Oftentimes us young adults rent apartments in the first years out of college. Apartments offer very little responsibility and with their reasonable cost of living, they allow a single person like me to live on their own, without roommates. All in all, I’m content living in my suburban apartment. One of the reasons that I like living here and why people who come visit often say, “Your apartment is so clean and neat”, is because I keep it picked up, free of clutter and most importantly, I keep it organized.

My Clutter-Free Apartment

How do I keep my apartment clutter free, tidy and organized? Here’s the 5 steps I have taken:

1. Get a Big, Fat File Cabinet for Papers and Documents

If you’re like me, you get a bunch of stuff in the mail every day. It’s not just junk mail but:

  • Bills
  • Bank statements
  • Newsletters
  • Coupons/Promotions
  • Cards

All this paper from days, weeks and months can pile up. What do you do with it? I suggest you go through it immediately. Putting it off is the very reason that it can pile up and clutter your house or apartment. Don’t let it. While going through it, throw away everything that you don’t need to take action on or read. It’s important to throw out as much as possible right away because everything you keep needs to be dealt with down the road again.

Once you’re left with everything you want to keep, go through everything that requires you to take action. I highly recommend setting up all of your bills to automatically get paid. Bank statements can be set up digitally to get emailed to you. Once action has been taken and bills have been paid or set up automatically, you’ll need to file the rest.

To set up your file cabinet, make a list of all the different types of bills, bank accounts, organizations, associations, aspects of your life that you have or will have paper documents from. I have a folder for many of my bill companies, my colleges, my insurance companies, my banks/credit cards, my taxes by year, my car and other things I own and some other miscellaneous topics. Feel free to set these up as you wish. The main thing is that you make the folders and put all of your excess paper and documents that you haven’t thrown away into your file cabinet. This will majorly help de-clutter your apartment or house. It will also keep it clean a

nd organized for you and your guests.

2. Keep your Kitchen Clean and Dishes Washed

Yeah, I know. It’s a pain. If you do a lot of cooking, or no cooking at all, you may still find it hard to keep your kitchen picked up. My strategy is to wash my dishes and clean my counters right after cooking. Again, it’s the procrastination that keeps things messy and unorganized. If you have a dishwasher like me, you can immediately load your dishes and run it as soon as it’s full. A clean kitchen makes for an organized and tidy apartment.

3. Clean Up After Yourself for 3-5 Minutes, Twice Each Day

Again, this is inconvenient, but your apartment will stay tidy if you just pick up after yourself at two important times every day:

  1. Right before you go to work
  2. Right before you go to bed

If your morning is anything like mine, you’re dragging yourself out of bed, grabbing that cup of coffee, doing some reading and blogging and perhaps needing a blanket to keep warm. Just your normal routine of that plus showering and getting dressed and ready for the day can make a mess in your apartment. It’s no problem though because if you take 2 minutes right before you leave for the day to just pick up everything that you got out that morning, you will come home at the end of the day to a clean and tidy apartment.

Again, your nightly routine (well, just living) can make a mess of things. I’m definitely the most messy at night. I drag all kinds of things out and don’t put them back. I cook food, open mail, take out books and magazines, blankets, movies, music and all kinds of things. Right before I go to bed for the night, I fold my blankets, file my papers in my file cabinet and put all the other stuff in its place. Guess what this does for me and what it can do for you? You guessed it. It makes for a clean and tidy apartment when you wake up in the morning and enjoy your hot cup of coffee!

4. Wash Your Clothes Regularly and Keep Them Picked Up

Yep. I know many people who struggle with this one. They go weeks or perhaps months without doing laundry. That’s not an option for me because I just don’t own that many clothes (and am not planning on it anytime soon) so I make it a point to wash my clothes every week. Having just a limited amount of clothes and washing them at least every week ensures you won’t have to walk over laundry to get to your bed. It’s just plain nasty to have clothes everywhere. Keeping your clothes picked up and washed regularly will help you have a clean and tidy living space.

5. Be Proactive by Not Adding Any More Junk

To protect the tidiness of your apartment, house or living space in the future, commit to not adding any more junk. Do you really need that bookcase, shelf or cabinet, or is it just a place to store nick-nacks? The more storage space you provide yourself with, the more junk you’re going to attract. Trust me, you will be doing yourself a favor by not giving yourself extra storage space but perhaps thinking about getting rid of storage furniture, which may tempt you to buy stuff to fill it with. Not adding stuff to your apartment will help you stay tidy, neat and clutter free.