How to Declutter Your Apartment

How to Declutter Your Apartment

When you live in an apartment, things pile up, and your space looks cluttered no matter what you do. Staying organized requires decluttering your space a few times each year, choosing the items to keep, donate, and throw away. Establishing a system before you begin can make your job much easier.

Continue reading to learn how to declutter your apartment like a professional organizer. Learn where to start, how to decide what to keep and what to throw out, and uncover a multitude of decluttering tips for smart storage solutions, whatever size your living space is.

Where Do I Start Decluttering?

Decluttering can feel overwhelming, and sometimes the first step is the hardest. If you're unsure where to begin decluttering your apartment, try sorting it one room at a time, beginning with the room you use most often. Having empty boxes or containers nearby is helpful before you start.

The bathroom can be perfect to begin with, as it's a place you use regularly, the cabinets contain non-sentimental items, and there will be a lot of stuff that you can throw away.

declutter apartment bathroom

The same principle applies to kitchen cabinets, which often house non-sentimental items and contain many appliances that we no longer use.

If you're still struggling with motivation, try setting yourself smaller challenges first, such as a single cupboard or drawer. Once you've completed one task, you'll have the drive to continue your decluttering.

What Should I Declutter First?

The first step in decluttering your apartment is to get rid of stuff that is no longer functional. Test any appliances in the room to make sure that they still work. Anything that no longer serves its purpose should be put in the pile to get rid of.

Assess the last time you used a particular item. If you haven't used it within the last six months, it's probably time to get rid of it. If you'd forgotten that you still owned it, then it's definitely time to get rid of it.

decluttering your apartment

Establish A Sorting System To Tackle Clutter.

As you sort through your belongings, establish categories. One benefit of this is you will notice if you have multiple items to serve a singular purpose: do you own three pairs of sneakers even though you only visit the gym once a month? Or do you have five bottle openers cluttering your kitchen drawer? When you categorize items, you start to see which areas your clutter lies in.

The second benefit of categories is that they help you to stay organized. When you group items by sort, it becomes easier to find what you are looking for, allowing you to use your possessions effectively and avoid buying replacement products for the things you already own.

How Can I Declutter My Apartment Fast?

If you're looking to declutter your apartment quickly, try using the system below.

How To Use The Four Box System

Grab four boxes and label each one as follows: Keep, Donate, Throw, Recycle.

Choose an area, such as the bathroom cabinet, and pull out everything that's inside. Begin by picking out everything you regularly use, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, etc., and place it in the "keep" box.

Next, look for anything that no longer serves its purpose, such as shaggy toothbrushes, empty hairspray cans, or make-up that is past its use-by date. Place these items in the "throw" box.

Look over your remaining items and look for things that are fit for purpose but that you don't use. Maybe you have two hairdryers, and you only use one, or perhaps you were gifted a bath hamper, but you only take showers. Anything functional could be of use to someone else; place it with the items to donate.

Finally, look for recyclable items such as empty shampoo bottles that you can take to a recycling center.

four box decluttering system

What If I Can't Decide What To Keep And What To Get Rid Of?

If you're struggling to decide which stuff is important to you, try creating one pile of things that are a maybe. Anything you're undecided on whether to keep, put in the maybe pile.

Place these items in a box or container and store them for six months. Anything you don't use in that time, take to a donation center.

What Is The Fastest Way To Hide Clutter?

Visual clutter is far more impacting that the clutter we have tucked away in cupboards and drawers. If you're hosting guests and looking for a quick fix, try eliminating the visual clutter from your home.

Eliminate Visual Clutter In Your Home

An apartment with many items scattered around on tables, surfaces, and furniture will look more cluttered than an apartment that utilizes storage spaces.

Choose a particular room and spend a few minutes visualizing how you would like it to look.

Think about the furniture and knick-knacks you currently have in the space. What fits and what doesn't? Gather up any extra stuff accumulated in the area and find a place to store it.

Try picking up five things lying around and finding a space for each of them. Once they have their place, return them to it after every use.

Clear off flat surfaces. Worktops and tables are clutter magnets. Aim to keep only one or two items that you regularly use on a flat surface, such as a kitchen top. You should store everything else in cupboards or drawers.

eliminate visual clutter in your apartment

How Do You Organize A Small Cluttered Apartment?

When establishing your decluttering goals, consider how much space you have available and maximize space using smart storage techniques. These are particularly useful for apartment living, and we've listed a few tips below to get you started:

Use Wall Space and Leverage Vertical Space

Try fitting shelving around the perimeter of your walls to store items such as books and ornaments. These shelves can be out of the line of vision and are great ways to create additional room in a small space.

use wall space to declutter apartment

Another way to leverage vertical space is to use shoe racks. These are simple enough to create yourself using crown molding, or you can purchase a ready-made frame.

Try this tip if you have lots of cords and cables lying around. Attach binder clips to the edge of your desk and feed one end of the cable through the hook so that they can hang from the desk.

When your closet is full to overflowing, try setting up a clothes hanger in the corner of your bedroom. By nominating one space to store your wardrobe overflow, you avoid random piles of clothes cluttering up your floor space.

Use Clever Ways To Organize A Small Apartment

When living in a small apartment, it's easy to accumulate clutter and create a mess. Proper organizing helps you create a more open space in your living rooms.

Using deep storage is one way of decluttering apartments.

Organize A Small Apartment

Stuff that you only use at certain times of the year, such as seasonal clothes, can clog your closet and leave your area looking messy. Set out a declutter plan and consider the items that you won't use for several months of the year. You can place these items in storage bins or a storage unit.

When you only have a small space, you want to start organizing your belongings by season to have access to the items you need when you need them.

Use Multi-functional Furniture

Multi-functional furniture allows you to change the room's primary purpose quickly and easily and offers a two in one solution.

For example, you can buy a sofa that folds out into a bed or purchase a coffee table that doubles as a container.

One popular trend is lift top coffee tables. The one I have is currently sold out on Amazon, but here's another option you can check out. There are a ton on Amazon. Just search "lift top coffee tables":

lift top coffee table - declutter your apartment

How Do You Stop Cluttering In A Small Apartment?

Apartments can be particularly tricky to declutter as they have less living space. Below are some tips for minimization.

Have An Incoming Pile

Paperwork counts for a lot of clutter around our apartment or house. We get into the habit of opening mail and stuffing it straight into drawers to deal with later. Only, we don't deal with it, and it becomes more clutter.

pile of mail

By setting up an "incoming" space in your home, you can designate a time - maybe each evening or maybe at the end of every week - to sort through your mail, choose what's worth keeping and what's trash, and avoid it piling into clutter.

Track Your Usage

If you have many items, such as clothes or shoes, try setting up a system to track what you use. For example, every time you wear a piece of clothing, hang it up backward in your closet. If your item of clothing is still facing forwards a year later, then it's time to get rid.

Put More Thought Behind New Purchases

One of the optimum ways to avoid clutter is to prevent impulse buying and purchase only what you need. If a purchase is non-essential, add it to a "30-day list." Next to the item, write down the date 30 days from now. When that date arrives, purchase it if you still want the thing.

Additionally, try the one out, one in rule. For every new purchase, you buy, you either throw, donate, or recycle something you already own.


Whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a five-bedroom house, clutter is pretty much inevitable. Understanding how to organize your space and maintain a clutter-free environment will allow you to keep your home looking the way you want it to.