If you have ever had the urge to declutter your apartment and bring some fresh space into your life, this is for you! Donating old goods and thrifting for new ones is a great way to get the creative juices flowing and bring a new look to your apartment. It’s not too hard to part with old possessions when you know that a fresh start is right around the corner. After all, we all need a little change in our lives, and change is good. One stone, two birds.
Here’s a guide on how to declutter your apartment and introduce some new, thrifty finds into your life.
Step 1: Save the memories.
We all fall into the trap of hanging onto items on the off-chance that we will use them again. That old graphic tee that your second-cousin gave you on your ninth birthday? Yeah, it’s been years. You’ll never wear it again. That old kitchen chair that’s out-of-place in your glamorous apartment isn’t going to bring you much joy, according to Marie Kondo, even though you won it at an auction at your church.
Basically we all place a lot of importance on items that aren’t really that important to us anymore. We value the memories of the time, place or person attached to the item, and we feel as though we lose the memory when we lose the item.
TIP: If you have memories attached to a piece of furniture or clothing, just remember that you don’t have to hang onto the item to hang onto the memories.
A great way to preserve these memories is to document them somehow. The easiest way to do this is to take a picture of the item and write a note about it. You can accumulate all these photos in a photo album, scrapbook or digital album so that you have a stack of wonderful memories to sift through in your now clutter-free apartment.
Another option is to make a t-shirt quilt using old tees, pants, bandanas and anything else you can think of that can be sewn onto a blanket. Having one quilt is much more space-saving than having 20 graphic tees from college that you are never going to wear again. Make your own t-shirt quilt using this handy guide, or send your tees to Project Repat and have them make it for you! The options are endless, and you don’t have to get rid of anything. Reduce, reuse, recycle, as they always say.
Step 2: Make it easy to declutter
By far, the quickest way to declutter is to make it easy for you to do so. There’s nothing more counter-productive than wanting to get rid of something but leaving it in the exact same place until you work up the nerve to go to the donation drop-off. The solution? Grab a large cardboard box and leave it by the front door for a day or two. Every time you see something you’re unsure about, just take it and pop it in the box immediately.
TIP: You’ll find that it’s easier to get rid of items when you can do it quickly and easily.
After a day or two (don’t wait too long, as you might start to take items back out), grab the box on your way out and pop it in the trunk to donate next time you pass a donation drop-off. It’s so much easier than making individual runs, and it makes the decluttering process much more effective.
Step 3: Be intentional with your space
Now that you have all this previously unavailable space in your apartment, it’s important to be extra attentive to what you decide to refill your space with.
If, during the decluttering process, you thought something like “holy cow, I have WAY too many mugs in this kitchen,” then don’t go out and buy a new mug each time you see one you like. It’s better to have a few mugs that you love and cherish than to have a dozen that don’t mean much.
Obviously, this principle doesn’t just apply to mug connoisseurs. It’s so easy to purchase whatever we want just because we like it, but it's a slippery slope that leads right to a cluttered apartment and cluttered lifestyle.
TIP: Decluttering opens you up to implementing a new aesthetic or lifestyle, so take advantage of the fresh start and be intentional with what you do next.
Step 4: Stop at the thrift store
Thrifting is like a treasure hunt or a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get. That’s the beauty of it! Sure, you can go to a furniture store or a clothing store and buy the specific blazer or blouse you saw online, but there is no thrill of the chase. Thrifting is a mystery, and every now and then one stumbles upon a truly rare find that makes the search all worth it.
Thrifting is also a great way to not feel guilty about decluttering. If you only paid $5 for that leather jacket, your wallet isn’t going to make wheezing noises when you toss it in the donation box.
AMLI has you covered when it comes to thrift shopping. Just check out our articles on furnishing your apartment on a budget, consignment shopping in downtown Austin, and our handy article on thrifting tips.
Step 5: Keep your space decluttered
Finally, a great investment into your new, decluttered space is a well-thought storage system that matches your style. It’s no use going through all the work to clean up your space if there is no way to maintain it. Try using baskets, hooks, decorative storage boxes or jars to keep your counters and tables clutter-free and organized. If you’re into DIY storage projects for your apartment, then check out this compilation of quick and easy (and kid-friendly) ideas to make your home tidier than ever. Living in a cramped space and desperately in need of storage to declutter? Try this guide on storage solutions.
Thrift Stores in Los Angeles
To make your decluttering process easier, we’ve found some of the best thrift stores in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. These stores are close to AMLI apartments, so you don’t need to go far to find the next addition to your minimalist aesthetic.
Help this Long Beach thrift store do good in the community by donating and shopping for vintage men and women’s fashion. It’s a great place to refill your closet with new style and fashion! LBRM Mission Thrift Store is about a five-minute drive from our Long Beach apartments.
This thrift store lives up to its mission of transforming lives and strengthening communities. Not only do they have an expansive thrift store, but they have returned over $2 million to the local community and are actively working on building a new children’s center! Every donation and purchase counts, and you can find some amazing deals along the way, too.
Proceeds from the Orange Lutheran High School’s thrift store go straight back to the school and its students. The floor is restocked daily, so everyday holds new opportunities for great finds. Make sure to check out their daily deals, like 50% off all shoes on Wednesdays, or buy-one-book-get-one-free Mondays. Plus, furniture is 50% off furniture on the first Saturday of the month, and the third Saturday is $1 clothing day. Find this thrift shop just 15 minutes from our apartments in Orange, CA.
Marina del Rey
If you’re a Bruins fan, then the UCLA Health Auxiliary Thrift Store is for you! This store will support the UCLA Health programs and the students and patients involved, so you know exactly where your money is going. Plus, they carry high-quality brands such as Anthropologie, Coach and Banana Republic, to name a few. This UCLA-run thrift store is under 30 minutes from our Marina del Rey apartments.
This thrift store attached to the Assistance League of Glendale supports the various programs that promote community growth. Buying furniture, clothes or appliances from Thrift Alley ensures the lasting legacy of scholarships, training programs, fellowship activities and school programs.
Also, all products are sales tax-free! How great! The Assistance League thrift store is about a 15-minute walk from our apartments for rent in Glendale, CA.
The National Council of Jewish Women has thrift stores scattered all over Los Angeles, so pop into one and see what people are raving about! The NCJW’s thrift stores carry quality used items from rugs to vases to prom dresses to furs, so don’t drive past without taking a peek inside! The nearest Council Thrift is about 30 minutes from our apartments for rent in Woodland Hills, CA.
There aren’t many thrift stores that claim ownership of an online bookstore, but Ventura County Rescue Mission can! Browse through the extensive literature collection online or pop into one of their physical locations on Oxnard Blvd. This Mission Bargain Center and Oxnard Super Thrift are about 20 minutes away from our apartments for rent in Camarillo, CA, and
There you have it, AMLI neighbors. We hope you use these tips and tricks to help you lead a more decluttered and intentional life! Have fun, and good luck!
Featured photo courtesy Unsplash/Stephanie Harvey