10 Things No Minimalist Apartment Has
We’ve been on a real organization kick here lately: eliminating clutter, creating stress-free spaces and investing in organization tools have been at the top of our list and we’re loving the positive effect it is having on both us and our surroundings. In the spirit of channeling our inner Marie Kondo, we’ve rounded up 10 things that you’d never find in a minimalist’s apartment.
1) MORE CLOTHES THAN WILL FIT IN YOUR CLOSET AND DRESSERS
We all have our own ideas about how few pieces of clothing we can get away with owning, but no matter what, each item of clothing should have a home. When your drawers and closets start to overflow, it’s probably time to pull everything out, try it on, then donate the items that no longer fit or you no longer love. Once your wardrobe has reached a manageable size, try to maintain a “one in, one out” rule: every time you add an item, make a point to also remove an item.
2) SINGLE-PURPOSE KITCHEN GADGETS
Don’t get me wrong; gadgets can make great additions to the kitchens of amateur and pro-home cooks alike, but try to stick with items that you’ll use for more than one purpose. Your drawer and cabinet space is valuable and the more you cram in there, the less inclined you are to dig through to whip up something new and special in your kitchen. Some of our favorite multi-purpose tools include:
The Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender, which is ideal for whipping up milkshakes, pureeing soups and emulsifying sauces and dressings. This hand blender takes up a lot less space than a countertop blender and is super easy to clean.
A Microplane, which is perfect for zesting citrus and grating ginger and garlic (less time-consuming and more consistent than mincing). You can even use it to grate whole spices such as nutmeg, which will totally up your eggnog-game this holiday season!
Finally, a classic KitchenAid Stand Mixer, which is a particularly good investment for bakers. Rather than cluttering your kitchen with a bunch of different tools, make room for this stand mixer on your countertop and simply invest in attachments that do everything from kneading dough to making homemade ice cream and pasta.
3) FURNITURE THAT DOES NOT PROVIDE STORAGE
This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Not every piece of furniture in your apartment needs to provide storage, but with furniture taking up as much real estate as it does in our spaces, a majority of the pieces should be working hard for you. Rather than a simple decorative bedside table, consider investing in a nightstand with drawers or cabinets. This allows you to tuck away books, electronics and anything else that would typically take up space on the surface of your bedside table. When surfaces are clear, cleaning is a breeze and your apartment is more visually pleasing. There’s no need to go trade in all of your furniture right now, but take my approach and keep this concept in mind as you upgrade your furniture and decor over the next couple of years.
4) EXPIRED BEAUTY & PERSONAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS
Unless you’re super lucky, you probably don’t have a ton of storage space in your bathroom. Once every 3 months, pull everything out from under the sink and the cabinets, check expiration dates, then toss anything that is past it’s prime. Check these resources for when to replace your beauty products and how to dispose of old medications safely. Now that you’ve tossed anything you’re no longer using, put things back away thoughtfully, grouping like items and duplicates (then work to use up the open containers you have before opening or purchasing new ones) and placing your everyday items in the front portion of cabinets and in the top drawers. This will help you keep organized and give you a solid idea of what you have; no more wasting money and space on things you don’t need!
5) EXPIRED FOOD IN THE PANTRY, FREEZER & FRIDGE
The same process for your bathroom can be applied in the kitchen. Start with the fridge, making a point once a week to do a quick sweep and toss anything that is no longer usable; this leaves plenty of space to see your new additions and helps ensure that you’ll actually use up fresh produce, rather than letting it migrate to the back of the fridge to be forgotten. Once a month, check the freezer for any items that have suffered freezer burn; this will also remind you what is sitting in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed. Once every 2 months or so, clear out the pantry, checking for expiration dates and carefully examining packaging and their contents for pantry moths, maggots, and other undesirables. Put everything back, leaving room up front for items that need to be used soon.
6) TANGLES OF OLD ELECTRONICS
Tackling the tangle of cords we all have lying around in a forgotten drawer somewhere can be a daunting task. Personally, I’m always afraid that as soon as I finally throw a cord away, I’ll suddenly remember exactly what it belongs to and regret my decision. Start taking a proactive approach right now by carefully labeling any new cords, plugs, and electronics that you bring into your home, then slowly start tackling the tangle of old cords. Take inventory of all of the electronics you own and/or currently use, then go through the cords and wires, trying to match them with their corresponding electronics. If you cannot identify any important item in your apartment that they go with, it’s probably safe to toss.
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7) CLUTTERED SURFACES
We touched briefly upon this earlier, but surfaces somehow seem to constantly attract clutter. It is so easy to walk in the door and drop all of your possessions on one surface or another, but take the time to set up a system that allows every item you own to have its own place, ideally tucked away in a drawer, cabinet or closet. Keep table-top decor to a minimum to make dusting and polishing easier (and faster!): the fewer obstacles the better!
8) STACKS OF MAIL
Everyone tackles their mail in their own way. I personally like to deal with it head on, opening each item on the day I receive it, then toss any junk/unimportant mail and either file away or scan and toss any important documents. Any catalogs are to be thumbed-through within a week; if I don’t get to them within a week then I force myself recycle them. You can majorly reduce the amount of mail you receive by doing a few things:
- Go paperless for any bills/monthly documents you currently receive by mail.
- Use a tool such as PaperKarma to report unwanted mailings such as catalogs, weekly mailers, and promotions.
- Go digital with any magazine subscriptions you receive.
If you’re someone who prefers to deal with mail at their own pace, invest in one of these great mail organizers to keep everything wrangles in one place rather than letting it overtake your surfaces!
9) MIS- MATCHED/EXCESSIVE DISHWARE
There is absolutely nothing wrong with piecing together your dishware selection (I adore my random jar shelf and use the mix of jars for everything from drinking wine to eating soup), but if you have an overflowing collection of novelty and gifted coffee mugs, evaluate exactly how much sentimental value they hold. Keep a few if you want to, but don’t let items take up your cabinet space without making deliberate choices about what stays and what goes. The same process goes for free plastic tumblers from fast-food restaurants and sporting events, beer koozies, mis-matched tupperware, chipped or damaged items, and “special occassion”/specialty pieces you know you are never going to use.
This is a controversial one, I know, but hear me out. If you are an avid reader that insists on holding a physical book rather than a digital reader and is known to read the same books over and over, then your library may well be worth the space it occupies. For the rest of us, take inventory and donate or sell any books that you know you’ll never read or have already read. Going forward, once you’ve finished a book, gift it to someone you think would enjoy it and let them pass it along when they are finished with it. This opens up space for new books (or something else entirely!) in your apartment and spreads the love around for all to enjoy.