How to Organize Cleaning Supplies
Does the area under your sink frustrate you? Do you need to take a deep breath before you have the courage to open that cabinet door, then an exhale of annoyance as you try to find what you need? You’re not alone. Many of my clients struggle with and feel overwhelmed by cleaning supplies. Keep reading to learn the 3 easy steps to organize and store cleaning supplies and make you…perhaps not excited to see your cleaning supplies, but definitely no longer overwhelmed.
Step 1: Reduce Cleaning Supplies
The first step in organizing cleaning supplies is to whittle down the number of cleaning products in your house. If you’ve never used it, don’t plan to use it, or you used it and now dislike it, and >know< you will always grab a different product, discard it.
When I say discard it, I mean put it aside in a paper sack or bin. Then at the end of the purging process, you can give it to a friend or family member or post on NextDoor or Facebook (FREE! works great as an attention grabber). Someone, somewhere, hopefully, will utilize it (especially if it’s a full bottle) or rarely used cleaning tool. You can also recycle the bottle or if it’s a tool, give to a donation center.
What to discard, trash, or donate?
- If the bottle is empty – discard it.
- If the bottle is corroded – discard it.
- If the bottle was filled in the 90’s or early 2000’s (or is expired) – discard it
- If the solution was for old vacuums, mops, etc. that you no longer own – discard it.
- If you’re moving and the movers won’t pack it – discard it.
- If you’ve replaced the vacuum, mop, sweeper with a newer version and would never use the old one, even if the new one broke (because let’s be honest, you’d probably buy the latest version) – discard it.
- If the wipes are dry, you can either (1) add rubbing alcohol (or 70% isopropyl), (2) repurpose by adding water and use as a more general wipe, or (3) discard it.
- *If the bottle has a solution that must be disposed of properly, please follow those directions.
Remember, the goal of downsizing your cleaning supplies is to keep only what you know you’ll use. The rest just takes up vital real estate.
Step 2: Assign Homes to Cleaning Supplies to Store Them
You have many options when deciding where to place your cleaning supplies: under sinks, laundry room, garage, linen or utility closets, pantry, dresser, top of counters, and any space you could think to place it. The goal is to create less work for you, so ideally, place the cleaning supplies where you’ll use them. Some clients have all cleaning supplies under their kitchen sink while others place the necessary cleaning supplies under each bathroom sink. This reduces the distance you have to trek to clean each toilet, tub, and sink. Or, if you have the space in the laundry room, this is an excellent place to keep all the supplies. Wherever makes the most sense for you, store it there. Final thought: while I generally like to store like items with like, if you have multiple levels in your house, it makes sense to have a cleaning supply section on each level (including vacuums or brooms).
I don’t recommend placing cleaning supplies in the same area as food (so pantry is out) or the garage (as the Houston heat can affect the chemicals). Be aware of what you’re placing the chemicals next to and try to avoid placing them by anything that will be ingested or placed on the body. Lastly, if you have children or pets, be aware of cabinets with easy access. My brother and SIL used these magnetic locks, but do your due diligence in researching the best for your specific cabinets or home.
Step 3: Utilize Products to Contain and Store Cleaning Supplies
After determining where you’re storing your cleaning supplies (as decided above), now choose if you are going to carry everything with you or only grab what you need as you need it. Then buy product to simplify the storage of the cleaning supplies.
View the product photos listed below to help visualize what you may need.
A plastic tote like this one separates everything you need (gloves, scrub brush, solutions) and is easy to carry from space to space. Great to store under a sink and just take with you as you clean each room.
Plastic bins pictured above can be stored in cabinets or on shelves, and you just grab what you need. The bins protect your cabinet/shelf bottoms from solution while allowing categorization of like solutions with like (floor solutions in one bin, all-purpose in another, bathroom, and so on). You can place these bins under sinks, in laundry rooms, or in utility closets.
An absolute must-have that I recommend to the majority of clients: a tool rack to hold your brooms, mops, etc. This is an example but any style will do the job. These mounted racks keep the supplies off the floor, stop them from falling over, and keep everything neat on the wall. They’re great for the garage as well!
Maximizing space under the sink is difficult due to pipes. You have a few options:
This under the sink expandable organizer is good if your piping is larger, or if you have product that you rarely use and can place in the back. There’s also room left over for your carrying tote filled with often-used product.
This organizer rack allows you to adjust the shelves, depending on where the pipe lays. I prefer this one over the first because you can see everything (but you lose the number of items you can store).
What do you think? Are you ready to tackle your cleaning supplies? Still not sure if you should follow the steps above? Read why it’s vitally important to assign homes to all the objects in your home, including when you organize cleaning supplies. Hint: it involves a limited supply of willpower!
BONUS: How to Organize CoVid Supplies
- Masks: I store my surgical face masks in a zippered bag and keep it in my glove box. I’ll wear the same mask for an 8 hour work day, but I confess, I reuse my masks. If I only work a 4 hour shift, I’ll save it for another 4 hour shift. If I only run into the grocery store or sit on a patio, I’ll reuse it multiple times. My thoughts have always been that any germs on my mask will be killed by the Houston heat. So, I googled, and found this article (goes to show you can always find someone to agree with you!). My used face masks (with a little life still left in them), remain as decoration on my rear view mirror.
- Sanitizer: I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in every bag that leaves my house (but 98% of the time, I forget I have it with me). I also keep one in my car, but BEWARE of hot Houston temperatures. It’s best to store sanitizer in cool, dry environments, away from direct sunlight. Here’s an article I found interesting, Is It Safe To Keep Hand Sanitizer In A Hot Car?
- Gloves: I rarely use gloves but am washing my hands more than ever, especially when working and 100% every time before I eat, even if it’s a snack. However, I have gloves in my vehicle and keep them in zippered pouches like my masks.
- Lysol/aerosol disinfectants: good luck finding it! But if you have it, it’s great to place directly in the room(s) where you want to use it. This way, you’ll remember you have it and actually utilize it.