Life is full of things that need to be organized. Spices need to be alphabetized in the spice rack (or is that just me?), paperwork needs to be organized and properly filed (of course), and clothes need to be organized by season (Note to self: organize clothes by season).
And then we have our cleaning supplies. If you’re like me, your cleaning supplies probably inhabit a cupboard or closet where they seem to multiply and become disorganized whenever your back is turned. But disorganized cleaning supplies make it harder to find what you need when you need it, making cleaning projects more complicated and stressful. What’s a wannabe-organized person to do?
I caught up with Diane Albright, a certified professional organizer, for some tips on organizing cleaning supplies.
Face the Challenges
Three bottles of toilet cleaner, four containers of bleach, and five half-used containers of bathroom cleaner…does this situation sound familiar? “The biggest challenge is knowing you have something on hand but can’t find it,” says Albright. “This leads to purchasing duplicates and triplicates — a waste of time, money, and space.” Instead, keep your cleaning supplies in one location — somewhere that’s convenient, yet out-of-the-way — and keep close inventory on your supplies. If you have two unopened bottles of toilet cleaner, don’t add it to the grocery list until you’ve actually used what you have.
Maximize Available Space
The varying sizes of cleaning supplies (brooms, bottles, brushes), and the presence of bulky items (vacuum, buckets), can make it a challenge to organize these products effectively.
“To maximize space, store long-handled tools on the wall or back of a door with hooks or racks,” says Albright. She suggests hanging buckets from hooks on the ceiling in a utility closet and selecting a designated space for the vacuum, such as a closet or the garage.
“Keep a cleaning tote on a shelf with your regularly used cleaners, rags, and cleaning tools so when it is cleaning day, you can ‘grab and go,’” says Albright. “An alternative is to make a bucket your ‘cleaning tote’ filled with your regularly used cleansers. This way the bucket is included with the ‘grab and go.’” Or try an organizational tool like a removable cleaning caddy that tucks into a cupboard when you’re not using it.
Keep Only What You Need
In my closet of cleaning supplies, I have a floor sweeper, a floor steam cleaner, a broom, and a mop — all waiting for the wonderful day when they’ll each get their turn to be used. Unfortunately, some of those (floor steamer, I’m looking at you), just don’t get used as often as the others.
“Gather all your cleansers and cleaning tools (rags, brushes, mops, etc.) and place in a box or on a shelf away from where you normally store cleansers,” says Albright. “Each time you clean, bring in only what you need. After six months you will see what you don’t use. Donate or properly dispose of these unused items.”
Make It Accessible To Everyone
Who says all the household chores must fall on your shoulders? If family members refer to the cluttered cleaning supplies as an excuse for not helping out with household chores, Albright offers a solution.
“Be sure they can easily find cleaners or cleaning tools,” she says. “Organize the supplies in a way that will make sense to everyone, not just you. Be sure to label your designated places — use laminated waterproof label tape.”
Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to clean in no time!