Home organization can seem like a daunting task, especially in a smaller rental apartment. There’s just not a lot of room for your stuff! We’ve been there too – that’s why we wrote this guide to help you out. Let’s divide and conquer by taming the mess room by room.
No nonsense. Space is at a premium in your bathroom, so you’ve got to be firm and decisive here about what you REALLY need. Marie Kondo the equipment and toiletries that you rarely use, toss out those expired medications, and limit your cabinets to just the essentials. Trust us, you can live without that seventh bottle of nail polish remover.
Space invaders. Nothing makes a room feel messier than a cluttered countertop. Maximize valuable vanity space with storage containers that can hold multiple toothbrushes, hand soap, lotion, etc. Put items in the top drawer so they’re still at hand but out of sight. And try hanging a rectangular wire basket on the side of your vanity to hold your hairdryer and other gadgets.
The same goes for inside the shower. Hanging shower caddies are super helpful, and if they don’t fit your shower head you can hang them on a removable adhesive hook.
Clean sweep. Keep bottled cleaners organized by hanging them, either on an adjustable tension rod in your cabinet or an over-the-door organizing rack. These clever items are VERY cheap and prevent a frustrating pile-up of cleaning supplies. If you’ve got deep-cleaning items that you don’t use too regularly, keep them in a basket or plastic bin.
Bed rest. Make sure to keep your bed made every day. You’ve probably heard this before…. but seriously, DO IT. 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 tidy too. That means the pile of dirty clothes in the corner is history.
Closet case. Many homes that are organized on the surface hide some gnarly messes behind closet doors. Try this trick: Turn all the clothes hangers in your closet so that the hooks at the top face back-to-front. Then, after you wear a certain item of clothing, return it to the closet with the hanger turned around. After a few months, you’ll be shocked by how many outfits you never wear!!! You may be more okay with donating these after this experiment.
That’s not all! Try putting your closet doors to work. You can hang shoe racks, scarf and belt hangers, or even shelving units on the back of your door to utilize the space. Still not enough space? In a pinch you can hang more clothes on a length of chain. You can also store clothes in vertical shelves – it’s more efficient and works great for shirts, skirts, and slacks.
Dresser Mess. Drawers stuffed with clothes can get super messy, especially when you’re an indecisive dresser. The most practical way is to fold and store clothes vertically in your drawers. It’s a bit of an adjustment at first, but you’ll find that more clothes will fit, PLUS it’s easier to find that specific shirt when you’re getting ready!
Store smarter. If you’re only storing dust bunnies under your bed, you’re not organizing like a pro. This is some prime storage space! Stash your seasonal clothing or bulky items like backpacks, purses, linens, or blankets in clear storage bins that you can label and slide under the bed.
Even a bit of unused wall space can transform into extra storage! Throw in a corner shelving unit or a floating shelf (hot tip: the shelf can even go above a door or window).
Nothing personal. The kitchen often becomes the resting place for shoes, keys, mail, and pocket change. Get smaller items into the junk drawer so they’re out of the way! And we highly recommend imposing a rule that the kitchen is cleared of personal items by dinnertime.
Keep it together. Whenever possible, store kitchen items by where/how you’ll use them. For example, keep your pots, pans, and cooking utensils near the stove so they’re ready for duty. Store plates, dishes, cups, and utensils closer to the dining table, mugs near the coffee maker… you get the idea. Reserve your top shelves for stuff you don’t use very often.
Nooks and crannies. Once again, hanging baskets and racks can be huge space savers. Use up every square inch of space by hanging spices behind a cabinet door and canned goods behind the pantry door. If your cabinets have adjustable shelves, make sure you move them to the height of what you keep inside; if they don’t adjust, you can add another level with a wire shelf or hooks.
Odds and ends. Most of us spend LOTS of time in our living rooms. This leads to an accumulation of all kinds of random stuff! Try to get these items back where they belong. Even if they’re tucked away inside your entertainment center, there’s no need to store items there that aren’t related to watching movies, reading books, or whatever else you actually do in that room.
Zone out. Just like in the kitchen, keep things grouped in zones by activity (DVDs near the TV, magazines near the sofa, etc.). You’ll need to decide what your top activities are… and try not to be too aspirational here. If you’re not doing stretches in the living room then the yoga mat has to go! If you have an ottoman or coffee table with storage inside, then you’ll have even more options here.
Tame the tangle. Your living room is most likely crisscrossed by a network of cords for lamps, the TV, game consoles, and such. Keep those cords in control with a cable snake or zipper. Here’s a guide all about it (with sections for both renters and homeowners). It’s a much less cluttered look, and you can even buy a cable solution that matches your wall color for a chameleon blending effect.
Files and folders. A good filing system is the cornerstone of an organized office. Buy a 12-month expanding file to keep your bills and receipts organized by month – then revisit these annually and shred what you don’t need. Organize other important documents by category, such as automotive, education, financial, medical, taxes, etc.
A home for hardware. If your desk is covered with computers, printers, monitors, and other electronics, where will you actually work??? Move items to the floor wherever possible, and choose monitors, keyboards, etc. that have a slim profile. If your desk lamp is cramping your style, try out a freestanding floor lamp instead.
Wheel of fortune. Try to purchase home office furniture with wheels. It’s awesome to be able to tuck away your filing cabinet and desk chair at night to reclaim some space!
Hidden in plain sight. The combination of open shelves and closed cabinets will keep your space open and bright. A floating shelf gives you the ability to showcase your decorative items without using much space in your room.
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