Who’d have thought this much free time would be so stressful? Well, it will eventually end, and then you’re going to wish you’d made better use of it. So here goes — ways to make yourself useful that will reflect around the house (and leave you feeling like you have organisation, structure and purpose).
Start by imagining your ideal lifestyle, says Gayatri Gandhi, a decluttering expert who uses the KonMari method created by the Japanese celebrity declutterer, Marie Kondo. “Think about the kind of house you want to live in, and how you want to feel in it.”
Gandhi recommends spending at least three to five hours at a time decluttering.
In the kitchen
Keep the high-traffic platform area mess-free.You shouldn’t have more than six things on it, including your gas range. So start by finding a place for everything else. Create three categories: implements for eating, cooking tools, food. Start small. “I spent one day just organising my masalas,” says Meryl Sebastian from Delhi. “Already, I feel less anxious about cooking.”
The living room
Keeping the common area tidy is going to become more important, and more difficult. But close quarters and cluttered surroundings are not a good combination, so make sure everything stays in its place. “This should be your calm in the storm, a space for family to gather, enjoy each other’s company,” says Gandhi.
This is going to be your haven, so make it a space where you can recharge. Pull out old photos and find ways to display them, take out mementoes that spark joy. And put away what you don’t need, to prevent overcrowding your surfaces. Yoga instructor Roxann D’Souza, 29, says reorganising her closet transformed her bedroom. “I found that I actually have spare space in the closet; I was able to put things away and make my room feel bigger,” she says.
Start by discarding all expired products; next, store by category and store upright. Create clusters—use baskets or Ziploc bags so you can find all shampoos, all lipsticks, all liners in one place. Things you rarely use should leave the bathroom and go into the closet.
Your work-from-home station
Create a fixed space, to give your day structure. Try and find a spot with natural light, ideally facing a window. If you have a small plant, place it nearby. Don’t have anything on your work-from-home station that you wouldn’t put on your work desk. You may not have drawers, so keep an eye out for clutter.
When you feel excited about using the space you’ve reorganised, that’s when you’ll know you’ve achieved your goal, Gandhi says.
“Reorganising has helped bring a sense of order, when so much else is uncertain and chaotic,” law student Sheryl Sebastian says. “I’ve organised all my study material by semester and subject and that’s made it slightly less overwhelming, with exam season coming up. It’s also helped bring me calm in these uncertain times.”