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The Cleaning And Organization Essentials For Messy People That We Own And Swear By

If you’ve always been Type A, super neat, or preternaturally orderly, today’s post is not for you (but come back tomorrow for a very exciting farmhouse reveal, okay?). Today’s post is for the stragglers – the folks who drag their feet and put off cleaning and organizing until it’s a seemingly gargantuan undertaking that feels hopeless and impossible. I was that way, too! Case in point (brace for horrifying 2009 dorm room photo)…

WOOF. You know where this picture was never supposed to go? The internet, for millions of people to see. But sometimes when I read cleaning or decluttering advice, it’s from folks who have never stared down a beaver-like dam of junk in their house (or their dorm, or their apartment, or wherever). And when you read posts or watch videos from folks who’ve always been neat, it’s easy to feel like you’re just missing the organization gene, or that you’re lazy (because it seems so easy for others, right?), or that you’re always going to be living out of piles on the floor. It can be really overwhelming to feel like you’ve dug yourself into a hole that you don’t understand how to climb out of, you know?

But pals, there’s hope! It took a long time (not joking – a whole 27 years, I think), but I did finally nail down the routines and products that work together to keep my house tidy. Are any of the systems or products I’ve discovered IG-worthy? No! Am I going to end up on a cute and well-curated ~org porn~ Pinterest Board? LOL, NO. But this clean(ish) life is achievable and it can even be fun to maintain (!!!), which is necessary when you happen to have a pretty incredible tolerance for, uh, kinda gross living situations. (Speaking about myself here, hereby known as the Princess of Piles).

The first step? Changing my relationship with clutter. (And honestly, that doesn’t require any new purchases – if you’re feeling really overwhelmed, I recommend starting on that post and coming back here in a month or two when you’re ready). The second step? Finally taking the time to seek out tools that would work for me.

So today, I want to present my favorite cleaning and organization essentials (because they do go hand-in-hand – cleaning is SO much easier when you’re not trying to vacuum under a pile, I promise!). These are all products that I have in my apartment, use frequently, and genuinely enjoy. Each of them made a huuuge difference in the way that I’ve been able to maintain my home (and everything in it, TBH) – maybe one of your new favorites will be on here, too 🙂

Organization Essentials

1. Chaos Cart: I’ve heard about a lot of strategies for corralling clutter that involves schlepping a laundry basket around every night and filling it with misplaced objects. You know what I, a lazy person, am never going to do? Pick up a heavy basket and drag it around my home. Like, there’s a reason that hospitals have crash carts and not “just a bin of lifesaving equipment.” Roll it around your house, pick up items that are in the wrong spot (or that don’t have a home), and work from there. Shove it in a closet or cabinet when you have company. This was game-changing for me.

2. Drawer Dividers: I love these and they feel really sturdy – no sliding when I’m putting away bunches of clothes! – and they’ve optimized the dresser space I do have. LOVE.

3. Honeycomb Organizer: If you told me that one day I’d be a person with an organized underwear and sock drawer, I would have NEVER believed you. You can see mine in action above – it’s quick to assemble and you can make it as big or small as you need.

4. Linen Boxes: I have two of these – one for my regular bras, and one for my sports bras. Both are popped in a drawer. Finding the bra I actually want/need to wear is so much easier now.

5. All-Purpose Bins: There are a lot of bins out there, but these are a great size at an even better price. (I use them in my bathroom and in my linen closet).

6. Wire Bins: Target discontinued my favorite Brightroom bins (no!!!!), but these are similar (and honestly, a little chicer). I have 5 of these for towels, washcloths, sheets, duvets, and pillow covers. Reaching into the closet and being able to grab the bin I need (vs. destroying a neatly-folded pile, and then shoving the remnants back into the closet) makes life much easier.

7. Under Bed Bins: I have 4 – one for Christmas sweaters, one for swimsuits, one for leotards/body suits, and an empty one. None of them are particularly full, but I didn’t anticipate how good I’d feel knowing that I have room to grow (if I need to) without cluttering up my closets.

8. Hanging Organizer: I use mine for my shorts and jeans, but I also have two of these in my second bedroom closet for guests – it’s nice that folks can have a place to unpack a little bit, you know?

9. T-Shirt Folder: I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. It’s like a gateway to having an organized wardrobe, I swear. (And it’s awesome for those who struggle with folding, too!). Once you see your stack of perfectly matched shirts, you’re going to want to take care of them! It’s like magic.

10. File Box: Get a portable container for all your important documents (even if you’re not looking at them, or even opening them – guilty over here!!!). This is the one I have, and it does the job. Insurance info, health stuff, bank things – all into the box for when I need them one day!

11. Flocked Hangers: After 13 years of mismatched and collected hangers, I upgraded to a set of these and I love looking into my closet now. Sometimes it’s the little things 🙂

12. Tiny Trays: Nail polish! Hair ties! Tweezers! Zit patches! Pins! Bows! Clips! Kitchen tools! These come in a ton of sizes and they’re useful in every room.

Cleaning Tools

1. Dyson V15: I recommended this vacuum after doing my Black Friday research, and it’s BETTER THAN I THOUGHT IT’D BE. I anticipated that it’d be pretty effective, but I’m blown away. My dark blue Nordic Knots rug, once covered in a thin layer of irremovable shedded pet fur, literally looks like it did on the day that I got it. (I’ll post some before and after pictures in the Link Up this week, cause I’m THRILLED).

2. Little Green Machine: Again, a dream. It got orange animal vomit out of my antelope-print runner with NO EFFORT on my part. Also, make sure you empty out the water after each use. (I always do, but the few complaints I read are always like “it smells bad!” and it’s like…yeah, I mean, there’s stuff in there, so that does make sense).

3. Extended Arm Duster: I do not know what is in these little Swiffer duster pads, but they’re INCREDIBLE. When your apartment gets as much major roadway pollution as mine, dusting can get old real fast – these make it kind of fun. I love the extended arm for fans, light fixtures, moulding, etc., but the traditional wand is great, too.

4. Mop: Hands-free wringing, a telescoping handle, and a triangle-shaped tip for getting into corners. I know that a Swiffer seems easier, but this mop in particular shockingly takes less work – just fill it up and go to town (no bending, no constant need to adjust any wet Swiffer cloths!).

5. Dish Rack: One day I’ll reveal my kitchen and y’all will finally see this dish rack (my favorite quarantine purchase). Actually having enough room to dry the pile of dishes in the sink makes me want to do the pile of dishes in the sink.

6. Over the Door Drying Rack: You know what makes laundry easier? Not having to dry items by throwing them over an open door, or a chair back, or your shower rod, or balanced on top of whatever other bizarre surface provides adequate ventilation for clothes drying. (I keep mine in my living room closet so as to not cannibalize any bedroom door space – that’s valuable real estate!).

7. Scrub Sponge with Handle: Hi, I live in an apartment that’s covered in decaying 100-year-old tile, so I think I’d have some sort of hand ailment or injury if I did not use a scrubbing sponge with a handle. I keep one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom, and one in the shower.

8. Deep Clean Brush Set: One day, you’ll wake up a changed person with too much free time and you’ll find yourself in your kitchen, on your hands and knees, cleaning the crevasse between your floorboards and your toe kick. You’ll want these. (Another quarantine purchase, for the record).

9. Power Grout Brush: Again, I live in an apartment that is covered with worn, mostly butter-colored tile that looks dirty after about, uh, 15 minutes. Old grout is often disgusting (please confirm in the comments so I know I’m not just gross) and this is kind of fun and meditative to use.

10. XL Lint Roller: Great for sofas, rugs, and clothes, honestly. You can spot the top portion of mine in my closet above (it’s in the dedicated “lint roller” bin. Pet owners can relate :)).

11. Lobby Broom: No joke, this is the piece of cleaning equipment that singlehandedly changed my life. It was the first time I’d realized that maybe I didn’t hate cleaning, I just hadn’t looked for the tools that were the best fit for me. It’s not like sweeping is my favorite hobby, but it’s quick and painless (though I have in large part replaced my daily broom routine with the Dyson – it’s so easy to carry around!).

12. Toilet Brush: This is the one I have. It’s cute and inoffensive. I like that the design hides the bristles, too.

13. Gloves: Two pairs – one for cleaning (so you don’t get dissuaded by having to touch gunk) and one for dishes (HACK: put on lotion beforehand and it’s like a little spa treatment–except you’re not in a spa, you’re in your home and doing chores. But it’s still nice to come out with soft hands, I guess?).

14. Magic Erasers: I mean…they’re magic.

15. Microfiber Cloths: For all your cleaning needs! I like this set because it comes with three different textures.

Cleaning Products

1. Baking Soda: I do, in fact, buy the 12-pack. I mainly use it in the fridge and sprinkled in my cat’s litter box, but there are a ton of great DIY cleaning solutions that call for baking soda. If you have the room, buying in bulk is worth it.

2. Odor Removing Gel: Miracle worker – I also use this near my cat’s litter box and it really does soak up any escaping smells.

3. Barkeeper’s Friend: The best bleach-free all-purpose powder cleaner. (Awesome for getting gunk off a lot of my flea market finds, too).

4. Comet: My monthly deep-clean involves clearing all my counters, shaking out some Comet, and going to town on the tile and sinks (often with the aid of that spinny brush, or that scrubber I mentioned earlier!).

5. Vinegar: It’s natural, it’s affordable, and it’s multi-functional (clean your windows, dress some cabbage – vinegar can do it all!).

6. Wet & Forget: Another lightbulb product for me: I could literally spray this in my shower and eliminate the need for heavy-duty scrubbing. (I did also swap out my shower head for this one so I could spray the product off easily).

7. The Pink Stuff: The only way I can think to describe this is the “spray/paste version of a Magic Eraser.” When all else fails, the Pink Stuff works. (It is also very cute, so I actually like looking at it when I use it!).

8. Shower Spray: Keep it in your shower and spray all the walls and surfaces down after bathing. It won’t replace the need for deep cleaning, but it’ll keep any gunk or grime or soap scum from accumulating.

9. All-Purpose Cleaner: You know, for most of the things in your house. I prefer disinfectants for the higher-touch surfaces in my home, but this is great for most dining tables, bar carts, bookshelves, coffee tables, etc.

10. Dishwashing Liquid: If Dawn is good enough to get oil off a penguin, it’s good enough to get spaghetti sauce off your dishes. (But really, any kind will do).

11. Wood Cleaner: VERY IMPORTANT, but oft-overlooked! Don’t use an all-purpose cleaner on your real wood pieces, folks – it’s too wet (who knew?) and may damage or erode the finish. This spray is awesome as it leaves surfaces feeling glossy and clean, but you can alternatively grab this version to use with a mop for hardwood floors 🙂

12. Castile Soap: The real MVP here – if you need a product that can clean your body, your clothing, your fruits and vegetables, AND your house…well, baby, you’re in luck! The use cases here are pretty endless (and people are figuring out new and effective mixtures all the time).

That’s it for my transformational products – anyone out there have any cleaning or organization items that positively impacted their day-to-day life? I’M ALL EARS. xx

Opening Image Credits: Art Direction by Emily Henderson | Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Styled by Emily Bowser | From: IT’S TIME TO ORGANIZE – Small Entry Organization Hacks For Those Of Us Who Are “Mudroom-Less”

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Karen
6 days ago

Caitlin, I appreciate how you write a “click on a bunch of links and hopefully buy something” post. Good ideas, and good humor. Also, I had dorm roommate who kept her side like your above example and she would lose everything all the time and accuse me of stealing. Ha!

thanks Caitlin! love that toilet brush. much prettier than the plastic ones we have. also, that pink rolling cart is so cute! Can i suggest some alternative cleaning productss for people with septic tanks? This is what I use because everything that goes down our drain ends up eventually in our backyard and then ground water (and we are also on well water). Instead of Comet (which I grew up using), how about Bon Ami? It’s less toxic. And, for a lot of my cleaning/scrubbing, I like to use non-toxic soap with a scrub brush. It works so well. I use that for showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, counters. I actually use the same soap I use for washing dishes, which is the solid non-scented soap from the earthling co. + their scrubbers. we very rarely use bleach, but since we can’t use it because bleach kills the bacteria in your septic system (and you want to have a good balance of bacteria), after washing with soap, if absolutely needed, i’ll do a spray bottle of bleach water and just do a light spray of bathroom surfaces and close the door and run the fan. That way it doesn’t go down… Read more »

Emma
5 days ago

Thank you for representing the septic system crew! It is amazing (and infuriating) how few detergents/cleaning supplies are septic safe, and even more infuriating how the label “septic safe” may in fact not work for one of the hyper modern new Hoot Septic systems (yes they are called Hoot – like the owl). If I may add an important cleaning item to the septic system list: hair traps! Hair destroys aerobic (and anaerobic) septic systems by clogging the lines that connect the various tanks. Don’t shave your beard and rinse your foamy hair bits down the sink, and pick up all the hair from your shower drain…. AND install hair traps into your showers and sinks! Popping them out twice a month is easy enough and it is nice to know that you are keeping the pipes – and thus, the septic tanks – perfectly hairless and healthy.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago

Lovely, THANK YOU for writing this!💗

I use WHITE VINEGAR for most cleaning (diluted in water).
Does everything from showers, baths, toilets, counters, windows, a smidge in a spray bottle for wooden floors, aaaand is fabulous for regaining the shine on surfaces like gloss-painted surfaces, anything glass…..the list is endless.
No…it does NOT smell after a very short time, in fact it kind of eats pdlurs!

I also use white vinegar as a drsin cleaner for my sensitive cast uron 100 yr old pipes.
A BIG spoon of bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by a big glug or two of white vinegar.
Leave for a few minutes, then pour boiling water down the drain.
Clean, no blockages, no funky drain smell.
Luverly. And our common Earth will thank you.😊
🌏

j
5 days ago

I just posted about Bon Ami. Did not see your post. Such a good product.

Kate
5 days ago

Charlie’s Soap is amazing. I just get a big bottle and dilute it according to needs. It works on everything from my husband’s greasy car parts to fabric. The key is to spray it, walk away for about 30 minutes and come back to wash it away. Minimal scrubbing required. Saved several things I thought were goners. I also use the laundry detergent and never have problems with a smelly washer.

ika
6 days ago

Thank you for the roundup! The electronic toothbrush for grout is in my basket now, inspired to take on my bathroom. I have a marble tiled shower and struggle cleaning the stained floor grout without damaging the stone. Most cleaning products (even Wet and Forget 🙁 ) will etch or stain the tiles themselves. Any tips for a deep clean? So many beautiful marble bathrooms, but how are they maintained?! Help please!

LJ
5 days ago
Reply to  ika

check out @gocleanco She’s got it alllll figured out as she owns a cleaning business and shares her secrets. Uses a lot of the products posted above!

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  ika

#white.vinegar diluted in water. 👍

Jessie
5 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I love to use white vinegar to clean also, but it can’t be used on most natural stones, especially marble. Learned that the hard way on my bathroom counter.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Jessie

Heavily diluted?

Brenna
5 days ago
Reply to  ika

I don’t have marble tiles, but I just looked quickly online and read that you can use baking soda occasionally (not regularly) on marble, and you can use hydrogen peroxide on light-colored marble. That combination (just mix them to make a paste) has returned my grout to bright white! Just smear it onto the grout with a toothbrush, let it sit 10 minutes, scrub, then wipe off with a damp rag. Then you can seal the grout once it’s all dry, so you don’t have to do a deep scrub… maybe ever again?

Kira
5 days ago
Reply to  ika

Not marble, but the installers for my quartzite counter said to use a squirt of dish soap for cleaning! You could reach out to a local stone fabricator and ask what they recommend for cleaning marble tiles.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Kira

Good to know, thanks. I’m not so lucky as to have marble anything!😊

Gitty
5 days ago

Ooh I have so much to say on this topic! I am a working mom of 4 with no cleaning help who does not actually like to clean and has an unfortunately large mess tolerance. These tools are my MVPs. 1- clorox wipes. I buy the up & up version and it’s great! I use it to clean my bathrooms and counters. 2- scrubbing bubbles toilet wand. Easy and neat. 3- clorox toilet tank bleach tablets. Keeps my toilet bowl so much cleaner with no effort on my part. 4- shark steam mop with pour on the floor method soap. Easy and neat!

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Gitty

“Are disinfectant wipes compostable? The answer is — sometimes.🤔

Disinfectant wipes are mostly not compostable.

Disinfectant wipes are made up of synthetic fibers that prevent them from being compostable or recyclable.
So, after just one use, they are thrown away and head to the landfill.”

Gitty
5 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

True, they’re not the most eco friendly option. Everyone has different resources and priorities

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Gitty

The future of the Earth is for today’s children. 😊
That’s a key priority for me and I don’t even have my own children.

kay
5 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

indeed. however, there are times, as a mom of four, that you cut yourself a little slack. I feel bad using them, but honestly, the last time I got on a plane was 11 years ago (flight costs for a family of six is shocking). So that’s me doing my part for the earth….lowering the old carbon footprint. Also we are lucky enough to live close enough to work and school that we walk – and share one car between us all. Mom’s of four walk a very thin line of sane/not sane….so it’s best to give us a pretty wide berth and a fair bit of grace. (Gitty’s probably sitting at the old keyboard, fighting the eco guilt and thinking ‘you want my clorox wipes?? Well you can pry them from my cold, dead hands!!!). 🙂

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  kay

We each, for the most patt, choose the number of children we have.
It’s fundamentally down to choices.

Kj
4 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

You seem like such a kind person Rusty, but this is a really unkind thing to say to parents.

🥰 Rusty
4 days ago
Reply to  Kj

It’s not unkind Kj, it’s objectively and factually true.
We (mostly, but not aways, due to fertility issues, strict religion, etc.) choose whether we have none, 1, 2 or more children. Most people choose to have 2.5.
Having 4 children is a choice in today’s western world.
Choices we make (for good, bad, personal or other reasons) affect other facets of our lives.
I haven’t said anyone is a bad person. I’ve only said that we all choose what we choose.
So, therefore, saying it’s too hard to use reusable wipes, because we chose to have 4 children, is also a choice.
Truly, without malice.🌻

🥰 Rusty
4 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Point in fact – my parents chose to hsve 7 children! Wild choice, right?!
No clorox wipes involved. Another choice.

Jules
4 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Wow Rusty. And with states banning abortion, 4 kids may not be a choice anymore. Let’s dissect everything you do and buy to see if there is anything you can do to be better.

🥰 Rusty
4 days ago
Reply to  Jules

Constantly doing this … self-reflection.👍
The abortion laws are the epitome stupidity by the powers that be that some people choose to vote for. Hands off women’s bodies!
Quite obvious, though, that being csught in such a predicament 4 times, is pretty unrealistic.

Aminah
2 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Rusty, since you don’t have kids I’d suggest you keep your opinions on the topic to yourself. If you’d walked a mile in the shoes of a parent, you wouldn’t judge parents so arrogantly. I really wonder why the EHD team doesn’t monitor and censor some of your comments. You are constantly passive aggressive and rude on here and I mostly stopped reading the comment section because it is not enjoyable anymore due to your constant nit picking. And I know for a fact that there are hundreds of other readers who feel the same. You literally make me want to buy a bunch of single use items and get the biggest car possible to burn a bunch of fossil fuels just to spite you. If you’re trying to make people care about the environment, the way you are going about it is not the way.

Sarah S.
4 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Damn Rusty, chill. Parenting is super hard–we don’t need to be hit over the head on what we’re also not doing well in terms of carbon footprint. I’m sure kay and Gitty are doing their best. Did I ever use clorox wipes before I had kids? No. Do I reach for them a lot now that I have two? Yes. Different life stages require us to flex up or down in different areas of our lives depending on our circumstances. I know you must understand that.

anni
4 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Just because you put a smiley face in your comment doesn’t mean it is full of judgement about others based on your own beliefs about the way you think the world is going and what you think makes a difference.
Look into recycling and how even Greenpeace say most of it ends up in Landfill.
Virtue signalling, moral grandstanding and purity spiralling at its finest.
Let’s judge others online who may even be bots…. 😊 😊

Kj
5 days ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I think a working mom with 4 children should feel free to do whatever the heck she needs to do to get through her day, week, month, year. And if that means using disposable products for a small period of her life, then do it to survive. You can be more eco later.

Gitty
5 days ago
Reply to  Kj

KJ that is so sweet!! Thank you!!

claire
5 days ago

the dyson vacuum is outrageously expensive but it’s worth every penny if you can manage it. i vacuum ALL THE TIME now and it couldn’t be easier. we have three pets and this has made cleaning up their fur a breeze. things i LOVE: the light, the super easy emptying of the canister, the lack of cord making it super easy to change attachments, the way it doesn’t lock in an upright position….so good! and no, i don’t work for dyson, i just love that vacuum. 🙂

Lulu
2 days ago
Reply to  claire

Does it replace the need for a full-size (plug in) vacuum or is this just a secondary tool for quick cleans?

Aminah
2 days ago
Reply to  Lulu

If you buy the large sized dyson it can fully replace your plug in even in a large sized home. I own the dyson outsize and it comes with two rechargeable batteries. I vacuum our entire house with it (3800 sqft), (sorry not sorry Rusty, huge carbon footprint house for a huge family here.) Definitely had a sore arm the first couple times I used the dyson because it is very top heavy. But I’ve had it for 2 years now and still love it! Best cleaning investment I’ve ever made. It wasn’t in the budget for a long time for us, but if you can afford it I’d say go for it!

Lulu
1 day ago
Reply to  Aminah

Thanks for the info. My vacuum still works well, but once it dies I’m going to look into this one.

claire
18 hours ago
Reply to  Lulu

we replaced our plug-in vacuum with this one and we’re super happy with it. with our plug-in vacuum we had to change filters, remove hair manually from the brush part, etc…we don’t have to do any of that anymore. the canister fills a little more quickly, but it’s so easy to empty that it honestly feels like less of a pain than our previous vacuum! hope that helps!

Gabrielle
5 days ago

Caitlin…..This is so helpful, I see a lot of my favorites, like bar tender friend and Dyson, and new ones I am keen to try like the green machine.
We are setting up a rental/holiday home at the moment and this list is beyond helpful.
Thank you, very thoughtful set up and great tips!

Steph
5 days ago

The back of the door drying rack is crap. I have it and it can barely hold anything. Get a floor dryer. Sucks to take up space but they can hold a ton, plus when they are right in front of your face its easier to remove items.

I used to be the messiest person and the only thing that helps me is that I put everything away as soon as I’m done with it. If I try on something I have to immediately fold it back and put it away. If I take the scissors out I have to put it back in its place. If I don’t put something back where it came from. the item will sit in the same spot I placed it for weeks until I get motivated to pick it up and move it.

Brenna
5 days ago
Reply to  Steph

I think this is one of the big differences between messy people and neat people. I’ve heard the term “clutter blind” used to describe people who just don’t “see” the clutter, so it doesn’t bother them… but I do think that everyone (with the exception of serious hoarders, and that’s a whole different thing) has a line, somewhere, where they feel like it’s just too much mess/clutter. Putting things away, right away, can help all of us avoid ever crossing that line!

Similarly, another tip I’ve heard is that if it takes less than a minute, whatever it is, just do it now. Don’t put something down, thinking you’ll take it into the next room to put it away later when you’re going that direction anyway. Just do it now. Don’t let your breakfast dishes sit until dinner. Just wash them now.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago

“Having a clean house is great — but a clean environment is even better.”
WE CAN HAVE A CLEAN HOUSE AND HELP THE ENVIRONMENT.
(It’s also waaay cheaper and better for our personal health, than buying chemicals)

https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/household-detergent-wipes-tea-environment/
🌏 🌏 🌏

Dena
5 days ago

Former messy person here- exactly like you Caitlin! My first venture years ago into getting and staying organized was to add a key and purse hook and use it everytime!! That was the game changer that made me want more! Next was throwing away junk mail before it even comes in the house and doing a 5 minute clean up everyday so nothing starts piling up! I also have to have systems like rolling up my clothes and
a place to put everything like you do.
Lastly, in the past 10 years the most important next step was getting rid of so much stuff and then being very picky about what I buy along with streamlining my makeup, hair care, cleaning supplies to the very minimum of what I need. And if you end up not liking something give it away instead of putting it in the back of a cabinet. You are way ahead of where I was at your age!

Kat
5 days ago

I recommend using Air Purifying Charcoal Bags. We have a closet in our front hallway for all of our kids shoes and it always just…smelled a little. I started putting a charcoal bag in the closet to absorb the odors and it was a game changer. Even better, it’s not something I need to keep re-purchasing. Every few months I put the charcoal bag in the sunshine and it gets recharged. I’ve been using mine for 2+ years now and it is still one of my favorite secret weapons in the fight against teenage odors. Highly recommend.

Karen
5 days ago
Reply to  Kat

I tuck the charcoal bags under the couch to absorb floor dog odors. I think they work well too!

Lulu
2 days ago
Reply to  Kat

I put mine near the litter box…I think the pair I have is 10 years old and still trucking along.

Alice
5 days ago

I love my hand-held Dustbuster for vacuuming up little messes quickly.

Nina
5 days ago

Great post! I’ll be adding several of these to my cart! A recommendation for mops — I LOVE our Bona floor mops so much. They’re significantly better than Swiffer and make cleaning a breeze.

j
5 days ago

Bar Keepers friend is good but not inexpensive. I discovered that my Bon Ami cleanser generally works as well on metal. Not only is Bon Ami much cheaper it is a great alternative to Ajax because it is not toxic at all and doesn’t scratch.

Allison
5 days ago

Caitlin! I love your posts. “Princess of Piles” might not mean what you think it means! As Brits and other commonwealth citizens might attest, it doesn’t usually mean a heap of clothes, haha. I laughed out loud.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Allison

💩

5 days ago

Throwing it out there that the thrift store is a great place to get lots of boxes/bins/containers on the cheap, plus it’s better for the planet 🙂

Rachel
5 days ago

I’m also a reformed messy person and I laughed because I have most of the things you posted here!

I agree that the key things are:
– you gotta get rid of your stuff so there is only as much stuff as fits your space
– you need to find a home for every single thing in your house, including weird inbetween things like a basket for things that need to be ironed, a basket for things that were left at the house and you need to give back, a basket for clothes ready to go to the charity shop etc. This was the game changer for me so I knew where to keep this type of stuff
– bins,bins, bins – if you are messy you are never going to be able to arrange things neatly but it’s very easy to put things in a labeled bin (and no-one else in the house can claim they don’t know where things go!)

Deb
5 days ago

If you have shedding pets one of the best purchases I have ever made was the rubber broom for fur removal.
You can buy them as low as $13 . It glides over hard surfaces picking up all the hair and dust bunnies.
You can use the rubber nubby side of it on carpets.
I highly recommend it over a regular broom for removing pet hair.

Caro
5 days ago

Exactly the post I needed!! Thank you!
For cleaning products you must check out branch basics. Literally 2 products for all cleaning needs. I use for laundry, bathroom, kitchen counter, tough grout, etc and it’s free of fragrance and chemicals. Truly magic!

Michelle
5 days ago

*sigh* this post was definitely for me lol. Thanks for all the great ideas!

kay
5 days ago

two things baking soda is QUEEN at: glazed cast iron tubs and stainless steel stovetops. Start with a slightly damp surface and a slightly damp cloth. Be generous with your application of B.S.. (haha) just sprinkle it everywhere – it’s cheap and non toxic! Scrub with cloth. Your tub soap scum comes right off (and babies can bathe right after with no worries). And grease on the stovetop is no match. I have tried a lot of different products for these two jobs but nothing compares to the baking soda.

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  kay

Yesss!

Sunny
5 days ago

My new cleaner obsession…after watching more hoarder clean up videos than I am willing to admit to, this is the cleaner that they use to disinfect—75% alcohol (91%) 25% water and two to three drops of Dawn detergent. This is the killer combo of cleaning!!

Ruth
5 days ago

The Green Machine is so useful – I learned, the hard way, that the best way to combat any possibility of musty smell in it is to run water in the sink, and, having emptied the water reservoir in the machine, then suck up clean water from the sink and run it through the machine – this cleans out the hose, not just the reservoir. Makes an amazing difference and takes about 4 minutes.

Nancy
5 days ago

Thanks Caitlin,
So many great suggestions. I really appreciate this post.

Lynne Bateman
5 days ago

I’ve Marie Kondo-ed my life BUT one area I struggle with is storing jumpers. Piles are a disaster and I now use old plastic plant pots and shove jumpers in, but it’s not perfect. You can’t fold and stack because thry don’t stay like that. So I’m looking for a jumper storage solution!

🥰 Rusty
5 days ago
Reply to  Lynne Bateman

I took to hanging mine on padded hangers (you know the handmade ones at craft fairs).

Emily
4 days ago
Reply to  Lynne Bateman

I love storing sweaters in a vintage steamer or cedar trunk. Just make sure it’s clean, maybe pop in a few drops of essential oil or a cedar block (if it’s not already lined with cedar) and put your sweaters in there!

Torey
4 days ago

Ohhhh I love a good cleaning/organization post! Your new ‘systems’ look great Caitilin! I LOVE The Bare Home (https://thebarehome.ca/). Eco-friendly, Canadian based company with a great assortment of soaps, laundry, cleaning products. Their soap bottles look beautiful and the refill stations are so convenient. Highly recommend!

Andrea
4 days ago

You mentioned old gross grout… I have a ton of that too in my rental. The most magical product I’ve ever bought is ‘Polyblend Grout Renew’. It is like paint for grout. An amazing product that made my grout look like new! Check out the customer submitted before and after photos on the Home Depot website. Highly suggest this product.

Geo
4 days ago

Some okay suggestions, but not very environmentally friendly!
Perhaps some more thoughtful examples would be useful?

Karla
3 days ago

That rolling cart is everything! I’ve always preferred a clean house and love a well placed basket for spots that collect piles but was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I just don’t get things done like I used to and found I often had cleaning products sitting in odd spots around the house (my kids are thankfully grown). I bought a rolling cart to house them and now that rolls from room to room. It’s usually out in whatever room I’m working on cleaning but there is a corner in our bedroom for it to be tucked away if we have company.

Chia
2 days ago

Hii, thanks for this post. Where is the wood bench on the left of the photo from? It’s so cute.

Kj
22 hours ago
Reply to  Chia

It was from Target, the Threshold Bayboro Wood Spindle Bench in Natural. Linked in this blog post: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/small-entry-organization-hacks-for-those-of-us-who-are-mudroom-less

Roberta Davis
20 hours ago

I’m going to get some of the Pink Stuff! I think my best tip is that every single thing needs a “home”. Makes it so much easier to just put that thing back in its home without having to think about it.

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