Everything is running: How to put things in order in an apartment and start a new life

Есть проблема: беспорядок на кухонной столешнице

There are different riots: for example, the apartment has simply not been cleaned for a long time, has not been vacuumed or dust-wiped, things are lying around here and there, there is a forgotten cup of coffee in the living room. To restore cleanliness in this case is not difficult: a couple of hours – and everything will be in the best possible way!
Photo “Before”


Chronic disorder is quite another matter. This is already a serious diagnosis. In such a house you cannot clean up at once, even the floor should not be washed properly – there is something at every step, the window sills are filled to capacity. In the whole apartment you cannot find a single free surface, everything is covered with things, and from above it is also covered with dust. The owners of such impenetrable “jungle” are embarrassed to invite guests, and they themselves, on occasion, are not averse to running away from home. From the outside it may seem that the house was generally given up. In fact, its owners are depressed, but they do not find the strength and time to overcome the devastation. And the problem is getting bigger.

If chronic clutter is about your home, don’t despair! Whatever the scale of the disaster, the human mind is able to defeat chaos – at least within a single apartment.

Molly brandenburg

A puzzle for the mind
Some people look down on domestic showdowns, considering them to be an occupation that does not require intellectual and creative efforts. They are greatly mistaken. To put things in order in the apartment, first of all, you will have to use your brains. Building a really logical and convenient system in a small space is a real puzzle.

How to start cleaning if you are lazy?

1. Find [и запишем] all problems
The easiest way to see the running mess is in the photos. Let’s take a smartphone in our hands and take a photo of each room in four angles so that every fragment of the wall can be included. We begin to look at photographs and write down everything that is chronically out of place.

Buro Brainstorm

2. Determine the order of work
We should have a detailed list of everything we don’t like in the house. We mentally divide each room into zones and understand what problems there are in each of them. The mess in the kitchen is too general a thesis, let us indicate what specifically worries us. For example, a mountain of bills, receipts and all sorts of incomprehensible pieces of paper on the table, mixed with your favorite newspaper and cookies.

Now let’s try to understand why a mess is formed in this particular place. Most likely, the bills get stuck here because the apartment does not have a special “information” center where it would be possible to store receipts and keep business records.

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The result of this analysis will be a list with items of two categories.

  • First, we bring in things that objectively lack a convenient storage space. We will return to them a little later.
  • In the second, we write down which surfaces are filled / filled up / cluttered. But at the same time, things have a permanent place on them. From here we will start cleaning.

House of Jade Interiors

3. We mark the time boundaries
We decide how much time we can devote to dismantling the apartment painlessly for business and mood, draw up a schedule and try to stick to it.

Even 23 hours a week is already good, you can do a lot. The main thing here is not to get bogged down in “showdowns” all weekend. Any overwork on the home front and our plan could be thwarted.

Advice: Stay on time! To do this, start a timer on your smartphone or stove.


4. We start with a mess that can be seen
First of all, we are fighting with large debris that are in plain sight. We analyze the zones of eternal disorder: surfaces in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the hallway. A piled-up table, chest of drawers or an armchair where clothes accumulate – these are found in almost every home. It is the mess in sight that grieves most of all, because it is always an eyesore.

Gradusova Natalia

Important: Don’t mess up early! If you start disassembling the cabinets and shaking them out, the visual clutter will only grow. You will waste time, get tired and see no result.

Fondazione per l’architettura / Torino

5. Sorting by removing
We leave for cleaning with three bags: “give away”, “throw away”, “fix”.

The things that make up the blockage are sorted out and sorted by types or categories, simultaneously throwing out at least what can be sent to the trash can without hesitation. In a separate category, we single out good things that we no longer need in order to figure out how to get rid of them at our leisure: just throw them away, donate or, say, sell.

Redbud Construction Services

6. Staying on course
Usually cleaning is like a ball: one problem pulls another. They carried the sweater lying on the armchair into the closet, and there – another mountain. We begin to disassemble it, completely forgetting about the chair.

Let’s make it a rule not to spray and clean in several areas at the same time, as much as we would like it.

Important: Whatever part of the apartment we undertake to disassemble, everything we need should be at hand. Garbage bags, bags, boxes or folders for sorting paper, and also a rag, broom with a scoop or a vacuum cleaner, so that, taking advantage of a rare occasion, immediately clean up the vacated area. Otherwise, go to the bathroom for a rag, but on the way decide to check your mail, and there Facebook, friends – in general, everything is gone.

Uliana Grishina | Photography

7. Create a new system
Why are blockages formed? There are objective reasons for this chronic mess. Laziness as a reason is not included in this list, although it could be in the top three.

  • The first reason: some types of things have no place.
  • Second: there are more things than storage places.
  • Third: storage space is inconvenient – located in the wrong place, poorly opened, etc.
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Revealing and overcoming these causes is our main task after the visible blockages have been removed.

burlanes interiors

Let’s go back to the list of things we don’t like in the house. Let’s go through each room again for problem areas. Is the linen drying in the middle of the living room? There is nowhere to put the ironing board – things are settling on it? No place to hang your keys or put your bag at the entrance? Too lazy to fold the dryer after removing the laundry? For every type of item, be it necklaces or unpaid receipts, you need to find one permanent place. Each shelf or cell should ideally also have its own unique function.

Odnushechka | Odnushechka

8. Reducing the number of movements
For example, it is known: if you want to move the door and pull out a cabinet drawer, it is highly likely that a person will not close the door back – this requires more than two steps.

What is the conclusion from this?

  • It is necessary to design storage systems so that only one action is required (put the bag, pull out the drawer simultaneously with the opening of the furniture facade). This is how kitchen units with internal drawers are often made.
  • It is necessary to arrange storage boxes on the aisle: so that things cannot be left uncleaned, and structures disassembled. In the example with drying in the photo above, you simply won’t be able to go through the door to the next room.

“Little things from pockets” – where do they belong in the apartment?
Design debate: How to store your ironing board in your home
Where to dry clothes in the apartment … beautiful


9. Reducing the number of things
If the allotted space is clearly not enough, for example, for all the pots and pans that are in the house, and there is nowhere to expand the boundaries, you will have to part with some of the utensils.

In the photo: an example with basement drawers around the perimeter of the kitchen – this way you can increase the capacity of the kitchen set

Basement drawer: Why do you need it

California Closets Southdale

Important: If there are more types of things than shelves, hooks, dividers, containers or boxes will come to the rescue. Do not buy them in reserve – buy for things that are inconvenient to store!

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Think about what kind of storage devices and how much you need, and only then go to the store. You should not buy containers and baskets just like that, for the occasion – there is a chance that they will add to the list of unnecessary purchases.

Nicholson builders

Some might think that this is “too much,” but storage space, from baskets to shelves and bins, is very useful to label or visually label so that it is easy for any family member to maintain the system.

And even if the economic crisis flares up again, it will be much easier to restore the order of affairs.

10. The system is there, but it does not work
The storage location should be where the item is most often used.

So that a mountain of magazines and books does not accumulate by the bed, we will put a couple of shelves next to it or free up a drawer in the nightstand for this, because we will not regularly carry books to another room where there is a rack. It is also best to keep clean towels in the bathroom rather than in the closet on the other side of the apartment. There are many such absurdities in every farm. Think about how to overcome them.

Sara norrman

11. Daily contribution
After we have created the system, we need to develop the habit of maintaining it daily: 1015 minutes every day should be enough to put everything in its place. They say that in order for any action to become a habit, you need to hold out for 21 days – then everything will go like clockwork.
Photo “Before”

Mary jo bowling

Mary jo bowling

Taking Before / After Pictures
Unfortunately, it is impossible to put things in order once in a lifetime. Seasons change, activities and lifestyles change, children grow up, and the system has to change. For this, there are general cleanings once a season. Don’t let this confuse you.

Important: In order not to forget about our success, we will take photographs “before” and “after” the reorganization. If you managed to establish a farm once, a successful experience will inspire future achievements.

Ahre Fastighetsbyrå

Japanese system cleaning by the method of Marie Kondo
Cleaning in a circle and 12 more strange techniques
Cleaning of the Decade: The 100 Things Principle and Other Techniques
Anti-Cinderella: How To Create An Interior That Is Easy To Clean

This is archived material, first published in 2015, adapted in 2020

About Leona Smith 115 Articles
Hello! My name is Silke and this is my travel blog. I want to show you fascinating places off the beaten track, give you a gentle introduction to history and culture, and help you get around Berlin. After 13 years in Sydney and Andalusia, I now live in Berlin, Germany. I am a travel writer, translator and book author. Read more about me here.

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