Living in a small apartment doesn’t mean the organization has to take a back seat. However, it does require a little bit of creative thinking. That’s where these five basic tips will help you go from terrifying to tidy:

1. Declutter often.

We know it’s not easy to purge your belongings without the constant, “what if I’m going to need this?” looming over your head, but it’s essential to keeping clutter at a minimum (Check out our organization hacks). If it’s not sentimental or essential in your everyday life, consider getting rid of it. If you find this process isn’t as easy as you hoped, we suggest creating an in-between box. Keep all your “on the fence” items in here. If you end up going into the box to retrieve an item, chances are you still need it! If it’s been a year, or even six months, since you last found yourself digging in that box, it may be time to purge the contents.

2. Baskets, boxes, and bins are your friend.

One key to keeping a tidy space is to take loose items and combine them with similar items in a box, basket or bin. Junk drawers, cabinets under the sink and shelves in closets can easily become out of control if the items in that space are not well organized. Different sized containers can make a huge impact when sorting products. Tackle this issue by grouping like items in each container, until everything is out of the drawer, cabinet or shelf. Store each group in the right size bin and put them neatly back into the space. If you really want to be an organization master, add labels to make searching for items even easier.

3. Utilize vertical space.

Free up your floor area by optimizing wall space and the backs of doors. Hang over-the-door organizers on closet doors for shoes, pantry doors for food and bathroom doors for cleaning supplies. Kids toys, games, movies and other commonly used items can be stored in cube organizer shelves for a cleaner, clutter-free look. If cabinet space in the kitchen is limited, floating shelves can easily be installed for more storage space or to display your eclectic coffee cup collection.

4. Maximize closet space.

Unless your closet is the size of a small bedroom, it probably doesn’t feel like enough space. Hanging clothes take up a lot of room. Consider moving clothes that don’t have to be hung up, to a drawer organizer or small dresser that easily fits in your closet. Adding shelves above hanging clothes will provide even more room for storing bulky items, such as suitcases or shoes. If you don’t travel much, it could be beneficial to keep seasonal clothes inside your suitcases. Consider keeping shoe boxes for shoes you don’t wear often. They easily stack and adding a picture on the side of the box will make them easy to find.

5. Think simple.

While this tip isn’t easy, neither is living in an overly cluttered space. Embracing the mindset of “less is more” and “simplicity is key” will help organized living come more naturally. If the items in your space don’t improve your quality of life, simply don’t keep them. Try buying only what you need, and only as much as you need, at the time. There should be a designated place for everything and everything should be in its place.

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