The Secret to a Clean Home – 7 Organizing Solutions

If you are anything like me, you have spent countless minutes looking at the mess around you wondering where to begin. And wondering if it’s worth the effort just to be surrounded by mess all over again. Cleaning is a thankless, never ending job. Sometimes just the thought of picking up one more toy makes you want to weep.

Well, no more! My goal this spring was to clean my house and keep it that way. I started by making a deal with one of my best friends. We would take turns at each others house helping them clean areas that were too overwhelming to start alone. I strongly recommend this!  We only helped each other once, but it was enough to kick our butts in gear!

While this was the start, it isn’t the key to keeping it clean. Are you ready for the secret?

“Everything has a place and everything in its place”

I know you have heard that before! But, guess what? It works! The key to cleaning, and staying clean is easily identifiable organization. If everyone can see where things belong, they can clean up when they are done – even this little ones!

Here are 7 ideas to get you started:

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Picture Labeled Toy Bins

The same friend who was my cleaning buddy suggested this one and it’s genius! I took pictures of each filled bin on my phone and sent them to Walgreens using their app for 1-hour pickup. Then I taped them on. Originally I just put scotch tape on the back, but that didn’t last very long, so I used packing tape to tape over and cover the entire photo. Now the kids can easily see what belongs in each bin and I don’t have to go through and re-organize after they clean!

If you don’t already have bins, you can use any baskets or containers you already have.  Even shoe boxes so they stack would work. You can get shoe box size containers with lids at Dollar Tree.

A Side Note: Before you organize the toys, purge them. This corner was overflowing with toys and I ended up tossing 2 black garbage bags full before I got here.  Don’t keep anything that is missing pieces, too young, or not played with. Donating is a good option if you have toys in good condition. I recommend cleaning this sections when the kids are napping or at school or just out of the house. Mine have asked for very little of what I tossed, but if they saw me tossing I know the tantrums that would have ensued.

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Shoe Tree

I got this one for $20 at BJs. This vertical storage option really frees up my kitchen floor. We had one of those long horizontal ones with the two poles; it was too wide for Little One’s shoes and too thin for Hubby’s. Then it broke, so we used it even less! When I saw this, I knew it was perfect.  It is easy to move to clean around and let me bring the dog dish over to the corner instead of in the hallway to be knocked over when the kids ran around.

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Kitchen Appliance Shelves

That same corner with the shoe tree has a high counter and all this space underneath. The only thing I had under there before was my recycling and step stool (a must-have for us short girls!) As I was trying to brainstorm ways to get appliances off my counter, I realized this space had so much potential! A quick trip to K-Mart later and I had the perfect sized utility shelf for organization. My kitchen is small, so this frees up counter and cabinet space that was overflowing.

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Command Hooks

This was one of the cabinets that had an appliance or two shoved inside. My biggest thing here was the command hooks for my measuring utensils. All of my utensils had the holes on the top, so I found items in the house to use as loops for the ones I had lost and hung them on these handy hooks. {I used a second set next to the door for our keys, we haven’t lost them since!}

I also bought a basket at Dollar General for the Lids (notice the label, even Hubby should be able to put them away neatly). Speaking of baskets, check out my pantry!

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Pantry Baskets

Can you tell I love bins? All of those white ones happen to be left over from under the changing table when my Little One needed diapers, wipes, and all of the other baby things close at hand. I think they came from Big Lots. While doing my bin organization, I got increasingly frustrated with all of the leaking bags of flour, sugars, etc. So I took a trip to Marshalls (or was it TJ Maxx?) for resealable bins. OXO are much cheaper there, and those round ones are an even less expensive off brand that came highly recommended by a fellow shopper – I am glad I took his advice! They work great and are stackable.  Again, I have everything labeled so anyone who is here can find what they need.

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Top of Fridge Storage

When I started organizing, I really tried to look at the places that were being under-utilized. Like under my counter or inside the cabinet door.  This is another one, the top of the fridge.  It sort of became the catch-all for everything I didn’t know what to do with.  After going through and purging the items I really didn’t need, putting seasonal items in the basement with their seasonal bins, and tossing all of the old candy that I kept away from the kids there, I had a nice space! As you can see, I have a bit of a tea obsession, so I organized my teas on a sushi tray that gets little use to easily pull down and find the kind I want. The rest is used for my vases and pitchers, which are useful but not needed often. The dog treats are an added bonus! 🙂

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Paper & Mail Folders

This is one of my favorites. Remember that tall counter I told you about? Well, it used to be my junk counter. It was piled high with papers galore, and I had nowhere better to put them. So, I created somewhere better in another under-utilized place – the wall! These file bins came from Target and the folders were already in the house. I labeled them (are you surprised?) and we were good to go. Now its not perfect, my magazine folder is actually filled with instruction manuals and the To Be Filed folder is about stuffed to capacity, so I really need to get it upstairs and get filing.  But, I have my counter back and I can find what I need when I need it (and so can Hubby!)

 

Once you start organizing, you really can’t stop! I have a list of places I am brainstorming better organization. Does anyone know how to control a linen closet? Or keep a large amount of fruit without spilling all over your counter?

The key things I have learned in keeping organized are:

-Use what you already have. Even with the shoe tree and shelf, I have spent less than $100 on my whole house of organizing.
-Use every space, keep your eyes peeled for under-utilized areas
-Label so anyone who uses it can find it and put it back away easily (pictures are great for kids!)
-Bins & Baskets are awesome!
-You can get supplies pretty much anywhere you shop – I mentioned 7 places in this post alone
-Be Flexible, I really wanted to store my pan lids in vertical slots, but couldn’t find anything that would work. I got a bin instead and it works just fine.

 

Don’t give up! If something doesn’t work the first time, redo it until it does. And remember the key to a clean house:

Everything has a place and everything in its place 🙂

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