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A New Yorker’s Guide to Decluttering Your Living Space

by Reza Moreno

Ah, the infamous small NYC apartment that gives us so much anxiety. From trying to keep our space decluttered to holding onto every little bit of house supplies we probably don’t need, these are just some of the things we do whether we’re attending college for the first time or moving in with our significant other.

Sometimes we can’t do this all by ourselves, especially when we’re just too busy at work. So we brought in an expert, Jamie Hord, founder of Horderly, to help us with our organizational skills. Below Hord put her magic to the test by managing five different living arrangement scenarios. So remember, a decluttered living space calls for a decluttered mind, after all.

The College Dorm

Photo Cred: Darling Magazine

Moving to a new place far away from your family can be overbearing — trust me, I’ve been there. You don’t know what to bring or how to organize everything all by yourself, especially when you had the help of family members in your own room back home. To avoid overall clutter since you’ll most likely be living with two to three people, only bring your essentials and mementos to make your dorm feel like a home.

As for the organizing your space, Hord mentions to “use a lofted bed to give you more floor space. Your [bed is raised] really high so you can [use the space under your bed to put your desk] or you could simply use bed risers to give you [more storage underneath the bed.]” Now that you’re all by yourself, you have to “keep in mind that you no longer have mom picking up after you. Be sure to literally pencil in ‘organize’ on your schedule so that you actually do it. Take [an] hour once a week to tidy up and your focus will be better all around. Remember, tidy desk, tidy mind.” So instead of taking the next hour of watching Netflix, use that time to keep your space extra chic.

Just Graduated College

You just graduated from college and have been living in a dorm or townhouse with six other people for the past four years or so. Now you’re ready to enter the adult world and get your own bedroom and share an entire apartment with your best of friends. But it can be tricky, especially when three of you share a bathroom, scrambling to get ready for work in the morning.

“Most of us living in NYC have experienced living with roommates at least once in their life. One tip is to use a bathroom caddy for your products. That way 1, no one is helping themselves to your stuff and 2, you are always taking your stuff with you so if someone is hogging the bathroom, you have all of your products with you and you don’t have to cause a seen knocking on the door at 7 AM. Another lifesaver is a shoe rack at the front entrance. The front entrance will always pile up when living with more than one person, so take advantage of products that will help avoid the chaos.”

The Brooklyn Loft

Photo Cred: Apartment Therapy

Ah, the Brooklyn loft. Finally, you’re established and able to live on your own in a place with lots of natural light and enough room to fill with plants.

“A loft has a lot of advantages when it comes to space, however, if you don’t have a sense of organization, it can become messy very quickly, almost like one big ‘dumping ground’. You’ll want to make rooms clear and open. I always recommend to clients to use trays to categorize items on tables. You can use this technique basically the same way when it comes to your open apartment. Simply use rugs to designate distinct areas: dining, living, bedroom, etc. You can also use open bookshelves to ‘section off’ specific areas.”

The Tiny LES Studio Apartment

We don’t call it tiny for no reason. Mainly because its like one big storage room and it takes a lot of organizing to not clutter the whole studio up. It’s small so you automatically are forced to living with less space and using the minimalist effect.

“In a micro-apartment, you’ll actually end up accumulating less, simply because you won’t have anywhere to put new stuff and there is nothing wrong with living less. In fact, it is said that with less you can enjoy more. You might find [that] your smaller space allows for a bigger life. Maximize and take advantage of all vertical space. Use shelved and hooks wherever possible. Use mirrors to visually expand your space. Don’t be afraid to go big when it comes to using them in a small room. This will create the illusion of depth. Use reflective items, like mirrors, even in the bedroom and kitchen. Some great areas to place them is facing a window, in the entryway, along a narrow hallway, or above a fireplace.”

I Just Moved In With My S.O. Apartment

Photo Cred: Parachute

You’ve been living on your own or with your besties for a while but now, you’re ready to move in with your significant other. Having mess is bound to happen when sharing a room AND bathroom with someone. Learning how to balance each other out and not have each of your messy habits drive yourself and your partner nuts is completely normal. Moving in with someone means you’re most likely going to have double of everything, from utensils to cleaning products. In order to maintain a clean and decluttered space for the two of you, it might be wise to donate the extra things you probably don’t need anymore.

Hord recommends “editing” as it is important when you’re moving in with someone. “Editing means going through your belongings and deciding [what to] ‘keep, toss, donate.’ For example, items like a toaster, a coffee machine, a dresser, a coffee table, and, so on. You probably won’t need both, so you and your S.O. will have to decide what is best to [keep for the home], or else you will experience a full house of duplicate items (half of which you won’t use). Hiring a professional organizer can make this process much quicker and easier.”

Organizing is the best way to declutter. If you already have all the essentials you need in life, but still feel overwhelmed, then find a balance and get ready for the best organizational skills ever. Learn how to pack things in small or large containers; the ones that can fit in your closet or under your bed. That way your life looks decluttered, but without having to get rid of much. It’s a win-win for everyone.

If you still need help or have any helpful home tips, be sure to send us a DM on Instagram @thechilltimes

Featured Image via The Fashion Medley

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