It may not feel like spring’s heading our way. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t start preparing our house for the day we can finally stick our down jackets back in storage and trade in our snow boots for flip flops.
Yes, you can hire someone to do the heavy cleaning for you. But if you’re stuck in hibernation mode anyway, why not do it yourself? Here are ten DIY cleaning tips to get you off the couch and get your home looking spotless.
The healthy living startup Greatist wants you to chuck the chemicals and switch to all natural, homemade cleaning products. Their bookmark- (and sponge-) worthy list of 27 solutions suggests using vinegar and lemon juice to clean the unidentifiable goop in the microwave, baking soda and water to clean your refrigerator, and baking soda, vinegar, and tea tree essential oil to make your toilet nice and shiny.
Winter layers are the enemy of a tidy closet. Consider implementing a new clothing organizational system to make room for your spring wardrobe. First, get rid of everything you no longer wear. Some stores, like H&M, American Eagle, and North Face, have clothing recycle programs that reward you for donating. You can also check with your local thrift shops to see what type of stuff they’re accepting, or see if there are local programs that collect and donate clothes.
Once that’s done, invest in baskets and boxes. If you have shelves in your closet, stacking containers on top is a cheap and easy way to store non-hanging items like shoes, jewelry, and underwear. If you don’t have physical shelves, a storage cart or a hanging shelf works equally well. Apartment Therapy performed a before and after of a once messy closet to show you how it’s done. And The Inspired Room has all the basket love you’ll need.
Leave it to Martha Stewart to come up with a simple and free way to organize your linens. She recommends folding sheets inside of their matching pillowcases (assuming matching pillowcases is something you care about. If not, any pillowcase will do) and then stacking them. Another use for a basket perhaps?
When organizing the kitchen, keeping the countertops and other surfaces clear makes a huge difference for both the feel of the space, and your sanity. If papers tend to get unruly, and important mail gets lost under magazines and takeout menus, turn your refrigerator into a communication command center. Use extra strong magnets to attach mail organizers to the fridge or another magnetic surface. You can do the same with clipboards or magazine holders. If you’re feeling super ambitious, try copying one of these designs from the Poofy Cheeks blog.
If you’re short on kitchen cabinet space, you can hang your measuring cups or pots and pans on a peg board a la Julia Child.
You can also use shelf risers to create another tier for plates or cooking tools. They work equally well in the refrigerator.
So much can be done with over the door shoe organizers. To keep the space under your bathroom or kitchen sink from becoming a total disaster, cut a shoe organizer down to the right size and use the compartments to store cleaning supplies, hair gadgetry, makeup brushes, first-aid items or other must haves. They’re equally great for storing office goodies or laundry supplies.
How about when you open the medicine cabinet and everything falls out? Try attaching tiny bits of velcro to your cabinet items and velcroing them to the back of the cabinet. A magnetic strip on the back of the door can be used to store bobby pins too.
Cereal boxes really are the duct tape of food products—they can do anything. Out of one empty box of Cheerios, you can make multiple drawer organizers. Only one of the organizers will have a bottom, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use the others to keep socks and underwear rolled up and in line.
And remember how we recommended keeping your mail in check by hanging paper organizers on your refrigerator or wall? You can also keep your notebooks, magazines and reference books in holders made out of your other favorite cereal box, after you scarf those Honey Bunches of Oats on the next (and hopefully last) snow day.