Malaysia's first certified KonMari consultant, Rebecca Jo-Rushdy, shares her top tips to declutter this Lunar New Year

"Our homes have been working overtime during the pandemic," says Los Angeles-born Rebecca Jo-Rushy. "When the world outside isn't making sense, you can gain a sense of peace through decluttering and organising your space."  

Cheerful and reassuring in her manner, it's not hard to picture Rushdy in the role of a KonMari consultant, guiding clients through the tedious process of decluttering their lives through the world-renowned method made popular by Marie Kondo. After launching her business Spark Joy and Flow in February 2020, the KL-based consultant has shifted her focus from home visits to corporate virtual wellness workshops and virtual consultancy sessions with private clients around the world. 

This Chinese New Year, Rushdy shares five fundamental tips to inject gratitude into your spring cleaning routine à la KonMari and declutter your living space with purpose.

See also: 5 Hong Kong Companies That Will Deep Clean Your Home

1. Letting go with gratitude

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Photo: Erica Knecht
Above Photo: Erica Knecht

"Gratitude is the foundation of the KonMari Method," explains Rushdy, admitting that she herself is a reformed shopaholic who learnt the benefits of decluttering very early on. "The mindful way of showing appreciation for the joy and beauty that surrounds you, as well as letting go with gratitude, changes your outlook on life." 

Rather than tackling your spring cleaning from a position of stress, start with gratitude whenever you embark on the process of 'joy-checking' your under-used possessions. 

See also: 4 Unique Ways To Organise And Arrange Your Closet

2. Creating a "home" for all your belongings

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Photo: Erica Knecht
Above Before. (Photo: Erica Knecht)
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Photo: Erica Knecht
Above After. (Photo: Erica Knecht)

In what Rushdy deems the golden rule of tidying up, the simple act of ensuring that regularly used belongings are in their designated places will help avoid clutter build-ups and save time that's wasted in searching for them each day.

"Your home can absolutely adapt to your needs; for example, we have a mask station and hooks to hang up our masks by the front door to minimise mask clutter," Rushdy adds. 

See also: The Emotional Benefits Of Spring Cleaning

3. Take 'declutter breaks' often

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Photo: Erica Knecht
Above Photo: Erica Knecht

Did you know that visual clutter has been proven to raise our cortisol levels? Whether it be a messy desk, a cluttered bedroom or a storeroom that's bursting at the hinges, Rushdy's advice on this is more to reduce stress in addition to clutter:

"I often share during my workshops: when you're feeling anxious or stressed, take 10 minutes away from all devices to tidy or declutter a small area; this will help you get back to baseline." 

See also: Where To Donate Your Unwanted Clothing In Hong Kong

4. Get an accountability buddy

Been putting off your decluttering plans since last Chinese New Year? Fret not, for there are simple ways to get yourself motivated for the task and to ensure you see it through.    

"Figure out what your procrastination triggers are and what gets you going," Rushdy advises. "For example, if some people need an accountability buddy, then find a friend to do your decluttering together."

"I also often meet people who say they will declutter only when they can renovate or move to a new place. But these are all just excuses and blockages," she adds. "Use the time we have now to declutter so that you can confidently remove all the stagnant energy, and it will make the move or renovation that much more effortless when it is safe to do so."

See also: A Fresh Start: 7 Ways To Spring Clean Your Home

5. Checklists and deadlines

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Above (Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Jo-Rushdy)

Love them or hate them, setting realistic deadlines for yourself will help keep your decluttering journey on track. 

"Set a deadline. Set micro-goals and reward yourself for the categories completed. Take before and after pictures––it really makes an impact. All these worksheets and checklists can be downloaded from my website, to get you started."

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