If there is any resolution to keep this New Year, it’s to have a cleaner, clutter-free home. When you’ve had a tough day, you want to come home to a space (or at least a mess-free sofa or bed) that completely relaxes you. It does take a little work, consistency, and discipline, but you can make it happen starting with these tips. 

1. Never be without baking soda. 

We like to call it the "superhero" of cleansing agents because it just cleans everything, from your teeth to your bathroom fixtures to your fridge. It even acts as a deodorizer.

2. Do your own natural cleansers. 

Whether your surface is wood, stainless steel, or glass, there is a DIY concoction you can put in a spray bottle. Start with this simple cleanser menu from Food52.

3. Get rid of stuff before you buy storage. 
Resist the urge to buy those pretty storage boxes unless you actually know what you’ll put in them and where they will go. If you don’t, you’re just adding clutter with your boxes.

4. Use the "spark joy" method when you start spring cleaning.  
Created by Japanese de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo, this process begins by asking yourself, "Does this [insert item here] spark joy?" If the answer is no, donate to someone who needs it more. Same answer if you hesitate.

5. Tidy up as you go.
Return everything to its proper place. Those papers on your dining table don’t pile up by magic.

4. Change your dishwashing cleaning pads or sponges regularly.

You don’t even need to note the first time you used it. You know! The pad has thinned and the fibers have become like… limp wet hair strands. Not a good sign.

5. Buy those sink strainers from Japanese home stores. 
You will save yourself money from future plumbing issues and prevent you from letting all kinds of gunk go into your pipes. After every wash, toss the strainer’s contents into the proper trash can.

6. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner.
The walis and dustpan have their limits. A vacuum cleaner sucks dust and debris from even the trickiest corner of your house in less time. Know the right vacuum cleaner for you here

7. Keep tabletops clutter-free.

Your house will feel maaliwalas and relaxed the minute you do this. To prevent pile-up, create your vignettes on your tables of your favorite objects, from your travels or treasured gifts. Just don’t go overboard with the number of items.

8. Let the sun in.
You’re probably thinking ventilation. Well, yes, but when the sun shines its rays inside your house, it’s easy to see all the dust balls (or that hairband you’ve been looking for) your broom didn’t get.

9. Know how to clean your floors properly. 
Most floor types actually require gentle cleansing (sometimes just dry mopping or vacuuming), none of those hard scrubbing. See Real Simple for a great guide on how to clean every type of flooring.

10. Have a place for bills.
It’s crucial you find a home for all your bills especially if you’ve been missing important payments, just because you can’t find it. It can be a tray, expandable folders, or a bin. Make sure you have a tracking system, so you don’t create just another mountain of pile. Know how to organize and sort smarter here.

11. Clean your knife block’s crevices.

You probably haven’t even cleaned it since you bought it. Don’t worry. You’re not alone. Good Housekeeping has the best tip to get rid of the grime. You should suck out any crumbs or dirt using the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner. If that doesn't work, aim a hair dryer at the slots to blow any crud out or get a 12-inch pipe cleaner and work gently to insert it into each slot; swirl it around there to collect dust and grime.

12. Clean with rubbing alcohol.
You clean and disinfect! We suggest using it on items that you regularly touchwith your hands—remote control, computer keyboard and mouse, and door knobs!Cleaning Space lists down where else you can use rubbing alcohol.

13. Use masking or packaging tape as a lint remover.  
It’s one of the cheapest and fastest ways to remove lint, hair strands, and morsels of food come off on clothes, carpets or even floor. 

14. Save yourself some time and money by buying glass food containers.
You spend more time, water, and detergent on cleaning plastic containers, and often there is still a film of grease left and the smell of yesterday’s lunch. It doesn’t happen with glass containers so they’re worth the high price tag.

15. Have a regular keep-and-toss routine in your bodega.
We all have a bodega, whether it’s just drawer space, a box (or several boxes) under the table, or an actual room. Go through its contents regularly, and make sure that each time you visit, you toss more than keep.

16. Review your we-can-use-this-in-the-future pile.
Samples: paper shopping bags, cool packaging of past purchases, ice cream plastic tubs, ice cube trays. You usually have a minimum of seven of each of these items. If they are just lying around the house with no reuse or recycle purpose in the immediate future, better leave them in the trash bin.

17. Donate a pair of shoes or slippers for every new pair you buy.
Have you counted how many shoes you have lately? Or the shoes of those living with you? They take quite an amount of space in your house and in haphazard arrangements. You should totally donate any pair you forgot you own.

18. Hold an online garage sale among friends.
You don’t need an actual garage—you’ve got Facebook! Create a separate page or group, upload photos of the stuff you’re selling, and announce to friends who can refer friends. As it is often said, your trash may be another’s treasure.

19. Rid yourself of books that are gathering dust.
Keep those that have your favorite stories or sentimental value. Then donate the rest to groups like Books For A Cause that distributes solicited books from the public to schools and daycare centers. Call +63929-8082664 or email booksforacause@yahoo.com for details.

20. Donate to Caritas Manila’s Segunda Mana program.
It’s the best place to dispose items that you deem still useful but not for your house anymore. Anything that may be gathering dust, from clothes to old appliances, may be useful to others. Call (632) 564-0205 to 562-0020 to 25 or emailcm@caritas_manila@yahoo.com.

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PHOTO: Pixabay

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