Organization Overhaul

My apartment is nothing short of a disaster. Well, a disaster for me. I’ve been having to warn people before I let them in! I try to keep up with the organization and cleaning by doing a tiny bit every day and spending a bit longer once a week. However, things have gotten out of hand.

My kitchen table has turned into a home for my handbags despite my good intentions to organize those. My favorite, most-worn shoes are pretty much stacked by the front door. The baskets in the bathroom have collected all the beauty products that have somehow ended up in my PO Box. Summer clothes and winter clothes are intermixed and just a total mess in my closet.

This is an unedited, unstaged photo. Yes, three coats and three handbags… a rogue shopping bag… moleskine/book/laptop… and various other things. Oy.

I can’t take it anymore.

But at the same time, I’m also super overwhelmed about starting this process. I also don’t really have the time to devote an entire day to it. So I’ve made an inventory of everything that needs to be done and I’m going to divide and conquer. Wham, bam.

I’m really ready to just tackle this list and get everything done. Having lived in my apartment for over a year, I know certain things have been neglected and put off. (Um, about a third of my lightbulbs are out…. whoops.) I’m pretty obsessive about mopping my floors for whatever reason, but that’s about it.

Anyone else need to get houses/apartments/dorms back into shape?


PS Here are five SUPER easy cleaning solutions for small places!

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Oooh! I saw the title of this post, and I immediately got excited. I am so excited to hear how this project goes. Keep us updated (and maybe do a video at the end of it? 😉 )!


Lori Ann

I actually need to do pretty much everything on your list. My apartment complex's annual inspection is Nov. 13, and I have to clean , organize, and sort through everything by then. I love to organize, but when I have so much to do in such little time it can be overwhelming, I'm gonna try your approach, and see if it helps.


I have so much cleaning and organizing to do at my house! Things have gotten way out of hand and my room literally looks like mother nature had a field day – clothes everywhere, shoes scattered, I guess having a kitten doesn't help either! Fingers crossed for a weekend full of cleaning and organizing!

Alexandra Steinmetz

I have two pages in my moleskine devoted to my home project/organization to-do list and just last week I helped my friend Jennie organize her LES studio, I definitely don't think you are alone in this!

Jessica Joyce

Now that you've made a whole entire graphic and plan about organizing, I don't think I can even doubt your organization skills. Although you may think you're not on top of things, I trust you've got it under control.
Your Friend, Jess

Kimberly Topolewski

AH! I just did this the other day! I luckily had a long weekend so Sunday night/all day yesterday I just spent vacuuming and cleaning and scrubbing and throwing things away. I still have a bit to go, like scrubbing the tub and cleaning scuff marks off the walls (how does that even happen?!?), but I have my best friend (who just happens to be my cousin) coming to stay with me for Thanksgiving… so I have to impress her with my big girl apartment since she already has her own house – she's our age!

carelessly graceful


Generally, you just have to be honest with yourself/habits. If my natural instinct is to keep things like coats and purses by the door, then I make them a spot there. Maybe a coat rack (stand or over-the-door) for a few coats/purses. I had to quit leaving my shoes by the door, but I made a spot for the quick on/off by my bedroom door. But once a week, I try to just make a sweep – clean up/out all my purses that have been flung around, put away the shoes, and put away coats I'm not into at the moment. Bathroom: I always keep what I use in easy reach with countertop organization (or a good shelf nearby). Everything else is organized in the linen closet or under the sink (binsbinsbins). Period. If I need it, I'll find it. Or just "shop" what I have on a lazy night and surprise myself with a new lotion to use or an eyeliner I haven't been into in awhile. 🙂 GOOD LUCK. I hate that feeling. It really just takes a night in to just pick up and know you'll feel better waking up and coming home to an open space.


I would not be able to work if my environment was like that aha! Yesterday I went on a huge cleaning spree in my room and even today I ran round it with the hoover. I'm pretty OCD about having a tidy room, otherwise I just feel lazy and unmotivated to do anything. Good luck tackling the list though, way to get started!


i have been working on redoing my (171 sq ft) space in order to make room for an actual sofa instead of a chair. i had to get rid of my dresser which means everything i own has to fit into one closet. i have to keep up on everything because otherwise it starts to look so messy fast. everyone jokes that it doesn't even look like i live there since it's always so clean but the second i have even a few things out of place it looks like a disaster. at least to my OCD self.


my front table looks exactly the same as yours only with more notebooks, pens, and pencils because i am in grad school and do my homework there!

Terri Michele

I have hooks on the wall by my door for a coat or two and a small rectangular basket lying on its side for tucking in shoes and leaving slippers by the door to change into. My bag can hang from a hook or rest on top of the basket. It is most important to put items where they belong as soon as you come in to avoid clutter, and the easiest thing is to have a place by the door. I also wash my hands the very first thing when I come inside and I have cut down on being sick since starting this practice.

Aly B

I've been having the same problem! I've been traveling for the past week and have barely been home since, and my desk is a complete disaster! It's where I throw everything when I'm in a hurry (which has been a majority of the time lately). I've just had to ignore it so my OCD won't get the best of me while I'm trying to find the time to get organized. I feel your pain!

Jennifer S.

It sounds like you'll want to keep these habits in mind when organizing your apartment! Maybe consider putting a shoe rack by the door for most worn shoes, or a coat rack by your dining room table? Put up some hooks for your most used handbags? Make sure your organization methods are going to make you happy with the way things look but also set you up for success in following them. Also, maybe set yourself up a mini cleaning routine? Since you're working from home now, maybe give yourself twenty minutes every morning or evening to pick up before going about your usual business? It's so tough when your environment gets really cluttered. It's hard to get good work done that way.


Mana Smith

I have a 7 year old boy and a husband who works all the time, and a puppy. My house constantly needs to be organized and I tend to do so in binges. While it's clean it's usually cluttered and then I'll go on a binge and organize for 3 or 4 days straight and then am gutted that I only manage to keep it up for a week or so.
Fashion and Happy Things

Sara Langford

I just redid my closet. It feels great to have the space so neat & it's much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. There's a bookcase that conceals a room in our apartment, which I find is a struggle because the room is ALWAYS messy! Seriously. I find it becoming a catchall, because if I don't point out that the shelf is actually a door, you would never find yourself going in there! I have been attempting to get in there & organize for like a year…fingers crossed I can have it knocked out by Christmas!!


Can you please show us what's in your closet? I'm dying to know! Also, where did you get your quilted jacket from and your elbow patch sweater from the post from a little while ago?



With you on this! It's crazy how fast the list (and the coats, and the bags…) can pile up.



I e-mailed you about how you keep your apartment organized because mine is SUCH A DISASTER. It's super embarrassing, but I simply never have time! I'm a college senior that's working on graduate school applications, I'm an active member in a sorority, and then I work in a research lab. I don't have time for it.

I've been trying to add 1-3 cleaning tasks on Google Tasks every day because, like you, I never have the time to do a major overhaul. Slowly, but surely, my apartment got back into shape. However, it turned back into a huge mess over the last two weeks (hey, now, I had stuff to do…).

Anyway, I really like your organization posts because I'm so not naturally an organized person. You always seem to have everything in order, and I'm so jealous!