Living with clutter is never an ideal situation. It creates a feeling of distraction and makes it difficult to enjoy the time you spend inside your apartment.
Have you noticed that new items continue to pile up in your apartment?
You bought a juicer, and then your aunt gave you the same model for your birthday.
You have clothes piling up in the bedroom. Suddenly, you feel suffocated while simply sitting in your easy chair.
It’s time to declutter your apartment so that you can live peacefully.
Get Into the Best Mindset First
The beginning of the decluttering process is typically the most stressful. It’s easy to burn yourself out due to the mental stress and discouragement the process can entail.
This means you need to get yourself into the correct mindset for success.
At some point, you thought it was a good idea to buy and hold on to each item you see strewn around the apartment. Accept this and also accept that some of these items must go.
Do you worry that you might need your possessions in the future? Are you concerned about the money spent on buying the items that now logjam your living space?
Remember that you probably won’t use an item in the next five years if you haven’t used it in the past five years. You also can’t get the money back by holding on to unneeded items.
Make peace with the fact that you must get rid of anything that doesn’t fit your life anymore. Imagine an uncluttered apartment you love living in to find the right declutter mindset.
Tips for a Fast Start to Your Decluttering Project
Now that your mindset feels better, here are some practical tips for planning the decluttering of your apartment.
Get a notebook and make a list of every area or room you want to clean up. Prioritize the list by ranking each room or area, so you know where to begin.
You can’t get every room done at once. Make a plan to break down how you’ll work through the decluttering process in bite-sized periods of work.
Decide to either work on various areas for a specific time each day or to focus on one room until it’s 100% complete.
Put decluttering on your calendar. This helps avoid a common pitfall where you tell yourself that you’ll get to it when you have time.
Make the time by including it on the planner where all your important activities go.
Avoid the temptation to reorganize instead of decluttering. Don’t buy containers that become clutter themselves or encourage you to simply save items you need to eliminate.
Create Your Sorting System
You’ll need a way to quickly sort what to do with each item you encounter while decluttering your apartment.
Get three bags or boxes and label them:
- Give away
This helps you pick everything up and get it stored correctly. Once you’re done sorting, you can then take the wanted items out of the “keep” box and place them where they belong.
If you find it especially tough to make decisions on what to do with items, then consider a fourth box called “outbox.”
The items in your outbox are items you go back to later to make a final decision about keeping or tossing. Consider these questions when making decluttering decisions:
- Does the item still work?
- When was the last time you wore or used an item?
- Does the item fit you?
- Do you have more than one item?
- Does the item bring you happiness anymore?
Get rid of any items that no longer work or fit you. Do the same if they no longer bring joy or if you own multiples of them. If you haven’t used something in the last six months, then toss it.
Tips for What to Throw Away When Decluttering an Apartment
It helps to go into your decluttering work with an idea of what makes sense to throw out as you go room to room.
Consider throwing out or giving away the items you’ll see in each of the following areas.
- Broken phone chargers
- Old receipts
- Broken pencils and pens
- Old batteries
- Expired coupons
- Old appliance manuals
- Take-out menus
- Old business cards
- Phone books
- Old washcloths
- Product samples
- Old razors
- Old makeup
- Old sponges
- Expired hair products
- Old perfume
- Expired skincare products
- Empty bottles
- Old nail polish
- Towels with holes or stains
- Broken hair tools
- Old toothbrushes
- Old toothpaste
- Expired medications or medicine
- Expired supplements
- Expired freezer food
- Junk mail
- Tupperware with missing lids
- Ketchup or mustard packets
- Chipped or broken dishes
- Old water bottles
- Expired pantry food
- Expired spices
- Unused recipe books
- Mugs that never get used
- Old calendars
- Old, unusable pots and pans
- Broken canisters
- Grocery bags
- Unusable baking sheets
- Broken blinds
- Broken knick-knacks
- Dead plants
- Old remote controls
- Old decor
- Broken CDs or DVDs
- Pillowcases with holes or stains
- Old handbags
- Cracked or unusable belts
- Old sheets
- Old underwear
- Unworn accessories
- Books you don’t like
- Clothes that don’t fit you
- Old exercise equipment
- Old throw pillows
- Clothes with holes or stains
- Old pajamas
- Old prescription glasses
- Clothes you no longer enjoy wearing
- Broken jewelry
- Broken hangers
- Unmatching socks
- Bras with broken straps or wires
- Torn or ragged comforters
- Broken toys
- Use coloring books
- Old stuffed animals
- Clothes that don’t fit
- Old video games
- Old school projects
- Broken pencils or crayons
- Games without all the pieces
- Old shoes that don’t fit
- Books or toys they no longer want
Overcoming Common Decluttering Challenges
You’ll likely come across various obstacles and challenges as you go from room to room. If you know these obstacles upfront, then you’ll have the power to overcome them.
Pay close attention to all flat surfaces because they’re commonly used to place items on as you go about your day-to-day living.
These areas also become cluttered soon after cleaning them.
Ask yourself why things pile up on kitchen countertops, on the desk, or other tables. Then, think about what other furniture you can use to put things immediately in their correct areas.
For example, can you buy sorting containers to put pending bills in so they don’t accumulate on your desk’s surface?
Or, can you find cabinet space for appliances, so they aren’t on countertops unless you’re using them?
Maybe you don’t need to save things that hold sentimental value.
Instead, ask yourself if taking pictures of old toys or clothes might keep positive memories intact without cluttering your apartment space with so many items.
Scan Your Important Documents
You probably see many unnecessary documents and paperwork littering the flat surfaces of the living room or office area. Do you need the physical copies?
Store these documents in the digital world by scanning them into your computer.
Not only will you declutter your physical space, but you might find that you can find and pull up those documents because they’re easily searched for on the computer.
Of course, find a safe place for documents that must remain physical such as birth certificates or passports.
Use Boxes for Utensils
Are you having a tough time figuring out which kitchen utensils to keep or toss? Try a simple box method to figure it out.
Find a cardboard box and take all kitchen utensils out of their drawers and cabinets. Place the utensils in the cardboard box instead.
Over the next 30 days, commit to putting utensils back where they belong as you use them. After the month is over, donate anything you didn’t use.
Try a Simple Clothes Hanger Strategy
After you get rid of the obvious choices in your closet, hang up the clothes you’ve decided to keep with the hangers facing in the same direction.
Over the next 30 days, hang up any clothing you used with the hanger facing in the opposite direction. Don’t do this for clothes you tried on. Do it only for those clothes you wore.
Inspect how many clothes you didn’t wear during the month and consider tossing them or giving them away to declutter your closet space further.
Tips That Help to Make Decluttering Decisions
It’s not always easy to decide what to keep, toss, or give away. This is especially true if you’re a sentimental person or tend to waffle over what you might need in the future.
Try using the following ideas to help when you find it hard to rid your apartment of clutter.
Use visualization. Look at each room from a global perspective before you start decluttering it.
Look it over and see in your mind what it might look like without clutter. This might help you immediately recognize what’s unnecessary and needs to go.
Use video or pictures. Skimming your eyes across a room might not always help you identify what needs to get thrown out.
Try taking a picture of the room. Or, you might scan it with a quick video on your smartphone. You may more easily recognize unneeded clutter when looking at rooms in this manner.
Ask friends or family to help. It’s easy to accept clutter when you live in your apartment every day.
Friends or family members who don’t live with you might help identify it as they look over your living space with a fresh set of eyes.
How to Eliminate Your Clutter
What do you do after you’ve identified your clutter, placed it into your sorting boxes, and now need to get rid of it all? Use these steps to rid your apartment of unneeded clutter.
Look at the box with the items you want to throw away. Is there anything in there that might hold value to others?
Many websites exist that allow you to sell unneeded items and make extra cash. Look at Craigslist, Letgo, Marketplace, Facebook, or Decluttr for opportunities to sell your items.
Another option for those throwaway items is donating them to others.
If you don’t think you can sell an item and it’s in good condition, then think about donating them at a community center or thrift store. This works well for clothes or toys, for instance.
Before throwing away any last items that you couldn’t sell or give away, consider whether your items might make good choices for recycling. Look for cardboard, glass, or plastic items.
Lastly, throw away anything you couldn’t sell, give away, or recycle.
How to Organize Your Decluttered Apartment
It’s time to start organizing your “new look” apartment after you’ve figured out what to keep and have sold, given away, recycled, or thrown away all the clutter.
The challenge with this situation is this: clutter naturally finds its way back into your life if you don’t have a plan to prevent it from happening again.
Use the following tips to keep clutter from reappearing in your apartment.
Use dividers and containers: Add containers and dividers to large cabinets and drawers that easily accumulate clutter as you go about your daily life.
Keep items where they naturally belong: You’ll easily transfer items from room to room if you’re not careful.
Ask yourself constantly if items belong in a different room before they become clutter.
For instance, did you leave a book on the bathroom counter instead of putting it back on the bookshelf?
Other ideas that help keep an apartment decluttered include:
- Don’t buy new items when you wonder how you’d use it
- Perform a decluttering day once per month to keep things from piling up
- Don’t buy things you find little joy in
- Give away an item every time you buy a new item
There’s never a better time to start decluttering your apartment than right now.
Getting rid of clutter does something wonderful to the way you feel about life. It makes you feel lighter inside and allows you to enjoy the time you spend inside your living space.
Use the tips outlined above, get started, and begin living a more uncluttered life immediately!
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