Eliminating clutter and creating a clean living space can help reduce stress and increase motivation. Enough said, right? But the reality is, it’s hard to find the time and motivation to organize your apartment in the first place. Below are ten tips for whipping your place into order, with efficiently and minimal effort. The key lies in putting everything in a strategic place. I’ll help you determine what those places are, and I’ll also provide you with some storage resources that will give your apartment style without breaking the bank.
1. Invest in closed storage.
Start with one big piece and work down. Try the IKEA Pax with Kompliment interior organizers. It’s a big unit, with lots of space to hide all of your clutter. Before you panic at the price, consider how much you will be using these storage cabinets. I have two of the Pax cabinets with Kompliment drawers in each and I use them both many times every single day. One functions as a pantry, holding everything from pots and pans to spices to snacks and soda. I use the other as office storage; I have a printer on one shelf, and all of my office supplies in the drawers. The possibilities are endless.
From left: Amazon, $29 | Sears, $25 | Macy's, $26
2. If in doubt, throw it out.
And if it’s worth something, sell it. Ebay and Craigslist are great tools for making money off of unwanted goods. But getting back to throwing things away; make sure that you make a habit out of throwing things away as you go. Otherwise, unwanted paperwork and mail will pile up all month and sorting through it will turn into a daunting task very fast. One great tip that will help you achieve this is to put a garbage can in every room. This way, when you’re tempted to leave your candy wrappers on the coffee table, you can just toss them in the garbage can that’s next to the couch instead. And trash cans don’t have to be ugly – try one of the well-designed options above.
Photo | Boxes, Container Store
3. Give everything else a home.
Now it’s time to make sure that all the smaller things that you have lying around have a permanent spot where they will always stay. If you have a predetermined spot for your mail then you’re less likely to just toss it on the table. Matching boxes of different sizes, such as the ones above, will help to organize your belongings while giving the room a consistent feel.
4. Think outside the box.
Try using something for a different purpose than it was originally meant for. Set this soap dish by your entryway and stash your keys and spare change on top, and perhaps stick your wallet in the hidden space underneath. Or use a cardboard six-pack holder for storing pens and pencils. These will be conversation starters, for sure.
5. Take advantage of underutilized spaces.
The space underneath your bed is a perfect example. Odds are you have some sentimental belongings that you don’t want to get rid of, but you also don’t want to have on display for the whole world to see. Store these sorts of items in rolling storage containers built specifically to be kept under the bed. Amazon has a wide selection, as does Target.
6. Use vertical space to your advantage.
Have half your bathroom products in the bottom of the cabinet, and the rest out on the counter? Buy a wire shelf to double the amount of usable space inside the cabinet. Now everything that was out in plain sight before has a permanent home that’s hidden. You should also think about vertical space when you’re buying larger pieces of storage furniture. Remember to buy pieces that reach almost up to the ceiling so you can utilize all available space.
7. Don’t forget about the doors.
Another underutilized area is the back of doors; usually there is wasted space here, and there are quite a few ways to use it to your advantage. If you have lots of little papers floating around (such as lottery tickets, to-do lists, etc.), attach a couple of cork tiles to the inside of a kitchen cabinet door and display your notes here using thumbtacks. If you have lots of tools, then try an over-the-door storage rack. If you need more closet space, attach a wire rack to the back side of a closet door. Bed Bath & Beyond sells an affordable one.
8. Use wall space to display everyday items.
Don’t have enough space in your closet for all of your stuff? Try hanging some of your accessories on the wall. A bunch of hats become “a collection” when you display them all together. Your ties become “art” if you hang them inside of an empty frame like the image above.
9. Corral similar items in one place.
Buy a coat rack and put all of your jackets on it (which will open up lots of space in the closet for other things). Buy a small tray or open box to hold all of the TV remotes. Grab a used wine crate at your local liquor store and fill it with DVD’s. Not only will your space look better, but it will be more functional too.
10. Rent more space.
Do you live in a tiny apartment like me? Maybe after following all of these tips, you still can’t find the space for everything? But you can’t bear to get rid of it… then rent a storage space near your apartment. Smaller units can be very affordable.
Clearly it will take a bit of effort to get organized, but it will be worthwhile once you reap the benefits of a clean, orderly apartment. And maybe your friends will want to start coming over too!