Decluttering your Apartment: What Not to Do

By Amanda Cohen on July 2, 2018

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It’s summertime and, for many of us, this means that it’s time to embrace the concept, “Out with the old and in with the new.” This mantra is especially important when you are decluttering your apartment. Whether you are moving to a new city, coming back home from school, or if you’re just bored, you must declutter your apartment. And, at the risk of sounding a bit nerdy, it’s actually really fun to declutter and organize your apartment.

So, how does one go about this “tedious” task? Well, that’s why I’m here. I’m here to answer that very question as well as to ensure that you are as productive as possible while decluttering your apartment. There are hundreds of thousands of things to do right when you declutter (aka none of us have time to go through this very lengthy list), so I’m going to tell you what not to do when decluttering your apartment. Read on if you need a fresh start and a freshened-up apartment.

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Don’t Deal with All Items at Once

There are so many different items to deal with when cleaning out, or rather, decluttering, your apartment. You’ve got clothes, toiletries, accessories, decorations, kitchen items, appliances, food, furniture, and more. You may look at your apartment and start getting stressed so you just toss everything that you don’t need. Do not do this. I repeat: DO NOT DO THIS. You need to start with one category and then move onto the others. If you deal with everything at once, you will end up throwing away something that you actually really need. I would set aside two weekends completely dedicated to decluttering and then designate two categories of items per day to deal with. Write down everything you need and don’t need and keep track of everything you are doing. Basically, if you are decluttering your closet but you see food at the corner or your eye that must be thrown out, don’t go to the food. Deal with that later. Stay organized and start with one category (I always start with my closet) and then move onto the next.

Don’t Throw Everything Away

Just because you may not need something anymore doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t benefit from it. When I was moving out of my college apartment, I made piles: throw away, donations, and items to sell. If your college t-shirts are taking up too much space in your small apartment, don’t just toss them all down the garbage chute. Donate some to different charities, like Salvation Army and Good Will. If you are upgrading some of your kitchen appliances, sell the old items so that you can make some extra pocket cash, or donate them. Like I said above, the key to this is to keep organized. Everyone should watch the scene from the “Sex and the City” movie where Carrie cleans out her closet… this is the vibe you should be going for. However, if you are creating donation piles, don’t donate junk that doesn’t work or that is completely worn out… people will not get use out of these items and they will end up being thrown out. If you are selling items, look for local consignment stores or use websites like Poshmark (mostly applicable to clothes).

Don’t Ask a Bunch of People for Help

Ever heard of the expression, “Too many cooks in the kitchen?” Well, believe it or not, this applies to more than just cooks in the kitchen. If you ask your friends for help, they will ask to keep something that you either wanted to donate or sell, or they will get items mixed up and put them in the incorrect piles. When you give yourself a lunch break, go hang out with your friends, but when it comes to decluttering your apartment, do it yourself. If you share your apartment with a roommate, however, make sure you get their permission when it comes to items that are in the communal space. If you think that a kitchen appliance needs to be thrown, but your roommate disagrees, just hold off on tossing it or donating it until you both can agree on what to do with said appliance.

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Once you declutter your apartment, take the time to redecorate it and/or just rearrange everything in the apartment. You will feel so fresh, clean, and organized after you declutter, just be sure to follow these steps: (1) declutter, (2) clean, (3) redecorate/reorganize, and (4) re-clean some items if necessary. You will feel so accomplished once you’re done with the decluttering process… it almost feels like a fresh start. So, forget spring cleaning, let’s all go for some summer decluttering. It may not be as popular as spring cleaning, but it feels just as good, if not better. Take these “don’ts” to heart and good luck decluttering!

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I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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