Cleaning Week- A Place for Everything

Seriously, this is like the most common cleaning advice ever.  Make sure everything has a place.  If you clean up the entire house, you should be able to put every single thing where it goes and not hide piles in closets or under beds.  (Not that there is anything wrong with keeping things in closets or under beds, but it shouldn’t be a I’ll-just-shove-it-in-there-for-now type of thing.)  Things like hooks, boxes, and shelves will be your best friends.  I just installed a set of cheap shelves inside the downstairs coat closet.  They are really high up, so I have to stand on a chair to reach them, but I can store all my books on tape there (that I use in the car) and all our seasonal stuff, like winter hats and scarves.  I put two rows of hooks in the laundry room and hung all our bags there.  I put a hook by the door for Elizabeth’s diaper bag.

One of my best ideas ever was to buy a decorative medicine cabinet from Target or someplace and hang it near our door.  (It looks kind of like this, but mine was only like $20-$30, I bought it so long ago that I don’t remember.)  I screwed some tiny hooks on the inside.  In every house we’ve lived in, I’ve installed it near the door we use for most of our comings and goings.  In this house, it is in the laundry room by the garage door.  Whenever I come home, I put my keys on one of the little hooks and put my cell phone and sunglasses on a shelf.  I keep a comb and a lint brush on another shelf.  This way, when I am leaving the house, I always know exactly where my stuff is and I can brush my hair if I look in the mirror and discover that I look ridiculous.

I have organizers in pretty much every drawer and cabinet.  I suggest looking in the office supply section for those really cheap pencil holder boxes.  (I tried to Google some similar ones, but apparently I can’t hit on the right combination of words to pull them up.)  They are plastic, with vented sides and no lid, and they come in packs of like three for two dollars.  (They come in larger sizes too that aren’t specifically for pencils.)  I use those for everything.  I have them in the pantry to group together things like food coloring and spices.  I have four in my bathroom drawer; one holds my toothbrush and toothpaste, one holds my hairbrush and comb, one holds all my makeup, and one holds my vitamins and deodorant.  These things turn a full drawer into an organized drawer.

My other favorite organizing tool are the plastic shoeboxes with lids.  You can buy those at Target or Wal-Mart or a lot of other places for about a dollar each.  I suggest getting all the same kinds because then they’ll stack.  I use those for things like cookie cutters in the cabinet by the stove, all the extra toothpaste and such under the sink, all my craft supplies, and just about everything else that fits inside them.

Being able to put things into a box or basket makes it much easier to organize.  I like to keep my camera out on the kitchen counter.  If I put it away, I never take any pictures.  But I hated how it was the only thing cluttering up my clear counter.  So I bought a pretty decorative basket and now my camera, video camera, and the kitchen phone live inside it.

In conclusion today, boxes make me happy.  And baskets.  And storage.  My rule is if I can’t put it away somewhere, I need to get rid of it.