February is often an odd month. First there are only 28 (sometimes 29) days, and furthermore, it’s smack dab in the middle of winter and spring. Some days it can feel like warm weather is just around the corner, then the next day we get two inches of ice. This plus the fact that there aren’t any major holidays (other than Valentine’s Day, which, depending on who you ask, may or may not be a happy holiday), makes it difficult to make plans or stay focused on your goals for the year. However, it also makes February the perfect month to refocus and reflect on the next 10 months of the year. One option to get this done is to get a head start on Spring cleaning and start organizing your apartment. While this may seem like a daunting task at the start, with a few easy steps and a bit of elbow grease your apartment will be looking like new just in time to open the windows and let the Spring air in.
Find an Order of Operations
Before you start you should spend a bit of time planning. This is where many people get caught up, and why they find it difficult to finish the task. Find what works for you and stick with it. Maybe it makes sense to you to start at your front door and go room by room. Perhaps you want to start with the easier tasks, then gradually get more difficult as you go along. If your place isn’t that cluttered you may just need a good, deep clean and start from the top (ceiling fans) and work your way to the bottom (floors). If you want to go all in you can even try the Mari Kondo method and put all your belongings in a pile to decide if you want to keep them or not. Whatever you decide to go with, the important part is that you commit to something and complete it.
Get Rid of Things
No matter if you’ve lived in your apartment for 2 months or 2 years, there’s a 99.9% chance you have items in your possession that you don’t need. Use these last few weeks of cold weather as an excuse to stay in and go through your closets, drawers, and shelves. Take stock in what you have and decide if you really need those old tennis shoes that have seen better days or the little figurine you got back in college but can’t fully remember why you kept. Fill up bags to donate or make a pile of things that are in good enough condition to try to sell online (just make sure to actually sell them instead of having them sit in a corner for months).
Use What You Have
Once you’ve gotten things cleaned up and have fewer possessions, now is the time to find places to put said possessions. First, take a look at the space you have and see if it could be used better. Take time to finally organize your kitchen cabinets, any random closets, and the infamous Midwest “junk drawer”. Basically, don’t use the excuse “out of sight out of mind” to go back to where you started two weeks down the road. Make sure there’s a place for things and that you keep them there. Instead of throwing all the odd items in your hall closet or the random drawer in the kitchen, find somewhere that makes sense for it to live. If you can’t find a place for it to stay, consider going back to the previous point and consider if you actually need it.
Get Things You Don’t Have
Nowadays there are tons of nifty organization helpers you can buy with a click of the button. From drawer spacers, to shelving units, to boxes of all shapes and sizes, you’ll easily be able to find something that will help with your organizational needs. Depending on your apartment, you can consider getting a small table for your entryway to put your keys, wallet, and mail on as you come home. You could also check out vertical storage to keep things off your surfaces and maximize the space you have. Do a quick online search and you’ll find tons of articles and listicles with suggestions on how to keep your closets, drawers, cabinets, and anything else organized.
Quit Bad Habits
The last bit of advice is less to help as you start your organization journey, and more to make sure your work isn’t all for naught. Think about what got you in your situation in the first place. Do you tend to leave your mail on the counter when you get home? Commit to taking the few extra minutes to sort it then and there, throwing away the junk mail before you even sit down for the evening. Are you someone who forgets to put away your shoes or leave random items sitting out for days at a time? Take note of that and do your best to take care of those simple tasks right away instead of putting them off and letting them pile up.
What other organizational tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you! Find us on Facebook and Instagram to let us know!