How to Declutter Your Davis Apartment

We know how easy it is as UC Davis students to keep your nose to the academic grindstone and let everything else “go” while you’re in school. Mail, dirty socks, and old textbooks seem to pile up in your apartment and quickly take on a life of their own.

Right before the chaos of the holidays seems like a good time to make a clean sweep of your messy zones. There’s no shame in admitting that you have one (or two, or more). Starting this celebratory season with a clean slate will help align your chakras and give you the breathing space you need to get through the madness of the next several weeks without losing your sense of cool to a messy nest.

Think Of Your Things In Terms of Utility First, and Sentimental Value Second

It’s easy to get attached to things, either because you’ve had them for a long time, they have some special meaning to you, or because they represent the hard work and sweat you put into making the money you used to buy them. That’s completely normal, but when you’re looking to downsize and declutter, you have to try and separate yourself from those feelings a bit. Here’s how:

  • Ask yourself “What does this item do for me that nothing else does?”Start thinking about the utility of the item you’re looking at. What makes it unique among your possessions? What does it do? Does it do multiple things or is it a unitasker?
  • Next, ask “Do I have anything else that does this better, or at least does something else as well? This is where you choose between your can opener and the other can opener with a bottle opener on the top. Pick the items that add more value to your life.
  • Finally, ask “Does this have sentimental meaning to me?” When it comes to appliances, tools, and electronics, it’s easy to ask the first two questions, but if you’re looking at a box of photos, utility doesn’t come to mind. Sentimental value is important in a lot of things, so don’t overlook it, just try not to get bogged down in how an item makes you feel versus what it does for you and how much space it takes.

Apply these three questions to virtually everything you own. If you’re moving, like I was, you have a natural reason to evaluate everything you possess, but if you’re decluttering to clean and organize, make sure to give yourself time to review everything, instead of just deciding that specific drawer or box is fine the way it is. Don’t leave those stones unturned—open up that box and look inside. Even if it seems okay, it’s a box full of old papers to be shredded, you’ll be happier with them gone than taking up space next to your desk.

A little tidying now, will have a big pay-off later when you’re late for class or the airport and can’t find your laptop. For more decluttering tips, read the rest of this article at