The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual deep clean. For many people, however, the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. Cleaning your home from top to bottom may never become effortless, but you can make the project more manageable-and even enjoyable. The printable checklist down below offers an overview of everything you need to know-including information on cleansers, stain removal, fabric care, and storage-to zip through the process.

After you read through the tips and techniques, tailor the list to your home and yard. Whether you prefer to proceed from the attic to the basement or start outdoors and wind your way inside, create a realistic schedule and focus on one task at a time, keeping in mind that a single weekend won’t suffice. You’ll need several days for more involved projects, such as shampooing carpets and organizing closets. And be sure to enlist the help of family members.

The tips below outline basic techniques that will help you clean almost every surface (or object) in any room, leaving your home refreshed from top to bottom.

Related: Top 40 Tips On Organizing Your Whole House

Restock Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you can get to work, you need to make sure you’re stocked with your must-have cleaning supplies. On the natural front, baking soda, white vinegar, and Castile soap are essentials you can use to make natural cleansers for nearly any spot in the house. A microfiber mop, like Libman’s Wonder Mop, makes easy work of cleaning vinyl, wood, linoleum, laminate, marble, stone, and ceramic tile—we like that the Wonder Mop’s head is machine-washable, making it an eco-friendly alternative to most conventional alternatives. Plant-based sponges and a reusable spray bottle also make most cleaning jobs easier. You’ll also want to stock up on your favorite mild dishwashing detergent and all-purpose cleanser, or else make a batch of your favorite DIY solution.

Wipe Walls and Ceilings

Use a vacuum to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface).

Reseal Grout Lines

The cement-based material between wall, floor, and countertop tiles is extremely porous and stains easily. Protect it with a penetrating grout sealer; it’s best to apply it with a small foam brush.

Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs

Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.

Dust Books and Shelves

Take everything off the shelves, and brush them (along with the books) with a feather duster. Use the dust brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. Wipe the spines of leather-bound books with a clean, soft cloth.

Clean Upholstered Furnishings

Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.

Polish Metal Door and Window Hardware

Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are best for heavier work. If the tarnish doesn’t come off, try a stronger product.

Related: 20 Decluttering Tips from Professionals

Dust Your Home Thoroughly

This includes hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of ceiling fans and window casings. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Avoid using dusting sprays.

Wax Wooden Furniture

Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher’s wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let the wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.

Ensure Fire Safety

Change batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), and make sure units are free of dust. Teach everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher, and review escape plans.

Wash Window Screens

Using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush; rinse thoroughly.

Clean Window Treatments

Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry clean fabric shades. Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth; warm water mixed with a mild dish washing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds.

Wax Non-Wood Floors

Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.

20 Easy Decluttering Tips, According To TOP Organizing Experts

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Here’s how to do a quick pick up in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, office, and more with simple techniques that work.

No matter how neat and tidy you naturally are, it’s all too easy for clutter to pile up in your home. There’s mail, books, school supplies, tax forms, and so many other odds and ends — plus, the items you use all the time that never seem to get put away. Fortunately, there are simple ways to stop clutter in its tracks.

If you’re not sure where to start, follow these expert decluttering tips to help you take control of your home. From organizing tips that will help you maximize your space to design hacks that will make everything look more streamlined, these decluttering techniques will change the way you live. And if you really want to overhaul your home, don’t miss my best cleaning tips of all time.

Declutter Your Kitchen

Messes materialize fast in the heart of your home. Keep it clean and tidy (until your kids roll through) with some pro advice.

 

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Expand Cabinet Storage

When it comes to the kitchen, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Make the most of your cabinet space — no matter how small — with a quick DIY project. “Mount a rack on the back of a cabinet or pantry door, or try a roll-out rack in a lower cupboard to amp up cabinet space,” recommends organizing expert Alejandra Costello.

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Use Up Wall Space

“Bulky pots and pans can quickly gobble up valuable cabinet space,” says Alison Victoria, host of HGTV’s Kitchen Crashers. “Be like Julia Child and put them on display — just hang them from S-hooks on a pegboard or from a suspended pot rack.” Now, go and be like Julia Child!

 

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Declutter Your Bathroom

At this point, your bathroom practically has as many products as a Target beauty aisle. There are the scattered cotton pads, expired mascara tubes, an assortment of toilet bowl cleaners, just to name a few. That ends now.

Toss Expired Products

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When was the last time you checked the expiration date on a bottle of sunscreen? Exactly. “Take 20 minutes every three months to pull everything out of your bathroom cabinets and check expiration dates. Throw out all expired products and items that you just don’t like,” says Susan Santoro, owner of Organized 31.

Keep Towels on Hand
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If you’re short on closet space, then bring your everyday linens right into the bathroom. Stuff decorative wicker baskets with bath towels for a practical yet stylish accent.

 

Amp Up Under-the-Sink Storage
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Instead of filling up your precious vanity space, take advantage of the space below the sink with labeled baskets, bins, or stackable plastic drawers. Decide what’s worth keeping by following HGTV and DIY Network’s Matt Muenster’s trick: “Tuck everything away out of sight and watch what builds up over the next two to three days. Those items are worth keeping in an easy-to-reach spot. Everything else should be packed away.”

Declutter Your Bedroom

Your bedroom should be your place of zen. After following these genius tips, it can be. *Breathes a sigh of relief.*

 

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Hide a Hamper

Place a basket underneath an open bedside table to create an undercover drop spot for laundry or throw pillows.

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Think Below the Bed

If you’re tight on closet space, under-the-bed storage works wonders. Store any out of season clothes or accessories in space-saving vacuum storage bags or foldable fabric storage. Before storing any apparel, toss any that has rips, stains, or pulls.

 

Declutter Your Office

A cluttered desk and a cluttered mind go hand in hand. Make your office space productive again by listening to the experts.

 

Follow the Rule of Three

Open shelves are great in theory — until you fill ’em with knick-knacks, and straight-up clutter. “Restrict non-book items to a maximum of three per shelf,” says Melissa Picheny, founder of declutter+design. “Their sizes and shapes can vary, but relate the pieces by color or theme — say, ceramic vases in shades of cream.”

 

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Leave Room to Grow

If you fill your bookshelf to the brim, then you won’t have any room to continue growing your collection. Good point, huh? “The goal is to leave at least 10% of each shelf bare and book-free,” explains Justin Klonsky, author of Organize & Create Discipline. “Before filling bookshelves, do a side-by-side comparison, ask yourself: If I could keep only one of these two volumes, which would it be?” (Remember, you can store everything else on an e-reader.)

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Detangle Cords and Cables

Between chargers, lamp cords, and laptop wires, your desk can quickly become a maze. Secure wires in a cable box, which keeps things tidy, or install a shelf with cable “ports.” You can also use decorative washi tape to label cords for easier use.

 

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Declutter Your Living Room

You live here — and it sure looks like it. Give your living space a warm, cozy, and functional feel with these decluttering tips.

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Clear the Coffee Table

Coffee tables are the focal point of most living rooms. As tempting as it may be to cover it with books, candles, and flowers, prop stylist Stephanie Hanes recommends you keep it as clear as possible. “To give the illusion that a room is a clutter-free, the top of the coffee table should be 75% clear. Styles with drawers or shelves below the surface will get you there fast,” she says.

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Create Good Flow

“It’s not as much about where you put your furniture as it is about the types of pieces you choose. In each room I design, I try
to include at least one round piece, such as a coffee table, that people can walk around without bumping their knees,” says interior designer Katie Rosenfeld. She also recommends filling the space with versatile pieces like an ottoman, which can be used to sit or to hold a drink.

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Make It Guest-Friendly

“Corral smaller items — vases, candles, and decorative accents — on a handled tray that’s easy to relocate when company’s coming,” says KlonskyThat way you can quickly sweep away excess clutter in a snap before they arrive — because we’re clearly more inclined to clean our house for guests rather than ourselves.

 

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Pair Pillows by Color

Whatever you do, don’t go overboard on the throw pillows. “Stick to a trio in complementary colors and patterns — always have at least one solid — for most sofas,” says Picheny. A massive couch, however, can handle five pillows — two solids, three patterned.

 

 

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Top 40 Tips On Organizing Your Home

The Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home – Part 2

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PART 2: Room-by-Room Decluttering & Organizing Tips

Now that you have the tools you need to tackle any decluttering project in your home, you are ready for our ridiculously thorough, room-by-room decluttering tips. Decluttering room-by-room is the most efficient way to declutter and organize your home. And you will feel a sense of accomplishment as you complete each room!

How to Organize & Declutter Your Bedrooms

Bedrooms often become dumping grounds for stuff that doesn’t have a home in your house. When you think about it, you don’t really need more than a bed, a nightstand or two, storage for clothes, shoes, and perhaps a home for jewelry and makeup.

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Start by Decluttering the Bedroom Drawers

Take everything out of the drawers and ask yourself the following questions about each item:

  1. Does it belong in the bedroom?
  2. Have you used it in the last year?

Did you answer, “No,” to either of those questions? If so, then put it in your “Get Rid of It” bin or move it to the room where it belongs.

When you are ready to place items back into the drawers try adding dividers or small containers so you can store like things together.

Bedroom Decluttering Tip: You don’t have to go to the store to buy something. You can use small gift boxes, shoe boxes, cereal boxes, or repurpose plastic containers to hold the items in the drawer. Get creative – perhaps you won’t have to send as many things to the landfill at the end of the day!

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Keep Flat Surfaces in the Bedroom Clear

Or at least keep them almost clear. Moderation is key here. It’s ok to have a few decorations, a lamp, or pictures on your dresser or nightstand tops, but try to limit each surface in the bedroom to less than five things. When you have fewer things cluttering the flat surfaces in your bedroom, space will feel more calming and peaceful.

Use Storage Bins for Kids’ Toys, Seasonal Items or Things You Use Infrequently

Let’s face it, not everything can be tucked away behind a closed door – closets are valuable real estate in a house, so some items like kids’ toys or seasonal clothing/bedding need to go somewhere else.

Kids’ toys can live in baskets, toy chests, or even shelves in a bedroom. If you find yourself running out of space for toys, it’s probably time to donate those toys that were a hit for a few weeks but no longer get much attention.

Seasonal clothing, bedding, or decorations can be easily stored in plastic or cloth bins that fit under the bed or in a closet. Space-saver bags or even comforter bags are also an option if you’re looking to get bulky items into a smaller space.

 

How to Clean Your Closet Clutter

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I have some good news: decluttering your closet is therapeutic. The process of going through clothes, shoes, and other long-forgotten belongings will help you cleanse your house and your mind of any emotional baggage that may be connected to these items. Be sure you keep your three bins nearby for this task as you follow these three ways to declutter your closet:

Declutter Your Closet From the Bottom Up

Your instinct will be to start from the top with the things that are hanging, but cleaning up and cleaning out the mess at the bottom of the closet is the better way to go. Not only will you free up space in which to work, but you will feel like you’re halfway done in no time!

Get Rid of Clothes and Shoes

In case you glossed over the section earlier in the guide where I discussed the 80/20 rule, I’ll reiterate. We typically wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time, which means you should have a significant amount of clothing you can purge. Ask yourself these questions about each item if you’re having trouble deciding which items you should pitch:

  1. Does it fit?
  2. Is it damaged? (stained, torn, faded)
  3. Has it been worn in the past year?

If you answered, “No,” to any of those questions, I strongly urge you to add the item to your “Get Rid of It” bin. If you have something that is sentimental or seasonal that you don’t wear often, put it in your storage bin and free up some space in your closet. The same goes for shoes.

Since I’m sure you will keep at least a few things that you probably should get rid of, even after this exercise (I know I did), try the “backward hanger” trick over the course of the next year to weed out any more items that can free up space in your closet. Start the year with the hangers’ tips all facing the front of the closet (backward). After you wear something, put it back in the closet with the hanger facing the back. At the end of the year, you’ll be able to easily identify the clothes that just aren’t worth keeping anymore.

Clean Up Closet Shelves

Remove everything from your closet shelves, wipe down the shelves, and then get rid of anything that isn’t adding value to your life. Avoid stacking clothing on shelves and storing stuff on shelves that can get buried under hanging clothes. Aside from items you store in containers, you should be able to see everything in your closet without moving too much. Boxes and bins are recommended for storing smaller items on your closet shelves.

If you are decluttering a closet that you don’t use to store clothing, it can be really tempting to stack everything in there like a beautiful game of Tetris. Don’t do it. Consider adding more shelving above things that you may keep at the bottom, like a vacuum cleaner or storage bins. You can also add hooks inside the door for brooms, mops, and dustpans.

Cleaning up your closets is guaranteed to improve your quality of life! Seriously, it’s the little things. You’ll save time when you no longer have to look and search for items you ‘could have sworn were in there.’ You’ll make room for new belongings that bring you more joy. And you won’t risk something falling on you the next time you open a closet door.

How to Declutter Your Home Office or Workspace

Does your home office or workspace look like it was hit by a tornado? Have no fear; our tips will help with the disaster cleanup. And as an added bonus, organizing your home office can actually make you more productive!

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Go Through Paper Items

For most people, office clutter consists of piles of bills, important documents, semi-important documents, receipts, and other pieces of paper you “intended” to get to. When cleaning up an office or workspace, it’s best to start with the papers. Cleaning up the paper mess is likely half the battle!

The best way to start organizing your office is to sort papers into three piles: File, To-do, and Trash. Once you have everything sorted, throw the trash pile in the trash or shred the papers, file the papers you need to keep, and put your to-do pile in a basket or special file so you can address it when you’ve cleaned up your office space.

Here are some other tips for decluttering stacks of papers in your home office:

  • Scan important documents and receipts to make a digital record, then shred and throw away the paper if you don’t need a physical copy lying around.
  • Older paper files, such as taxes can be stored in a plastic bin and kept in your basement, garage, or another space for things you don’t need to access often.
  • Designate a space for important mail or paper documents that you need to act on soon, or for future incoming paper documents – this way you’ll have a place to put them when you get them.
  • When you’re filing paperwork, don’t forget the most important file: the circular file.

Clear Off Your Desk

Challenge yourself to remove most items from your office desk, aside from your computer, a lamp, and a few other essentials. Only keep items on your desk that you use frequently. Whenever possible you should store office supplies in drawers – tabletop organizers can easily get messy. A few knickknacks are OK, but don’t overdo it!

Clean Out and Organize Drawers

Do your office drawers look like piles of junk when you open them up? We have three simple steps to help you make sense of your office supplies:

  1. Take everything out of the office drawers.
  2. Get rid of the excess. If you have more than you actually need in the next year, then get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in six months, you should probably get rid of it.
  3. Organize like-things together and avoid a lot of free-floating objects in a drawer when you put your office supplies back in. There are drawer organizers you can purchase or you can use small boxes or containers you already have.

Tame Your Cords

While not essential for organizing your home office, wrangling in your cords will help you achieve the clean, crisp look you will want to have in every room of your house. A simple search online will present a myriad of cord management products made for tying up and taming cords. You can also use a few of these clever cord hacks:

  • Label cords with washi tape, so it’s easier to tell what cord goes with each device.
  • Hold cords that are frequently unplugged up on your desk with binder clips.
  • Use twist-ties or rubber bands to tie up excess cables – it’s not fancy, but it’s effective!

 

How to Declutter Your Kitchen

You probably use your kitchen more than any other room in the house, and, if you cook even semi-regularly, you likely have a lot of stuff in it. Utensils, cookware, small appliances, food, spices, and more likely leave little space in your kitchen cabinets, drawers, and countertops. We want to help you take back your kitchen from clutter! Our kitchen decluttering tips will make this space more enjoyable and hopefully make cooking less stressful.

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Start by Decluttering Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen counters are clutter-magnets in most homes, so this is a great first step for anyone looking to declutter their kitchens. This small, two-step project will look and feel big when you are done!

Step 1: Clear everything off your kitchen counters except 3-5 essential items (such as a coffee maker or knife block). You can put the counter clutter on the kitchen table or on the floor, but get the stuff off the counter.

Step 2: Put away or find another home for everything you cleared off the counter. If you’re left with a lot of papers or junk mail, trash them or move items that need to be addressed to your office or workspace.

This is a project that only takes a few minutes unless you have piles of things in your kitchen, in which case you may need an hour. Either way, it will feel like a NEW kitchen when you are done!

Divide the Kitchen into Zones

We recommend decluttering one section of your kitchen at a time to avoid a potentially bigger mess. Assigning zones can also help you improve the organization of your kitchen things.

  • Identify space near the stove for cooking utensils, pots, and pans. These items should be conveniently located near where you cook.
  • Unless you bake every day, store your baking supplies away in a cabinet or on a shelf – if you have a mixer on your countertop try to corral your baking supplies near it.
  • Storage bags cling wrap, aluminum foil, and similar items should get their own zone, as well as cleaning supplies.

Purge and Relocate

As you start to declutter your kitchen, consider throwing away or donating any items you come across that haven’t been touched in a year. When you decide to keep an item you use infrequently, you may want to put it away in storage in another part of your home, especially if you’re low on real estate in your kitchen. And be sure to move anything you come across that belongs in another zone to its new home.

Small Appliances: If you use that food dehydrator or deep fryer maybe once a year, you should put it in your “Get Rid of It” bin. Inventory all of the small appliances you have and only keep what you really use. Appliances that do multiple things tend to be keepers.

Plastic Storage Containers: If you’re hoarding enough plastic storage containers to open your own take-out restaurant, it’s time to purge. Start with the lids – there always seem to be fewer lids than bottoms in my house. Match each lid up to a bottom. If you have any stragglers you can get rid of them. You can keep some spare containers to accommodate occasions when you may need more plastic storage containers, but you should consider keeping them in the basement or somewhere outside the kitchen.

Pots & Pans: Chances are you only have so many burners on your stove that you can use at once, so you may not truly need all of the pots, pans, cookie sheets, and whatever else you have. Unless it serves a special purpose, and you use it frequently, duplicate pots and pans should get donated. When was the last time you used your wok?

Pro Tip for Decluttering Kitchen Cabinets: Install hooks along with the backsplash or underneath cabinets so you can hang pots and pans instead of storing them in your kitchen cabinets.

We know it can be tough to part with a lot of the items in your kitchen, but simple is simply better when you’re trying to limit the chaos in this high-traffic space. If you’re unsure about getting rid of some of your kitchen tools, try storing them away in a box and see if you really need them over the course of the next year. If not, take that box straight to Goodwill!

How to Declutter & Organize Your Bathrooms

We’ll cut straight to the chase with bathrooms. Decluttering a bathroom mainly requires purging and organizing the items that consume your countertops, shelves, and drawers. You will probably be surprised not only by what you have but how much you have of some items as you go through everything.

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Follow this simple four-step process for decluttering your bathrooms:

  1. Pull all of your stuff out of the bathroom closets and drawers. Some experts recommend decluttering multiple bathrooms at once so you really get an idea of how much excess you have – you may have enough soap to last you for a year and a half and not even know it. However, you decide to do it, clear off countertops, empty drawers, and completely clean out linen closets in or near your bathrooms.
  2. Put like things together. This is an important step in organizing your bathroom clutter. Make piles for medicine, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, makeup, etc… so you can see exactly what you have cluttering up your bathroom.
  3. Throw away or plan to donate the excess. Often times we have multiple bottles or boxes of half-used stuff in our bathrooms. For multiples of the same thing, combine them, and clear out some empty bottles or packaging. In the case where you are holding onto something that only has a little left, give yourself a month to use it – if you don’t use it throw it away. Do you have more towels than you will use in a month? You may want to donate excess towels to a local animal shelter. And if you are holding on to something (a gift perhaps) that you never really liked, you should pull the trigger and get rid of it.
  4. Put your bathroom back together, but keep it organized. Dividers, drawer organizers, small boxes, and baskets are essential for bathroom organization. With a lot of small items floating around in your bathroom, you don’t want to have to dig through a drawer to find that one thing you need, especially when you are getting ready in the morning. Organizing your bathroom clutter doesn’t have to cost you money either. Look for small boxes or plastic containers around the house that you can repurpose into drawer organizers.

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Similar to other spaces in your house, your goal is to remove as many items from bathroom countertops as possible. If you have items you use daily, organize them neatly on a tray, or put them in an easily accessible drawer or on a shelf.

How to Declutter Your Laundry Room

Everyone’s laundry room is different so our advice for decluttering your laundry room is less specific. Some people have their washing machine and dryer in an unfinished basement or a mudroom off of their garage, and a lucky few have their washer and dryer on the second story, closest to where all the clothes generally live. All of these different laundry room setups create many more possible scenarios for laundry room clutter, which makes it a little challenging to offer specific advice.

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No matter what clutter plagues your laundry room and what other uses your laundry area has, follow these laundry rooms declutter guidelines:

  • Get rid of what you don’t need in your laundry room.
  • Organize what you keep with baskets, well-labeled bins, and sturdy shelving.
  • Keep clothes off the laundry room floor.
  • Try storing detergent and fabric softener in glass jars or beverage dispensers to improve the aesthetic when this space is highly visible or in a high-traffic part of your home.
  • And avoid storing items on top of the washing machine and dryer – remember the declutter mantra: “Keep flat surfaces clean.”

If you have questions about how to better remove clutter from your laundry room or a particular challenge in this space, drop us a note in the comments and we’ll help you out!

 

How to Declutter Your Living Room

There is one thing that everyone intends to do in their family room or living room: Relax. It can be difficult to really relax and unwind when this space is cluttered with toys, books, wires, blankets, magazines, and more. Nothing feels as good as a sitting down to enjoy family, friends, or entertainment in a clean and organized room. If you’re in need of a family room or living room refresh, follow these living room organization tips to curb the clutter so you can truly relax at home.

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Remove Clutter That Doesn’t Belong

A lot of things tend to end up in this frequently used space in your home. Start by removing any items that have lost their way and belong in another room. Look for toys that belong in your kids’ rooms, mail, or magazines that belong in the office and glasses or dishware that may not have made it back to the kitchen yet.

Add More Storage

You may find yourself with an overabundance of blankets, toys, video games, and more that DO belong in this space. Here are some simple storage solutions that will help you declutter your living room by finding a new home for the clutter.

  • Add baskets to hold frequently used toys and blankets.
  • Add shelving for video games, DVDs, and other media that are prone to sitting out in the open.
  • Look for furniture/storage combos such as storage ottomans and trunks to store anything you don’t want out in the open. There are even some couches and loungers that double as storage.
  • Add other furniture that doubles as storage space such as a credenza below the TV or a behind-the-couch chest.

Un-Decorate

It is possible you simply have too many things in your family room or living room, which is making it feel cluttered and overcrowded? Try pruning back the pillows, hanging pictures, and adding floating shelves to the walls to remove pictures or collectibles that are crowding your tabletops.

Donate or Sell

Be sure to address your books, CDs, DVDs, and other entertainment by donating or selling anything that is no longer a staple in your collection. If you can convert your music and movies to digital format, you can free up a lot of valuable real estate in your family room without having to part with something you would otherwise keep. Get rid of any broken or unused toys, tchotchkes, remote controls, and anything else that has lost its usefulness.

Wrangle the Wires

A mess of wires from your entertainment center is an eyesore that adds visual clutter in your family room or living room. There are countless products these days to help you tie up and hide your cables, but here are a few other tips for cord management:

  • Use cords and cables that aren’t excessively long – you don’t want to have to tie up 20 feet of coaxial cable!
  • Choose furniture that will cover up the cords if you don’t want to go to the trouble of feeding them into the wall (though you may be surprised at how simple that can be in some cases).
  • Store your mess of cords in a container that matches your room décor.
  • You may also be able to conceal some cords around your room with an area rug. There’s no getting rid of the cords in most cases, so we’re OK with hiding them in clever ways!

After you finish decluttering your family room and/or living room, be sure to let us know how it feels to sit down in your new Zen den after a long day!

How to Declutter & Organize Your Basement or Attic

Clutter can live forever when it is banished to a basement or attic. Again, the old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” comes to mind as we easily forget about the things we have stored in these spaces. You probably have possessions you haven’t seen in years…decades, even. If you’re holding on to items because you think you might use them later, it’s time to get real about clutter. Yeah, you might use it one day, but if you haven’t used it in the last five years or more, I’d wager the odds of you putting these long-forgotten items to use are slim to none.

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You should put aside a good chunk of time for addressing basement or attic clutter – these typically aren’t 15 minute or hour-long projects. You may want to enlist some friends to help if you have a lot to carry or move up or downstairs.

Follow These 6 Steps to Clean and Organize Your Basement or Attic

We break down basement and attic decluttering into six manageable steps to help you avoid getting overwhelmed:

  1. Divide your basement or attic into zones. It is important to work in one area of your attic or basement at a time. Start with a set of shelves, a stack of boxes, seasonal decorations, or old kids’ clothes and toys.
  2. Take everything out of the zone. If you’re tackling shelves, clear the shelves. If you’re working through boxes or bins, empty the bins. Don’t move onto another zone until you completely finish the current zone.
  3. Sort everything into two bins. Since you’re working on a space that is generally used for storage, you can remove one of the bins and just focus on keeping or getting rid of the items you find. If you find things you intend to fix, you may want to create a separate pile for items that can be fixed affordably, but give yourself a deadline for fixing them. If you don’t get them fixed by the deadline, donate the items, or throw them away.
  4. Move the items you are not keeping outside the house. Before you start putting away the things you are keeping, move the things you’ve chosen to part with the outside of the house. Put them directly into the trash or dumpster if you are throwing them away. If you are donating or selling them, you should put the items in the vehicle you will use to drop them off, or keep them on a porch or in your garage until they can be picked up.
  5. Keep like things together. This organizational tip applies just as much to decluttering your basement as it does your bathroom. It will greatly improve your ability to find and access items when you do need them later. Do you have more ornaments than you can fit on a tree? Try sorting the ornaments by color. Next year when you go to decorate the tree you won’t have to move as many boxes!
  6. Label boxes and bins. As you put everything back that you are keeping into boxes and bins, be sure to clearly label the contents. If you don’t want to write directly on the bin, you can tape a paper list to the front of it so you have a visible inventory of what’s inside. Or you can use a label maker to add semi-permanent, removable labels. If you use clear bins you can more easily see what is inside.

 

How to Declutter & Organize Your Messy Garage

Garages allow things like old sporting equipment, tools that have been long-forgotten, old kids’ toys, half-complete DIY projects, rusty car parts, storage boxes, and more to hang around like a bad cold. This is another challenging space to declutter – challenging, but not impossible! From my experience, this is where most of the items that make you think you might use or need one day end up. I’ve got news for you: If you haven’t used it in the past five years, the chances are high you will never use or need it.

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The following pointers will help you declutter your garage so you can actually use it for parking a car or two. We recommend planning this project for a weekend with good weather so you can pull EVERYTHING out and sort through it before putting anything back in.

Tips for Decluttering Your Garage

  1. Take everything out. There may be a few extreme cases where this isn’t possible, but you will have the most success if you start by completely clearing out your garage space.
  2. Sort through your finds, putting like things together. This is the most important step as you work to free up some space in your garage. Put all of the tools together, the sporting equipment together, the gardening tools, the hardware, etc. But don’t put them back in the garage yet.
  3. Purge. If you have duplicates that you don’t expect to use in the next five years, get rid of them! If you are holding on to worn or damaged anything, you should probably say goodbye to it too. That one tool, that did only one thing that one time – sell it or give it to a friend.
  4. Organize. After you have sorted through all of the items in your garage and decided on the things you are going to keep, you need to plan how you intend to store everything to maximize your space. This may require purchasing more storage bins, a tool cabinet, or pegboard. You may also need to install some sturdy shelving. When possible, try to create storage space in your garage that is up and off the ground to maximize space. Be sure to clearly label everything to identify the contents, so you can find things easily later. Check out this post for more garage storage ideas.
  5. Rent extra storage space. This garage decluttering tip may feel like cheating, but it’s a very practical move. If you still have a lot of items you want to keep after decluttering your garage, but don’t have the space for them, consider moving some things to a local storage unit to free up space around your house.

 

PART 3: How to Declutter Your Home for Good

Trust me, after you spend the time removing clutter from your house, it will be easy to let it back in due to all the excess room!

Prevent the clutter in your home from returning in the future with these four simple tips:

  1. Don’t allow potential clutter into the house in the first place: Before you purchase or acquire anything new, ask yourself, “Do I really need it?” and “Where will I keep it?” If you don’t have an immediate answer to those two questions, don’t bring it home.
  2. Declutter a little each day: Deal with mail, clothes, toys, and other common clutter a little each day. Set aside 20 minutes a day and you’ll avoid having to find hours to clean up messes in the future. If you build this time into your daily routine, you are likely to have greater success. If daily isn’t doable, plan a weekly declutter sweep, and be sure to give yourself enough time.
  3. Use the one in, one out rule: Whenever you bring something new home, you have to throw out or donate something else. You can even implement this room-by-room – it will make you think about where you will keep this new thing.
  4. Don’t buy. Rent or borrow: If you need something only once in a blue moon, consider renting or borrowing it. When it comes to books and videos, the library is a great resource, or you can opt for digital versions, which take up far less space!

Download this planner for your daily needs for FREE!  You can print several and put them into a planner!

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How To Remove Your Visual Clutter

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Get rid of your visual clutter so you can live a happier more peaceful life!

Today I read a powerful article about the link between cleanliness and personal happiness or peace.  I am pretty sure we all know there’s a link.  I know if my home is cluttered, I feel like I can’t breathe well (not literally) but I feel so overwhelmed, and down.  The moment it’s clean, I’m happy and so is my family.  In the article, they mentioned “Women who described their living spaces as “cluttered” or full of “unfinished projects” were more likely to be depressed and fatigued than women who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative.” The researchers also found that women with cluttered homes expressed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

It makes sense to me!  So let’s concentrate on HOW to organize and unclutter our home!  I want to go through a quick visual clutter guide.  I think this will be helpful.  Most of us have a hard time knowing where to start so let’s start with containers!  In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.  So let us concentrate more on the visual clutter and what to do about it.

 

Get containers

Get containers or jars for the things in your pantry and things, it helps reduce the visual clutter really well!  The boxes and things at the store were never meant to fit neatly in your pantry. It doesn’t matter if you chose different shapes and sizes or uniformed containers and jars, it will make your shelves and your countertops look so much nicer and most of the time it makes it easier to use the products!  If you go with clear containers and jars you can see how much of the product you have left and if you need more!  Anyone else ever has 3 different packs of facial cotton pads unopen in the cabinet because they couldn’t remember how much they had left? Just me?

The Pantry

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One of the added benefits of transferring your items into containers and jars is that you won’t have to fill your cabinets and pantries with the unsightly stacks of pasta boxes.  Dry goods are great for these containers and jars!  Rice, beans, and things like that because they are long-lasting, just be sure you get an airtight container. Also, do the same for all your baking needs, like flour, and sugar because you can easily put your measuring cups inside!  If you have anything with an expiration date that you’re transferring into a container or jar, be sure you place the date on it, you can get chalkboard stickers to write that on, that’s an easy to update method!

The Laundry room

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You probably don’t think it’s worth transferring laundry products into jars but once you see how nice laundry pods and dryer sheets look in clear containers you’ll think differently!  Just be sure that all of these products are out of reach of young children and pets.

The Refridgerator

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The door on the fridge can get way too overcrowded with odd-sized bottles and jars, transfer the most frequently used items like salad dressings, condiments, into a squeezable bottle to make it easier to store them side by side and use every last drop of your favorite dressing!  Use a label maker to mark what’s inside each one and the expiration date.  Plus, You can put your olive oil and vinegar in a squeeze bottle to make it easy to drizzle over pasta and other dishes without the mess!

 

We will go through more of these visual clutter tips this week!

 

Night Cleaning with a FREE planner!

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This 20 – 25 -minute cleaning routine has changed my life. I no longer have to spend hours cleaning on the weekends, and I get to wake up to a clean and tidy home each and every morning. (Which keeps me grounded.)

If this seems overwhelming to you, I get it. Starting a new habit is all about baby steps, so just do ONE thing from this list each day until it becomes an easy habit, then add another. Before you know it, this entire checklist will be a habit that you don’t even think twice about!

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So, click HERE to download your FREE copy of my Night Time Cleaning Checklist and give it a try for yourself!

The most important part of implementing any new habit or routine is your state of mind. Remind yourself that you are doing this for YOURSELF. This is about your happiness and your peace of mind. You are not cleaning up after people, you are cleaning for you and only for you. You deserve to wake up to a clean and tidy house.

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7 Japanese House Cleaning Hacks, That You’ll Want to Copy NOW!

Cleaning can be stressful!

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Between work, kids and other responsibilities, tidying your home can be the very last thing on your mind.

Because of our busy lives, we often find ourselves living in cluttered and disorganized living conditions.

Luckily, Marie Kondo, Japanese professional organizer and author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has swept the world (no pun intended!) with her simple yet very effective “KonMari” method for cleaning your home from top to bottom with minimal effort. 

If you would like to know what these secrets entail, keep scrolling below to check them out.


Japanese Cleaning Tips

Japanese cleaning secrets that will make your life easier.

 

1. Discard what doesn’t bring you joy.

Simply putting things away makes us think that our clutter problem has been solved. However sooner or later the clutter begins to pile up and we are eventually left with even less space and more frustration.

That’s why the first step to maintaining a clean and organized home starts with discarding things that we don’t really want or need.

To make the discarding process easier, Kondo suggests taking each item and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does keep it if it doesn’t throw it away. 

 

2. Tidy by category instead of by room. 

When you begin your discarding process, Kondo recommends thinking of your clutter in terms of categories instead of by room.

For example, the category you would like to declutter first would be “clothes”. So you would gather all of the clothes in your house and place them in one spot. You will take each individual garment and ask, “Does this spark joy?” and thus begin the separation of things you will keep or toss.

By doing this, it allows you to quietly dispose of junk without disrupting your family as well as simplifies the process of tidying up.

 

3. Fold items vertically. 

Fold your clothes vertically in your dresser to save space and prevent clutter.

Via One Kings Lane

According to Kondo, you should always try your best to fold what you can hang. In other words, instead of hanging sweaters and shirts, it’s better to fold and place them in your clothing drawer.

Similar to how the spines of books are displayed, she also recommends folding items vertically and placing them side by side instead of stacking on top of each other.

This makes it easier to view and select clothes without making a mess.

4. Show deep appreciation for your belongings. 

For the Japanese, many share a cultural belief that items in the home have a soul.

With this in mind, Kondo suggests “thanking” items for their hard work and service before discarding them. This provides one with a deeper appreciation and a little closure before tossing items you no longer need.

 

5. Dedicate a whole day to cleaning. 

When deciding to declutter your home, you want to set up a single day for the entire process. Deciding to split your cleaning into separate days may cause your cleaning efforts to be ineffective and go on longer than required.

 

6. Shoeboxes are the best organizers. 

Via The Kitchen

Shoeboxes are an item that’s found readily available in anyone’s home. Kondo believes that these are the perfect organizers and should be repurposed as such.

7. Live in the present. 

When you begin to discard items, do not get attached to the memories. “Cherish who you are are now,” says Kondo. In the end, you want to want to keep things that you love and get rid of things that you have “just because”. The purpose of decluttering this way is that in the end you are only surrounded by things that “spark joy” and truly makes you happy.

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7 Ways to Keep Your Home Tidy Every Day!

Often times people tell me that they can’t tidy up every day, they’re too busy, it’s too much, etc.  Marie Kondo has a lot of amazing tips for us to use on a daily basis, she’s helped many people worldwide learn how to tackle their unorganized homes. 

My mother raised us with nearly this exact list.  She is very OCD about keeping things tidy, in order and simply kept up with.  She hates a mess. 

If you don’t have a lot of time, follow these steps every day!  

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Tidy Every Day!

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Task 1: Make your bed

While making your bed each day might sound like a tedious task, you’ll be surprised at how tidy your room will look with a made bed. As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, take the time to make your bed.

 

Task 2: Do a morning tidy

Marie Kondo believes that one of the secrets to a tidy home is tidying first thing in the morning. By doing a quick tidy in the morning, you are starting your day off on the right foot! Choose a trouble spot in your home, and start by tidying this area first thing in the morning.

 

Task 3: Let in some fresh air

Our homes can sometimes feel stuffy, especially in the winter months when we are spending more time indoors. Open up the windows for a few minutes to let in a fresh breeze.

 

Task 4: Put things back where they belong when you’re done using them

As our days go on, we may find ourselves bringing out pots, pans, clothes, and other belongings to use. As soon as you’re done using these items, remember to put them back where they belong.

 

Task 5: Fold your clothes

Marie Kondo believes that the best way to store clothes is by using her folding method. This method takes a little bit of extra time but has a great payoff! If you are doing a load of laundry today, take the time to fold your clothes.

 

Task 6: Make sure everything in your home has a home

If you are finding that items in your home are constantly out of place, this might be because these items don’t really have a home. Take time to find a home for these items. If you find that something you’ve stored doesn’t work well for you, take the time to change it.

 

Task 7: Tidy in the evening

Before you go to bed or prepare for bed each night Marie Kondo suggests making one last tidying effort for the day. This might be as simple as making sure the toys are put away or tidying up your counters from dinner. Take this time to clean up your home so that you can have a fresh start in the morning.

This really does wonders for your mood in the morning to come!  Try it out!  

 

Do you follow any of these?  

4 CATASTROPHIC ORGANIZING MISTAKES YOU’RE MAKING (THAT ARE BREEDING CLUTTER)

Are you making these four catastrophic organizing mistakes?

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Most of us are surrounded by clutter. We didn’t intend to be surrounded by clutter. It just sort of happened. I also think it’s fair to say that when we were little, none of us thought, “I want to grow up to have a messy, disorganized house!” Yet here we are. Our wildest dreams have not come true.

There are myriad reasons most of us struggle with keeping our homes clean and organized. Here are four you may not have thought of. (See if these pitfalls have happened to you and learn how to avoid them!

Four Fatal Organizing Mistakes You’re Making

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  1. Not dealing with paper as soon as it comes into the house.

Papers, oh the number of papers we get nearly on a daily basis, from schools, the mail, work.  It’s like a government conspiracy to fill our homes with paper! Maybe they are secretly subsidizing the lumber industry and encouraging the proliferation of paper. Whatever the cause, it has to go and it has to go AS SOON as we bring it inside.

I go through my children’s backpacks every day we choose papers that we’d like to hang up (A+ Spelling and Math tests and things of that sort, the rest gets put in the recycling bin, with the mail just walk straight to the recycle bin before you even set a single piece of mail down. Go through the mail and throw all the ads, coupons, and other items you don’t need or want in the bin. (There is no need to keep all those coupons you get, no matter how enticing they might seem. If you are an avowed extreme couponer and have a system for keeping all your coupons under control, then you can keep them. Otherwise, put them in the recycle bin immediately. You can always grab them out again if you REALLY need new windows or a $1.00 taco).

Then all the other papers that need attention (bills, payments, etc.), put them all in ONE place (preferably a plastic see-through folder). This way you will be reminded of what you need to do, and you won’t have to go searching for these important papers, nor will they clutter up your desk or counter.

2. Only throwing out what you don’t like.

Sounds counter-intuitive, right? After all, we should throw out things we don’t like. But what about all the things we sort of like? What about all the things we don’t care about? Consider that a great deal of your clutter consists of these things that would fall into the “maybe” pile if you were to sit down and go through all of them. Instead, we should focus on what we do like, and what we like a lot. In fact, we should only keep the things we love. Can you see how drastically this would cut down on your clutter? Imagine how amazing it would be to only have things that you loved! The next time you declutter, take everything into your hands and see how you feel about it. If you love it, keep it. If not, get rid of it. Somebody else will like it better than you.

3. Thinking too much.

“My Dad gave this to me.”

“I used to love this!”

“After I lose a little weight I’ll wear this.”

“What if I need it for the zombie apocalypse?”

A huge part of our clutter problem stems from our emotional attachment to things, feelings of guilt, and our unrealistic, almost desperate thoughts of “I might need this later.” Here’s the thing. None of these are good reasons. These stem from a reluctance to let go of the past, or a fear of the future. We don’t want to be stuck in the past, nor do we want to be scared of what might happen tomorrow. If we were to give anybody advice for their lives in general, we would tell them to let go of their past and to enjoy today! The same thing applies to your “things.” Only keep what you love NOW, and don’t be held hostage by the secret messages from all your stuff.

“If you get rid of me, you’ll regret it! I know I’m just an ugly orange t-shirt with your high school logo, but if you throw me out, you will lose all your memories from high school!”

“I’m the best hand-knitted wool socks you’ve ever had! Even though you never wear me, your mother-in-law made them for you, and she will know if you get rid of me. SHE WILL KNOW!” 

Tell your clutter to be hush, then get rid of it. (Believe me, it will be fine and so will you)

4. Trying to declutter and organize at the same time.

Have you ever tried to dig a hole in the ground while someone else was filling the hole with dirt?

This is what it’s like when we pair decluttering with organizing at the same time. We pull an item or two off our shelves, then rearrange the rest of the junk we have decided to keep (or that we sort of like or that we don’t care about). You need to pull ALL of the items off the shelf, decide what you love, and discard or donate the rest. Only when that shelf is empty and you are left with what you truly love should you put things back on the shelf. Likewise with clothes. Don’t pull out one pair of pants, decide you like it, fold it and put it back in the drawer, then pull out another pair and do the same. You’ve got to thoroughly declutter and have an empty space staring back at you so that you will know how to fill it.

Now you have the tools to overcome these four organizing mistakes and keep clutter at bay!

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31 Ways You Can Reorganize Your Life With Dollar Store Stuff

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1. Hang baskets on the wall to hold towels in the bathroom.

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Try using two different sizes to keep it from looking too boxy. Get the tutorial here.

2. Hide hot tools in a file box on the side of your sink.

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And free up storage space under the sink. Get the tutorial here.

3. Keep your favorite nail polish colors in a spice rack.

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Now, you probably can’t fit all of your colors in there, but use a spice rack to display your seasonal inspiration. Or leave out the colors you want to wear more of.

 

4. Add a second shower rod for extra bathroom storage.

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Hook hangable baskets to the second rod and store all the body washes.

5. Or DIY bottle holders with suction cups and hair ties.

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Suspend bottles to keep them from cluttering the shower ledges. Learn how to make them here.

6. Keep makeup in a binder.

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When you travel, open the binder locks and pull out the bag you need. Organize bags by themes (like everyday makeup, evening makeup, etc.) so you have everything all in one place.

7. Organize medicine by category and store it in clear bins.

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Because you shouldn’t have to go through a sea of bandages before getting to the Pepto. Get the tutorial here.

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Which will cut down on the times you drunkenly use your roommate’s brush.

9. Make a tiered tray for jewelry and perfume.

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You need candlestick holders, metal trays, super glue, and a sponge brush. Get the tutorial here.

10. Store your kid’s small toys in travel soap box holders.

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Keep track of playing cards, crayons, beads, stickers, and more.

11. Place plastic cups inside a muffin tin to make a mobile art caddy.

12. Put baskets on the stairs for kids to place their loose toys.

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Cute and helping you stay clutter-free.

13. Use dollar-store pizza pans for on-the-wall magnetic storage.

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Magnets have found a new home (besides the fridge). Put them in your kid’s room to keep them inspired. Learn how to make them here.

14. Stash bobby pins and barrettes in a craft box.

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Type A pro-tip: Organize them by color.

15. Slide books into a napkin holder.

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Organize a desk space by stacking books vertically in a napkin holder. Get the tutorial here.

16. Use buckets to organize their art supplies.

17. Use a mesh laundry bag to hold toys kids like to play with at the beach.

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That way you’re not scrambling around day-of the outing gathering up toys to take with you. Just grab the bag and go.

18. Keep your car clean by using a cereal container as a trash can.

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Line it with a bag and prevent random trash from flying around.

19. Keep car essentials in a hanging shoe organizer.

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Hang it from the back of the passenger seat and have everything all in one place.

20. Use velcro and office trays to organize your drawers.

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To keep trays from moving around when you open the drawer, stick adhesive Velcro tabs to tray and drawer bottoms so that each container has a sturdy spot. Learn how to make this here.

21. Organize jewelry on accordion hooks.

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So cheap. So easy.

22. Stash hair ties with a carabiner.

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Keep the clip in a bathroom drawer for easy access.

23. Hang the second bar in the closet for your sweaters or your kid’s clothes.

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If you’re hanging folded-over pants or skirts on a high rod (with a lot of space beneath it), hang a second rod to double up on closet space. You can do this for kids’ closets, too. Get the tutorial here.

24. If you need a shelf, hang a few baskets instead.

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If your TV console could use a shelf to store remotes and the like, screw in a few hooks and hang a row of baskets. Get the tutorial here.

25. Use shower curtain rings to hang belts.

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Secure a rod to the inside of your closet wall and keep belts organized. Learn how to make it here.

26. Use shelf dividers to organize bags.

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Keep bags from getting wrinkled up with cheap shelf dividers. Group them by season.

27. Use self-adhesive hooks to hold measuring items in a kitchen cabinet.

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Making cookies just got easier.

28. Keep tea in trays.

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Stash tea bags in a drawer without them clogging up the cabinet.

29. Use storage baskets in your fridge.

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And feel a wave of serenity every time you open the refrigerator door.

30. Baskets are your friend when it comes to the pantry.

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And here is where the god/goddess stores their edibles. Get the tutorial here.

31. Turn magnetic baskets into spice racks.

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Or glue magnets to the backs of any baskets you like.

Which one do you like most?  Do you do any of this?