Organization

  1. Clean Your Bathroom Once and For All!

    Cleaning the bathroom feels like a strangely endless process, doesn’t it?

    It’s clean one minute, then you turn back around and it’s suddenly littered with half-used shampoo bottles and those little boxes your soap comes in all over again. There has to be a better way, right? 

    And there totally is if you use your imagination! Cleaning your bathroom doesn’t have to be an afternoon-long multi-step process that gets repeated every few weeks if you take the time to plan ahead. (The tech industry calls this “future-proofing,” but we’re only here to clean your bathroom, not take the headphone jack out of your iPod.)

    Next time you clean your bathroom, follow these few extra steps to keep it that way:

     

    Prevent mildew in the shower

    If there’s one thing mildew loves, it’s a wet shower. And if there’s one thing everyone loves, it’s the idea of not having to clean up any more mildew. At the end of every shower, leave a squeegee nearby and start a house rule asking that the last person to use it squeegee the whole thing down to prevent water from accumulating in the tub. In really foggy bathrooms, consider spraying some RainX (the stuff you use on windshields) around the walls and maybe kicking on a fan or leaving the door open.

     

    Stick with liquid soap

    Hand soap is a necessity for cleanliness and sanitation when using the bathroom, but bar soap leaves potential for a bigger mess due to soap scum and other crud on your nice porcelain sink. Unless you absolutely have to keep bar soap due to medical reasons, try to switch to liquid soap—it’s cheaper in the long run thanks to refills, and it’ll drastically reduce the time you have to spend on cleaning the sink.

     

    Declutter your shower supplies

    Part of cleaning the bathroom inevitably involves moving the same five bottles of shampoo around until they’re finally out of the way, but what if you did something to keep them out of the way...for good? Throw up a shower caddy with enough space for everyone’s personal shower needs and make sure everyone can get to their own shampoo and soap without any hassle. It’ll save everyone a step in the morning, and cut down on your chores next time.

     

    Empty out that cabinet

    Bathroom cabinets and closets are one of the biggest sources of clutter in a bathroom thanks to the amount of stuff we all let ourselves accumulate. Purge everything you know you can live without (half-filled conditioner bottles, unused cleaning supplies, etc) and then move the rest onto bathroom shelves to free up space and provide accessibility.

     

    Keep cleaning supplies right where you need them

    Finally, cleaning the bathroom can be made so much easier if you do short cleaning jobs more frequently, and a good way to get started is to keep cleaning supplies close at hand to handle messes as they develop. Always have some wipes and disinfectant spray under the sink, and keep a Swiffer or some small dryer sheets around to do quick sweeping jobs as the need arises. It’ll save you a ton of time and energy in the long run.

     

    Got any other tips for keeping a bathroom clean? Drop a comment below!

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  2. Finding Your Book Organization Style

    Alright book lovers, it’s time to face the harsh truth: sometimes, it is possible to own ‘too many’ books.

    We’re speaking strictly from a practical standpoint, of course. Nobody is here to judge your multiple autographed copies of A Song of Ice and Fire, or your unfinished paperback of Casino Royale you bought forever ago when the movie came out because you had no idea the James Bond movies were based on books.

    What we are here to do, though, is help you find a way to organize them that suits your needs! Everyone has different styles of book collections, and as a result everyone has different ways to organize and store them. Instead of trying to suggest a one-size-fits all approach, let’s take a look at a few different book-hoarding scenarios and find an organizational style that works best for you!

     

    Do you like a neat, orderly shelf?

    Show of hands: who here was the kid with the neatest desk in the room? You’re probably the sort that needs a good, well-organized book collection, either alphabetically or by series (or both if you’ve got a lot of Dune novels to handle). Alphabetizing is a good way to start but it comes with some pros and cons—you have to decide exactly how everything is sorted (Title? Author, like at the library? Publisher? Don’t laugh, we’ve seen people do that) and you have to decide where to keep it. So long as you have enough spare bookshelves to keep everything on and know how the alphabet works, this could be a good way to go, but we don’t recommend it for smaller collections.

     

    Do you want to show off?

    Books, commemorative plates, Japanese Star Wars toys...whatever it is people collect, and whatever reason they give for collecting it, at least part of the reason is so they can show it off. If your aim is to inspire book envy in your fellow bibliophiles, a more ‘open’ and showy shelving option might be best. Take a few of your favorites—that autographed hardcover of Deathly Hollows, ancient Sherlock Holmes collection you got from your grandpa, or Tom Clancy novel you bought at the airport out of desperation that you wound up kind of liking—and put them up on some wall shelves to show off to everyone when they visit. This is a great way to help separate the “collector’s items” from the stuff you have yet to read, and will give them a nice space out in the open to be proudly admired.

     

    Do you need to separate the stuff you’ve read from the stuff you haven’t?

    When trying to organize a book collection, a lot of people tend to focus on looks or accessibility ahead of practicality, but your book organization can actually come in handy in many cases. When trying to reorganize any stack of books, take some time to sort out the next ones in the rotation from the well-worn favorites you’ve tackled a million times. This will give you a good visual indicator of what you want to read next, and help you sort and prioritize everything. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll stop you from buying more books before you’re done with the stuff you’re reading already.

     

    Ah, who are we kidding? We understand.

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  3. Sweater Storage Strategies

    The humble sweater: whether for fashion, business wear, comfort, or just plain warmth, the sweater is one of the most versatile garments around today.

    This, of course, probably means you own more than a few and need somewhere to store them, especially this time of year when spring is trying its hardest to creep around the corner. Sweaters stand out among cold-weather clothes simply by being a little harder to put away than normal items—too bulky for many drawers and too heavy to hang up, they can turn into a pain before you know it.

    When it comes time to put your sweaters away, avoid that yearly ritual of folding, stacking, and cramming sweaters into your already-overtaxed drawers with a few of our helpful Sweater Storage Strategies:

     

    Tips for Drawers:

    • Try rolling sweaters instead of folding them: fold the arms to the back, roll up from the bottom edge to the collar, and place the rolled edge up in the drawer (lined up single file) so you can tell each sweater apart. (Be careful not to let V-neck collars get snagged on anything!)
    • Sort your rolled sweaters by whatever system works best for you: type, color, style, even when you wear them (winter sweaters vs lighter stuff) to keep them easier to access when the cold weather comes back around—or for those freak days we have every May where it drops back down to 50° again.

    Tips for Closets

    • One thing to avoid when storing sweaters in the closet is using hangers; these can lead to a horrible condition many experts refer to as “hanger burn” that leads to wrinkles, puckers, creases, and worst of all ruined collars. Don’t fall for hangers that try to claim they’re designed for knits.
    • Instead, we suggest using a flatter storage system to avoid running the risk of damage. Take some sweater storage bins or garment bags and line the floor of your closet with them to provide an easy, flat storage solution for sweaters (that can be used to store other knicknacks when sweaters come back into season)
    • Not enough space on the floor? Get some closet shelves lined against the back or side walls of your closet. This provides flat space to safely lay all of your sweaters where they can be easily accessed whenever needed.

    Tips for Everywhere Else

    • Already out of closet space? (We get it.) As long as your home is temperature controlled and pest-free, anywhere can be converted into a space for sweaters. Set some rust-proof wire shelves up in the attic to keep them nicely out of the way, or down in the basement so long as it doesn’t get too musty. (Some of those moisture traps would be perfect here.)
    • Space under the stairs? Perfect place for some storage bins. Drawers in the stairs? Even better, just remember what we told you earlier about arranging them in that area.

     

    Got any other out-of-the-ordinary tips for sweater storage? Drop a comment below!

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  4. How to Declutter Your Closet (And Make A Little Money While You're At It)

    ‘Decluttering’ has been a hot topic in the world of home organization and design lately, and while there’s been plenty written about the effect decluttering can have on your mental well-being and stress levels, there’s another place it can start to have a positive impact on your life: your wallet!

    Starting a closet purge is the first step towards learning to let go of a bunch of stuff you don’t need anymore, and a great way to get all of it out of your house is to sell it! Consignment shops like Plato’s Closet or websites like Poshmark make it easier than ever to get cash for the gently-worn clothes you’re not going to wear anymore, and will go a long way towards freeing up space in your home. Let’s start by getting your closet decluttered, and then we’ll help you figure out what to do with it all:

     

    Decluttering

    • Start by going through everything in the closet and asking yourself a few crucial questions, like:

    ○     Do I love this?

    ○     Am I going to wear it?

    ○     Does it still fit?

    ○     Does it project the image I want? Can I wear this in front of other people? (This one tends to be a real deal-breaker for a lot of indecisive thinkers.)

     

    • Once you’ve found an answer for those questions, start finding other places to keep them all. Set up a storage bin or even just a big cardboard box to separate the stuff that’s getting sold or donated from what you’re keeping, and make sure to keep the box somewhere you’re not likely to lose it.

     

    • As for everything you’re keeping (which hopefully isn’t much), it’s time to make your closet a little cleaner and easier to get through. Put up some closet wall shelves and sort your remaining clothes by type, size, seasonality, or whatever works best for you—just remember to make a plan and stick with it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in this mess again sooner than you know it.

     

    Getting rid of it all

    • From here, let’s decide what you want to do with the clothes you plan to get rid of:

    ○     Can you sell it directly? Is there anyone you know that’s always buying clothes for craft projects or just likes thrifting? Can you unload some of it more quickly that way?

    ○     Where can you take it to in town? Does your city have a lot of consignment shops or resale stores you can take them to first? This tends to be the easiest method, and you’ll usually end up walking out of the store with money you didn’t have before.

    ○     What about a yard sale? It might not always be the right time of year, weather-wise, but a great resource for selling off unwanted clothes is to throw some tables in the driveway and hold a yard sale. It’s the reason your parents held them, and you’d be surprised how much less stuff you’ll have afterwards.

     

    • Finally, just remember to keep all of your stuff separated. If you’re taking them to a store to sell, a lot of them require clothing to be freshly washed and bagged neatly, so break out the laundry bags and get folding. Otherwise, you’ll at least want to separate items by type (shirts, bottoms, etc) to make them easier for your friends/potential customers/both to sift through.

     

    Have you sold a bunch of your old clothes lately? Got any tips for people who need to do the same? Drop a comment below!

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  5. Get Motivated To Deep Clean Your House (And Make It Easier Next Time)

    We’ve all spent time with the smaller projects in our homes, the kind of stuff that takes up an afternoon at most—but what about the really big jobs?

    For many, deep cleaning the home involves mentally psyching themselves up. The toughest messes and the biggest jobs require a lot more time, energy, and attention, and it’s pretty understandable that most people might get a little put off by the idea.

    However, there are ways to both get your home cleaner than ever before, and make it easier on yourself next time too! By taking steps during your next big deep cleaning project to keep it clean for longer and make it easier on yourself the next time a big clean rolls around, you might even have an easier time finding the motivation to do it!

     

    Keep all your tools close at hand

    One bothersome part of cleaning is trying to remember where all your supplies are. Without the proper planning, you could find yourself spending more time looking for stuff than you do cleaning. Take some time to locate everything you normally use for cleaning (your lucky broom, your favorite all-surface spray, etc) and keep them right nearby, using plastic storage bins or over the door storage to make sure they’re right at hand when needed.

     

    Make a plan of action

    During any big deep cleaning project, it’s easy to get distracted by new messes you find along the way. How long has that stain been on the ceiling? Is now a good time to clean out the microwave? These can all start to pile up and throw you off track after a while, so one of the best ways to stay focused is to start out by making a plan and a goal. How many rooms do you plan to tackle? What’s the biggest sticking point in each room you’re cleaning? Map out your approach and the whole thing will go much faster—and stay right on track.

     

    Play music or set a timer

    Speaking of distractions, the easiest way to let a project start to draw itself out is to let the minutes fly by while you spend time checking your phone, cleaning other rooms, or losing focus on the task at hand. A great way to stay motivated and remind yourself how much time you’re working with is to make a playlist of your favorite songs or set a timer. Make a 20 or 30 minute playlist, or simply set a timer somewhere in the room, and get cleaning until the music is finished. You’ll often find yourself getting in a groove and continuing to clean long after time is up.

     

    Figure out where to start

    If your problem with beginning a project is being unsure of the first step, cleaning can go a lot easier if you map out a good beginning. When starting a cleaning project, begin with one of the faster projects like vacuuming the living room or putting the dishes in the dishwasher to help you get in the headspace of staying productive and cleaning. The rest of the project will fall into place as soon as you can get over that first hurdle.

     

    Remember: it doesn’t have to be perfect

    A lot of people can fall into the trap of being too critical on themselves after a long cleaning project, no matter how much better their home looks when it’s done. If you find yourself taking way too long in one room, or getting too hung up on one part of the job (cleaning your countertops, or getting that stain out of the couch) then you may be losing focus and becoming too hard on yourself. You’re not expecting a visit from the Queen Mother, you’re just trying to get your living room back together. This will stop you from getting discouraged, help you use your time better, and make it easier to get started next time.

     

    Got any other tips for staying motivated while cleaning? Drop a comment below!

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