Dinner at your place?

Before the big night rolls around, you’ll need to give your apartment a little TLC.

“First impressions are really important, so having a tidy home is a great idea,” said Janine Adams, a St. Louis certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing.

At the same time, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, Adams said.

“If your apartment looks like Martha Stewart lives there because your best friend came and organized it, that could lead to bad surprises down the road,” she said.

Still, it can’t hurt to spiff your space up to make a good impression, or at least avoid a bad one. Here’s a step-by-step guide to organizing your apartment for a date:

couchkiss

Declutter Your Space

Clearing out clutter creates a feeling of calm and a more inviting place to hang out, said Jeffrey Phillip, a New York organizing and design expert.

Go room by room to round up clothing that’s scattered on the floor or on furniture, knickknacks, magazines and other clutter. This isn’t the time to get your whole life organized, so don’t get sucked into a task that could take all day, like color coding your clothes or sorting through photos, Phillip said.

“That could turn into a bigger project than you want to tackle right now,” Phillip said.

Jeffery Phillip, professional organizer
Jeffery Phillip, professional organizer

Do Your Laundry

If you tossed all of your dirty clothes into a hamper while decluttering, take it one step further and wash everything – including your towels and sheets.

Put your clothes and linens away in their proper places, Adams said, adding that you don’t want your place to smell like old socks.

Clean Up Your Act

Clean your whole place thoroughly, said Nick Notas, a Boston dating coach who works with clients around the world.

“Cleanliness is number one,” Notas said.

Scrub your bathroom, clean smudges and rings off glass surfaces and wipe down your counters, Notas recommends.

“Do a quick little cleanout of your fridge,” Notas said, noting that the inside of your fridge can tell a date a lot about your level of cleanliness when he or she goes to grab a drink.

“Throw away decaying food and anything gross,” Notas said.

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Make Cozy Spots

Think about what you’ve got planned for the date, and give extra attention to the parts of your apartment where you’ll be spending time, Notas said. If you plan to cook a romantic dinner together, for example, then focus on your kitchen.

Phillip says to organize the inside of your fridge, putting drinks on one shelf, cold cuts and cheeses in a drawer and condiments in the door. If you’ve got time, organize your spices alphabetically in a drawer or on a Lazy Susan.

If you plan to hang out in the living room listening to records, arrange your vinyl in a way that makes sense to you, such as alphabetically, by musical genre or by year, Phillip said. You may be nervous on date night, and organizing ahead of time can help eliminate awkward fumbling as you try to find the record you want to play.

“You don’t want anything that’s going to make you more nervous,” Phillip said.

Corral Odds and Ends

If you’ve got items you normally leave lying out because you used them a lot – for example your nail file and lotion on an end table, a stack of library books, or knitting projects you like to work on while watching TV, stash them in attractive containers.

A decorative tray is a great way to attractively store multiple remote controls, Phillip suggests. If you don’t have any decorative bins or boxes, make a quick trip to a discount or organizing store.

“Find a style that blends with your space,” Phillip said.

Show Off Your Interests

Use lidded boxes to store items you don’t want to call attention to and open boxes to hold books or hobby paraphernalia that might make good conversation pieces.

“You want the person to see who you are as a person,” Phillip said.

Really think about what you’re displaying, Notas said. Some daters make the mistake of showing off objects that might not impress, like a slew of empty liquor bottles lined up on a windowsill. That could send the wrong signal to your date.

“It sends up red flags,” Notas said.

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Add Some Personality

Just as you’ll take care in picking out the clothes to wear on your date, take time to dress up your place a little, too.

A vase with live flowers adds a nice touch, Adams said.

A candle helps, too, added Notas. You don’t want your space to look too spare, so add some touches of color and decorative accents that reflect your personality. For example, put up some art or display accessories that reflect your style – whether that’s chill Bohemian, artsy and creative or ultra modern.

“Convey who you are as a person,” Notas said.

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Allie Johnson