Living in an apartment gives you the best of both worlds. You have the freedom of your own place without the hassle of a big home to maintain.
One crucial aspect for primary residences with square footage limits is your organization. It’s essential that what you keep has a purpose.
You know the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place”? It’s a phrase attributed to multiple 17th-century people, but we suspect it came from someone with a small home!
Today, you don’t have to figure out how to get organized by reinventing the wheel. Many professional methods are in place for you to learn from, like the KonMari Method.
This strategy is a minimalistic approach to managing your living space, as started by Marie Kondo. The trick is to focus on categories of items rather than going one room at a time. When you master it with these seven tips, you’ll transform your entire home!
1. Start With Your Shopping Trips
Most people think that organization starts in the home. It actually begins outside your apartment as you decide what you’re going to allow into your sanctuary.
It’s easy to throw non-essentials in your cart, especially when they’re inexpensive and attractive. But unless they serve a specific purpose, they’re just dust collectors.
If you can reduce the waste you bring into your home, you will automatically have less clutter. It’s an instant cause and effect: fewer things in means less disorganization.
As you shop and decide what to keep in your home, use these tips:
- Limit your non-reusable containers. Invest in storage systems that you can use for years or are eco-friendly.
- Bring your own bags to the store or buy a plastic bag dispenser to keep your stash in one place.
- Consider what you bring home before you buy it. Does it have a purpose? Does it give you joy? If not, do you really need it? Probably not.
Before you hit the store, set some ground rules for what’s allowed in your cart. Stick to your guns and remember your neatly organized home depends on you!
2. Picture Your Dream Lifestyle
According to many successful entrepreneurs and self-help gurus, visualization is a vital part of reaching any goal. The KonMari Method uses the same idea.
Before you move on to the next step, imagine what you want to come home to every day.
Get in deep with this image by asking yourself questions such as:
- What would your apartment look like?
- How would the atmosphere feel?
- What’s your ideal lifestyle?
- How can you get your home to match that lifestyle?
Then ask yourself why you want to live this way. That “why” is going to be what helps you to keep up with your new tidy apartment.
3. Do a Whole-Home Tidying
Tidying the KonMari way looks a lot different than what you might be used to. For one thing, your mindset about what the word “tidying” means is going to have to change.
In this method, tidying is not the stage where you make any organizational changes. It’s also not done room by room as you have probably always done.
Start with the idea of knowing that your focus for this step is to clean up, not organize. You’ll need to set a plan for how you want to tackle your tidying. Without an idea in mind, it’s easy to get distracted and off track.
Break your apartment down into categories and tidy by groupings. For example, when you organize your clothes, make sure you get all the clothes in your entire home.
Think about what products and tools you’ll need to do each part of the job and get everything together before you get started. Then you’ll have a much more efficient and productive tidying session.
4. Stick to the Right Order
Have you ever noticed yourself automatically moving from starting one task to doing three others before you finish the first one?
It probably looks something like this:
You go to wash the dishes, but you realize you’re out of dish soap. You reach under the counter for the soap and see the garbage bags. You remember the trash goes out tomorrow, so you hurry and take the cans to the curb … and on, and on.
(Leaving the unwashed dishes forgotten until you wake up in the middle of the night and remember.)
Per the KonMari method, you have to break this cycle.
Focus on one task at a time as you tackle the home in this order:
- Komono (miscellaneous)
- Sentimental items
Stick to the category you’re working on currently. Put some imaginary blinders on for the rest of your cleaning tasks!
5. Discard What You Don’t Use
The KonMari method strongly encourages minimalism. Everything you touch to tidy or clean must go through the same process.
Ask yourself if you need the item for a specific purpose or if it brings you joy. Give thanks for the use you made of it. If you’re keeping it, put it aside until the next step.
If not, discard it by either giving it away, selling, or throwing it in the trash.
Don’t return anything to its place until you’ve discarded everything you’re not keeping.
6. Store Like With Like
Now that you’ve tidied and pulled everything out, you can put it all back in its rightful spot. But you can’t do this randomly.
One of the quickest ways to become disorganized in your home is to have everything scattered around. Your goal is to avoid this by putting everything together before you determine where it goes.
Store all your like items in the same place. For example, all your linens should go in the closet on one or two shelves. Hang all your jackets facing the same direction.
If it falls in the same category as something else, keep it all together.
7. Use the KonMari Clothing Method
While you’re organizing your clothes and linens, make sure you fold them correctly — how you store your things matters. In the KonMari method, you will fold clothes upright to be more visible. With the nickname “file folding,” this is truly a game-changer.
Once you go through the discard/keep step, you’ve already reduced your wardrobe to only what you absolutely use or love. You’ll find that when you do, you will wear the clothes you have left more often.
And because you’ve cut back on your clothes collection, it’s easier to organize everything. Each type of clothing has its own folding rules, but this blog puts everything together for you.
Almost anyone who consistently has used the KonMari Method in their homes will tell you the same thing:
Get ready for a new life!
This organizational technique has made waves worldwide, and for good reason. When you learn it and use it in your apartment, you’ll never want to go back to traditional housekeeping styles!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Ft. Collins to help them with their online marketing.