Most of us love the idea of having a clean, organized and clutter-free home to start out the school year. We might even achieve it … temporarily. Within weeks, days or even hours, the clutter starts to creep back in: Mail piles up by the front door, the kids’ toys take over the floor, and heaps of clothing are dropped all over the bedrooms and forgotten.
So how do you make sure all your hard work lasts? Try these clever decorating and storage organization tips to make a clean sweep and get clutter under control once and for all.
1. Start with the Bathroom
As one of the smallest rooms, the bathroom is usually the easiest space to declutter. Start here and be ruthless – get rid of anything you don’t genuinely need or use regularly, from half-empty shampoo bottles to candles you haven’t lit in months. Store all toiletries in a cupboard, stash bath toys in a single plastic basket and add a hamper for wet towels.
Once you’ve cleared away the excess, give the bathroom a thorough cleaning with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – these little miracle workers easily wipe away soap scum, grime and dirt from bathtubs, shower doors, grout lines and faucets. Now whenever you or one of your family members enter the bathroom, you’ll be reminded how nice a clutter-free room feels, and it’ll help motivate you to keep the rest of the house clean, too.
2. Make a Great First Impression
Stop mess in its tracks the minute you walk in the front door. In the hallway, install a row of coat hooks and assign two to each family member – one for their coats and one for their bags. Then give everyone their own basket or cubbyhole to store shoes, hats and umbrellas. Put up a little shelf by the door with a letter rack for any mail and a bowl for keys and glasses.
To quickly wipe up dirt and grime your kids track in, keep a Swiffer WetJet nearby. This mopping system includes a cleaning solution that dissolves tough messes, plus a WetJet pad that locks away dirt and grime for good.
3. Remember That Clutter Breeds Clutter
Surfaces that contain only a few key items are much easier to keep clean than ones with 27 appliances, gadgets or electronics. Be choosy about the items you display on countertops, shelves and tables – they should either be useful or genuinely loved. In the kitchen, store gadgets you only use occasionally, such as a bread maker, in a cupboard, and put cutlery, mugs and utensils away rather than on countertops. In the living room, corral magazines into a rack, and donate books you’ll never read again, creating room for a few beloved vases or ornaments.
Once the extra clutter is gone, you’ll discover how much easier it is to do daily household tasks like dusting. Use Swiffer 360 Dusters to trap and lock dust and pet hair that’s hiding out on shelves, furniture surfaces, baseboards and blinds.
4. Put Your Furniture to Work
Invest in clever furniture to keep clutter under control. In the living room, an ottoman with hidden storage under the lid is a great place to stash throws, cushions, toys or magazines. In the office or the kids’ homework station, choose a cupboard-style desk with doors you can shut when you’re not working or the kids aren’t studying. In the bedroom, place an ottoman chest at the foot of your bed to store spare bedding.
5. Get the Kids on Board
Make it easy for your kids to keep their rooms tidy. If you have older children, go through all of their toys and trinkets together, deciding which to keep. If you have younger ones, do it on your own when they’re not around! Then get serious about storage. Put up extra shelves for books, invest in pullout drawers for bigger toys, put smaller items like toy cars and dolls in baskets on shelves, and stow clothes and soft toys in brightly coloured plastic buckets. Label each box or basket with the name of what goes inside, and tell your kids they can make as much of a mess as they like during the day as long as everything is back in its place by bedtime.
6. Streamline Your Cleaning Cupboard
Avoid having dozens of spray bottles under the sink by looking for products that have more than one use, such as all-purpose cleaners that can clean both sinks and work surfaces, and rolls of Bounty Essentials paper towels, the “Quicker Picker Upper” that can clean up all sorts of messes, from spilled juice to splattered spaghetti sauce.
7. Give Everything a Home
It’s much easier to stay organized when you have a system in place. For example, in your closet, keep all your shoes stacked neatly in see-through plastic boxes, hang your clothes in color order, and try to donate something old every time you buy something new. Elsewhere, designate a box for light bulbs and another for batteries, and give each cupboard and drawer a specific purpose. If you know where everything lives in your home – and you don’t put it anywhere else – clutter doesn’t stand a chance!