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.