Keeping your home organized is an uphill battle no matter where you live, but can be especially challenging in apartments, where space is often limited.
We’re here to help with tips for decluttering your apartment, organizing each room of your apartment, and keeping your space organized on a consistent basis.
Channel Your Inner Marie Kondo: How to Declutter Your Apartment
The first step to keeping your apartment organized is reducing how much you have to organize in the first place. But decluttering is easier said than done, hence the numerous guides and TV shows on this topic.
One of the challenges is that, even when we try to declutter, we fall into the habit of deciding to keep “just this item.” And on and on, until we’ve gone through everything without filling the “get rid of” box.
While we won’t tell you to simply ask yourself whether an item “sparks joy,” à la Marie Kondo, asking yourself a series of questions can be helpful in determining what to keep. For example:
- Is it damaged, broken, or missing pieces?
- Is it worn out?
- Does it still fit you?
- Is it out of style or outdated?
- Have you used it recently (for example, in the past six months)?
- Do you have multiple of it or something else that serves the same purpose?
- Would you buy it again?
- Are you keeping it out of guilt?
- Do you have space for it?
- Do you love it?
The answers to these questions will tell you what you need to know, so be honest with yourself.
[Related: How to Declutter Your Apartment]
Take It One Room at a Time
One of the hardest parts about organizing your apartment is knowing where to start, which is why we recommend taking it one room at a time. These are the rooms people usually need the most help organizing.
How to Keep Your Closet Organized
Closets are at the top of our list because they are particularly challenging to organize.
According to a 2017 Statista survey, 45% of respondents said they purchase new clothes at least once a month. For 7% of respondents, that frequency increased to at least once per week.
The problem: People don’t get rid of clothing nearly as often as they purchase it, leading to an increasingly overly full closet.
So how do you keep this growing mess organized? Start with these straightforward steps:
- Take it all out. Remove everything (and we mean everything) from your closet and clean all the surfaces, including dusting shelves and bars and sweeping/vacuuming the floor. This will give you a clean start (literally).
- Decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Make piles for keeping, donating, recycling and selling by asking yourself the questions we went over in the previous section. If you’re undecided on certain items, try out the hanger method: Turn all the hangers in your closet around so that the hook is pointing toward you. When you wear a piece of clothing and put it back in your closet, return the hanger to normal. After six months, get rid of everything on hangers that are still facing the wrong way — you haven’t worn these items in half a year, so you probably don’t need them!
- Invest in closet storage solutions, which will maximize your closet space and make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. The best storage solutions for you will depend on your specific closet and needs, but some items to consider include:
- An additional closet rod so that you can hang two levels of clothing
- An over-the-door shoe rack or stackable shoe track
- Hanging shelves
- Storage bins or boxes
- Hangers, hooks, or racks for accessories such as scarfs, belts, and ties
- Organize! Group items by type and decide where to put each group. For example, hang blouses, fold jeans and store them in your dresser, and so on. Try to make the items you use most often easily accessible.
- Keep it organized. Put items back in their rightful places as soon as you are done with them or after washing.
[Related: How to Organize Your Closet]
How to Keep Your Bedroom Organized
The good news is that if you’ve already organized your closet, you’re more than halfway to organizing your bedroom.
Still, it’s important to keep the rest of your bedroom neat and organized. Clutter has actually been linked to poor sleep and increased anxiety, so it’s more than a purely aesthetic concern.
To bring order to your bedroom (and ensure a good night’s rest), we recommend implementing these hidden and built-in storage solutions:
- Under-the-bed-storage: This could mean sliding containers under your bed, where they are out of sight but easily accessible, or investing in a bed frame with drawers built in. Either way, you can reduce the clutter in your room without taking up any extra space.
- Headboard storage: Another way to utilize your bed space for storage is to choose a headboard with built-in shelves. This is a great place to store books, photos, and anything you might put on your nightstand.
- Nightstand storage: Clutter often accumulates on nightstands, where we tend to leave anything we want to be able to use before bed or during the night — as well as random items that we’ll “put away later.” Opt for nightstands with built-in shelves or drawers or use a small basket to tuck items out of the way and reduce visual clutter.
- Over-the-door storage: Your bedroom or closet door is the perfect place to hang shoe organizers; hooks for towels, robes, and scarves; laundry hampers; shelves; and more. Whatever type of over-the-door organizer you choose, it will reduce the amount of items on your floor and make your room look more spacious. Plus, if you have a walk-in closet, you can hang your over-the-door storage inside your closet so that it’s completely out of sight.
- Hanging jewelry organizers: Hanging jewelry organizers can both minimize the amount of items strewn across your vanity or dresser and serve as decorative elements.
How to Keep Your Kitchen Organized
People tend to congregate in the kitchen, making it especially important — and difficult — to keep it clean and organized.
However, if you can rein in the following kitchen items, you’ll be in good shape:
- The fridge: Remove everything from your fridge, toss anything that’s expired, and wipe down all the surfaces on a regular basis. Storing small items in drawers and clear bins can also help keep your fridge’s contents organized.
- Tupperware: Go through your tupperware and toss anything that’s missing a lid, cracked, or badly stained. Then invest in a storage solution to keep all your lids and containers tidy, so they don’t spill out every time you open the cabinet.
- Utensils: Can’t open the utensil drawer because it’s too full? Get rid of duplicate utensils and gadgets you don’t actually use (avocado slicer, anyone?), and then decide how to organize everything that’s leftover. We like to keep our most-used items in a jar on the counter and use a drawer organizer for the rest.
- The “junk” drawer: Old receipts, expired coupons, condiment packets, hair ties, loose change, chords to who knows what — all of this accumulates in the kitchen junk drawer, which, ironically, is supposed to give you quick access to random items that you use daily. Remove everything from your junk drawer, toss or relocate anything that you don’t actually need to use in the kitchen, and organize the rest with a drawer organizer.
- Cleaning supplies: How many half-empty bottles of multipurpose cleaner are beneath your sink? Combine multiples (being careful not to mix different products, which could be hazardous), recycle empty bottles, and store the rest in an easy-to-access caddy or drawers.
- Plastic bags: Fortunately, this is becoming less of a problem with the rise of reusable bags (it’s a win-win for your kitchen’s organization and the environment), but plastic bags still find a way into our homes somehow. No one needs 50 plastic bags floating underneath their kitchen sink, so toss the surplus and organize the rest in a handy dispenser.
- Spices: If you can’t easily locate and grab the spices you need while cooking, your spice cabinet isn’t serving its purpose. Whether you go with a spice rack, drawer organizer, magnet board, or something else altogether, you have many storage options.
How to Keep Your Office Organized
Maybe you have a dedicated office space in your apartment that gets overloaded with books, files and paper records, and equipment. Or maybe you have a small deskspace in your bedroom, living room or kitchen that’s just not big enough to accommodate all your office materials.
Either way, organization is key. Here are our tips for an organized office:
- Purge paper: Go through any and all paper in your office (yes, including those stacks you’ve been avoiding) and recycle everything you don’t need to keep for your records.
- Create a filing system: Organize any important documents you need to keep in a filing system with labels, so you can easily access them whenever you need them (but they’re out of sight when you don’t).
- Order your books: If you have a bookshelf, consider organizing your books by genre or author — whatever makes most sense for your needs.
- Clear your desk: A cluttered desk can be a huge distraction while you work. Clear your desk of everything except items you use frequently throughout the day, such as a pen and notepad. Everything else should be neatly stored away in drawers or desk organizers.
- Straighten your cords: Cords for your computer/laptop, mouse, phone, lamp, and whatever else you have plugged in are unsightly and can be a tripping hazard. Consider mounting them to the underside of your desk or the wall behind your desk using tape, zip ties, or clips.
How to Keep Your Bathroom Organized
Bathrooms in apartments tend to be small, with little counter space and even less storage space.
The result: overcrowdedness and clutter.
Luckily, keeping your bathroom organized is as easy as following these simple steps:
- Keep the counters clear: Keeping the bathroom counter bare makes them easier to clean and is more aesthetically pleasing. Choose a few items that you use often (such as hand soap and lotion) to leave on the counter, and move everything else to your drawers and cabinets.
- Maximize your drawer and cabinet space: If you’re going to keep your counters clear, you need to make the most of your drawer and cabinet space, and that means using the right storage solutions. Dividers and drawer organizers are great for drawers, and caddies, shelves, baskets, and small plastic drawers are ideal for under-the-sink cabinets.
- Install towel hooks: Hang a towel hook for every member of your household, so there’s never any question of whose towel is whose.
- Use over-the-toilet storage: Don’t let the vertical space above your toilet go to waste — if there aren’t floating shelves there already, purchase over-the-toilet shelving to add to your bathroom. This is a great space to store extra toilet paper, towels, and toiletries.
- Use a laundry basket: Having a laundry basket on hand is the best way to ensure that dirty clothes and towels never end up on the floor.
[Related: Best Bathroom Rugs]
Final Tips for Keeping Your Apartment Organized
Now that you’ve organized your entire apartment, here are some best practices to keep your apartment organized.
Reduce What You Take In
You’ve decluttered and organized your apartment. Now you need to keep it that way, and the best way to do so is to avoid bringing more items into your home.
Before buying something new, ask yourself whether you really need or love it, and whether you already have something similar at home. A good rule of thumb is the “one in, one out” rule, meaning that you have to get rid of one item for every new item you buy.
Rely on Built-In Storage
Apartments typically lack the storage space that houses have, meaning that we’re often confronted with a surplus of “things” that have no place to go (what we’d give for a garage!).
That’s why furniture with built-in storage is the apartment dweller’s best friend. Look for items such as coffee tables with tiers or drawers, storage ottomans, bar carts, and skirted tables that can hide items underneath.
[Related: Best Places to Buy Apartment Furniture]
Pick Up as You Go
A good rule of thumb is to return items to their proper places as soon as you are done using them (or, in the case of laundry and dishes, as soon as they are done being washed/dried).
This way, you’re less likely to be faced with a messy apartment where seemingly everything needs to be put away.
Bills, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, books, photos, important documents, and more — these are all items you can receive, purchase, store, and enjoy digitally. Going digital not only gives you easy access to items wherever and whenever you need them, but also means that there’s a lot less clutter in your apartment.
Do a Chore a Day
Waiting all week until “cleaning day” to tackle chores leaves your apartment getting progressively messier and forces you to spend a lot of time cleaning and organizing at once.
Doing at least one chore each day — whether it’s something small, like taking out the trash, or a little more intensive, like cleaning the bathroom — will help keep your apartment looking nice consistently and even saves you time.
Give Yourself a Break
Last, but not least, don’t get so hung up on keeping your apartment photoshoot-ready that you forget to sit back and enjoy it. After all, that’s what having a nice apartment is for!
[Related: How to Keep Your Apartment Clean]
Featured image via Unsplash