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Spring Cleaning & Organizing for Small Apartments

April 19, 2016

spring cleaning

I can’t wait to throw open the windows and spring clean! It feels like a seasonal reset. Finally putting winter coats in storage (Chicago, don’t you pull another snowy Spring weekend on me) and dragging out the shorts feels amazing. But, if you’re not as enthused about the process, hopefully this post helps take some of the stress off.

Cleaning Tips
Start top to bottom, dry to wet. Dust high areas (shelves, light fixtures) and work your way down the room so you don’t have to repeat yourself. Once all the dry cleaning is done, wipe down surfaces with spray, wet wipes, & mopping.

Truth: You don’t need a million different cleaners. Use a good multi-purpose spray (I like Method’s grapefruit one), disinfectant spray/wipes for the bathroom, and some magic erasers will handle almost everything. PS: Dollar Tree has a 2 for $1 generic eraser pack. These are great for anything really grimy.

Have a kick ass playlist and turn the living room into a private party!

Check for expiration dates
Before dusting & mopping, do a trash sweep. Put a trash bag in every room and be brutally honest about what to keep. Console yourself knowing it just saved you a bunch of time cleaning.

Kitchen- Check spices, pantry, fridge, freezer (the food crew at Real Simple mag recommend buying spices several times a year for freshness). Toss anything you can’t remember how long it’s been there, smells or looks weird, or those leftovers you know deep down you’re never eating.

Bathroom- Check beauty products & medicine expiration dates. Are you holding on to that E.L.F Halloween palette just in case? Bacteria won’t care how long it’s been since you last used it, it needs to go.

Desk- Papers always need wrangling. I like to put papers I don’t need readily (i.e. receipts, tax forms) into a box in a closet. Easy access but lets my workspace be just for work. For the papers left behind, try making these easy DIY leather folders by Homey Oh My!

spring cleaning
Double Duty Wall Art
I love it when things are multi-functional- pocket knives, corkscrews that also become corks… Well, your decor can serve double duty in small spaces as well.

Go beyond posters and art pieces and try using wall decor to define separate areas. Burkatron’s Leather Magazine Holder is perfect in an entry way or living room, Francois et Moi’s Copper Message Board carves out a work space, and Hello Lidy’s Plant Wall Grid is a kitchen showstopper. (ps- if you can’t drill into your walls, Command Hooks can be retrofitted for these projects as well! Just double check the weight load.)

Don’t feel like diy-ing? Try arranging atypical shelf shapes like these CB2 triangle frame shelves for a custom storage look.

spring cleaning
Conceal, Don’t Feel (stressed about the mess)
If you can’t get it off the floor or put it on the wall, cute storage is a must. Target has been killing it with their organization collections (photo credit: Target). They have wire, woven, & wooden bins & baskets that look straight out of a design magazine. A lot of them are on sale now too! Alice & Lois has a great DIY rope version as well.

I like to use baskets in the living room to store gaming controls or extra blankets, long bins in the closet as a stand-in sock drawer (not enough space in the apartment for a full sized dresser),  & small trays to manage paper mess.

spring cleaning
Closet Detox

In college I’d hold on to pieces thinking I’d turn it into a cosplay or upcycle it. But, those days never came. My current, small apartment closet can’t afford to become a holding space for anything I don’t love. This helpful article from Brit + Co walks you through how to tell if a piece is on it’s way out, can be revived, or when to replace it.

Going through with an honest friend also helps 😉

Moving Forward
The greatest organization advice my mom ever gave me was this: When you’re out shopping, do you love an item so much you’re willing to dust it? Each and every item you buy needs some kind of maintenance, and the more you buy, the more stuff you have to take care of. For now though, Design Sponge has a great cleaning maintenance downloadable guide.

Remember, invest in things that make you happy! Hopefully this spring clean helps you declutter and see what those things are. Let me know if you want o see more organization posts! Maybe a room by room organization breakdown?

A future series is in the works on how to shop for quality clothes so you can apply the same clean mantra to your wardrobe.

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