Experts say your home would be a lot less gross if you tried any of these genius tricks
By Christina X. Wood
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If it feels like you spend all your time cleaning up, trying to find time to clean up, and wishing you had cleaned up because people are on the way to visit, changes to your space can reap great rewards. A dwelling that relies solely on human energy — rather than clever systems — to stay clean is a challenge to manage. Fortunately, there are hacks, tricks, and organizers that help keep your place looking presentable even when you have absolutely no time to dust or vacuum. To get the best of these ideas, we consulted the pros.
These experts — professional organizers, interior designers, and cleaning specialists — have seen it all and solved it all. They also know what works for their clients so their advice is curated down to what works and is affordable. Here is that advice.
01 These rope baskets that make cleaning up fast & sustainable
“The key to keeping a house tidy is having sustainable systems in place to do just that,” explains Juliana Meidl, owner and co-founder of
Serenity At Home. “We love using baskets and bins to keep items contained in every room in the home.”
Set these cotton
rope baskets, for example, on a shelf to catch small items of clothing or office supplies or on the floor to toss toys or shoes into. Everything looks tidy this way and cleaning up is super fast and easy. 02 These clip-on labels that level-up the storage baskets
“Labeling is the finishing touch that helps maintain the system,” says Meidl. “A labeled container allows every member of the family to know exactly where to put something away.” But many containers are difficult to label with sticky labels and markers.
clip-on labels are the upgrade you need to quickly ID closet storage and rope baskets so you know where to put things — and where to find them. They even come with 70 preprinted labels so you don’t have to handwrite them (but you can if you want). 03 These drawer organizers that turn the junk drawer into useful space
“An organized junk drawer is another great way to keep your home [in order],” offers Meidl. “Having a place for all those household items we need handy visible and accessible is very helpful.”
So instead of tossing all those small, hard-to-categorize items in there just to put them somewhere, create some order first with this
expandable drawer organizer. Your drawer chaos will quickly sort into categories so those items will be much easier to find — and put away. 04 Extra tip: The 10-minutes-a-day life hack for a cleaner home
Eryn Donaldson, founder and CEO of
The Model Home, offers some easy-to-employ tips that can help you keep any space clean. First, “Take 10 minutes at the end of each day to clean up or pick up 10 items,” and second, “[declutter] by getting rid of one item a day.” She suggests making the habit a 30-day (or even one-year) challenge.
Ten minutes is nothing — but it can make such a huge difference. Also, dealing with “one item a day does not seem overwhelming at all and [is] totally doable.”
05 These organizers that make storing water bottles so easy
“I personally love
water bottle organizers,” says Donaldson. “We have so many water bottles and it can be hard to get to all of them when they are standing up. Trying to grab one from the back of the cabinet can be really tough. So using an organizer is SO helpful.”
This water bottle organizer is made for this. You can store all your empty water bottles lying down in a cupboard so they are easy to find or filled and ready to grab in the fridge. Nonslip feet keep this in place and adjustable racks help you store all sizes of bottles.
06 This storage cart that you can slip almost anywhere
Bathrooms, especially small ones, are a special challenge to keep tidy. With such a variety of items to store and often many people using this room, creating the right storage is important. For small bathrooms or areas with less-than-abundant counter space, Donaldson has a few products she loves. One is a
rolling storage cart.
“This ... is so thin [it] fits in between most sinks/toilets/bathtubs,” she says. “It can hold extra toiletries, toilet paper, and washcloths etc. It also rolls, which is nice.” You can load it up, tuck it in, and store your sundries out of sight, without adding more cabinetry. It even has hooks to hang items to dry and you can choose where to put the hooks.
07 A trick for creating countertop space where there was none
“We have absolutely no countertop space in our bathroom, so I had to find the perfect solution when getting ready,” says Donaldson. “This product is soooo simple and easy to use.”
Just open the
beauty counter over the sink and lay out all your tools, makeup, and brushes so you can get ready quickly and easily. Then pack them away again. “I can also bring this along when traveling and using hotel bathrooms,” she shares. 08 This clever system for keeping track of games & small parts
“Kids’ spaces can get junky so quickly!” exclaims Donaldson. But she has a system for dealing with that: “Go through toys every quarter to see if there’s anything broken or missing.” She explains, “To avoid missing puzzle pieces and games with small pieces, use these organizers to keep everything tidy and together.”
mesh pouches are durable and affordable but you can see what’s in them so you don’t have to unpack to make sure the pieces are all there. This is a 12-pack and they come in lots of colors, too, if you want to add color coding to the mix. 09 These storage bins that clean up a toy space fast
Toys can quickly overtake a space and often have collections of parts that can be a challenge to put away. “Use bins to organize toys,” says Donaldson. This pack of four
toy organizers fits on shelves and is ideal for this task.
And don’t let the volume or variety of small parts stop you from getting them off the floor and into the bins. “They do not have to be hyper-organized or perfect! Just keep all stuffies and soft toys together, balls and sporting equipment together, puzzles etc.”
10 The industrial shelves that make for gorgeous open storage in a kitchen
According to Artem Kropovinsky, founder and principal designer at
Arsight, “The best type of shelving for decluttering and cleaning up a space is open shelving.” This is due to the style allowing for “easy visibility of items, making it easier to assess what needs to be kept and what can be removed.”
These iron pipe
floating shelves are a solid example of this. Easy to install and striking to the eye, you can sneak them into places cabinets won’t fit and customize the look with your own choice of wood planks. Kropovinsky adds, “[Easy] access to items [makes] it simpler to clean and organize.” 11 The geometric floating shelves that help clean up your collections
“Another alternative is floating shelves,” suggests Kropovinsky. “They are also open shelving but they are not anchored to the wall.” These
hexagon-shaped floating shelves are versatile and small and you can use them to create storage in a bathroom or to turn collectibles — or even functional items — into decorative storage.
“They are great for small spaces and they give a clean and modern look to the room,” he says.
12 A space-saving drying rack that helps you stay on top of dishes
“Keep the kitchen clean by doing the dishes as soon as you finish eating [and] wiping down counters and appliances regularly,” advises Kropovinsky. Tools like this
roll-up dish drying rack make it easy to wash glasses and dishes as you use them and keep the counters free of clutter.
It fits over the sink and doubles as a trivet or a place to let plants drip dry when you water them. Roll it up and store it in a drawer when you aren’t using it.
13 These trash & recycling bins that fit under the sink
Another Kropovinsky tip is regularly, and often, taking out trash and recycling. The right bins are key to this timely cleaning effort. These
under-counter trash and recycling bins fit under the sink and have a slanted front to make tossing trash and recycling into them easy. The low capacity also helps you make taking the trash out an easy habit rather than waiting till large bins are unwieldy and challenging to deal with. 14 A magnetic calendar to keep the chore schedule in view
Kropovinsky suggests that you “create a cleaning schedule” to stay on top of necessary housekeeping tasks. “Set aside time each day or week to clean specific areas of your home,” he says. “This will help you stay on top of the cleaning and prevent things from getting too out of control.”
Put that schedule out in the open so you don’t forget by mounting this
dry-erase calendar to the fridge. That way you will be reminded of your commitment every time you grab a snack. It comes with four colored and easy-to-erase markers and an eraser — all are magnetic so you have the tools you need handy. 15 This shoe-rack that creates a shoe stop at your entry
“Remove your shoes when entering your home,” says Lauren Saltman, professional organizer and owner at
Living. Simplified. LLC. “You've walked through mud, dirt, and grime in your shoes. Why carry this throughout your home? Instead, remove your outdoor shoes upon entering the home and put on a pair of slippers or other pair of shoes that are only for indoor use.”
shoe rack bench makes it easy to do this. It provides a place to sit when you take off — and put on — your shoes and has two shelves for storing your footwear collection. 16 These organizers that make putting the laundry away fast & easy
“When you are finished folding your laundry, put the items away where they belong as soon as possible,” suggests Saltman. “If you leave the laundry in the dryer, you're making more work for yourself because the clothes will get wrinkled. So as soon as the dryer buzzes, take the time to fold your clothes or hang them up on hangers and put them in your closet and dresser.”
If you find this challenging, make the task easier by creating storage spaces that are easy to access and use so you are more likely to do it. This
underwear organizer makes it so easy to put away boxers, bras, socks, and other small items that over 42,000 people gave it five stars. 17 The adjustable dividers for neater clothing drawers
adjustable drawer dividers also make it easy to put clothing away, giving structure to your drawers so you don’t fight with stacks of clothing. They are easy to install using only spring pressure and the grippy feet at the ends of each divider to hold onto your drawers. You can create exactly the sizes your wardrobe requires in seconds and they come in three colors to match your drawers so the end result looks custom. 18 These airtight food storage containers that bring order to the pantry
“In regards to the kitchen,” says Tara Dennis, co-founder and director of interior design firm
Archie Bolden, “I try to keep countertops clear of clutter by storing items in cabinets and drawers. Typically, I tend to use clear storage containers to keep dry goods fresh and organized.”
This pack of seven airtight
food storage containers is a great place to start. The shapes are designed to stack so you can maximize your storage space and the lids are interchangeable so you don’t waste time trying to match containers to lids. You can see what’s in them but they come with labels to clear up any confusion. 19 These under-bed storage bags that maximize unused space
When it comes to bedrooms, says Dennis, “it’s important to remember this is typically our safe space, so it’s essential to keep [it] clean and not overwhelming.” One hack is to “use under-bed storage for extra linens and/or out-of-season clothing.” These big, affordable
storage organizers hold a lot, have clear tops so you can see what’s in them, and are easy to grab and pull out because of the big handles on the side.
Another bedroom tip from Dennis: “[Make] the bed every morning to start the day off on a tidy note.”
20 The shower caddy that corrals all your supplies
It’s prudent to come up with a keep-the-bathroom clean plan. But “realistically, people won't have time to clean every day, and that is totally fine,” says Dennis. “As an alternative option, try cleaning it once a week, or every two weeks if you’re strapped for time.” Good systems go a long way to keeping order, even when you don’t actively focus on cleaning. Dennis shares that it “helps to keep toiletries organized in baskets or caddies.” This way bathroom clutter never happens.
shower caddy shelf gets all your personal care items off the shower ledges and in order. It drains so there is almost no cleaning. And there are hooks so your shower sponge and washcloth can drip dry. 21 This strange broom that picks up pet hair
“[If] you’re someone who owns a pet, you know how they can add to the clutter whether it be toys, shedding of fur, etc,” says Dennis. “I recommend regularly vacuuming or sweeping pet hair and using a pet-specific cleaner for any accidents.”
pet hair remover broom makes it easy to grab the fur from that spot on the carpet where your fur baby loves to leave it and the rubber ends attract fur so it’s faster and more effective than getting out the vacuum cleaner. 22 The stain remover that cleans pet accidents
If your pet never had an indoor accident that would be lovely, but reality might not be so peachy. In keeping with Dennis’s advice, when accidents do happen, it’s best to take them on right away.
odor eliminator destroys the smell so effectively that even your pet can’t smell it. And that means they won’t make “accidents” a habit, at least not in that spot. Just spray it on the mistake, let it soak in, then blot it dry. Its enzymes break down urine, vomit, and other organic stains. 23 These small parts organizers for all your screws & nails
“If you have a garage,” says Dennis, “try to keep tools and equipment organized on shelves or in cabinets. Go for plastic storage bins for smaller items such as nails and screws.” This
small parts organizer box is a great place for all that tiny hardware. You will be able to find the screw you need when the next project comes along. And those tiny parts won’t add to your clutter.
Adds Dennis, “If it’s within your time frame, you can sweep or hose out the garage floor regularly as well.”
24 The storage bins that organize small pantry & bathroom items
Professional organizer and co-founder of
Orderlie Home, Briea Albasha suggests you “[clear] the clutter from the countertops.” Leaving food, cosmetics, tools, and even small appliances out on the counter only invites more clutter to join it. “Everything should have a home. Whether it is a drawer space, cabinet, basket, or bin.”
This set of four, clear
pantry organizing containers makes that easier by expanding the storage in your cupboards — they stack — and letting you get awkwardly shaped packages into storable shapes. 25 These drawer organizers so you can find what you need
When it comes to corraling cosmetics, tools, office supplies, and other small items in your kitchen, bath, and office, this
drawer organizer set turns a chaotic jumble into an orderly arrangement. Just set them in the drawers and let the orderliness commence. This is a set of 25 pieces that group together to create divided storage in the interior of your drawers and fit a wide range of items. 26 These stylish baskets for capturing chaos
Albasha offers a handy life hack for not creating clutter as you go about your busy day. “Leave ONE basket in the common area of your home (ie kitchen, living room, mud room),” she says. “It is a go-back basket. At the end of the day, all the items in the basket need to be put in their home.”
This set of three seagrass
storage baskets is a beautiful way to implement this trick. In three sizes, with lids that close and latch with a cute button, they will look good in whatever room you set them in. 27 These big, sturdy storage bins that organize the garage
Albasha has a trick for mastering the strange items and open space of a storage area or garage, too. “Create Zones in your garage,” she says. “The use of shelves and plastic bins with labels will keep the clutter off your floors and give you ample room so it does not become a drop zone.”
storage bins will quickly bring order to that space. They are roomy. The lids snap and lock closed. And they stack. 28 The duster that reaches everywhere
"Baseboards are something most people don’t want to clean,” discloses Johnny Pallares, owner at
De La Rosa House Cleaning. But these “contribute greatly to a dirty home.” He shares that visitors often “notice the ... dust accumulation [especially] ... in guest rooms that you don't enter often.” This can make an otherwise clean home feel dirty.
There is a trick to making the baseboard cleaning task palatable. “[Wipe] them with a
feather duster and then clean them with a warm rag dipped in hot soapy water,” says Pallares. “It is a tough job but cleaning your baseboards will help make your house look immaculately clean.” He recommends doing this every month — or at least every other month. 29 These reusable dishcloths that are better than paper towels
Swedish dishcloths to make cleaning your baseboards — and everything else in the house — go even faster. They have the absorbency of paper towels or sponges and the hand-feel of a dishcloth so it’s easy to reach into corners and details with them. They rinse and ring out super efficiently, too. And you can toss them in the laundry when you complete the project and they come out like new. 30 A scrub brush that makes cleaning more efficient
“Air filter grates are often neglected and when you don't clean them dust and debris collect on the grates,” points out Pallares. In addition to looking messy, this debris can cut down the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning so it’s important to deal with this.
“Clean your air filter grate once a month when you replace your air filter,” he says. This is easy to do with this long-handled
scrub brush so they come clean easily and so you can reach the top of high grates. “Spray an all-purpose cleaner on the grate and scrub each part down,” he instructs. 31 Extra tip: A good habit for maintaining a tidy (& decent-smelling) pet area
“If you kennel your pet, it is important to clean the area under [that] kennel,” shares Pallares. “This area will accumulate a ton of animal hair and slobber that sticks onto the floor and baseboards. It looks gross and can smell worse.”
He suggests taking a cloth or rag soaked with hot, soapy water and cleaning the floor beneath the kennel, as well as the kennel’s base. “Clean the inside ... as well. You deserve to live in a clean space and so does your pet. Clean their space as if it was your own.”
32 A wall-mounted cabinet for better bathroom storage
Judy Granlee-Gates, the author of
Bigger Living Smaller Space: Resizing for a Clean & Cozy Home, suggests adding or updating the medicine cabinet in your bathroom to improve your storage options. “Medicine cabinets can be mounted into the wall cavity or on the drywall,” she says. “Either way they add much-needed additional storage and organization for small spaces and their small items.”
bathroom cabinet not only looks modern and sleek, but offers lots of storage behind the door as well as a shelf for often-used items. It comes in three colors. 33 These small bins that bring order to the bathroom
When it comes to maximizing storage and organization inside the medicine cabinet, Granlee-Gates instructs to “[use] small clear bins inside to keep like items together.” These little
bathroom bins are made for the job.
They are clear so you can see what’s in them, easy to label, and have a handle in the front to make bringing them out for perusal easy. Stack them to create easy-to-access storage for small items or set them in a drawer to keep like items together.
34 The stackable storage secret for under the sink
Even the space under the sink can be organized and useful instead of the chaotic mess it often is. “Use
stacking drawer organizers under the sink,” says Granlee-Gates, “[one] on each side of the pipes to maximize the height of the cabinet.” You can fit a lot of gear in a set of four of them. And getting your items out is easy, even in that low space, because the drawers open and close. 35 A dedicated place for your sponge & dish brush
“At the kitchen sink,” offers Granlee-Gates, “sponges can rest in a suction cup sponge rack that sits on the inside wall of the sink and keeps the water where it belongs.” This keeps the sponge — and its water — off your counters and sink edge and makes it easy to find clean tools when you are washing dishes.
This stainless steel
sink caddy looks minimalist and clean in the sink and grabs the sink wall with a strong, effective, peel-and-stick mount that also removes without leaving a residue. It even has a bar to hang a washcloth. 36 A soap dispenser set that makes handcare easy & looks so tidy
Granlee-Gates suggests upgrading your hand soap and lotion delivery system in the bathroom instead of using the bottles your products came in. “A quality soap and lotion combo in a caddy makes hand washing easy and looks tidy,” she says. This trick also lets you buy soap and lotion in bulk which can save you money in the long run.
soap and lotion dispenser set is just the thing. The caddy makes it easy to clean under the bottles and your room will look coordinated. It comes in three finishes. 37 These mats for the pet feeding area
Pets can be very messy eaters. But you don’t have to live with that or get down onto the floor to clean all the time. “Use a silicone pet tray to catch food and water spills,” says Granlee-Gates. “Run it through the dishwasher once a week on the top rack.”
It’s much easier and your floors will stay cleaner. These colorful nonslip
pet food mats are made of waterproof silicone and have a lip around the edge to contain spills. They come in three sizes so you can fit them to your space. 38 A clever system for storing pet food
Storing pet food is another challenge of living with furry roommates. Stored in bags, it can spill and create an unwanted odor that makes it feel like you are living in a kennel — and creates a food-stealing temptation for your pet. “Try a double bin pet
food storage container on wheels to stash odors from Fido and Kitty’s food,” suggests Granlee-Gates.
This stacking set has casters to make it easy to slide into a closet or corner, is clear so you can see when you are running low, and boasts locking lids to keep pets out and smells in.