Your apartment is your home, so it’s important to make it as livable as possible. Although you may be restricted from making certain changes because you are technically “borrowing” it from someone else, that doesn’t mean you have to be surrounded by a jumbled mess of items. There are lots of clever ways to keep your place uncluttered without sacrificing space. Here are a few organizational tips for efficient apartment living in NJ.

Everything should have a dual purpose. A dining table can serve as a desk, an ottoman can hold extra bedding, an over-the-door shoe rack can also hold gloves or mail, a steam trunk can be a coffee table, a rarely used closet can be a pantry. Try to think beyond an object’s marketed purpose. Bulky furniture items, in particular, should offer storage drawers, shelves, cubby holes, etc. – and don’t forget that unused space under your bed!

Try to organize and maintain a structured home office area. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by office supplies, but how many pens do you really need? Consider going as paperless as possible to increase productivity and decrease confusion. If the only thing you really require in your workspace is a laptop, use just a table or bookshelf. Desks take up a lot of room and it might just be time to pitch the one you’ve been dragging around since moving out of your parents’ house.

Downsize your cleaning supplies. Most of us have multiple half-empty bottles of various brands of household cleaners jammed under the sink or in a cabinet. Take some time to combine bottles of the same solution, properly dispose of any that have expired or that you can’t see yourself using, and then start working your way through what you have. You can even buy some pure Castile soap, which is versatile enough to be converted into almost any kind of cleaner from a hand wash to a window cleaner. Streamlining your inventory will free up space to store other essential items.

Go vertical instead of horizontal. Stacking items take up less space than laying them out side by side. Freestanding shelves are also a great option, but be sure to check your rental agreement before installing wall-mounted units. Some leases do not allow certain nails/screws/holes or installation in specific areas.

The biggest change you can make is to declutter. When space is at a premium, you want to be sure that the room you are making is for the things you need. Shred old papers, donate clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, recycle old electronics, sell valuable items on eBay or Craigslist. Not sure where to start? One popular idea is to put four boxes in an area and consider each item in that spot individually to keep, give away, trash, or relocate.

It’s human nature to fill up our homes with stuff, but disorganized living can make us feel physically and emotionally cramped. Whether you’re renting a three-bedroom space or a studio, consider implementing these organizational tips for efficient apartment living in NJ.