We get it. Home organization can seem like a huge, insurmountable task, especially if you've never really worked regular decluttering and tidying into your housekeeping routine. And rest assured, even the most organized people struggle with it from time to time, especially during periods of stress or uncertainty. The key to home organization, really, is to look at it as an ongoing process, a skill that you're developing. At first it might feel really difficult or unnatural, it might even be a bit painful at times—especially if you're one to hold onto sentimental clutter or other objects—but with regular use you'll find that it gets easier and quickly becomes second nature.
At the Spruce, our team is made up of a mix of organization enthusiasts and those that would rather kick back with a new Netflix series than KonMari a closet, but years of living in small spaces has made even the most organization disinclined among us experts at making the most of the space we're in. Below, our editors share their best advice for making home organization a bit more enjoyable and tips to find more storage space in even the smallest studio apartment.
“My advice is to do a little decluttering every single day rather than waiting until your home gets to the disaster stage, which can be super overwhelming and have a paralyzing effect. Make organization a part of your daily routine! It helps to divide your home into sections and to tackle one section per day.” —Mélanie Berliet, General Manager
"Invest in some dedicated home organization gear. Sure, bins and shelf dividers won't magically make you more organized, you still have to put in the work, but having the right tools for the job can help make staying organized a bit easier. Suddenly, all of your odds and ends have a dedicated space; instead of plopping your stuff on the nearest surface, your items have a home to return to." —Allison Bean, Editorial Director
“Say it with me: under the bed storage! It’s truly a Godsend when you live in a one-bedroom apartment. If your bed isn’t quite high enough, plain bed risers can help give that extra boost to allow enough clearance to store bins underneath. It’s my go-to for storing out-of-season clothing.” —Candace Madonna, Visual Editor
“Living in New York City for the past 7 years has brought about a fair amount of challenges, one of the biggest though, is trying to figure out how to stay organized in a small space. My favorite tip? Utilizing vertical space where I can find it. I’ve added additional shelves to the top of my closet (above the rod) and put stacking boxes to use around my apartment so not a single inch goes unused.” —Bridget Mallon, Associate Editorial Director at MyDomaine
“Buy a label maker — it’s easily one of the best investments! Do you know that circuit breaker box with the illegible writing in your home? Think of how much easier it would be the next time you have to figure out which switch to use. Now, think about the brain energy and stress you could save the next time you can’t find an item in your home. Labels force you to pause and be mindful of where you are placing items and how you are going to store them. Most importantly, it lets others know where things should go.” —Jamie Abarca, Project Coordinator
“When I know my closet needs a cleanout, I dedicate a day to it and always enlist some help. Putting on some music helps the time go by and makes the cleanout process much more fun! I always make two separate piles of clothing: one to donate and one to possibly resell at a store like Plato’s Closet or a site like Poshmark, and utilize bins and boxes in my upper closet to keep a space as tidy as it can be.”—Mia Ingui, Editorial Assistant at MyDomaine
“In my first NYC apartment I didn’t have a closet, so I had to get creative with how I stored my clothing. My biggest tip is to use your luggage as storage. I have one carry-on rolling bag, a duffle bag, and a super large suitcase that I keep under my bed. I store my winter clothes there in the summer, my summer clothing in the winter, and holiday decorations or other seasonal items that I don’t use super often. The suitcases were going to take up space regardless, so I put them to use!” —Emma Glubiak, Social Media Editor
“After living in NYC for over 3 years now, I have a new organizing rule: if I wouldn’t want to move an item to a new apartment, it’s getting donated or at the very least, taken home to my parents’ house until I can find a place for it. I can be a little sentimental when it comes to possessions, so this rule has helped me make better decisions about what I actually want and need in my apartment. Don’t get me wrong, my tiny apartment is still full of my favorite things from artwork to clothes to a rather large collection of mugs, but I’m smarter about the things I can live without now.” —Caroline Utz, associate editor, MyDomaine
“Having a set amount of clothing hangers really helps me keep my closet under control. If I buy something new and I don’t have a hanger for it, something else has to go. I’ll also add that regular min-purges are important. You don’t have to wait until you’ve got a truck load to take to the donate box. It could be just one bag.” —Margot Cavin, Photo Producer
“I’ve recently had a little more time to manage clutter in my entryway. I’ve implemented a couple easy strategies. For example, I no longer have junk mail piled high in the entryway—a big eyesore for me in the past. Now it’s sorted, tossed into paper recycling, shredded (the shredder is a few feet from the door), or filed right away. Second, my husband and I receive at least a few boxes daily. Now instead of letting them pile up in the entryway, I have a dedicated space in a hallway nook where boxes live until they can be opened at the end of day. And finally, I got a handle on our 17-month-old daughter’s things, too. I repurposed a cute basket that now holds a couple pairs of her shoes, a hat, sunglasses, mittens, and a mask. I can not express how much better I feel now when I come home, and mail, and boxes, and baby shoes aren’t the first things I see. Now I see a cozy and warm entryway.”—Ginger Cowles, Senior Editor, The Spruce
“Like everyone else who lives in NYC, my apartment has limited storage space—but I love to shop. So I typically do a cleanout of clutter and clothes about once a season. If I have seasonal clothes that I didn’t reach for once in the past few months, they go in the bag for donating. At the same time, I try to assess drawers, closets, tabletops, and cabinets for items that I no longer use or are just taking up more space than they’re worth. Investing in higher quality items has also really helped me to keep the clutter from piling up.” —Kate McKenna, Email Editor, The Spruce