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How I did it: Well it is technically a house now and not an apartment, but I think the same rules apply. And that is exactly what this task requires - RULES!
Rule 1. Start small. It's so easy to get overwhelmed by small amounts of clutter or things you don't need. All the organizing magazines and websites give this advice, and I think it's true! Realize that maintaining a residence will be an on-going battle for the rest of your life. It will never be completely done forever, so winning small victories it what will make you feel complete. Be a patient person and do what you can when you can. Pick a room to start, or if that's too much, pick an area of a room (like a closet). I find that organizing from the inside out is easiest.
Rule 2. Purge shamelessly. You have too much stuff. It's that simple. If have not used it within the past year (did you wear those ratty flip-flops last summer? that poncho that Grandma gave you?), you will not use it within the next year. Give it away. Or unless if you have a very specific use for an item and the very specific date that you will use it, give it away. Giving to those who need what you won't use feels awesome! If you desperately need something, buy it.
Rule 3. Find storage. A place for everything. Generally organize so that items you use frequently are easily accessible and items you use infrequently are out of the way. We have a basement storage area with labeled boxes that holds seasonal clothes, holiday decorations, on-hold projects (like a book collection or scrapbooking tools), etc. I have my bathroom organized so that refill items are stored in shelving out of sight and my daily toiletries are sorted by use (makeup, hair stuff, dental care, etc.) and an arm's length away. I know where everything is and can fetch it at a moment's notice.
Rule 4. Maintain regularly. Wipe down counters and sinks when you are done with them. Fold blankets when you're done with them. Do laundry throughout the week. Make your bed when you wake up. Scrape food off your plate when you are finished eating. If you need to, create a chore chart with your roommates or family members for maintenance such as taking out the trash or vacuuming or mopping, since these things should be done on a regular basis. Read how I did it… 3 years ago