Are you struggling to keep your apartment clean and organized? Do you feel like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle against clutter? If so, you’re not alone. Many people find it difficult to declutter their homes, especially when they’re busy or stressed out. An apartment can be even more challenging because it’s a small space. But with a little bit of effort, you can create a more organized and manageable living space. In this post, you’ll learn some tips for getting your apartment decluttered and then keeping it that way!
Where do I start decluttering if I am overwhelmed?
Don’t feel defeated if you feel like decluttering is an overwhelming task. It can be extremely difficult to wrap your head around. It’s important to remember that decluttering is a process and not something that can be accomplished overnight. Rather than trying to tackle your entire apartment at once, start small by focusing on one room or even just one area within a room. This will make the task feel more manageable and you’ll likely see quick results. Use the tips below and pull out the tips that make the most sense to you and your situation to create a plan of action.
If you need some motivation to declutter, you can check this post!
How long does it take to declutter an apartment?
The amount of time it takes to declutter an apartment depends on how much stuff you have and how quickly you work. If you have a small apartment and a lot of motivation, you may be able to get most of it done in a day! More realistically, it could take a few days or longer, but the important thing is to stick with it! You’ll make progress over time and begin to see the benefits of a decluttered space.
How do you keep an apartment clean and decluttered?
After decluttering your apartment, it can be easy to let clutter build up again. To keep your space organized and clean, try setting aside time each week for a quick tidy up and make sure to put things back in their proper place after using them. It’s also helpful to limit how many new items you bring into the apartment, as this can contribute to clutter. Regularly doing a thorough decluttering and getting rid of things you no longer need or use can also help prevent excess clutter in the future.
Tips to declutter your apartment
Consider why you want to declutter your apartment
Before starting the decluttering process, a good first step is to take some time to reflect on why you want to declutter your apartment. This can help provide motivation and give direction to your decluttering efforts. For example, are you decluttering because you want to live more minimalistic or because you’re feeling overwhelmed by stuff in your day to day life?
Declutter now and organize later
When people are overwhelmed with stuff, it’s easy to get stuck in organization mode. But why organize items you don’t need? It’s best to declutter first and then organize what’s left. Don’t spend your time and money organizing things you don’t truly need or use.
Start with your worst hot spots
Is there a certain area of your apartment that seems to always have clutter or never feels clean? For a lot of people, flat surfaces like kitchen counters or coffee tables tend to become cluttered with papers, mail, and other items. Start by decluttering and organizing these hot spots, as they can have the biggest impact on how your entire living space feels.
Keep in mind, these spots are hot spots for a reason, so don’t just clean the items up. It’s important to take note of what gathers in these areas and decide what to do with these items in the future, whether it’s setting up a different storage space or getting rid of them altogether. For example, you could decide that mail gets sorted the minute it comes in the door. This usually takes a few minutes and can save you from having to deal with a huge pile in a week or two.
Prioritize what to keep
The best way to start when you want to declutter your apartment is to really prioritize what’s important for you to keep. When going through your belongings, try to focus on keeping only those items that are necessary or bring joy. Let go of things that you don’t use or need, and consider how they could potentially bring value to someone else’s life by donating or selling them.
Digitize photos and paperwork
While we all feel the need to keep important documents, chances are you’re good to get rid of it. Consider scanning and saving important documents digitally, as well as digitizing old photos. This can save a lot of physical space in your apartment and make it easier to access these items in the future. It also safeguards against potential loss or damage to the physical copies.
I like to use the Dropbox app to scan documents directly into my account so they can be accessed from any of my devices.
Try creating a decluttering schedule
It’s a good idea to break down the decluttering process into smaller and more manageable tasks by creating a decluttering plan or schedule. This can include setting aside specific days or times for decluttering, as well as making a list of areas or categories of items you want to tackle.
The biggest tip here is not to try to do too much at once. You can always work ahead of schedule, but if you try to schedule too much and don’t have the time to get through it all, you’ll likely become overwhelmed and give up on the process.
Keep a “donate” box handy
Find a spot in your home, maybe in your closet or somewhere else out of the way, to keep a “donate” box. When you’re in full-force decluttering mode, you’ll probably need more than one box. But once you’ve done a full apartment declutter, it’s an easy way to declutter items you come across that you know you don’t need. Otherwise, without one handy, you will likely just put items back with a mental note to take care of it later. The problem is, later never comes, and you end up holding onto it for months to years.
Take photos of items you might miss
When getting rid of sentimental items or things that you’ve been holding onto for a long time, it can be hard to let go. In these cases, you might try taking photos before getting rid of them. This way, you still have the memory and can let go of the physical item with more peace of mind.
Eliminate and avoid visual clutter
Visual clutter isn’t just physical, it clutters your mind too! So it can be really helpful to eliminate any excess knick-knacks or decorations that are just creating visual clutter and avoid bringing in new similar items. This can also include finding storage solutions for items that may be necessary but aren’t visually appealing, like using storage bins for things like extra linens, cords, or paperwork.
Make sure everything has a home
Even if you don’t have a lot of “stuff,” you can find your space feeling cluttered because it’s all out of place. When you declutter your apartment, be sure every item has a designated spot, and make a habit of putting things back where they belong after using them. This will not only keep your space looking decluttered, but also save time in the long run because you won’t have to search for things when you need them.
Allow yourself one junk drawer
This may sound contradictory, but allowing yourself one designated spot for miscellaneous items can actually help keep the rest of your space decluttered. Otherwise, these random items end up scattered throughout the apartment and contribute to visual clutter. Just make sure to regularly clean out this junk drawer and only allow it to hold necessary or frequently used items.
Rotate your clothing with the seasons
If you find that clothing is a pain point for you as far as having “too many” pieces of clothing or having a closet that’s always bursting at the seams and hard to go through, try rotating your clothing with the seasons.
There’s no need for shorts or swimsuits in January, and you might not need a collection of coats in July, so why keep them out? Pack them away until the appropriate season rolls around again. This will not only declutter your closet, but also make it easier to see and access what you do have during each specific season.
And as a bonus tip: make sure to regularly go through your clothing and get rid of anything that no longer fits or brings you joy.
Sell big ticket items
The only thing more motivating than a clean and clutter free space? Making some money in the process! If you have some extra pieces of furniture or storage items, or even larger electronics or sporting equipment that you no longer need or use, consider selling them instead of just donating them.
Not only will this declutter your space even more, but it can also bring in some extra cash to throw into savings or throw yourself a little staycation in your newly decluttered space. Win-win!
Be realistic with organizing
It can be tempting to go all out with organizing solutions, but it’s important to also keep them realistic. That Pinterest-worthy pantry might look nice, but if you’re too busy or just not the type of person who wants to spend time making sure everything is meticulously organized and in its designated spot every day, chances are it won’t work for you.
Make decluttering a habit
Decluttering shouldn’t just be a one-time thing, it’s important to make it a regular habit. This can be weekly or monthly, whatever works for your schedule. And remember, decluttering doesn’t just mean getting rid of physical items. It can also include digital decluttering by regularly organizing emails and files on your computer or phone.
Use furniture with built in storage
Once you’re done decluttering, you’ll probably still have plenty of needed items that take up space. Using furniture with built in storage, such as ottomans or coffee tables with compartments, can help keep these items organized and out of sight. There are also bed frames where the whole section under the mattress is storage.
Think long and hard before bringing in new items
Decluttering is great, but if you’re regularly bringing in new purchases, it’s not going to help in the long run. Before bringing in any new items, ask yourself if it’s something that truly brings you joy or serves a purpose.
Be mindful of other people’s clutter
If you share a space with someone else, it’s important to take that into consideration. Even if your own space is decluttered, it’s important to also respect and be mindful of the clutter and organization preferences of those around you. This can include roommates or significant others, but also extends to shared spaces like a living room or kitchen. Keep these areas tidy and make sure anything that belongs to you has a designated spot.
Also keep in mind that you can’t force someone else to declutter or organize, but you can lead by example and offer to help them declutter if they express an interest in doing so.
Do you need a storage unit?
In some instances, you can’t get rid of everything, and your apartment space simply can’t house all of your belongings. For example, if you have a studio apartment, it can be challenging to find the real estate to store all of your stuff.
In that case, it’s important to ask yourself if you really need a storage unit or if there are ways to declutter and downsize even more to avoid the added cost and hassle of utilizing one. For some people, it can be a good idea, but long term, it can end up costing more than the items inside!
Decluttering can seem overwhelming, but by implementing small and realistic steps such as the ones listed above, you can easily maintain a decluttered and organized space. And remember, it’s always worth taking the time to declutter your space for an easier and less stressful living environment.