UR HOME: 7 Tips for Decluttering Your Small Apartment

My apartment photographed by Ron Hill.

As someone who has always lived in an apartment, I know a thing or two about making the most of small spaces. The key to living large with little square footage is to make like Martha Stewart and tidy up! Here are 7 tips for decluttering an apartment:

1. Say no to knick-knacks. Think twice before bringing any dust-collectors into your home. You accumulate enough space wasters with things you actually need, so don’t purposely take up more space with small, ornamental stuff.  If you’re a traveler like me, this is going to mean rethinking your souvenir collection. Maybe hold on to dollars and coins from other countries in a scrapbook, instead of purchasing a shot glass with the word Cozumel etched onto it. If you find something truly useful and beautiful on your journey, by all means bring it home. Knowing how hard it is to part with sentimental items should make it easier for you to not invite them in to begin with.


2. Use the one in, one out rule. Don’t feel like you have to go through your home and impulsively get rid of things. (You might accidentally toss something you need only to have to buy another one in the future.) Instead, donate one item for every item you bring into the apartment. This applies especially to your wardrobe, since closets can easily become stuffed with mostly items we don’t wear. While this won’t declutter your apartment instantly, it should keep the clutter from building up in the first place.

3. Ditch the “someday” projects.  If you have been hanging onto things (and maybe even moving them from apartment to apartment) that are broken or have potential to be turned into something in the future, it’s time to let them go. If they’ve been untouched in the past six months to a year, let’s be honest, you’re never going to get around to it. 

4.Get rid of duplicates. Do you have two or more of a similar item without a good reason (say, two kitchen whisks)? Free up space by giving away surplus items you won’t use.

5. Tackle paper clutter ASAP. Nothing makes a tiny space look more cluttered than piles of paper. Open, sort, shred, and recycle mail immediately. Leave magazines in waiting rooms when you’re done with them. Create a filing system for important office documents and stick to it!

6.Think bigger. When designing the aesthetics of your apartment, think big. Large prints look visually less busy. Big décor pieces keep surfaces and walls clean and sleek, versus filling these spaces with multiple small items.

7.Use your vertical space. You have tons of surface area you probably haven’t tapped into. Hang shelves, pictures, and organizing mechanisms to free up floor and countertop real estate. And don’t be afraid to properly hang things because you’re renting. Filling in holes before you leave is actually really easy, and worth the effort in order to have a more efficient (and attractive) home while you’re living there.

BONUS Tip: For items of value, try and sell on a second hand site like eBay. If it’s a larger item like furniture, make sure it’s worth it before listing as you might need to arrange a courier to do the delivery for you.



  • Baby Isabella

    Great tips, my mummy is a horder of knick knacks it comes with the territory of being a mum and keeping hold of the ‘first’ of everything. She’s going to put them in the memory truck to create space!

  • The apartment where I live in is comparatively small so these tips are works for me. Thanks for this valuable tips.

  • Ania Ewelina

    Love these tips, when I lived in Chciago I had a pretty small apartment then I moved into my storage unit, my movers were sooooo suprised how I managed to fit everything. I pretty much followed all of your rules.

  • Karyn Locke

    These are good for decluttering a living space of any kind!

  • Your post is so helpful. I buy so many small decor things and it can be hard to clean.

  • Ana Ojha

    These are some great tips! I also try to avoid buying souvenirs on my trips. Instead I buy magnets or postcards of that destination!

  • Sohaiba Irfan

    These are so helpful tips. Small apartments always need some decluttering and this is so informative.

  • I used the “one in and one out” rule for my shoes and handbags. If I get a new pair of shoes—one has to go. I hate having a lot of stuff. I feel like I’m collecting and that’s not my style. I want to live as organized, clutter-free and minimalist as possible. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. Love your blog!

  • Living in a small apartment,these are really helpful for me.I always follow the rule ‘one in,one out’. Vertical space usage is another helpful idea I learned from this post.
    – Amila

  • For sure pinning this for future reference…Your sofa is absolutely beautiful I would never have even considered that colour but it’s so unusual and fits your aesthetic. I want to redecorate

  • Kate Veggie Desserts

    I lived on a narrowboat for many years in London and I certainly learned to declutter!

  • Yesssss to tis post! I love me a good declutter hehe. I can’t stand paper clutter! If it’s not sorted immediately, I can’t function properly haha. These are great tips! I’ve still got the utilise my wall space – so much room to use. 🙂

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

  • Rose Mont

    I’m working on declutter now. Kids, closets, toys I am focused on getting things straightened out if not perfect atleast noticably better.

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