Apartment organization can seem like a daunting task, but when broken up room-by-room, it’s easier to tackle. From dusting countertops in your living room to the deep scrubbing required in your kitchen and bathroom, here’s how to divide and conquer to tame the mess.
Your bathroom is where you get clean and ready for the day ahead, but that’s hard to do in a messy space. While this area of your home may require a bit of extra storage, organization and elbow grease, the payoff is well worth it.
Space is often cramped in your bathroom, so it’s important to be firm and decisive about getting rid of things you don’t need. Toss out toiletries and equipment or other items that you rarely use. In your medicine cabinet, limit yourself to just the essentials to keep your organization goals on track. Trust us, you can live without that seventh bottle of nail polish remover.
Nothing can make a room seem more like a mess than a cluttered countertop. Maximize valuable space on your vanity by utilizing storage containers that hold multiple toothbrushes, toothpaste and other toiletries like hand soap and lotion. Hang a rectangular wire basket on the side of your vanity to hold your hairdryer and other gadgets. If you share a bathroom with your roommates, investing in multiple baskets can help keep everyone’s items separate (and arguing about clutter to a minimum).
It’s common to have a variety of shampoos, body washes and razors stored on the edges of your shower or tub. After all, they get used every time so they should be kept closeby. However, these items can pile up over time (especially if you share your shower) and lead to a mess. To help prevent this buildup, get a rack to hang on your shower head or have each roommate get their own shower caddy to store in their room. That way, everything you need to shower is readily available in a clean and organized way. This will also help keep the edges of your tub empty, making cleaning a breeze.
A sanctuary of relaxation and sleep, the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in your apartment. From your bed to your closet, organization can help open up even the most cramped bedrooms and provide much-needed solace.
Make sure to keep your bed made every day and switch out your sheets every other week. Not only will this help you feel cleaner every time you slip between the sheets, but it can also work wonders when you’re trying to keep your bedroom organized. Think about it: If you get into the habit of keeping your bed in order, you’ll likely develop a habit of keeping the rest of your room clean, too. That means the pile of dirty clothes in the corner is history.
Even if you consider yourself the most organized of people, your closet often tells a different story. Try this trick: Turn all the clothes hanging in your closet so that the hangers face back-to-front. Over the next six months, if you wear an item of clothing, return it to the closet and turn the hanger around. You might be shocked at how many clothes you never wear! At the end of the six months, consider tossing those items you never wore.
You can also put your closet doors to work. Hang up some shoe racks, scarf and belt hangers or even shallow shelves to help utilize the space and store more of your favorites. The unused walls on either side of your closet can also hold extra shelves or shoes if needed.
Drawers full of clothes can get pretty messy when you’re an indecisive dresser, or even when you don’t fold your clothes the right way. It’s best to fold and store your clothes vertically in your drawers. You can fit more into your dresser this way and it’s easier to find what you’re looking for when you’re getting ready.
If you’re not utilizing the horizontal space under your bed, you’re missing out on a prime storage opportunity. Clean out those dust bunnies and store your seasonal clothing or bulkier items like backpacks, purses, linens or blankets in flat, clear storage bins that you can label and slide under your bed. Tupperware, vacuum-sealed bags and even old shoe boxes can make for good storage containers as well.
If you have a small amount of unused wall space, you can turn this into storage to help declutter your closet and drawers. Build your own corner shelving unit (or buy one at IKEA), put a small bookshelf above your door or windows or install some small drawers to store odds and ends. If your room is in need of a decor upgrade, these drawers can also be a creative way to show off your painting skills and add color to your walls.
Without really realizing it, the kitchen can accumulate personal items like shoes, keys, jackets and mail pretty quickly. And while you might not be able to avoid it completely, make it easier on yourself by imposing a rule of clearing the kitchen of personal items by dinnertime.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but things that work together should be stored together, as close as possible to where they are used. Meaning, pots, pans and cooking utensils should be stored near the stove, giving you easy access to what you’ll need while cooking. Plates, dishes, cups and utensils should be kept together, while coffee, mugs and other supplies should be stored near the coffee maker. Keep items that are seldom used on top shelves.
Take advantage of every square inch of space by utilizing tools that are designed to hang on the back of a cabinet or pantry door. A hanging spice rack can be a real space-saver, while canned goods and bottled items can be easily placed into a storage basket rack that is hung over the inside of a door. There are even multi-tiered, hanging produce bowls in every color and fabric imaginable to help you save space and look stylish at the same time.
Keep bottled cleaners organized by adding another storage level such as a wire shelf or hooks.
You can also store cleaning supplies on an adjustable tension rod in your cabinet or behind the cabinet door with an over-the-door organizing rack. These clever items are available for cheap and are a great fix to keep tight spaces organized and everything within arm’s reach. For cleaning supplies you don’t grab on a regular basis, keep them in an easy-to-reach basket that can be stashed when finished.
Instead of throwing all your kitchen items into each drawer without a second thought, use some drawer organizers to help keep each item contained and prevent them from sliding around. This will not only make it easier to find what you need when you need it, but it will also add to the overall feeling of cleanliness within your own kitchen. Looking to organize on a budget? Leftover Tupperware can do the trick as well.
Much like with your kitchen gadgets, grouping like items together in your pantry can be super helpful when you need to find a specific ingredient. Adding in extra shelving, hooks and drawers can also help increase storage space in tight closets.
Outside of regular dusting to keep out allergens, the living room can easily get overrun by miscellaneous items in no time. Since the living room is often where you spend the most time in your home, it can lead to unneeded stress if not properly maintained.
If your living room feels closed off, or if you have furniture pieces you barely use, consider switching up the placement of these items (or getting rid of them entirely). Arranging your furniture to help the flow of the room can aid in your organizational efforts and add balance to a cluttered space.
Inventory the items in your entertainment center or cabinets and only keep the items that you use regularly. Organizing your movies, games, books and music is a great way to improve the look of your living room. It can also help inspire you to rediscover old favorites. Other odds and ends such as photo boxes can be labeled and put away or even hung up as a more stylish way to store the fun stuff.
Be realistic when determining how you want to use the living room, then gather similar things together and place them in specific zones. For instance, all movies, music and games should go near the entertainment center. Place magazines and books in a rack or storage box near your reading chair. You might also want to consider getting furniture that can double as storage. A lot of coffee tables are also boxes. You can put items that aren’t used as often, like blankets and board games, in something like this.
Your living room is most likely full of a variety of electronics that you use on a daily basis, which often means tangled cables and out-of-control cords. Tame the mess by using a cable organizer, or use a cable zipper to enclose all cables in a tube to eliminate clutter. Consider cordless and multi-use devices like a Smart TV or Amazon Fire Stick next time you are looking to upgrade.
A clean and organized home office is key to a successful workday, as a cluttered desk can impact your flow and creativity. Before sitting down for the day, take a few extra minutes to organize your files, tech and papers. Your brain will thank you.
A good filing system is the cornerstone of an organized office. Buy a 12-month expanding file, and keep all bills and receipts organized by month. Revisit these in a year, and if you haven’t needed them, shred them. Organize other important documents by category, such as automotive, education, financial, medical and taxes.
If your desk is covered with monitors, printers, phones and other electronics, you might realize you have no space to actually work. Add some storage devices under your monitors if you haven’t already, or purchase multipurpose devices to save space. Even small changes such as using a freestanding light instead of a desk lamp can make a big impact.
Utilize home office furniture with wheels whenever possible. A wheeled filing cabinet can be brought out during the day, then tucked under a desk or in a closet at night. This will minimize your office clutter. A desk chair with wheels can help you jump from device to device with ease. Have carpet in your home office? A small plastic mat should allow for added mobility without damaging your carpet in the long term.
The combination of open shelves and closed cabinets can help keep your home office feeling spacious. It’s also a creative way to utilize a small space, especially if you’re an avid reader or own cute shelving decor.
With a little pre-planning and dedication, you can turn every room in your apartment into an organized and functional space. However, one of the biggest issues with organizing spaces is keeping up with it over time. To avoid having to redo these rooms in a few months, return used items to their rightful place every time and dedicate one day a week to upkeeping every room. That way, you can enjoy a clean and organized home with less work, and who doesn’t want that?