Walking into your apartment is like walking into a hoarder’s house. At least that’s how you feel right now. That claustrophobic feeling of your space closing in on you is not something many of enjoy. And clutter in an apartment where space is limited in the first place, just compounds the issue. Or perhaps you’re ready for a change and you feel there needs to be more space and spring cleaning just isn’t cutting it anymore. 

These scenarios are the extremes, but somewhere in between may be where you are. In any case, the apartment feels too small right now. So, what can you do to free up some space? Here are 5 things you may not have thought of to help with that.

Take Sprints Not Marathons

The idea here is that you can spend a short period of time going through sections of your apartment and not feel overwhelmed or get burned out and cranky trying to decide what goes, what stays, and what might stay. You can attack it with a methodical marathon attitude but use short sprints to get through the actual decluttering process. 

For examples, if you focus solely on your bedroom, you can break up a week of evenings where you spend 30 minutes in your bedroom going through the clutter and removing what doesn’t give you joy or has multiple functions. Stick to your thirty minutes by setting an alarm on your phone, then when your timer goes off, review what you’ve done, congratulate yourself and take some time to spend with your family, watch a show, or read for the rest of the evening. The idea is break up a large, overwhelming feeling chore into shorter, easier tasks that bring joy and you can measure your success and get gratification immediately. 

Ask Yourself Three Important Questions

When you’re reviewing each item in your section, you’ll want to ask yourself these three questions. They’ll get you thinking about your ‘stuff’ in a different way and focus your review so you don’t waste time.

● Question 1: “What does the object I’m holding or considering do for me that nothing else does?” T
his question addresses the functionality of something. Have you used it in the past year? Are you currently using it every day? 

● Question 2: “Is there anything else that do what this object does better?” or “Is there something else that I can use for this and something else?”
This question boils down to use multi-use objects in your life. It’s the old idea that if you have a can opener AND a can opener with a bottle opener, you can choose the multi-use item and reduce your clutter.

● Question 3: “Does this object or item bring me joy or have sentimental value?”
This is a third question for a reason, it’s important to keep things that bring you joy or have sentimental value, but it’s a slippery slope for many of us because we kept the item because we thought it was sentimental. It means we have to truly evaluate our feelings toward the object and ask ourselves that hard question, “Does it TRULY bring me joy or am I holding onto it because I’ve always had it?” Intentionally keeping something because it brings us joy is a CHOICE, not ‘just because.’ You’ll be amazed at the answer to this question as you look at your stuff.

Apply the four-box method

If you just can’t bring yourself to use the question method, you can try the four box method that can help you decide what to do with your clutter. Deciding immediately to put your stuff into four boxes makes you accountable immediately to decide what to do with your stuff. 

The idea is to get three boxes and one trash bag or can. Label the boxes Storage, Give away, Put in its place. Each item you pick up will go into one of the three boxes or the trash can. You’re forced to decide right them what to do with the object. Once you’ve filled up the boxes, you’re done and you immediately do with whatever you have labeled on the box. If it’s storage, you probably have already found storage, but if you haven’t consider using a self-storage finder to help you search for the right space. 

The Giveaway box objects can be bagged up or you can take the box, close it up and put in your car to be dropped off at your local thrift store. The idea is to sort them, then immediately do what’s required to get them out of your space.

If you’re stuck looking at your apartment and wondering if you’re a hoarder or you’ve just got an itch to bring more space into your apartment, these 3 things can help you create more space in your apartment and in your life.