarrassed to have guests over.

9 Your friends prefer to hang out outside instead of over at your house.

10 You often trip over things when walking through commonly used rooms at home. Diagnosis: If you’ve answered “TRUE” five or more times to the above statements, it’s likely you’re a hoarder.