From a renting perspective – especially with couples – we find that one person is a “hoarder” and the other a “tosser” when it comes to cleaning and de-cluttering. The good thing about throwing stuff out is that one person’s junk is usually another person’s treasure. Therefore, while we may recommend getting rid of clutter we don’t necessarily suggest that you should just throw things in the garbage.
Today, many landlords have opted to put used clothing bins right on their properties. It doesn’t matter if it’s coats, shoes, hats, mitts, or sweaters – someone else is going to be able to wear it if it’s clean and in usable condition. The rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in a year, you should probably toss it. A number of organizations such as animal shelters are even pleased to accept blankets and towels to line their animal cages.
One of the biggest problems we encounter in apartments is that you can no longer see the floor for toys. Whether children’s toys or video games, CDs and DVDs, young adults or seniors – it’s clear that we need to make some space. Post a sign in the laundry room offering to trade games or DVDs. I’m sure there are dozens of residents who’d love to exchange used games or DVDs that they’ve watched a dozen times. Buy less, trade more should be your motto.
Redesign your living and storage space to better service your needs. For example, almost every landlord gives you a closet with one rail and sometimes one shelf above to store sweaters, etc. Today, plastic is cheap and the people who make use of those square storage bins and stack them up in one half of their closet have often created storage out of dead space. This is a way to eliminate the need to have clothes all over the place. You can use these blocks to store anything you can fold.
We’ve also seen people add shelves in an in-suite storage space so they can use it as a pantry. Again, it’s a great way of using the space. Another great storage area is the space under your bed – a clever place to store things such as luggage, etc. Actually, we met one lady who always shopped in advance for birthdays and holidays and she kept all the gifts she bought in the suitcases under her bed. It kept her gifts free of dust, in a place where they’re easy to locate and safe from potential damage.
The last space we need to address when de-cluttering is balconies. Balconies are not storage spaces. I strongly suggest you eliminate items that children view as potential climbing and play areas. I’ve seen far too many buildings have a child plunge to their death from a balcony while climbing on boxes or furniture stored there. So please de-clutter, spring clean and clear out the junk but don’t ever use your balcony as your storage locker. Even if you don’t have children, it actually detracts from the look of the building. We want our residents to be proud of their home and it takes everyone to keep it that way!