31 Jan 2019

Spring Cleaning A Singaporean Home using the KonMari Method


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s impossible to miss the Marie Kondo fever that’s swept the world… and Singapore.

For the uninitiated, Marie Kondo is a Japanese organising consultant who now has her very own television series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, where she goes from home to home, helping to transform each one through the power of decluttering and organising.  So basically, a tooth fairy for housework.

Her now famous KonMari™ method involves keeping only items that “spark joy” and decluttering the contents of your home according to five categories she’s identified: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items and sentimental items. But how will the average Singaporean home fare with the KonMari™ method?

With Chinese New Year approaching and Singaporeans rushing to spring clean, let’s do a quick evaluation, according to Kondo’s five categories:

1. CLOTHING: "Sleeping" T-Shirts

You know every household has a collection of these. Over the years, you’ve seen CCA or class T-shirts from school, marathon tees and the iconic green army tee evolve into your makeshift pajamas and sleepwear.

But do we have too many of them? Using the KonMari™ method, try piling them up and hold each piece to decide if it “sparks joy”. By “joy”, we mean a good night’s rest.

Verdict: Keep the most comfortable pieces and donate the rest!

Bonus tip: Do Marie Kondo’s famous vertical fold to keep your wardrobe neat and organised.


Okay, you’ve cleared out the clothes. Now, what do you do with all the extra hangers? If they serve no actual function anymore, it comes down to the “spark joy” test. If your parents used them as “canes” during your childhood days, we say there’s no joy being sparked here!

 Verdict: We’re ditching these. Plus, keeping your hangers to a minimum could be a helpful motivator to curb your unnecessary shopping.

3. BOOKS: Old Textbooks

Don’t we all have a stack of these somewhere - an accumulation of textbooks and assessment books over the years, including the dreaded Ten-Year Series and the classic beloved PETS books.

We all long to go back to being students but that doesn’t mean holding on to old textbooks forever! We say, they’re more of a reminder of carefree days past + a potential fire hazard waiting to happen = no joy sparked!

Verdict: Thank each book for its service (and for helping you with your “O” Levels) a la Marie Kondo-style, and donate them to families in need!

4. MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS: Ice Cream Tubs of Frozen Meat

No Singaporean goes through life without experiencing that moment when you see an ice cream tub in the freezer and open it only to find frozen meat. Props to Mom for recycling, but this sparks zero joy.

One of the tips we’ve gleaned from Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is to arrange your items such that you can see what you have, at a glance. This helps prevent situations where you buy more of what you already have. Plus, overloading your freezer with food can block your freezer vents, forcing it to work harder than they need to, eventually leading to a possible breakdown.

Verdict: Swap out the ice cream tubs for clear containers and label them neatly and clearly.


A staple of every local household, we say this is the clearest indicator that we Singaporeans are the most effective recyclers of plastic bags! We have plastic bags of plastic bags, including the iconic Merlion-print carrier.

Now, plastic bags don’t exactly spark joy but we’re making an exception here because they’re so practical and we always find ways to repurpose them!

Verdict: Keep ‘em but within a reasonable volume. If you can’t stand the clutter, fold them neatly into “samosa triangles” and store them in a box. Better yet, carry a few of these "samosa triangles" in your everyday handbag for that last minute trip to the supermarket. 

6. SENTIMENTAL ITEMS: Childhood Toys and Chou-Chous

Ah, the hardest part of the decluttering process. Who hasn’t been faced with the eternal dilemma of throwing out those limited-edition McDonald’s Hello Kitty toys your parents queued up for many years ago, or the childhood chou-chous you used to be inseparable from?

Verdict: This one’s tricky and we’re leaving it to your personal judgment, as every item means something different to different people. As advised by Kondo herself on her TV show, leave this for last so you have a clearer idea of what still sparks joy and what doesn’t.

Congrats! Now that you’ve decluttered your home and decided which items bring you the most joy, it’s time to think about how you can protect them. With Enhanced HomePlus, you can now protect all the things that spark joy in your home — it even comes with coverage for your freezer’s contents (yes, that includes all those ice cream tubs of meat!). For extra protection over the extra precious items that you just can’t bear to get rid of, you can consider Home Insurance’s flexible coverage, which gives you the power of choice.