New Year, New Apartment: It’s Time to Declutter Your Space

Though it’s on everyone’s to-do list, cleaning isn’t exactly the most exciting task. Unless you’re Monica Geller from Friends. Regardless if you like it or not, cleaning is a necessary evil and there’s no better time than at the start of a new year.

We know what you’re thinking. You’re looking around and wondering how you can possibly find the time to declutter your space. We hear you, but we have a challenge for you and it’s inspired by Marie Kondo, the Netflix star of Tidying Up. Marie says, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”

Here’s your challenge. For one week, designate two new hours to divide and conquer each room in your apartment. Based on an average 2 bed, 2 bath apartment layout, you’ll be ready to start fresh in less than 10 days. Two hours of cleaning for 10 days.. now that’s manageable, right?

Here are a few tips to get you started so you don’t get overwhelmed with the process.   

Start Small

One thing you don’t want to do is overwhelm yourself. Compared to two-story houses, decluttering an apartment may seem like a pretty manageable task. But it’s important to take it one step at a time.

Here’s a quick tip. If you normally clean midday, try cleaning during the early morning or during the evening. Simply switching up your routine could make the chore easier on your mindset.

Like we said before, dedicate two hours to cleaning one room and come prepared. Nothing is more annoying than being elbow deep in cleaning a bathtub then realizing you forgot the lavender scented soap that washes away the chemical smell of the cleaner.

If the bathroom is your first target, grab a bucket and fill it with everything from the multi-surface cleaning spray to your favorite sponge. Same deal with all the other rooms too.

Once one room is 100% complete, then move on to the next. Apartment Guide created an amazing list of essential cleaning tools to keep your apartment in tip-top shape!

Divide and conquer

After you decide what room to start with, dedicate five separate areas to keep, donate, sell, recycle, or throw away.


More than likely your keep pile will be your biggest unless you are really on a mission to declutter your room. To make sure your keep pile doesn’t become your only pile here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • Has this item been of use to me within the last year?
  • Has it expired?
  • Am I making up far-fetched excuses just to keep it?

Just remember what Marie said about what you own is actually a reflection of how you live your life.


What to do with the items that are still in good shape but could be cut out of your life? Donate them! Things like clothes are super easy to donate. Plus, the start of a new year is the best time to purge a few items you haven’t worn since last January. If you’re on the fence about which clothes to donate make sure to use the 3-question Keep Test above.

Other items like kitchenware, decorative knick-knacks, books, furniture, tools, or electronics can also be donated! Deliver your items to the Goodwill on 5993 Centre Ave. You can also go to the Salvation Army or the Vietnam Veterans of America, where you can even schedule a free pick up.

Now let’s say you have lightly used items, but they’re taking up too much space in your apartment. Sell them! Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist make it super easy to get extra cash off of items you don’t use anymore.


You know all those random papers that pile up in your cabinet? Or the mountains of plastic that hide in every nook and cranny of your living space? Well, it’s time to do something about them. We challenge you to reduce your recycling footprint this year.

At Franklin West, our partners at Republic Services make recycling too easy with the mandatory All-in-One Recycling program.

Click here for guidelines to recycling in the Shadyside area.

Throw it away

If you don’t want to keep, donate, sell, or recycle items, then you need to pitch it! It’s as simple as that. Purging items can be difficult, but just think of the extra room you will have once it’s gone.

Get Crafty

After you mine through your apartment on what stays and what goes, the next step is finding a place for the things that are staying.

One key tip is to clean first, then go out and buy the extra storage after. You don’t want to jump and buy any old, clucky storage bins. Look for different ways to store items whether that’s vertically, or in hanging cubes. Unless you have a knack for labels, using clear bins will help you easily identify internal items.

There are a ton of tricks to declutter your apartment. From stylish woven baskets to multi-purpose furniture. Woman’s Day has awesome organization tips that you can easily use in your apartment.


Alright, now you know what steps to take for a clean and decluttered apartment. Do you accept our challenge?