If you live in New York City, chances are your living quarters are pretty tight. Space is the hottest commodity around, but there are a few, simple ways you can free yourself from clutter in time for summer.
These are the easiest items to get rid of in your apartment. As a New Yorker, you probably don’t have an extra guest bedroom for overnight guests (but if you do, major props), so there’s no reason to keep all those extra linens around. Pare it down to the following: one or two flat sheets for the couch for guests, one sheet/blanket for the park, and keep only your existing, rotational bedding.
Everything from clothes you haven’t worn in two years to old pots and pans and random tchotchkes on the shelves. Once you have all your donation bags in order, hire an Uber (or Juno), pack it all into the cab, and drop it off at your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. Make sure to get a receipt, because you can also write it off your taxes for the next year.
Decluttering and making “new space” can feel overwhelming. Start by creating a list of all the things you’d like “to do” and then break that list down even further, with detailed, concrete action points. You wrote down “Clear out hallway closet”? Well, also write down how you’ll achieve it: “Get rid of two winter coats, go through old storage box, donate at least five items, sweep floor, dust shelves, and organize existing winter coats on hangers.” Those action points will help you feel even more focused, and there’s arguably nothing more satisfying than crossing off “to-do” items from a list.
Doing laundry on the regular is challenging in the Big Apple, especially because most of us don’t have an in-house washer and dryer. That’s why we have an insane plethora of towels for the days when we skip laundry, but in the meantime, they just take up space. Throw out some of your old, bulky towels and invest in a few new ones. Travel towels are a great alternative to oversized, plush options, because they dry quickly and free up that valuable real estate in your space.
This should be a given, but some of us can be a little nostalgic about the objects in our home. The golden rule is: if it doesn’t bring you happiness, get rid of it. You don’t need that wilted teddy bear in the closet anymore and you definitely don’t need his/her old sweatshirts lying around.
This should also be a given, but for some reason, people tend to become attached to their old sponges (why, we’ll never know) and leave them lingering around for entirely too long. It’s a super simple task and also so much more hygienic. If you’re not sure how old your existing sponge is, just throw it out. At $1—$2 per sponge, there’s no reason to continue to wash your dishes (or body) with a dirty old scrubber.
Are you really going to read that postcolonial analysis of Nietzsche’s texts again? Or the complete works of Chaucer in hardback? Many of us keep these old high-brow tomes for a couple reasons: one, if you’re a writer, you think you may use it for reference one day. Secondly, maybe you think it’s cool to show off your shelves for guests (yes, it is cool, but you have to draw the line somewhere). Your old college books aren’t doing you any favors past the final exams, so rather than collect dust, go donate them. Save a few favorites that you know you’ll re-read, but get rid of the rest. Maybe some kid will be be forever in your debt when they come across that ole Chaucer book at the Salvation Army (or Goodwill), so spread the literary love.
Want more apartment tips? Here’s the one change you should make in the home for the biggest impact, according to the experts.