Work/Life Balance

Exactly How I Plan To Declutter My Apartment In 30 Days

By | Thursday, April 20, 2017

As I have mentioned before, I struggle with the fact that I am just not inherently an organized person. While, yes, I successfully manage to use a bullet journal and keep my work life under control, my apartment is a different story. It’s not super dirty, but sometimes I let clutter get to a point where it’s overwhelming enough that I don’t want to face it. I go in and out of phases of being more organized, but somehow I always revert back to having to clear the piles off my bed if I want to make room for myself to, you know, sleep in it.

It’s changing, though. For one thing, I have been dating my boyfriend, Peter, for over a year, and I don’t think he’s ever seen my bedroom or apartment anywhere near its absolute worst (a fact he may find ~shocking~). For another, I’ve spent so much time in his apartment in the past year, I’ve gotten used to contributing and being a general non-slob…so I know that it is a possibility for me.

Now, Peter and I are in the process of moving in together, into a different apartment in the building he was already living in. He actually already moved into it last month, and I will be officially living there at the end of May. I love it; we hosted our first party a few weeks ago, which necessitated making it look semi-put-together. And, since everything is new and shiny, we’ve both been pretty diligent about keeping everything clean. I’ve even taken to using my work breaks as excuses to wipe down the bathroom or put away laundry — things I would do before, but with a lot less frequency.

So, this means I am currently straddling my time between two apartments that both feel like varying degrees of “mine.” In one, I have become the kind of person who pays attention to her baseboards. In the other, I still have a can of coconut La Croix from last week sitting on my nightstand.

My 30-Day Organizing Challenge

I’ve decided to use moving as my final motivation to get my shit together. But, since I don’t want the last week before moving day to be a complete and utter mess, I need to get all of my physical stuff organized before I even start packing. This means everything it possibly could: clearing the pantry and refrigerator, cleaning out and donating my books and DVDs, cleaning out my closet, even deleting old emails (which aren’t physical, obviously, but are cluttering my life nonetheless).

I’m basing my 30-day challenge off of this one I found on Huffington Post, with some modifications. For one thing, I do not have children or a car, so I removed those categories entirely. I also have a few different storage areas in my apartment, so I gave each of those their own day. I dedicated one whole day to jewelry, because my situation is that much of a mess. Same with my emails: my work email is perfectly organized, with everything in its specific, designated subfolder…my personal email not so much. Unroll.Me certainly helped me start minimizing the useless alerts I was getting every day, but I still almost never delete emails, so that is going to be one day’s worth of clearing activity. Here is my finalized list (nicely TFD-fied thanks to Lauren!):

A few of these, like the linen closet and pet supplies, are actually areas of our new apartment that I’ll be organizing. We moved Peter’s things in and put them away with the intention of leaving enough space for my stuff when it’s time to move it in. That said, the linen closet is kind of a mess already — out of sight, out of mind — so that needs to be sorted through. And Toby, Peter’s cat, has a basket full of cat toys he never plays with that just sits on the floor in the bedroom.

Cleaning Challenge Goals

Like I said, my main goal with this challenge is to make moving as smooth a process as possible. If I have everything organized and cleaned out before I pack, packing will be that much simpler. Also, this way, I won’t move in with excess crap that I don’t need. I’m quickly realizing that two people’s stuff can add up to a lot. And, while Peter has done his fair share of cleaning out his things before I move my stuff in, I still fear moving in and realizing not everything fits.

This is also the first time I’ve ever moved on my own. Yes, Peter will (obviously) be there to help with the heavy lifting. But this is the first time I’ve moved apartments since right after college, and every other time, the logistics were taken care of for me, by either my parents or a roommate’s parent. I have a distinct memory of the day my roommate and I moved into our current apartment; both of our dads were shocked at the sheer amount of stuff I had. (My dad even tried to convince me to trade in my bed for a twin-size one, which I flatly refused, although it would have freed up a ton of space.) And they were right. I was moving into a small NYC bedroom, and the only way I eventually made everything fit was to give a bunch of stuff away. I’ll have a lot more space in the new apartment, but I don’t want to get stuck in the same situation.

I’m moving the last weekend of May, but I’m starting this challenge a little early, since we have a trip coming up (!!!). I’ll be posting a few more times with updates on my progress, including photos, because nothing is going to hold me accountable like the promise of content. If you’ve done an organization challenge and have a tip or two, I’d love to hear about it!

Holly is the Managing Editor of The Financial Diet. Follow her on Twitter here, or send her your ideas at!

Image via Pexels

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