Sometimes moving into a new apartment is just the push you need to start over. It's a clean slate—your new home is clean and empty, and as you move in, you have the power to decide where everything goes and what you want your home to be like. And much like when January 1st rolls around and people start focusing on their new year's resolutions, that "fresh start" feeling of moving into a new place can—and often does—inspire people to make changes about how they take care of their homes in general.
If an upcoming move feels like a chance to reset your home habits, here are a few things you should consider incorporating into your routine to make the most of your new place. Once you get used to them, they'll become so routine you won't even notice you're doing chores.
Find—and Actually Use—a Place for Everything
This is key. Like I said, a new home means you get to decide where everything goes, and that means everything. Including the stuff you would typically toss in a junk drawer (for the record, it's okay to have a drawer of miscellaneous items stashed away in your kitchen or home workspace, but keep it less junky by using containers and organizers to keep things neat and easy to find!). Designate spots for your things, invest in containers if you need them, and as you're going about your day to day, make it a point to return things to their chosen places so you don't forget where they go or have to deal with them later.
This reader's tip on how to keep a mess-free home is genius: Stop Trying to Change Your Habits: Change Your Habitat Instead
Sort Your Mail as it Comes In
No doubt about it, one of the biggest culprits of clutter is definitely unsorted mail, especially if you live with family members or multiple roommates like I do. All those envelopes and catalogues pile up fast and sometimes you forget where you put them (I just did a deep clean of my living room and found a stack of mail from over a year ago stuck in the back of a cabinet, for example). In your new place, make it a point to sort your mail as it comes in—don't let it sit and collect dust in a cabinet or on the coffee table until you feel like dealing with it. If it helps you, keep a trash bin or a shredder near the entrance of your home to get rid of junk before you even sit down.
Set a Cleaning Schedule and Stick to it
This is the perfect time to create a cleaning schedule for yourself—even if it's a flexible one, take advantage of this fresh start by creating a cleaning calendar (or at least guidelines for when you plan to take on certain tasks throughout the week and month) right away. This way, you won't start off in your new apartment by letting things pile up—you've got a plan to stick to.
Follow 24-Hour Rules for Tasks you Struggle with
Take a moment to reflect on the tasks you tend to struggle with—is it getting the dishes done in a timely manner, or maybe you're an indecisive dresser like me and tend to take clothes out and then conveniently forget to put them back, leaving them to pile up on a chair. For the tasks you tend to be a little too chill about, set a 24-hour rule for yourself: you don't have to do it right away, but you can't leave it out overnight for more than 24 hours. That means no dishes in the sink and no clothes on the chair for more than a day.
Stick to a One-Load Laundry Rule
If you have a tendency to ignore your laundry until you're down to your last pair of socks, now's your chance to fix that bad habit and be more proactive about getting it done. Create a one-load rule for yourself—as in, once you have enough to do one load of laundry, do it. Don't put it off, because then you'll have to do all of your laundry at once—especially unfortunate if you have to lug your clothes to the laundromat. And make it impossible to ignore—keep your laundry in a stylish hamper so you can put it somewhere where it won't be totally out of sight, out of mind.