1. Identify — and be honest — what you do and don’t need. Locate the problem areas — a corner table that’s had the same stuff on it for a year, that you keep telling yourself you need, but never actually use? Old books that take up space, that you never lend out, and that you know you’ll never read again? Video games you no longer play anymore? Clothes that just don’t fit right? These are your clutter-problem areas. Accept that you don’t need them anymore, and–
2. Sell off your possessions. Take a look around. Old video games, appliances, books (text books too), computer equipment, and furniture can all take up space, collect dust, and decrease your actual amount of living space. And there are viable markets for all this stuff. Try Amazon marketplace and eBay for your books, video games, and computer equipment. Craigslist is good for furniture and old appliances. And try Etsy or your local vintage shop for selling your clothes. Lifehacker has a great, detailed guide about how to sell all this stuff and maximize the cash you take away.
3. Clean up your computer. Recent studies have shown that keyboards can be as dirty, if not dirtier (i.e. more germs), than your toilet seat. This is because you never clean your keyboard. This is also the case for your mouse. So, right now, go get some disinfectant wipes and compressed air, shake your keyboard out, wipe it down, and air blast all the food crumbs away. Because right now you’re pretty much clutching a tiny toilet rim.
4. Clean out your computer. If your desktop looks kind of like this–
–then it’s time to do a little bit of laptop spring cleaning. Macworld has a great guide to cleaning out your Mac and Microsoft At Home has a decent article about tidying up your PC. A clean PC increases your productivity and decreases your stress. Seriously.
5. Take control of your cutting board. Is your cutting board warped, such that every time you try to cut something, the cutting board wobbles all over the place and pretty much makes chopping up vegetables a hazard to your fingers? Mine is. There are two ways to fix this: keep the cutting board and when using it place it on top of a folded dishtowel — it’ll keep it from sliding around. The second is to buy a new (bamboo/ wood) one and treat it with mineral oil every month or so. It’ll never warp this way.
6. Clean out your fridge. If your apartment has mysterious smells, the fridge is a good place to start. Here’s a checklist of all the places in the fridge to make sure you don’t miss.
7. Repurpose and recycle. During spring cleaning, not everything needs to get thrown out. You can repurpose all sorts of stuff — just take a look at what people have done with Patron bottles on Etsy.
8. Clean your sofa. Your couch can be one of the most problematic areas of your apartment. This is because a) it’s a giant receptacle for crumbs, dust, and pocket lint and b) couches aren’t easy to clean. But through a combination of vacuuming, spot cleaning, and washing with warm water, you can get your old sofa back to new again.
9. Minimal-ize your workspace. There’s a reason desktop computers are called desktop computers — because they emulate a DESK TOP, i.e. are supposed to replace the things you have on the top of your desk. Take all that unnecessary clutter — old business cards, old food, pens and pencils, and organize it or throw it away.