Since 7th April, Singapore entered the circuit breaker period, and all of us were advised to work from home and stay home as much as possible. Working from home is going to be a norm for many of us. With only essential services operating, our regular housekeeping and home cleaning services have to be temporary suspended. So what about our household chores? How do you keep the house clean then?
Well, fret not! During this period when you are unable to engage any housekeeping or home cleaning services, here are 5 helpful tips for you to get by this Circuit Breaker without breaking your back.
Taking a little bit of effort to put things away goes a long way towards keeping your house clean and decluttered.
Step by step, a little at a time
Finding a dedicated time to clean your entire house is a challenge when you work from home. Add in cooking 3 meals, taking care of kids (and keeping an eye on their HBL of course), personal relaxation time, and it’s almost impossible. Doing the cleaning all at once can also feel like one-third of your life is wasted.
However, the good news is that you don’t have to clean your entire house all at once. Instead, break down your chores and commit to cleaning a little each day. This is also a great way to get away from your desk and to take a short breather (we know how it feels like there is no day and night when you work from home).
Here are some suggestions:
- Clean one room each day (for eg. clean living room on Monday, clean bedroom on Tuesday, clean bathroom on Wednesday etc.)
- Do bite-size tasks during your 10 mins break from work every hour (for e.g wipe down furniture and surfaces, load the laundry into the washing machine or fold the laundry etc.)
Adopt a habit of putting things away
Yes! It sounds simple to do it right? Now when you are at home everyday during this period, you will realise that it is convenient to just leave things lying around, since you will be using it anytime soon!
Well, it’s time to change this mindset! Taking a little bit of effort to put things away goes a long way towards keeping your house clean and decluttered. Imagine how much work is reduced to maintain a clean home by starting to put things away as soon as you were done with them.
Here is what you can do: Before you leave your room, glance around for items that don’t belong there – anything that’s taken from its original position. Take those “stranded” items with you when you leave the room, and put them away.
Throw away things that you do not need
A word for the hoarders. Take advantage of this period of Circuit Breaker aka ‘stay home everyday/work from home’ to clear the things you do not need anymore. Less is more when it comes to keeping a house clean and clutter-free. This is because the more stuff you have, the easier your house gets cluttered and the longer and harder you have to work at cleaning.
Ask questions and evaluate
Take a look at your items and start by asking questions like “When did you last use it?”, “When will you use it again?”, and “Why do you still have it?”. If your plush toys (I mean your children’s) have been there for a long time and collecting dust, you probably do not have any need for it anymore. Test your appliances and electronics; if they don’t work and haven’t for a while, they are no longer useful. In the words of Marie Kondo: does the item spark joy? If you don’t like it and can’t use it, pitch it.
After you have bagged up all your decidedly unwanted possessions, you can either throw it away, give it away or sell it! As a result, your home cleaning will become faster and easier.
Here is a list of where you can donate your unwanted yet useful items:
- The Salvation Army (Website: https://www.salvationarmy.org/singapore/)
The Salvation Army is perhaps the most familiar place to go to and they accepts all sorts of donations such as clothes, furniture, household goods, electronic devices, toys and books.
- New2U Thrift Shop (Website: https://www.scwo.org.sg/what-we-do/facilities/new2u-thrift-shop/)
This thrift shop is run by the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO) and accepts used clothes and accessories as well as household items and books. They will then sell the donated items at their online and physical retail store, with proceeds going towards the Star Shelter and various SCWO Initiatives.
- MINDS Shop (Website: https://www.se.minds.org.sg/minds-shop)
‘Minds’ (Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore) and the organisation operates a few thrift stores that sell clothes, furniture, homeware and others. Their shops are also where they provide pre-vocational retail and customer service training for intellectually disabled people.
- Blessings in a Bag (Website: http://www.blessingsinabag.co/matchmaking-blessings/)
Blessings in a Bag started as a volunteer-powered community determined to provide every child and their family – in emergency or challenging situations – with the essentials needed to thrive and to feel safe, valued and happy. They collect a wide range of new or like-new items that suit the needs of community members.
- Pass-It-On (Website: https://www.passiton.org.sg/)
This non-profit organisation was started to provide a meaningful way to distribute unwanted but useful items to benefit the needy. You can give your home appliances, home furniture, medical aids, mobility aids, learning aids & etc. a new lease of life by bringing them to Pass-It-On.
Do it as a team
Unless you are staying alone, you can enlist the help of family members to share the load of keeping the house clean. Afterall, unity is strength!
Take a deep breath and try these tips:
- Lead by example and teach. Let you kids and spouse take notice of your skillful cleaning up so that they will follow suit. Get them on board with cleaning by giving them some pointers. Provide tips so that they can be more efficient and get things done faster.
- Provide incentives for kids. Encourage your little helpers by offering a small reward for completing cleaning tasks. This is a great opportunity to give them and you some independence and a little lesson on hard work and reward. Remember to incorporate some element of fun in it!
- Designate zones to clean for each family member. Allocate areas in your home to be maintained by each family member. Rotating them also allows each member to learn how to maintain each different space.
Don't be too harsh and give grace to yourself
There will be days where you cannot afford the time to clean. Don’t be discouraged or upset but instead show grace to yourself. It’s good to have a cleaning schedule but it’s fine to be flexible as well. Continue with the schedule the next day until this period is over and you can engage our housekeeping service once again.