It's funny how things work out. You invest in expensive cleaning gadgets, collect every product that promises to eliminate all traces of dirt and grime, and hoard every tool from scrubbing brushes to microfiber towels, all in an effort to keep your home spic and span. But, turns out, you inadvertently end up with a super cluttered cleaning closet.
A clean and organized home starts with your utility closet. Jamie Hord, the founder of Horderly, shares with us that, "Organizing your cleaning and utility closet is ideal for making your weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning routines more manageable."
She adds that having an organized space not only makes these tasks easier, but saves you time in the long run. Ahead are her best tips for keeping your cleaning closet, well, clean.
Meet the Expert
Jamie Hord is the co-founder of Horderly, a team of expert organizers based in New York. Their services include everything from organizing offices to bringing order to every room in the home.
You can't organize a room or closet until you've at least gotten your stash under control. "Before organizing your space, review what you have," Hord says. "Take all items out of drawers and cabinets and decide what to keep, toss, or donate."
Separate your things into clear piles or boxes, and remove 'toss' and 'donate' items from your workspace before moving on to the next step.
Check Expiration Dates
Yes, cleaning products have expiration dates, just like the items in your pantry. "Cleaning products lose potency and lose effectiveness after a while, so check expiration dates on all of your items before putting them away," Hord says.
She also suggests tossing anything expired (after checking labels for safe disposal) and adding replacements to your grocery shopping list if you need to more.
Pair Like Items
Hord tells us the best way to store items is by category. For instance, if storage and layout options allow, store bathroom cleaning products in one bin, kitchen cleaning in another, and laundry detergents and liquids in another.
Grouping items this way makes it easier to find what you need when you need it. Plus, it saves so much time when you can grab a single container that has everything you need together when you need to clean a specific room.
Use Clear Bins
Clear bins not only look nice and uniform in a closet, but they work wonders for separating and containing items. "Clear bins make it easier for you to find what you're looking for and take inventory of what you need to replace," Hord says. There's nothing worse than mustering up the energy to clean, only to realize you're all out of your favorite cleaning solution, right?
Use the Back of the Door
We all know the back-of-the-door trick, but few of us actually utilize this space. Hord agrees this is the perfect place to hang taller, more compact items like brooms or mops.
Use Broom Hooks
Hord admits that tall brooms and mops are sometimes awkward to store, so she recommends picking up a broom holder stat.
"Broom hooks are a great option (especially for renters) who want to get their brooms and mops off the floor and keep them tidy," she says.
Use Lazy Susans
We love a lazy Susan, but truthfully, we've only used them in the kitchen space. However, Hord tells us they're actually perfect for very low cabinets or eye-level cabinets in your utility closet.
"The spinning function allows you to swipe to find what you need versus digging in the back of cabinets to reach a specific product," she notes. Now we get why they call it a lazy Susan.
A cleaning or utility closet most often looks like an empty box. You'd be surprised what some shelving could do for your cleaning stash, and the best part is this can be as affordable or as custom as you want.
Invest in built-in shelves or slide in a cubby-style cabinet to house all your best supplies.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
As much as we'd like for the cleaning closet to magically remain clean at all times, the truth is, just like any other room in your home, this space requires regular cleaning too. Hord recommends reviewing your products to check for newly-expired items or taking inventory of what's running low at least once every month.
While this may seem time-consuming, labels will make a huge difference in time management down the road. "Once you decide where your products and utility items will be living, label each drawer, cabinet, or get bin clip labels to mark everything," Hord says.
This doesn't just make you personally accountable (think of it as a hand-written guilt trip) when you try to shove things in places they don't belong; it also makes it easy for the whole family to find what they're looking for easily—and of course, put it back in its proper place.