New Season, New Apartment: Decluttering your Space for Spring
Whether you just finished binging Marie Kondo’s Netflix series or are just looking for a neater home, decluttering is a key part of spring cleaning.
We’ve all been there: Despite your best intentions, what was once a spotless and organized space has now drawn piles of clutter like moths to the flame. Don’t waste time feeling embarrassed; we’ve all been there! Follow these quick tips and you’ll feel like you have a new apartment by spring.
Create a Schedule and Set Aside the Time
Start off by making a list of all the rooms in your apartment, and don’t forget coat closets or cleaning supplies closets! No two rooms will need the same amount of time; your bathroom might take 30 minutes whereas your bedroom could take half a day.
Once you’ve identified the rooms you need to tackle, create a schedule and be specific about what you hope to accomplish in each room. For example, your goal for your kitchen might be to create more countertop room, or you might want to clear more wardrobe space in your bedroom.
Out with the Old
Winter clothing can truly take a beating in these harsh chilly months. Set aside a couple of hours and inspect your wardrobe. Recycle any hole-infested sweaters and worn-down thermal socks.
Clothes are one of the easiest things to collect and hoard within your home. Ask yourself, “Have I worn this in the past 6 months?” If you haven’t (be honest!) and there’s no sentimental value to it (like a wedding dress or your grandmother’s hand-knit sweater,) donate it. You’ll thank yourself later when looking for your favourite shirt doesn’t count as an arm workout.
If you are anything like me, you fear getting rid of stuff because you can’t help but think, “But what if I need this later?” Trust me on this: You’re never going to need those hotel toiletries you snagged on your past six vacations, or that one phone charger that works when you place it just right—it’s time to toss ‘em!
Become Friends with your Countertops and Tables Again
Flat surfaces in your apartment accumulate the most clutter because it’s just so easy to let things pile up. Remove every item from the surface, including decorations, appliances and all the haphazard junk. Lay everything out on a flat surface like another table (or even the floor), so you have a clear view of each item.
An easy place to start is by throwing away all the random flyers, coupons and other non-important loose papers that tend to accumulate. Next, tackle things that spark more annoyance than joy, such as decorations you don’t remember buying.
Once you’ve picked the items worthy of being on your counter or table, find a permanent home for them in a convenient and logical spot. Be selective of what you keep on your counters; you don’t need to have every single appliance on the counter! If you don’t use it every day, store it in a cabinet or on top of the fridge.
Don’t Forget to Tackle the Junk Drawer
Drawers are the first place you throw miscellaneous stuff into, especially when you’re quickly tidying up. I get it; out of sight, out of mind. But this spring, we’re reversing that mindset! The purpose of a junk drawer is to provide a place to store all the little odds and ends that don’t quite fit in anywhere else. This is still possible, but it can be done in a more intentional way.
Toss anything that is expired, unnecessary or is just plain garbage. Keep extra batteries, packs of pens and chip clips, but get rid of extra chopsticks, expired coupons, and that stack of random business cards.
Ready, Shreddy, Go!
Paper junk can collect quickly, like old receipts, bank invoices or even more of those random business cards. Shredding these will clear up your office space.
Collections of any Kinds Have to Go
Items like books, CD’s or DVD’s can really pile up over the years. Ask yourself if these mementos are necessary, or just part of your past that you’re holding onto. It’s a brave, new virtual world, and most of us don’t even have CD/DVD players any more thanks to Netflix. So why are you wasting space for stacks of CDs from the early 2000s?
The same thing goes for books. It might be nice to look like a bookworm when your friends pop by, but you know they’re mostly just taking up space. This doesn’t mean you have to give up every book but ask yourself if you’ll really ever read it again. If you won’t, donate it.
Quick Tip: Donate your books to newcomer organizations (such as N.E.E.D.S) or a senior living facility!
Getting rid of stuff in your home is difficult at first because we create connections with items. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t tackle it sooner!
Organize the Rest
Decluttering isn’t just about getting rid of stuff; it’s also about knowing how to manage what you have. From racks, baskets, or under-bed storage, there’s an assortment of storage products for every need on the market.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
A forgotten place that is one of the most convenient storage spaces is hiding out under your bed. Grab a few thin, narrow bins and you have the perfect place to store out of season clothes, booksyou want to keep but don’t need on your shelf, or any mish-mashed items that don’t seem to have a place but that you know you need.
Shelving units are also a great way to kill two birds with one stone: Grab a few baskets and tuck away all those miscellaneous items such as cords or craft supplies. Your shelves will look neat and aesthetically pleasing, and what they hold is your little secret.
Now that your hard work is over, sit back and celebrate Apartment 2.0! Now your mission is to keep your home decluttered. Remember to follow the golden rule: Only bring things into your home that you actually need and will use. Once your apartment is decluttered, it’s easy to follow into old habits and end up buying more stuff you don’t need.
Before bringing something new into your home, ask yourself, “Do I need this? How will this benefit my home?” If you can’t answer both questions, don’t buy it. Another great trick is the one in, one out rule. For every item that comes into your apartment, try to get rid of one item so you don’t end up with a cluttered apartment once again.
These tips might seem ambitious, but you can do it! And once you see how freeing it can feel to have less stuff around you, you’ll be kicking yourself for not starting sooner. What’s your personal decluttering challenge?