How to survive Chinese New Year spring cleaning as a family

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It’s that time of the year where you have to clean the whole house, or risk bad luck for the entire year (god forbid!). Traditionally, spring cleaning entails ‘sweeping’ and ‘washing’ away all the bad luck of the previous year, and at the same time giving the house a fresh, auspicious makeover so that it is ready to welcome good luck.

But spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a painful affair, so here’s a simple survival guide to getting your house in order, and transforming it into good family bonding time too!

Declutter, declutter, declutter
Your storeroom is probably bursting with stuff accumulated over the previous year. We know, it’s hard to let go of things you don’t need now but ‘may come in handy in the future’. Think that vase in the corner of your living room which was a gift from your mum, or the blender sitting untouched in the kitchen cabinet. If you haven’t worn a piece of clothing or used an item in the last six months, it’s got to go. Ditto for your children’s toys that are falling apart – do your best to convince your seven-year-old why his ancient stuffed toy should be thrown away.

“If the old doesn’t go, the new won’t come”, so goes a literal and loosely translated Chinese proverb. Involve your family in a decluttering exercise in this spirit (perhaps with a subtle promise to your kids of better toys to come). What’s more, long-forgotten memorabilia and old photos will pop up in the process – a great opportunity for your family to come together, reminisce and share stories.

Turn mundane chores into family bonding sessions
Sure, washing curtains and bed sheets, changing cushion covers, sweeping and mopping the floor isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. But that’s the whole point of chores – they teach your children (and maybe husband) values and important life skills – and work isn’t as mundane when done together with loved ones.

Children can come in handy when cleaning spots that are hard to reach, like the spaces below elevated bedframes or cabinet corners. And of course, what are husbands for if not to dust the tops of high shelves and move heavy furniture?

Brighten up your walls with a new paint job
Now that the house is free of clutter and squeaky clean, it’s time to get creative. Planning on giving the house a fresh coat of paint? Rope your whole family into the discussion and decide on a colour together. Allow your children to have a say in how their rooms will look. Not only does it give them a sense of ownership, the whole painting process is pretty fun too!

Deck your house out in Chinese New Year ornaments
This is a great excuse for a family shopping trip to Chinatown, where you can pick up Chinese New Year decorations – lucky plants, pussy willows, mystic knots, pineapples, paper cuttings and lanterns – all with auspicious symbolism and traditionally thought to bring good luck, prosperity and protection in the coming new year.

If your children love handicraft, this is a chance for them to unleash their creative juices by making their own Chinese New Year decorations! Surplus red packets can be turned into lovely paper designs that are stylish yet homely. You can also spruce up the living room by painting pretty vases for holding festive plants.

Now, who says spring cleaning is stressful? Happy Lunar New Year! 

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