Organizing Manuals and Warranty Cards of Electrical Appliances

Organizing Manuals and Warranty Cards of Electrical Appliances

Organizing the manuals and warranty cards so they can be easy to manage, found easily, and hassle free to put back

Without realizing, I had kept too many manuals and warranty cards. As such, problems that occurred to me:
1. Most of the warranty cards had expired and they were no longer required to keep.
2. I had difficulty tracking warranties that were still valid and expired.
3. Receipts of expired warranties which were no longer valid and required to keep. (Some warranty cards need the receipts as proof of purchase and date of purchase)
4. It was so hard to find the manuals when I needed them.
5. Manuals, which the appliances were discarded, were still in the bags.
6. Duplicate manuals which were taking up space.
7. Unrelated things were also in the manuals.

My progress of decluttering:
1. I discarded the expired receipts and warranty cards.
2. I discarded the unwanted manuals which the equipments are already discarded.
3. I discarded the duplicate manuals.
4. I removed the unrelated things, i.e. things that were neither manuals nor warranty cards.

My progress of organizing:
1. I went through all the manuals and identified the similarities between the manuals.
2. With the similarities found, I was able to identify the categories, i.e.:
a) Warranty cards
b) Manuals for Working Appliances
c) Manuals for General Household Appliances
d) Manuals for Cleaning & Washing Appliances
e) Manuals for Cooking Appliances
f) Manuals for Entertainment Appliances
3. I grouped the manuals together into those categories.

I used a file to store the manuals and warranty cards. I made a label for each file and each file was used to store each category.

 

All the manuals and warranty cards nicely filed.

Then, I came up with 2 methods, depending on the requirements:
1. Using a binder to hold the files together. This method is good if the files and manuals aren’t many and this method is less space consuming.
2. Using file holder to keep the files. This method is useful when there’s a lot of manuals in each files and many files to store. Binder won’t be able to hold the manuals and files.

Method 1:
I used a binder to hold all the files together.

Method 2:
I used a file holder to store all the files. I also labeled the file holder for easy finding.

The items I used to make this organizing happened:
1. File (From MR DIY)
2. File holder (From Daiso)
3. Binder
4. White card paper (230 gsm) (From Popular bookstore)
5. Sharpie black pen
6. Pen
7. Ruler
8. Scissor
9. Labels (a gift from Japan from a friend)

Things I used to organize.

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

Organizing An Outdoor Bag

Organizing An Outdoor Bag

Getting everything ready to go out with the children for outdoor play so that it’s faster and less stressful.

My children absolutely love to play at outdoor, whether it’s at the playground, at the lakeside, the park or at the stadium. They are so active that they are constantly moving, running, climbing, jumping, cycling, and scootering. That’s why I have outdoor bag ever ready in my car. Anytime, anywhere when they want to go to play at outdoor, I just need to grab this bag and go within seconds.

It wasn’t like this previously. It used to be very stressful for me to go outdoor to play with them because I wasn’t always ready to go and I needed some time to pack things. The children weren’t the most patient kind of little human beings. They couldn’t wait due to their short attention span when they were younger. So most of the time, I either packed less or packed too much of unnecessary things because of their whining and crying that I lost my focus or became forgetful. Emotionally, it was stressful to me.

Once one of them were seriously injured because he fell and he was bleeding profusely, and I didn’t have anything with me. It was a havoc. I was in shocked, worried and panicked. He was terrified, in pain and crying. It was a traumatizing experience for all of us.

Because of all those reasons, I come out with this idea of outdoor bag. Besides that, I also find that this outdoor bag is an awesome thing to have because when I’m not around and my spouse needs to babysit the boys at outdoor, he can use that bag. As such, I can have a peace of mind when I’m out because I know he’s prepared with everything I have prepared in the bag if there is anything wrong happens with the children during outdoor play. =)

I chose to use a cloth bag with wide base because in a glance, I can see and find everything that I need. With everything easy to view, restocking the finished items is easy. Cloth bag is also easier to wash, and it can be put into the washing machine for washing and dryer for drying without damaging the bag. So happened this bag was gifted to the boys from their grandaunt when they celebrated their one year old birthday.

Previously, I used recycled bags and it didn’t work well. I had to ransack the recycled bag to look for the things I wanted. After that, everything in it became so messy. Recycled bags were not easy to clean and get dirty easily. After a period of time, the bag tend to tear.

In the bag, these are the items:

1. Water bottle. It’s so important to keep the children hydrated when they are outdoor. When they were younger (below aged of 4), I carried their bottles for them. Once they turned 5, they are reminded and they need to bring their own water bottles.
2. Potty. This is important when we are at a park, the toilet is hard to find or far away and the children needs to pee.
3. Tissue paper.
4. Baby wipes.
5. Handkerchiefs.
6. Mozzie repellent for adults. Living in a tropical country, mosquitoes at the parks is really common. So mozzie repellent is an essential for children and adults because aedes mosquitoes will cause dengue fever which could be potentially fatal.
7. Sunblock and mozzie repellent for children. I love the Badger brand because it’s 2-in-1. My second boy has sensitive skin and this works perfectly for him. Other brands which I tried on him cause his skin to react badly to becoming red and itch. To minimize the things in the bag, I share their sunblock too.
8. Itch relief cream. It relieves itchines of mozzie or insect bites. I uses Eurax cream.
9. Eye drops. To me, this is extremely important because I can immediately use the drops to wash the children’s eyes when any foreign object accidentally goes into their eyes, itchy eyes, watery eyes or red eyes.
10. Plasters / bandages. First aid kit can be quite handy when there’s an emergency or injury at the playground.
11. Plastic bags. Some parks or playrgounds are not equipped with garbage bins, so I carry the plastic bags to bring the garbage back to throw.
12. Container / pouch bag. I chose to use the plastic container because I decluttered all my pouch bags. So I just use whatever items I have at home. Items no. 6 to no. 11 are kept in this container.
13. Dry snacks. It’s not in the photo. I used to put dry snacks in the bag too when the kids were younger. Now I no longer need to as they are older. But once a while, depending on the activities, timing of activities and the boys’ request, I’ll bring the snack to avoid the children from being hungry.

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

What Types of Toys Do My Children Keep?

What Types of Toys Do My Children Keep?

The toys my children currently have – which encourage creativity, independent play and imagination.

For the past few weeks, I have been tidying up my children’s belongings, especially their toys. As I have been doing it, it has become overwhelming for me to tidy up. Despite having homes for the toys, I noticed that the children were feeling overwhelmed too, due to the large amount of toys they had. I started to see that they were trashing the toys, they weren’t handling the toys with care anymore and they didn’t bother to put them away. So, I started with the decluttering session with the children by going through their toys and facilitating the process of letting go of their toys. As I was helping them to reduce the amount of toys, I realized that their toys could be categorized into groups. Once the toys were categorized, it was easier to manage, because we could decide on what to keep and where to keep it. I also realized that toys minimalism was what I aimed for during the categorizing and decluttering process because I wanted the toys maintenance of storing, organizing, tidying and cleaning were minimized too.

Here are my observations on the characteristics of their toys and how I categorized them, which helped us make better decisions on keeping them:

 

1. Things that encourage constructive play

Examples,

  • Lego
  • Mega blocks
  • Wooden blocks
  • Magnetic building blocks
  • Tree blocks
  • Star connectors

2. Things that encourage sensory play

Examples,

  • Sensory tub
  • Rocks / stones / pebbles
  • Artificial grass
  • Dry pasta

3. Things that encourage creative play

Examples,

  • Musical instruments, preferably wooden types
  • Art and craft supplies

4. Things that encourage imaginative play

Examples,

  • Soft toys
  • Characters (people, wild animals, sea animals, farm animals, insects)
  • Cloth (Silk, scarves, small blankets)
  • Vehicles (cars, trucks, trains)
  • Play pretend sets (doctor set, kitchen set)

5. Things that encourage motor skills

Examples,

  • Round items (different sizes of balls, marbles, hula hoops)
  • Outdoor items (trampoline, slides, inflatable pool, bicycle, scooter, roller skates)

6. Things that encourage creative learning

  • Montessori apparatus
  • Board games

After going through the categorizing, the speed of deciding, decluttering, tidying, organizing and cleaning was faster than before. And the toys that we are keeping now, we make sure that they are age appropriate. Whatever toys they have outgrown, these are the toys that will be let go. Also, I prefer to keep the toys that are made of natural materials e.g. wood and rattan. For plastic toys, I try to minimize them as much as I can.

Despite the fact I wished to have minimalistic toys for the children, it is harder to do so because we are homeschoolers. Frankly speaking, my house is like a mini kindergarten. If my children were at school, a lot of things which the school provides, I wouldn’t need at home. But due to the fact they stay at home, I need to provide an environment that stimulates their interests and learning.

So far, this is the best I can come up with and I’m happy to move along with it.

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

What Should I Do When I Feel Overloaded With Laundry?

What Should I Do When I Feel Overloaded With Laundry?

Laundry is one of the household chores that most people hate because it’s time consuming and involves lots of work, especially folding. Like most people, I quickly get fed up of doing laundry because the laundry never stops! So, here are the strategies I use when I feel overwhelmed with my family’s laundry:

1. Declutter!

When my helper went away, I was constantly feeling frustrated because the cleaning, washing and drying were endless! So, I started decluttering my own clothes and my children’s clothes. I became more aware of my own pattern and my boys’ pattern of choosing clothes. I realized we only wear a handful of clothes every day! And our choices of clothes were always the same, comfy ones.

So, I started decluttering my own clothes first. Then, I did the decluttering with my children. It was easy for them to decide what to let go and what to keep. But it was extremely difficult for me to let go of certain clothes due to sentimental value. But, once I managed to break through the barrier, my decluttering of clothes helped me save time and effort on doing the laundry. Less clothes, less washing and less putting back! Effort and time were both being saved.

I was letting go of my old clothes.

2. Keep clothes at the optimal level

My household has only 5 members, 2 adults and 3 children. But the laundry is done daily. My children are active and they love to play outdoors. On a typical day, they will be playing at outside, either in the garden, playground or the park at least 2 times per day for two hours. I will be there to accompany them when they are out. At the same time, I’ll be doing my walking too. Hence our clothes are always sweaty, stinky and dirty.

The main reason I did my laundry every day was because I wanted to keep our clothes to the minimal or at least, the optimal level. If I have a lot of clothes, chances are I will put off my laundry because, in my mind, I always know that I still have clothes to wear. But if I know I don’t have any clothes to wear if I don’t do my laundry, I will be pushed to do it. And that’s my motivation.

3. Schedule and Discipline

For me, having a schedule to do the laundry is important. Every morning, at 6.30am, I bring all the clothes to wash and, after two hours, it is time to put the wet laundry in the dryer. Then, at night, after putting the children to sleep, I get ready to watch my favorite dramas while folding the clothes.

For me, the discipline of doing the laundry is important. Once, I screwed up my own schedule. It ended badly. I had tons of laundry to wash and dry and fold and put back and I spent 2 consecutive days just clearing the laundry backlog.

4. Technology

I prefer to invest in technology rather than depending on other people. Whether the person is my spouse, child, domestic helper or part time helper, I feel that the electricals such as the washing machine and dryer are more reliable. When I rely on others, I always need to follow their schedule, and, because of that, my own timing and schedule are being screwed up. But if I don’t need them to do the laundry for me, I can use the machines, which follow my time and schedule. And the machines just need me to press the buttons. There’s no need to shout, scream, negotiate and nag!

My loyal “helpers”. I can’t live without them.

5. Temporary station

When my laundry schedule is not being followed due to reasons such as attending a wedding, working in an office, sick children, etc., I have a spot to temporarily place the washed and dried laundry. Because I know the mess is temporary and all the clothes have their own home, it’s totally okay to slow down and put the clothes back later.

What it’s not okay is when the clothes have nowhere to go and they remain as clutter in the same spot and the clutter keeps growing day by day.

6. Right place and tools

The best piece of furniture that my husband ever bought was the big round coffee table. I love my coffee table a lot because it is the right size and right height for doing the folding. Because I have the right place to do my folding, I can do it properly and this reduces my frustration.

Having the right laundry baskets also helps to ease the whole laundry process. I have only 2 types of laundry baskets, 1 for dirty laundry and 1 for folded clothes, and each type of basket has a maximum of 2 units. Being aware of the limit I have on items helps me stay on track of not overbuying and over-keeping.

My large brown laundry baskets.

7. Hangers?

I always feel clothes that are hung will create more clutter. But, don’t misunderstand, certain clothes, e.g. dresses, gowns, blazers, pants for working, ironed clothes, I still hang them. But if possible, I prefer folding clothes e.g. t-shirts, short pants, jeans, etc. Because by doing so, I can go through the details of the clothes and appreciate them more. With a different mindset, I feel grateful and blessed with the many clothes my family and myself have.

And if I ever feel overwhelmed with the folding, it means that there are too many clothes in the closet and it’s getting beyond my ability to handle. As such, it tells me that’s the perfect time to declutter. Also, hangers create a clutter to me because it’s another extra thing that I need to manage.

The number of hangers which I got rid of

Laundry work is easier to manage when the amount of clothes that need to be cleaned is reduced. Getting the job done fast, easily and with less stress is everyone’s dream. So, having less means having more, i.e. less clothes to clean means more time for other things.

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

Wow! I can categorize my clutter! I must be crazy!

Wow! I can categorize my clutter! I must be crazy!

Categorizing my clutter helps me identify it better, deal with it better, and have no regrets when I need to let go of it.

To manage the clutter at home, I was able to identify it and identify the root cause of why I still keep it. Every time I picked up an item to decide whether to keep or toss it, I would ask myself, is this contributing to the clutter? If yes, what kind of clutter is this? Once I identified the clutter, I would be able to deal with it better. Here are some of the clutter I managed to identify in my home:

 

1. My bargain clutter

This was my biggest cause of clutter in the house. I bought a lot of things from warehouse sales, shopping mall sales, bookstores sales, toys stores sales, online sales, etc. Any place, either physical or virtual, which put up a sign with the word “SALES” would trigger my compulsive buying bug! Living in the digital era, I never failed to shop online when there were online sales on the websites because it was so convenient. I just needed to key in my credit card number and after a few days, the items would arrive at my doorstep.

Regardless of whether the things were useful in the moment when I bought them, I thought to myself I would find a purpose for them after I bought them. Big mistake! The word “Sales” was really my worst enemy! I had a love-hate relationship with it. I wanted to buy an item with the cheapest price and. on the other hand, I didn’t want to miss out on a cheap deal. Being Asian, kiasu is in my blood. LOL!

Toys bought from warehouse sales.

 

2. My emotional clutter

My buying and clutter were highly correlated with my emotions and depression. When I was feeling depressed, I would buy. When I was happy, I would buy. When I was sad, I would buy. Every emotion, either positive or negative, I would celebrate it by buying. I would justify my buying by lying about the reasons when questioned. Sometimes, I would hide my buying and chuck all the stuff in the storage room, creating clutter in there. Because of this vicious cycle, it became extremely overwhelming for me when I needed to tidy and clean. As a result, I just continued to stack new clutter on top of the old clutter. Once I became a mom, I was constantly struggling with fear and worry and these feelings were threefold because I had triplets. And these feelings were reflected in my clutter:

I had fear of inflation. This terrified me every time when I saw prices increase. So, I would buy during sales, store them away and take them out when the children were old enough to use them. Chances were I never took them out to let the children use them, and I ended discarding them even though they were brand new.

I had a fear of missing out. With any cheap deals, I was afraid that if I didn’t buy something, I would miss out. I hated the feeling that other mommies were buying it, and I wasn’t. I felt totally insecure, inferior, weird and a bad mom for not following the crowd.

I had a fear of peer pressure. Being a mom, I could be so kiasu! Everything that I saw my mommy friends buy, I really wanted to follow and buy too. I was so afraid that my children would miss out on learning and development if I didn’t buy the stuff that other mommies were buying, especially during a group buy. And when I saw other mommies happily using the products and I didn’t buy them, man, I would feel so guilty for the entire week!

I had a fear of regret. The feeling of regret would appear when I was unable to find things when I needed them in the future. Or when the price increased, and I wouldn’t be able to afford them.

I had a fear of letting go. For the things which my children had used, I felt a strong attachment to them, whether it was clothes, toys, milk bottles, strollers, car seats….everything, and I wanted to keep them all. The fear consumed me that if those things weren’t around anymore, a part of me was being taken away.

I had a fear of guilt. I believe every mom wants to give the best to her children. When I was unable to give the best to my children, the feeling of guilt slowly consumed me. And because of that, I feared guilt and tried to avoid it, that was when my buying, stocking up and cluttering began to grow.

Because of emotional reasons, I bought faster than I could store. Sometimes I didn’t even have places to store the stuff, yet I still continued buying.

Sometimes I felt that my life purpose as a mom was to buy things for my children, regardless  of whether they need it. Back then, I believed it was mainly to satisfy my anxiety, insecurity and inferiority.

3. My freebie clutter

This is a trap most mommies will fall into. Anything that is offered to us for free we will want to take! Remember the free toys offered when you buy formula? Remember the free gift when you spent a certain amount at a shopping mall or at an expo?! Remember the free toys at McDonalds every time you buy a Happy Meal?

Nobody can resist the temptation of free stuff! Free towels, free toys, free mugs, free tableware, free pens, and free recycled bags.

I used to have this weird habit, I was so crazy that I would attend exhibitions just to grab the free bags and pens! Because of that habit, I would end up with lots of paper, bags and pens to deal with. Time and effort were spent on discarding, keeping and storing.

Recycled bags accumulated from exhibition visits

4. My preloved clutter

Every time my partner questioned me about my purchase, I would tell him I needed it and if I didn’t need it, I could always sell it online as preloved. Or anything that members of the family had outgrown, I wanted to keep all preloved items with the intention of selling them online. Boy, I was so wrong. This mindset made me buy and keep so many things at home. I always carried the hope with me that I would be able to sell whatever I bought and, as a result, either there was nobody buying from me or I had to sell them at a really low price even though the stuff was brand new. The things I wanted to sell but couldn’t sell started to accumulate until I needed a room to store those things.

A room full of stuff waiting to be sold

5. My buyer’s remorse clutter

This is the worst kind of my clutter. Because what I bought did not fit the purpose I intended it for, I would keep the things because I always thought that I would need them in the future. It could be that I bought the wrong size; the item didn’t work as advertised; or it was simply due to my compulsive buying. If I failed to repurpose them, what happened next was I would simply chuck them aside.

6. My sentimental clutter

I had the tendency to collect things which were sentimental to me. I loved to collect books. College textbooks, college notes, recipe books, maternity books, baby food/puree books, baby care books, it took me FOUR years to realize that I needed to let them go. Since I had decided that I wouldn’t have any more children, there was no reason for me to still keep those books.

Also, gifts from my spouse, family, and friends, I still kept everything, and I was unwilling to let them go.

The strongest sentimental feeling I had was for things that belonged to my children. I had collected their clothes and toys since they were babies. I kept their water bottles, milk bottles, bowls and plates, cutlery, high chairs, etc.

I was still keeping my boys’ shoes for a year after they had outgrown them or the shoes were worn out.

7. My “just-in-case” clutter

I also kept things because I thought they would be useful in the future. I kept manuals, empty boxes, books, magazines, bowls, plates, cups, pots, cables, cords, plastic bags, recycled bags, etc. Everything I could think of in case I needed them in the future.

“This thing is handy and useful, maybe I will need it in the future.”

“This thing looks nice, I might need it later.”

“This thing is so educational, maybe the boys can use it when they are older.”

In my case, sometimes I kept things for the sake of keeping them.

8. My outgrown clutter

Before my pregnancy, I had a huge stash of nice clothes which I hoped I could wear after I had given birth. Even after 4 years, I still kept the clothes.

Another meaning of outgrown clutter is overloaded clutter. In my case, there were so many DVDs, CDs, handbags, shoes, that I had nowhere to store them properly. And for those items, I would probably not be using them anymore ever.

Old DVDs which nobody at home was watching anymore

9. My aspirational clutter

I always felt I should be a good cook when I became a mom. So, I bought lots of cooking and recipes books, as well as cooking-related products. Every time someone recommended a good kitchen product, or recipe book, or organic food, I would rush to buy it.

But because I really hated cooking and I felt defeated every time I tried to cook, I stopped cooking entirely. As a result, all the stuff I bought was just chucked in the kitchen cabinet and many things were still new in the box and never opened. The food remained in the fridge to expire or rotten.

10. My hobby clutter

I enjoyed playing with jigsaws as a hobby. I loved to buy puzzles with the intention of solving them in my spare time. However, after becoming a mom, I never had that “spare time”. I continued to buy them but had no time to work on them. As a result, a big collection of jigsaw puzzles were piling up in my room collecting dust.

11. My forgotten clutter

Have you had the experience of buying an item and after that you realize you have the same item at home?

Sometimes I forgot about the things I had bought and chucked aside earlier, I conveniently went out to buy more of the same thing because, at that point in time, I indeed needed to use the thing. And when I was doing a spring clean, I saw so many of those items quietly hiding in the storage room. Whoops!

At one point, I had over bought so many refillable liquid hand soaps. It took me two years to finally finish using those liquid hand soaps.

Somehow, whatever things had been put aside, I’d conveniently forget about them. This quote describes me well, “Out of sight, out of mind!”

I can’t believe I bought so many brushes to wash my milk bottles

12. My homeless clutter

My definition of homeless clutter is the clutter created due to the items had no place. This often happened to me when I over-bought or my purchasing was faster than my storing. So, theis stuff ended up like “ghosts” in my house, “floating” here and there, having no home to go to. Because of that, what was likely to happen was I used any available surface to put those things.

Take our bags, for example. Everyone in my home used to leave their bags on the staircase because there was no designated place to put them. My handbags, my spouse’s work bag, my children’s school bags, diaper bags and outdoor bags. Just imagine all these bags lying on the floor. Once, I almost tripped and fell down the stairs because my foot got tangled in the bags.

Leaving the bags on the staircase

13. My procrastinating clutter

Do you have a place at home where you put everything? There’s always a mountain of clutter, with paper, junk, magazines, letters, brochures, leaflets, sunglasses, books, bags, broken items, etc. that need to be cleared.

I had one at home too! It was my dining table. Everything that first came in the house would be there.

This clutter category of mine was highly correlated with my homeless clutter. Because these items had no place to go, they would be forever stuck on my dining table.

After visiting MATTA fair, this pile of brochures was sitting on the dining table for months

14. Not-my-clutter clutter

Okay, seriously, the mess in the house wasn’t created by me alone. It was also due to other family members who left their own clutter. In my case, it was my spouse and children. Despite my efforts to clear the stuff away, their clutter began to pile up. Sigh. It could be worse if I was living with my extended family. The house clutter could be coming from my parents, siblings, relatives, etc.

 

By identifying the types of clutter, I was more willing to face the problem, and find the solutions to tackle the clutter. Without knowing these types, it would be hard for me to declutter, because I wouldn’t know how to deal with it and I would just continue to be ignorant of the clutter.

Let’s fight against clutter and keep our home clutter-free!

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

How I survived 60 days without a domestic helper, and still felt great?

 

How I survived 60 days without a domestic helper, and still felt great, was productive and didn’t feel like I was defeated?

Maidless = Helpless ? How I survived 60 days without a domestic helper, and still felt great, was productive and didn’t feel like I was defeated

Every time I face a challenge, my husband always says to me, “Divide and conquer”. So, here’s my 7 strategies on how I managed to keep the house clean and organized with my husband and my triplet boys after my helper went back to her home country.

1. Mindset shifting

This was the first time my DH had gone back to her home country for two months. Previously, every year she went back for one month, I would have many negative feelings flowing through me. I was constantly worried, uncertain, afraid and angry.

But, this year, I decided to shift my mind to focus on positivity only. I was taking this time to do some self-reflection. Instead of choosing to blame her and get frustrated with her wrongdoings, I chose to channel these feelings to make things productive. Every time I felt a negative feeling, I would channel the negativity and focus on doing something productive e.g. organizing my storage room or decluttering the papers. Because of that, I felt more productive and empowered because I was in more control of my own home rather than feeling that my helper and external things were controlling how I felt.

I took some time to show gratitude towards my helper too. Every time I was challenged by a difficult chore, I would thank her for her assistance over these years, helping me solving the problems at home. Also, I felt happy for her because she was in her home country spending time with her family, especially her son. With that, I felt grateful for what she had sacrificed and contributed to my family and she was a good helper.

2. Behavior changing

The whole family’s behavior changes too. Everyone in the house is no longer pampered. They have to contribute to the household.

Starting with my boys, I slowly broke the tasks down into smaller tasks based on their capabilities.

  • They had to refill and take their own water bottles and put them in their school bags and carry their bags into the car.
  • They had to take out their school uniforms from the wardrobe and put on their uniforms themselves.
  • They had to wash their own dishes.
  • They had to put their belongings in their designated places.

Also, any appropriate self-care activities e.g. shower, changing clothes and brushing teeth, I would leave it to them to do without my help.

Jun washing his own bowl.

3. Delegating

I delegated the household chores to my children and husband too. I assigned appropriate chores to the boys and they helped me with simple chores such as putting laundry into the washing machine, putting laundry in the dryer, vacuuming the rugs, putting the cutlery and kitchen utensils into the drawers, etc. My husband helped out with other chores such as taking out the trash, grocery shopping, and paying bills.

Hao took the laundry out of the dryer.

4. Decluttering

I started to declutter the things I found useless and things that I didn’t love anymore. Every time I was cleaning, I would declutter at the same time. As for my boys’ things, I would go through the decluttering process with them by asking whether they still wanted to keep or discard something. Surprisingly, they were clear with what they wanted to keep and throw. They merely answered a simple, yes or no. With lesser things, the process of cleaning, tidying and organizing was simplified.

Instead of throwing the things directly into the garbage, I chose to declutter responsibly i.e. sell, repurpose, recycle, give away and donate.

5. Organizing

Despite having a simple organizing system I developed for my helper to maintain, I found out the system was breaking down. So, I took this time to audit my own system. Like every system’s flaws, it lacked maintenance, auditing and improvement.

I looked for ways to simplify and improve my organizing system. It wasn’t easy. So, I needed to do it section by section. For instance, my storeroom was in a huge mess. So, I didn’t organize the entire room because it would be too overwhelming for me. I chose one section which I wanted to organize first. The first thing I organized was the recycling bags. Every time I saw my neatly organized recycling bags, I would be happy to continue the organizing in other sections on subsequent days. Slowly, the storage room became more organized than before. Once I had finished organizing my storage room, I could see everything in its designated place making it easy to find, store, retrieve and put back.

That’s why I love organizing because the reward is immediate, and you can see it instantly.

6. Automating

With those repetitive chores, I automated them as much as I could. I had a washing machine and dryer to help me save time and effort on washing and drying clothes. I had a cooker, which partially helped me do the cooking. Dish washer and robotic vacuum cleaner, which can sweep and mop, are in my to-buy list. With more automation, I hope I can lighten my burden and get more time for other important activities.

7. Outsourcing

Any chores which I felt could be outsourced, I outsourced them. I outsourced the cleaning to a part time cleaner. I got the part time cleaner to come clean my house for 2 full days. That way I could leave the cleaning to the cleaning expert while I focused on decluttering and organizing. As for picking the cleaner up, I outsourced it to the cleaner by asking her to use Grab to save me time in transporting her.

Lastly, after everything had been done, I just sat back, embraced the change and drank my favorite drink, coffee/peppermint tea.

Josephine

Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

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