Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning for your apartment. You may not have realized just how much clutter and unneeded items you’ve picked up in the past year, but even if you have been very careful about what you buy, you may still have clutter in your home.
For those who live in apartments in northern Colorado, space may already be at a premium. There’s no space for this clutter, so it’s time to begin the purge. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help you spring clean your apartment efficiently and effectively.
Create Three Groups: Trash, Keep, and Donate
The first step is to begin categorizing everything in your apartment that you are not certain about. Separate them into three groups. The first group is trash. This includes anything you don’t need to keep and that no one else will get any use out of.
Next, remember that it’s okay to keep some things, especially if you use them regularly or they have sentimental value. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t keep items you really like, even if they don’t have an obvious purpose.
You do, however, have to balance your sentimental items against the amount of space you have. When cleaning your apartment, it’s always a good idea to consider each item in terms of its surroundings.
You may feel a great attachment to your grandmother’s table, but does it really fit in the space? If not, it may be time to consider donating it. Anything that is still usable can be donated or gifted to someone else.
Dealing with the Trash
Now that you have your three categories, it’s time to start working through them. The first step to keeping your apartment clean is to deal with the trash. This is also the easiest part of the spring cleaning process.
If you know something is garbage, why keep it? It can go. This includes items that are broken or worn beyond use. There’s no point in donating something if you know no one can get any use out of it.
You have likely purged your junk mail daily or weekly, but there may be more paper you can get rid of. If you haven’t switched over to online billing and statements for all of your accounts, now is the time to do so. You not only stop trash from coming into your home but also save trees.
If you have been getting paper statements during the past year, you don’t really need to keep them. In most cases, you can go online and retrieve those exact same statements. If you can’t, you can scan them or even take a photo of them with your phone, then shred the paper copy.
One great way of reclaiming some space is to do this with all of the paper statements and bills you have boxed up. Are you ever going to need to look at an electric bill from two years ago? Likely no. Scan it for your records if you need to and then shred it.
Also, remember to help the environment. Those shredded bills, old magazines, boxes, and anything else that can be recycled should go in the recycling, not the garbage.
You may want to split your trash pile into trash and recycling. Be certain to shred anything with your personal information before putting it in either the trash or the recycling.
Some items may also be transformed for other uses. For example, you might be able to use an old t-shirt as a rag or let your kids use old magazines for art projects.
However, only keep these things if you plan on using them for something. If you’ve been saving something for a project for years, it may be time to admit that the project is never going to actually get done.
What Do You Keep?
The next thing to do on your spring cleaning checklist is to decide what items you need to keep. This can be difficult, especially if you have spent money on items that you realize you haven’t used much. Some people use Marie Kondo’s method and ask themselves if an item “sparks joy” or not. If it doesn’t, it goes.
However, this doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re more practical, you may ask yourself if you have used the item in question within the past year. For example, if you pull out a sweater and realize you haven’t worn it since the last time you spring cleaned, it may be time to let that sweater go.
Beyond that, you may also need to make decisions based on space. If you only have a dedicated amount of room for shoes but have too many to fit in that space, it’s time to consider donating some of the older pairs or those that you don’t wear often.
Remember, just because you spent money on something doesn’t justify allowing it to clutter up your home.
For sentimental items, gifts, cards, and other things you may not necessarily use but want to keep, look at how much space you have. Some of these items are easy to put on a shelf or stash in a shoebox. Others may take up significantly more space.
You will need to consider whether the item you’re keeping is worth the space. What else could you do with that area if you didn’t have the large item there? That’s the cost of keeping it. Only you can determine if that cost is worth paying.
Related: Ideas to Help You Freshen Up Your Rental Décor for Spring
What Do You Donate?
If you decide you don’t want to keep something that is in good condition, it’s better to donate it than to throw it away. You’ll find many donation stores eager to accept items, especially if they are in near-perfect condition.
If you’d like to recoup some of the money you spent on things, you can look at consignment shops. These stores sell your items for you, taking a small percentage of the sale as their fee.
There are even online options such as eBay where you can sell things you no longer need. Some charities will also accept donation items, and they may even come to pick them up. All you have to do is box or bag up the items and call to arrange a pick up.
If you determine that you are ready to let go of some of your sentimental items, always ask other family members if they want them prior to donating. You don’t want to start a fight because you gave away family heirlooms to a stranger.
Even if you don’t consider something an heirloom, another family member might. Also, check with family members or friends who have older children who may be moving out on their own soon.
They may eagerly accept some gently used pots, pans, silverware, glasses, bedsheets, and other necessities. Things you purge when home cleaning can give others the chance to save some money.
When to Start Spring Cleaning
Even though it’s called spring cleaning, you don’t necessarily have to start spring cleaning your apartment in the spring. You can start in February, early March, or even put it off until it’s late spring or early summer.
However, this type of full floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall cleaning is often done in the spring because the weather is very nice. You can open up all your windows to air out your apartment without getting too cold or too hot.
You’ll be more comfortable going in and out to the trash or taking your donatable items to your car. The spring is a time of new beginnings, so it’s a great time to give your apartment a refresh, too.
Ready to Start?
Dividing things into trash, keep, and donate piles is just one of the ways to clean your apartment. You can use a number of other methods to go through your belongings and decide what to keep and what to get rid of.
The most important thing is that you spring clean your apartment once a year to prevent clutter from building up and taking over. You don’t want your limited amount of space becoming even more limited because you’ve filled up all the closets with things you don’t use.
If you find that cleaning your entire apartment at once is a little too overwhelming, start small. Pick one room and clean it, then move on to another. You can also set a specific task for a day, such as “go through clothing” or “scan and shred old paperwork.”
There may also be no need to go through every single item you own. If you know you use everything in your kitchen, you don’t need to sort through it.
If you’re ready to begin spring cleaning for your apartment, all you really need are some trash bags and the desire to clean. Everything else will work itself out as you go. While it may be hard work, once you’re done, you can enjoy your clean apartment!