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May 18, 2016 – Now that spring has (finally) sprung in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, it’s time for spring cleaning–that annual ritual of cleaning your apartment and getting rid of what you don’t need.

In a small apartment, making the most of your space is key. While there are thousands of organizing hacks available on Pinterest and elsewhere on the internet, as you continue to acquire items it becomes impossible to keep everything you may want to, and you’ll have to make decisions about what items to keep and what to get rid of.

While some of our renters may be moving out and finding that they’ve accumulated a lot of things they don’t really need, others may be moving into a new space and realizing that they can’t quite fit everything they own.

That’s where Marie Kondo’s method of addition by subtraction comes in.

How To Clean Out Your Apartment

Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has earned her millions of fans who say that her method has helped them finally let go of many items cluttering their house and their lives. For her, cleaning isn’t just about disinfecting, dusting and organizing. It’s about getting rid of what no longer serves us, both in our apartments and in our lives. And it’s also about making space for the new–whether that means new furniture, a new interest, or a new opportunity.

The “KonMari” method is simple: Go through everything you own and ask yourself if it “sparks joy”–in other words, if it makes you happy. “If it does, keep it,” she writes. “If not, dispose of it.”

“Disposing” also means donating if the item is in good shape. Check out the Salvation Army, Goodwill, or other local charities that accept items.

Going Through Household Items

It may seem difficult to decide whether a tee shirt, piece of furniture, or appliance “sparks joy,” but readers say it’s a liberating concept that makes it easy to determine what items they truly value.

While this philosophy is useful for people living in homes of all sizes, it’s especially relevant for apartment dwellers like Kenmore Development residents. When you’re limited to just a couple rooms and don’t have a “junk room” to throw your extra stuff in, you’ve got to eliminate the junk.

And Kondo’s method has you moving beyond the junk so that you’re left with just the essentials. In doing so, you learn to appreciate the things you own more, she says, and you’ll be happier, more satisfied and less stressed as a result.

Tips For Organizing Your Apartment

Kondo says the easiest way to start cleaning and organizing your home is by focusing on the items that will be easiest to get rid of, not mementos or gifts.

And rather than going room by room, she says you should sort things by category, pile them all together so you can see what you have, and go through them one by one.

Vertical Clothes Folding

Folding clothes is also a large part of Kondo’s method. She says fold your clothes so that they stand up vertically. This will allow you to see every item at once when they’re in a drawer so you don’t have to dig through to find the one you want.

For those who forgot how to fold (or like me, maybe never learned), the concept of folding clothes at all, let alone vertically, can be challenging. Watch this video to learn how to use Marie’s vertical folding technique.

Other KonMari Tips

Some of Kondo’s other organizational and cleaning tips include:

  • To organize clothes within a drawer, consider using shoeboxes of different sizes.
Marie Kondo organizing drawer
Marie Kondo’s method of folding and organizing within a drawer using shoeboxes. [Photo credit: One Kings Lane]
  • Try to set aside a few days or a week for sorting and cleaning out your home and do it all at once, rather than spreading it out over several weeks or months. This will prevent you from feeling like you’re cleaning forever.
  • Don’t keep gifts out of guilt. Donate them and allow them to bring joy to a new person once you’re done with them.
  • Pursue simplicity and get rid of as much as you can rather than trying to find a way to organize and store everything you own.
  • Recycle your papers and scan whatever you actually need (and backup your computer while you’re at it).

What other cleaning and organizing tips do you have for small apartments? Have you tried Kondo’s method? How did it go? Let us know in the comments below.

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