How to Keep Your Apartment Organized

A librarian friend of mine asked if I would write about how I keep my apartment so clean. I suppose it is library-related because it’s about how I keep my house organized, and librarians are pretty keen on organization. Even if it doesn’t always show in their home.

Let’s break down the two elements to apartment organization.


Enjoy getting rid of things. I come from a family of borderline hoarders. They’re not TLC material, but they have over ten cats and way too many things. My childhood was a scared-straight program for stuff and now I have an ingrained weeding habit in me.

Buy things you will only really use. Sometimes I’ll go on a spree and buy four $10 sweaters from Joe Fresh that crowd up my closet but this mantra generally helps. The only real downside of this is it also helps me justify spending more money on single items, saying to myself, “It’ll last longer!” but that’s a separate issue.

Move a lot. I don’t necessarily recommend this but it is very effective. At the very least, periodically go through sections of your house and then never acquire more than the current amount you have. If I buy four sweaters I might use that as an opportunity to go through the clothes I have and put some aside to donate or take to a clothing swap.

Own less than 30 books. Honestly, even as a librarian, I don’t understand the point of owning tons of books. How many of those are you ever going to read or refer to again? The books on my shelf are either very expensive or belong to the Little House on the Prairie series, which I reread annually.

Sometimes my ruthless culling bites me in the ass because I’ve gotten rid of important things. Like if I ever wanted to claim warranty on something, I’d be hooped. However, nothing so traumatizing has ever happened to disturb this habit.


Now cleaning is so much easier when you have less stuff! I have two ways I keep my apartment clean. Every weekend, I:

  • Take out the garbage (if it hasn’t been recently)
  • Sweep the entire house
  • Clean the bathroom counter
  • Clean the kitchen counters and scrub down the sink
  • Vacuum my living room rug
  • Put away any clutter (but you will have hardly any since you just weeded all of your possessions, right?)

This whole ritual takes about 30-40 minutes. That’s nothing! And you wouldn’t believe how amazing your place will look after just doing these simple things. It’s the same routine I do when I realize someone is coming over, except for my closest pals. You know you’re best friend material if you come over and my rug is dirty.

And every single day I:

  • Make my bed before I go to work
  • Make sure there are no dirty dishes before I go to bed

These cleaning rituals have been entirely worth the extra effort. When I look around my house, I think to myself, “I’m a grown-up ladyyyyyyy!” Actually, because I live alone, I spin around with my arms up and sing it out loud.

Now, I am fortunate that I’ve lived alone for many years now, with the exception of a time when I lived with a very clean and minimalist boyfriend. And the summer I lived with my best pal in a house overrun by mice but we don’t need to talk about that. I’m not sure what advice I can give to you ladies (or men) who live with partners that won’t get rid of boxes when they purchase stuff or have an excessive amount of DVDs.

Finally, perhaps it’s a just weird superstition that’s developed from my obsession with feng shui when I was 12, but please don’t keep things under your bed. It seems wrong.

I suppose I should actually show a photo of my apartment (I have since acquired a rug):


If all else fails, you can tell Mitzi all about your cleaning woes: