Small Space Solutions: How To Finally Clear Out the Clutter

Small Space Solutions: How To Finally Clear Out the Clutter

Nancy Mitchell
Apr 6, 2014
(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Living in a small space is a little bit like wearing a really tight pair of pants to dinner: you can still overindulge, but it starts to get uncomfortable. If your tiny apartment is bursting at the seams with things that don't really have any place to go, you know what I'm talking about. It's easy to keep everything in a 3200 square foot house with a full basement, but in a tiny apartment, you have two choices: get serious about getting rid of things, or get overwhelmed by stuff.

But getting rid of stuff is really hard! — you might say. It's true: getting rid of things is hard because most of our stuff isn't just stuff. The things you keep are physical connections to memories, things that once had value to you, pieces of all your past lives. You may sit down with the intention of going through that pile of clutter that's been sitting untouched in the bedroom for years and find yourself in the midst of an emotional minefield. Getting rid of old things can sometimes feel like getting rid of a part of yourself.

The problem is that holding on to all the stuff that belonged to Past You is interfering with the life of Now You. That's what the tips in this video roundup are all about — how to keep the memories, and lose (most of) the stuff.

In this video, professional organizer Jeni Aron encourages letting go of things from your past that you're no longer using, in order to have more space in your home for the you that you are now. Staying organized isn't just about how hard you work at it — it's also about your mindset, and living in the present can help.

Another category of stuff that's hard to give away: things that connect us to memories. The problem is, those memories can start to take up a lot of space. Fay Wolf encourages holding on to just a few, and has some suggestions for way you can remember your old things, without holding on to them forever.

(Bonus suggestion from yours truly: if you run across something that's associated with special memories from say, high school, you can take a picture of it and share it on Facebook, tagging the people that particular thing reminds you of. This way you can relive and share those memories — while still getting rid of the stuff, if you choose. It's a fun way to remember and to re-connect with old friends.)

And finally, once you decide to give something away, what do you do with it? Amelia Meena has some suggestions for some of the best places to give things away. Bonus: if you're holding on to things that you don't particularly like because you know they're valuable, some of these are also great ways to turn your old things into cash.

Thanks for watching, and happy organizing!

(The pic above is from Jaclyn's Down-to-Earth Live/Work Apartment. Check out the whole tour here.)

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