So, unless you’ve been living under a rock or haven’t been reading my blog lately (FOR SHAME!), you’ll know I’ve been in the process of moving for the past two weeks or so.
Actually, scratch that.
I’ve been in the process of moving since JULY. Since my mom and I found the apartment we adored and signed our lease… we have been in the process of moving. And for today, I am partnering with Apartment Guide to share ideas on how to declutter your apartment to get ready for a move. A win-win for all of us!
Phase 1 of our move involved minimalizing our stuff and organizing everything that was left. Something most people do when they begin the process of moving, right? I may have been a little extremist in my approach…
In July, I read through The Joy of Less, in which the author talks about how to begin the process of minimalizing. I have been intrigued by the concept of being a minimalist and living a life less cluttered. Even though we would be moving into a bigger place and would have more space and closets to house all our stuff, I still wanted to pare down our belongings and actually discover how to live without stuffing everything to the brim and trying to capitalize on all the countertops and cabinets and drawers.
I actually wholly recommend to anyone who is moving – or even anyone who wants to get rid of clutter and discover all you actually do have – to minimalize your space in this way. It is eye-opening to see all you have and discover why you are holding on to certain items.
Step One: Take everything out from the room and dump it into a separate room. Piece by piece. Every, single thing.
I did this in my walk-in closet, my room, my bathroom, the linen closet, and the kitchen. It was a lot of work but it was so beneficial for me to lay it all out there and see what I had. It gives you such a great picture of all the things that are cluttering up your life. The picture above is everything that was in my walk-in closet (that I shared with my mom). I took every single thing out of that tiny closet and put them in the living room. It’s amazing how much stuff you can amass in just a few short years.
As I was taking things out of my closet and dumping it onto my living room floor, I tried to organize them in piles as best I could. It soon became difficult to walk through and find space for everything I had! I mean, this was only a tiny walk-in closet. How did I amass so much stuff?
Step Two: Make three piles – stuff to keep, stuff to give away, and stuff to toss.
This is where the real work comes in: combing through your stuff. I would start on one side of my living room and work my way to the other side. I went through all my shoes and my purses and my photos and my books. Everything went through a process of whether to keep or not. I had to decide what each item was adding to my life and if I wanted to keep it, why I wanted to keep it. There were things I was keeping around for sentimental reasons, but when I really thought about it, I wouldn’t really care to lose it. There were things I was keeping around just because. Just because wasn’t a good enough reason. I went through all my clothes, giving away things that I know I won’t wear or won’t feel awesome while wearing it. At the end of this process, I was left with an entire garbage bag of junk to throw away and four bags to give to Goodwill. That’s a lot of stuff I was hanging onto for no good reason!
Step Three: Put what is left away.
As if this whole process isn’t tiring enough… now it’s time to put everything away and organize what’s left! This is the time to take what you have decided to keep and find a place for it. From now on, everything you own has to have a place. And for those of us who live in apartments (especially shoebox ones!), it’s especially necessary to keep clutter to a minimum. It was amazing to see my closet before and my closet after. My closet is tiny to begin with and with all the stuff I was keeping around for no good reason, it was cluttered and was overwhelming every time I walked inside it (if I could walk inside it). When I finally made the decision to minimalize my space and throw away things I was holding onto, it was so incredibly freeing. Looking inside my closet, it was as if a weight was lifted. And that’s what minimalizing does: it lifts those weights that have been holding us down for so long. So much stuff we hold onto for reasons that end up hurting and keeping us from truly moving on from different facets of our lives.
This whole process of minimalizing and decluttering my apartment taught me so much about what I was keeping around and how to actually use my space to the fullest purpose. It’s so easy for us to keep filling up closets and desks and cabinets and drawers with stuff. So easy to keep things around because we can. There was such freedom in sending away things that I was holding onto because I should, not because they were anything I really needed – or even wanted around.
What this process gave me was a better appreciation for what I own and a new outlook on shopping and buying things. Because I’ve been moving into a new place, I’ve been on a bit of a buying rampage to fix my new room and bathroom the way I want it but this doesn’t mean I’m going overboard on filling my room, closet, and bathroom to the brim. For one, my closet is much smaller, as is my bathroom, which means I am having to take the space I am given and live it in the way a minimalist would. Apartment living means you have to be creative with how you house some of your belongings, especially for those apartments that don’t have many closets or cabinets to help you house everything. But the point is to make sure what you are housing are necessary and needed things and things you will use.
I’m looking forward to further minimalizing what I have now and it’s been interesting to see how my spending habits have changed, since I know I have to find a place for everything I buy. Minimalizing is a concept I wholly believe in and while it may not be a lifestyle most people choose, it’s one I fully plan on investing more time to achieving and growing into.
Whether you’re living, looking or moving, Apartment Guide offers tips on how to decorate your apartment and help you find the perfect apartment community. “Like” Apartment Guide on Facebook, tweet at them @AptGuide on Twitter, “circle” them on Google+ and follow them on Pinterest for real-time tips and updates on how to make the most of your small space.
Disclosure: Apartment Guide and owner Consumer Source, Inc. partners with bloggers such as me to participate in blogger programs. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any products and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Consumer Source’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.