Tips & Guides / Apartment Life

Your Guide to Decluttering Your Home

By Bri Hand | Mar 7, 2022
Woman folds clothes as part of decluttering effort

There comes a time in every renter’s life when they must declutter their apartment. Decluttering your home is an invigorating and affordable way to revitalize your space and recharge your state of mind. Even so, the task of detoxing an entire apartment can be a daunting endeavor, whether that’s because of the grunt work involved or the sentimental attachment you have toward your belongings.

This guide will offer some tips on how to declutter your apartment room by room so you can add to your living space with the power of subtraction:

  • Signs it’s time to declutter your apartment
  • Decluttering tips: Room by room

Signs it’s time to declutter your apartment

So, how do you know whether some minor upkeep is in order or whether it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle the whole floor plan?

Here are some surefire signs you can benefit by cutting back on some clutter:

  • You’re constantly forgetting where you’ve put things: Mental disorganization or forgetfulness is a hallmark sign that it’s time to declutter your apartment. If locating an item requires you to rummage, ransack, or rearrange your possessions so you can liberate an item stuffed away on the back shelf, it’s time to put in some work to clear away the clutter.
  • You avoid unwinding at home: Steering clear of individual rooms (or your entire apartment) is a big tip-off that you’re not feeling at home in your space. Likewise, a streak of credit card bills detailing restaurant or coffee shop tabs may exhibit the concrete costs of apartment avoidance—and it could be the motivation you need to change course.
  • You’re cleaning more than ever: The more stuff you have in your home, the more surface area there is for dust and debris to collect. If you’re constantly on dust bunny extermination duty, it’s time to flush out the junk and clutter that attracts them. 

While it’s no secret that the decluttering process takes a lot of effort, remember that minimizing your material possessions will ultimately maximize the value of the things that truly matter to you.

Benefits of home organization

There’s no question a cluttered apartment poses practical obstacles, but messy rooms can also lead to a messy mind. One 2018 study showed that adults with excess, unnecessary clutter in their living space actually report a lower quality of life.

For a little motivation, here are three priceless win-backs to motivate you on your next big apartment detox:

  • Time: The time you spend hunting for your favorite shirt, dusting your surfaces, or standing in front of the fridge wondering if the mold on that hunk of cheddar is still technically edible—all of those minutes add up! By flushing your unwanted clutter, you’ll be gaining hours in time.
  • Money: If you have four canisters of barely used paprika at home, chances are you bought each of them while idling in the grocery store, wondering whether or not you already had paprika at home. Taking stock of your household items is the best way to maximize their value and avoid overspending on items you already own.
  • Health: As it turns out, there’s a limit to how much stimuli the human brain can handle, and once the threshold is passed, it becomes more difficult for our minds to process information and tackle tasks with efficiency. From averting stubbed toes to calming overwhelmed feelings, decluttering is a practical means of tending to your overall health.

Think of detoxing your apartment as an opportunity to decompress both your apartment and your state of mind, offsetting stress and turning over a new leaf. The less upkeep you need to perform to manage your life, the more energy you’ll have to dedicate to things that matter to you.

Decluttering tips: Room by room

So, if you’re looking for tips on decluttering your home, where should you start? Between these four rooms, the choice is yours—be sure to follow these organizing tips as you work your way through your home:

1. Bedroom

Bedrooms tend to be teeming with knick-knacks and furnishings with sentimental value that can make you feel at home. That said, simplifying your bedroom can improve sleep quality by minimizing distractions that interfere with rest.

Here are some decluttering tips to help bring your sleep oasis into balance:

  • Maximize storage and closet space: Dedicate a weekend afternoon to flush out your closet space or invest in a drawer organizer and storage containers to keep infrequently used items under the bed. This way, you won’t have to part with sentimental items you’re sincerely attached to—you’ll just keep them out of sight! You can also store away out-of-season clothing in plastic containers or storage bins to give yourself more space in your closet.
  • Move your belongings: Evenly distributing your favorite personal items throughout your home is a great way to free up space in your room while showing some love to another. What’s more, migrating books, throw pillows, or artwork into another room may make you want to spend more time in different areas of the house.
  • Organize what’s left: Even if you can’t bring yourself to part with 90% of your bedroom furnishings, creating a visual impression of tidiness does wonders to give the illusion of extra space. Color-coding your bookshelf, clearing off your surfaces, or even rearranging your furniture frees up more space and visually puts your mind at ease.
  • Donate old clothes: Every closet can use a little spring cleaning once in a while, and getting rid of old clothes and shoes is a great decluttering project that can have a massive impact on your space. Make piles for clothes and shoes you want to keep, donate, and get rid of (employing a little Marie Kondo “Does this spark joy?” magic), and watch your space open up.

2. Bathroom

As one of the most critical spaces in your home to keep sanitary, decluttering your bathroom will make cleaning it a whole lot easier.

Here’s how to get started with clearing away the clutter:

  • Go through your products: You don’t have to be a YouTube skincare guru to have a product pileup afflicting your bathroom cabinet. Throw any empty or almost-empty containers in the trash, and make sure the ones you get the most mileage out of are easiest to access.
  • Invest in a shower caddy: If you’ve ever kept a bottle of shampoo on the ledge of your bathtub, you know it doesn’t take long for an icky ring of mold or gunk to accrue where it stands. Instead, purchase a wire shower caddy (wire stays clean longer than plastic) to store your most-used shower products.
  • Keep cleaning products on hand: The more attentive you are to bathroom cleanliness daily, the less work it will be to clean in the long run. Make it even easier for yourself by keeping basic cleaning supplies below your bathroom sink. This way, you’ll do less mental gymnastics trying to convince yourself you have the wherewithal to spend a few minutes giving the area a quick wipe-down.

Finally, if you’ve acquired a king’s bounty of miniatures or hotel soaps, try making a basket of toiletries for guests to keep in a storage closet.

3. Kitchen

Depending on how much you use it, your kitchen may be a challenge to declutter. To save you the 10 minutes of befuddlement wondering where to start, we’ve divided this challenge into several territories where you can launch your clutter-free spree:

  • The fridge: Unload your fridge completely and start doing a triage of condiments, cheeses, meats, and anything else touting an obvious expiration date. Save yourself the food poisoning and chuck anything past its shelf life into a trash bag.
  • The pantry: As we’ve mentioned, it’s not uncommon to find multiples in your pantry (particularly in the spice department). Consolidate pantry items to free up space, and, for bonus points, organize them alphabetically on a pantry closet shelf so you know when you run out.
  • The drawers: There’s no such thing as too many spoons—until you actually have too many spoons. If your drawer dividers are so full of cutlery they cease to be organizational tools, consider donating your spares or selling them at a yard sale.

Fancy kitchen appliances can seem like time-savers when they’re marked down on Amazon Prime Day, but once they’ve made it into your kitchen, you may not get much mileage out of them.

If you discover an item you sincerely want to keep but never remember you have, try storing it somewhere you’ll see it so you remember to put it to use.

4. Living room

Of all the spaces in your home, decluttering your living room may require some new additions if you want to keep it clean—namely, storage. 

From extension cord gizmos to assortments of home office supplies, here are some decluttering tips that will help you streamline your common space without parting with the necessities:

  • Floor-to-ceiling storage: Even if your apartment is slim on square footage, you can use a vertical space storage solution to help store your belongings. If you have any empty ledges once you’ve put your new shelves to use, placing decorative items like fresh flowers can be a wonderful way to distribute decor to unexpected places in your apartment.
  • Invest in baskets: Paying a few extra dollars for storage baskets that suit your aesthetic will keep hard-to-organize knick-knacks out of sight. Plus, you’ll never need to wonder where you put the remote again (or deconstruct your couch in the process).
  • Hold a free sale: As the room where you entertain friends, reserve your living room for a “free social” event to give away any items you’ve purged from every room of your apartment. If you’re struggling to cut ties with any belongings, seeing your friends go home with something new can be a warm reminder that it’s your relationships you treasure—not necessarily the objects themselves.
  • Declutter your junk drawer: Every home has one drawer that holds every “I’m not sure where this goes” item—but every drawer also has its limit about what it can hold! Make a pile of all your objects and decide which ones you actually need—and where their real home should be.

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Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.