Cleaning and organizing an entire apartment can quickly become overwhelming. No matter how long you’ve lived at a place, whether it’s been 1 month or 5 years, there’s a good chance you’ve accumulated items you don’t need or use anymore, or there are areas that could be organized better. Even the tidiest of people tend to have lazy moments when they shove things into the junk drawer or hall closet instead of finding a permanent place to put it. While it can be intimidating to start an organization journey, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be impossible. Get a head start on Spring Cleaning this year and take the last couple weeks of Winter to make your apartment the cleanest it’s ever been.
Order of Operations
Before you start you should figure out an order of operations. Are you going to go room by room? What about top to bottom (starting with the ceiling and working your way down)? Inside out (start with drawers, cabinets, and the fridge, then go to surfaces)? You could also try the Marie Kondo method of going by categories, starting with all clothes, then moving to books, documents, miscellaneous, and finishing with sentimental items. Whatever you do, write down your plan and give yourself a time limit. Like most large tasks, it’s easy to get distracted, lose focus, or procrastinate organizing your apartment, but if you break it up into smaller pieces and commit to doing so many hours of work every week, or tackle one room per weekend, by the time Spring comes along the cleaning will already be done!
Starting with the living room, first think about your furniture. We talked about this in our winterizing blog back in November, mentioning how furniture placement can play a big role in airflow and heating and cooling costs. That is important, but also take a look at your space overall and if your furniture is placed best for organizational purposes as well. For example, if you move your couch just a few inches away from the wall you could have a place to put the many blankets it takes to get through a Chicagoland winter. You should also think about adding vertical storage in the form of shelves or bookcases. Take stock in what you have, what you want to show off, and how to make it look nice. If you run into any problem areas, or if you’re not sure what would work best to do what you want, a quick online search will give you tons of ideas to run with.
Depending on how much time you spend in the kitchen, this could be the easiest or the hardest room to conquer. A good place to start is by taking everything out of your cabinets. This will look like a mess, but it serves a couple purposes, one by seeing every item you’ll be able to decide what you want to keep and what you want to donate or sell. No matter how good your intentions were when you bought that pasta machine, if you’ve only used it once in the past two years it’s probably time to get rid of it. You can also use this to take stock in pantry items you have and throw out expired food. Once you’re done with the cabinets do the same process for the drawers, fridge, and freezer. Make sure to clean as you go, too, taking a washcloth to the insides of the cabinets and drawers and take a scrubber to the fridge and freezer.
For the bedroom you should start with your clothes. If it’s been a while since you’ve gone through your closet and dresser it’s not a bad idea to take a similar method to the kitchen and pile every item of clothing onto the bed. Then you can make a pile to donate or sell and put back the rest. If you have items that are barely worn you could try reselling, either by going to a physical reseller like Plato’s Closet or checking out this article for online options. Once your clothes are reorganized do the same for any knick-knacks on your dresser or in a nightstand. Like in the living room also think about purchases you can make to help your organizational efforts. Boxes and totes come in all shapes and sizes so you can store blankets, shoes, off-season clothes, or other items under your bed or at the top of the closet.
If the kitchen didn’t give you issues the bathroom very well might. Bathrooms tend to house a lot of little things with not much space to put them. The bathroom can turn into the catch-all for cleaning supplies, grooming supplies, and health supplies, not to mention all the little samples you accumulate from subscription boxes and hotel rooms. If you do tend to hoard face masks and beauty samples it’s a good idea to take stock in what you have so you can decide to use them before they go bad. The internet is also a great resource for organizational items or ideas to make the best use of the space.
Did we miss your favorite organizational tip? Or do you have before and after pics you’re proud of? Let us know via Facebook or Instagram!