Let’s face it, for most of us the only thing worse than living in clutter is decluttering. Taking the time to go through your things, making hard decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of, even just knowing where to start makes decluttering seem very intimidating. Fear not, Indigo Living has a few tips to start and help you finish the apartment decluttering process!
Identify a problem area, whether it’s a whole room or a coffee table, choose an area that’s a problem and commit to it. Motivation can be hard to come by, but if you start by choosing just one area that’s cluttered, it is much more manageable. It doesn’t have to be the biggest area, or even the most cluttered area, but just pick one spot, and commit to it.
Do it a little at a time, one room each day, one drawer each day, whatever works for you. Once you’ve identified your problem area, or when you’re ready to find a new spot to work on, get the work done little by little. Pick something up every time you pass the kitchen counter, put away a couple articles of clothing each time you go to your closet, or commit to going through one drawer this weekend. It may seem counterintuitive to work slowly but remember that the tortoise beat the hare.
Pack away clothes you aren’t wearing, cluttered closets and dressers can be particularly heart-wrenching to go through because no one likes getting rid of clothes, but maybe you don’t have to get rid of them… Packing away clothes that you won’t wear for a while is an easy way to open up closet space. A great place to start is with seasonal clothes! As winter turns into spring, your closet should make an appropriate transition. A useful trick for determining what clothes to pack is the 3–4-month rule: if you won’t wear it for 3-4 months, you should probably pack it away until then. And while you have your clothes out, go through them ALL, especially the clothes in the bottom and the back of your dresser/closet, it’s these clothes that you forgot you had that you can think about donating.
Evaluate the items you have that you don’t use. Speaking of donating, how can you possibly determine what to keep and what to get rid of? A handy question to ask about items that you don’t use or are thinking about getting rid of is, “Would I buy this again today?” If it’s an item that you wouldn’t buy again, you already know that it doesn’t have a place in your apartment.
Have a trash box and a donate box. It’s easy to throw away trash, it’s hard to get rid of things you don’t use anymore but having a box for each thing when you’re in the decluttering process is a good way to structure your decluttering. Toss the things you want to donate into the donate box and when it fills up, donate it. Having a trash box handy when you’re decluttering is also an easy way to avoid filling up all your other trash cans (although our bet is that you should take those out too…)
Minimize unnecessary paper, we live in the digital age, so should your documents and subscriptions. Cluttered paper can be one of the biggest eyesores in an apartment home (in any home really), and it’s so easy to let it build up. Junk mail, magazines, even important documents often find themselves piling up. Fortunately, we have computers that can take out most of our paper needs. Almost all subscriptions are available online, and maybe it’s time to evaluate if you even read the subscriptions you receive (it’s ok if you do). Get in the habit of turning junk mail into recycling, and for important documents, online banking and billing is probably already part of your routine, why keep paper copies laying around anyways? For the documents you don’t have online, scanning documents makes them a lot harder to lose (and a lot easier to find).
Think about a one-in, one-out rule. Painful as it may be, you probably have enough shoes, pans, or lamps, this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy new ones, but consider replacement instead of addition. A one-in one-out rule can help you prioritize, and it can make decluttering in the future much easier if you’re making these decisions as you go.
Always be decluttering. Finally, it’s easier to declutter as you realize you don’t use things than it is to sift through piles of things you don’t use. Don’t wait until the closet door won’t open to consider sorting your things. Instead of avoiding the pile of mail on the coffee table, go through it. When you realize that you don’t wear the cargo shorts in your dresser anymore, donate them. If you’re always decluttering, then you can save yourself from ever REALLY needing to declutter.