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25 Brilliant Organization Tips To Get You Pumped For Back To School

Whether you’re rejoicing as a parent with some extra “Me Time” during the day, or a student mourning summer’s end, back-to-school season can drum up an abundance of emotions.

 

Here’s one way to make it easier on everyone involved:

Prepare for everything the new school year throws your way.

Below are 25 brilliant back-to-school organization tips and ideas to make swapping beach days for book reports easy, efficient, and — dare we say it — downright enjoyable.

An organized workspace, functional command center, and a helpful app or two will help bring order to homework time and sanity back to your home.

Or, at the very least, you’ll always know where to find a sharpened pencil.

1. Pop homework down with a DIY folding desk

a diy folding desk in a kids bedroom
Organized Mom

Make homework feel like less of a chore with this personal workspace for your kiddos. This DIY hideaway desk, from Amy at Organized Mom, combines the concept of a drop-down desk with a chalkboard, putting a fun twist on two classroom classics.

The best part:

Come cleanup time, your kids won’t be able to simply tuck away their clutter — since the desk won’t close if there are items on its surface.

a folding desk is mounted against the wall
Organized Mom

2. Build a behind-the-door bookshelf

three behind-the-door bookshelves holding children's books
The Painted Hive

A new school year means new books, and new books mean new clutter. But you can easily contain any novel overflow with this thrifty hack from Kristine of The Painted Hive.

She mounted four floating shelves to the wall directly behind her daughter’s bedroom door, taking care to position the ledges away from the door’s protrusion.

The result is a sweet little nook that manages to feel like both a library and hiding place at once.

3. Improve morning takeoffs with a launching pad

a collection of children's things gathered for the schoolday
From Overwhelmed To Organized

Between showers, last-minute signatures, and (oops!) burnt breakfasts, to call your mornings hectic would be something of an understatement. According to professional organizer Nathalie Ricaud of Get Organised and Beyond, one way to minimize the waking chaos is by crafting something of a “launching pad.”

In one dedicated nook, keep everything that your child needs for school accessible. It might help to keep a checklist of all the items — Ricaud recommends using images instead of words if your child is too young to read.

She also suggests making it your child’s responsibility to gather his or her things. Even if the bags aren’t ready yet each night, packing them just may be the easiest part of your morning.

4. Create a command center…

a highly organized back to school command center for a family
Forever Always No Matter What

Committing one schedule strictly to memory is already a true feat. Committing six? That would require a brain of superhero proportions.

Jen of Forever For Always No Matter What has a handle on her six kids’ homeschooling curricula, activities, chores, and more, thanks to a top-notch command center (and probably some secret superpowers, let’s be honest).

To establish this center of communication while keeping it clear and functional, Jen carved out a space in her home to hang a large wall calendar, chore chart, visual schedule for the younger ones, and a meal planner to eliminate any “But what’s for dinner!” distractions.

Keeping it simple and straightforward makes it easy for both Jen and her kids to maintain so they can all be superstars.

5. …And adjust it as needed

an organized command center in a family kitchen
At Charlotte’s House

Here’s a slightly different take on command centers, courtesy of Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House.

She fashioned hers together based on her own and her family’s needs:

A place to corral paper, a small bowl for rogue paper clips, a cork board for notes, and other school-related miscellanea.

By keeping it in the kitchen, she also prevents any paper clutter that typically piles up in the area.

6. Easily construct a DIY homework station

a child studies at her DIY homework station
MomAdvice

Keeping distractions at bay at homework time can be a harder task to tackle than helping your fourth grader with their geometry homework. Amy of MomAdvice found the answer (to the distraction problem, not to, “Which of these figures is a quadrilateral?”).

With a tri-fold foam display board, razor blade, spray adhesive, and a bevy of creative organization solutions, she created two homework study stations that are perfect for keeping kids focused.

Plus, each study station folds totally flat for easy storage come play time!

7. Take your homework for a spin

a collection of school supplies made accessible with a lazy susan organizer
Home Stories A to Z

If you give a kid a math problem, they’re probably going to ask for a pencil. No, not that pencil. But he’s got a new pencil. Mom, where are all of the new pencils?

Sound familiar?

Beth from Home Stories A to Z was tired of losing school supplies to the “black hole of the cabinet.” She constructed this simple Lazy Susan organizer out of a wood round and some empty paint cans to collect pencils, markers, highlighters, scissors, and glue sticks.

Abandon the messy supply cabinet forever, and let your kids give this piece of organizational genius a spin.

8. Turn your entryway into a clutter buster

Once you’ve gotten the before-school routine down to a T, it’s time to contend with the chaos that ensues in the post-school afternoons. Vineta from The Handyman’s Daughter recommends stopping any mess in its track with an entryway storage setup.

Whether you’re DIY-ing one or not, Jackson recommends these three criteria:

  1. Backpack hooks
  2. Shoe storage
  3. Ample seating

9. Pop up some backpack hooks

backpacks and other bags are hung on the wall with small hooks
Ask Anna Moseley

Or you could go for a simpler solution to nip after-school clutter in the bud:

Set up a backpack organizing station, à la this easy tweak from Ask Anna Moseley.

Anna found that by designating a hook for each child’s backpack, she was able to change her kids’ habits of leaving their backpacks scattered around the house. This also left them in charge of putting away their lunchbox, water bottle, and homework.

10. Guarantee library books get returned on time

library books are collected in a wire basket
Blue i Style

Libraries are fun. Not so fun? Keeping tabs on due dates for your little bookworm’s overflowing, rotating literary collection.

Designing a designated basket is a simple solution to this classic clutter conundrum. Angela at Blue i Style has a simple DIY that takes the idea a step further, adorning hers with a leather label from an old, upcycled belt.

It may not return books on time for you, but at least you’ll know where that hungry caterpillar is hiding out.

11. Fashion a kid’s reading nook

Reading Nook
Clean & Scentsible

We all know education goes beyond the classroom. Nailing the first component of the three Rs is critical for school success.

The best way to effortlessly instill a love of the written word? Setting up a cozy space for your munchkins to read that’s all their own.

Jenn from Clean and Scentsible fills her son’s corner with comfy pillows, an assortment of favorite titles, and plenty of storage containers. Sounds like the perfect spot for your own new library book basket.

12. Incorporate an item box into your child’s routine

item box organizer
A House Full of Sunshine 

Inboxes: They’re not just for email anymore.

Professional organizer Nancy Haworth of On Task Organizing recommends placing a small tray or bin to serve as your child’s “inbox.”

Use it for small, everyday items, like lunch money, spinners, or electronics. You could even place it near an outlet for a makeshift charging station.

13. DIY a double-sided Do Not Disturb sign

do not disturb sign
Piccadilly Peddler

Your phone is on silent and screen-side down on the desk. Your playlist of instrumental jams is ready to help you concentrate without the threat of distracting solo karaoke sessions.

The brain-boosting snacks are lined up next to the grande latte. It’s study time, and you. are. ready.

That is, until someone stops by to see if you want to go see a movie. Or knocks to see if you’ve eaten dinner yet. Or pops in simply to see what you’re up to.

You’re never as popular as you are when you’ve sat down to get some solid studying in, but good grades don’t come by way of interruptions. Create this double-sided Do Not Disturb sign to let people know when you’re in the zone, and when you’re ready to come up for air (and pizza).

14. Rainbow your way to organization

Color-coded reading groups makes me so happy! ❤️💜💛💚💙 #thelittlethings

A post shared by Rebecca Cowan (@thecleverteacher) on

 via The Clever Teacher

The only thing worse than getting to work and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork?

Getting to school and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork.

Kids are powerless to present their history report if they accidentally grabbed trig notes instead.

For any forgetful kiddos (and, let’s face it, us young at heart), Sara from Time To Organize recommends color-coding.

Colors are a simple, yet effective, memory prompt. So when you let your kids apply colors according to the subjects they remind them of (e.g., purple for literature and green for science), they’re likelier to remember to bring the right notebook for the right classes.

15. Download these free back-to-school apps

back to school apps
The Ugly Duckling House

Somewhere between confirming carpool rides, tossing flashcards into baggies, and repairing a trampled diorama, you hear the cry: “PB&J again?”

Becca from Cul de Sac Cool understands the school-prep hustle. Which is why she rounded up the best free back-to-school apps that help her stay sane, come fall:

  1. Here Comes the Bus for estimating arrival times
  2. myHomework for keeping tabs on tests and assignments
  3. Dictionary.com for quick vocab reference
  4. Brainscape for flashcards that won’t cause clutter
  5. Overdrive for virtual access to your local library
  6. MyScript for magically converting scribbles into calculations

The six apps won’t whip up gourmet meals for your mini master chefs, but they will do things like keep you posted on when the bus is coming.

Peace of mind: There’s an app for that.

16. Add a splash of color with a DIY pencil holder

DIY terrazzo pencil holder
Enthralling Gumption

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened pencils — and it’s somehow even better when those carved quills are craftily contained.

Enter this bright, cheery project from Marwa at Enthralling Gumption. An old jar and some terrazzo-inspired paint is all it takes to whip up the friendliest pencil holder that your kids will actually want to use.

17. Create learning environments around the home

exercise with kids
Gwee

Lessons aren’t found solely in textbooks. There are several important teaching moments that take place at home and have nothing to do with solving for X.

Susan Miller, Ed.D. of Earlychildhood NEWS recommends using your own everyday tasks to serve as mini educational moments throughout the day.

For example, demonstrate the importance of being physically active by inviting the kids to join in your daily workout: they can lift soup can weights while you lift the real deal.

From the kitchen to the home office, there are plenty of ways to tackle your to-do list while inviting your kids to “help” and learn.

18. Contain your cords with a five-minute washi tape hack

cord labels
Crazy Organized

Drowning in a mountain of school-related cables?

Here’s a five-minute solution to the everyday hassle of figuring out which cord is which:

Lindsay from Crazy Organized wrapped, adhered, and trimmed a piece of washi tape for each of her most-used cords. Voilà, no more mistaken plugging necessary.

If you’re lucky enough to own a label maker, you can type out the corresponding device for each tag. Otherwise, some simple Sharpie penmanship should do the trick.

19. Assemble a make-your-own-lunch station

Pantry basket organizers
Organizing Made Fun

School-aged children are more than capable of making their own lunches. Sometimes it just takes a little organizational push to get them taking care of themselves (don’t worry, parents, they still need you!).

Simplify morning mayhem with well-labeled areas in your pantry and fridge that help kids easily grab the makings of a nutritious lunch.

Becky at Organizing Made Fun has baskets in her pantry for lunch bags, snacks, plastic spoons, and the rest of the lunchtime necessities. Her kids choose everything they need and are quickly out the door.

Sia from Thrifty Northwest Mom has a similar setup. She recommends taking one day a week to fill three separate bins with:

  • Snack items
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Protein options

Your kids can select two from the protein bin, two from fruits and veggies, and one snack.

Bonus: When your kids choose what they get to eat, they’re way more excited about their lunch.

20. Levitate a school paper organizer

a family binder is rearranged as a wall-mounted school paper organizer
Simple Stylings

“Back to school” is often synonymous with “back to permission slips, take-home assignments, and fingerprint masterpieces.” While all of them are important, where can you store them for easy access without surrendering your kitchen counter?

Summer from Simple Stylings loved the idea of a family binder for containing bills, menus, and any school-related mayhem, but lacked the horizontal space that it required.

So she transferred the same idea — filing by categories — to a more convenient spot:

Her wall.

She transitioned her system to a wall-mounted magazine rack, spruced up a stool so her young son could reach, and added a hook for his backpack.

21. Replicate this wonderful wall storage idea

two wall-mounted baskets are used for wall storage
This Is Happiness

Pop quiz:

If your two kids bring 20 pages home every day for one year, how long will it take until your kitchen counter totally disappears?

The answer:

It won’t, thanks to these clever wall-mounted baskets built by Becky from This Is Happiness.

She chose two woven baskets roomy enough to store her children’s binders, and installed them onto the wall. The wall baskets also work as places in which Becky can temporarily tuck away any important files until she’s had the chance to leaf through them.

22. Take a load off the morning juggle

Transitioning from carefree summer AMs to those hectic, pre-carpool scrambles is never easy. But a touch of personalized prep can go a long way in making everything easier.

Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling figured out a way to get her two young children organized and on-board for a headache-free start to the day.

She customized a colorful, kid-friendly school evening routine chart, to be completed each school night. Before going to bed, her kiddos know to check off their assigned tasks, such as homework completed and backpack packed.

Come morning, the only scramble they’re facing is served with OJ and toast.

23. Conduct a wardrobe review

the inside of a closet that has children's clothing hanging down
Refined Rooms, LLC

Kids grow quickly. Those “have-to-have” hoodies and sneakers go from on-trend to outgrown seemingly overnight.

That’s why Natalie of Refined Rooms, LLC schedules a review of her children’s wardrobes every year. She sorts the items in their closets, and the kids put on a “fashion show” to determine which pieces to keep or toss. Decluttering has never been so fashionable.

24. Start a capsule wardrobe

a capsule wardrobe for girls clothing
A Beautiful Mess

Capsule wardrobes have been a cultural phenomenon since British shopkeeper Susie Faux coined the term in the 1970s. Think Mark Zuckerberg’s gray tee, or Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck and jeans.

Unlike its most famous proponents’ fortes, though, it’s not rocket science:

Having a more limited selection of clothing you actually wear eases decision fatigue. Which makes mornings way less stressful.

Angela from Setting My Intention found that same concept applied to her kids. The less overwhelm her three sons faced before school, the better. Instead of building piles of once-worn clothing, the mini-geniuses in her life are able to focus on what really matters, like getting out the door on time.

25. MakeSpace

The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. Less exciting is figuring out exactly how your snazzy new school gadgets will fit into a supply closet that’s already brimming with goods.

You don’t have to sacrifice your dream collection of personalized stationery. You just need to MakeSpace.

We’ll pick up any items you don’t need right now, like your beach reads and boogie board.

Then, we’ll transport your things to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you always remember what you have in storage.

Need something back?

Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

 

Now that’s what we call an A+.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup
 

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace storage in your area:

Chicago
Washington, DC
NYC
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How To Pack Picture Frames For Moving And Storage: 8 Easy Steps [Instructographic]

Whether you’re preparing for a move or putting items into storage, picture frames need extra care when being packed. Here’s how to pack picture frames for moving and storage:

Materials:

  • Thick blanket
  • Mirror box
  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap

how to pack picture frames for moving and storage instructographic by makespace

Step 1: Lay down a thick blanket on a flat surface.

Pick a flat surface that’s big enough to fit your picture frame and packing materials. Throw down a thick, cushiony blanket for added protection during the wrapping process.

Step 2: Get a mirror box, and tape one end closed.

The safest vessel for a picture frame is a specially-designed mirror box, which is flatter and longer than regular moving boxes. Moving and office supply stores sell them, and Home Depot makes an especially heavy-duty line.

Each box should be slightly bigger — approximately 30% — than its designated frame(s).

For smaller picture frames, you can put more than one into each box. Just make sure to wrap each frame individually.

While the box is still folded, tape one end closed with packing tape. This will create a CD-case shape.

Step 3: Wrap the picture frame with packing paper.

Lay the frame, glass-side down, against the packing paper. Stretch one layer of packing paper around to the back of the frame, just like you would if you were wrapping a present.

Step 4: Secure with packing tape.

Tape around all the edges of the wrapped frame with packing tape. Use enough to tightly secure the packing paper.

Step 5: Repeat with bubble wrap.

Using bubble wrap over the packing paper, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 6: Stuff the bottom of the box with wadded-up packing paper.

This will protect the frame’s bottom.

Step 7: Insert the frame into the box.

Push the sides of the box together firmly. Fill any excess space with wadded packing paper. (This is the only time you’ll ever hear us say more space isn’t a good thing.)

Step 8: Tape the box shut with packing tape, and label it as “FRAGILE.”

Self-explanatory.


You could follow all these steps to make sure your picture frames are safe and secure. Or you could simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup, tell us you’re storing fragile items, and let us do everything for you.

We’ll come to you and carefully wrap your frame with protective wrapping, a moving blanket, and packing tape. We’ll then transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of it so you always remember what you have in storage.

The best part:

When you want your picture frame back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

Chicago
DC
NYC
LA

10 Brilliant Organizing Tips From Ellen Degeneres, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, And More Of Your Favorite Comedians

We all want to get organized. But sometimes, reading advice from a stuffy expert can get awfully boring.

But you know who’s never boring?

Comedians.

Because professional funny people have a knack for making anything amusing — and typically have to keep themselves organized, thanks to their crazy schedules — we pulled nuggets of wisdom from nine comics on the best ways to declutter, organize, and decorate your home.

Granted, some of it is a little facetious. But there’s also real, applicable advice embedded in these zingers.

Get ready to laugh and learn from these accomplished writers and performers:

Make organizing a relaxing weekend ritual

Amy Poehler tells us how she organizes her home
David Shankbone via Flickr

Most people let their apartments descend into chaos because they see cleaning and organizing as chores. And they are! But you can trick yourself into thinking they’re not by taking a cue from accomplished comedian and person Amy Poehler, who makes organizing a peaceful Sunday routine. As she told Parade:

“On a really awesome day, I’ll spend the afternoon cleaning out my closets. I love to organize. To me, there’s no greater grown-up pleasure than cleaning your drawers while listening to This American Life or Fresh Air on public radio. Your brain gets organized, and so does your underwear.”

Or turn organization into a party

A post shared by Amy Sedaris (@amysedaris) on

 

Poehler isn’t the only famous Amy with ideas on organization. While promoting her book on entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, Amy Sedaris offered this relevant anecdote about a clean-up that she transformed into a social event:

“When I finished the book, my apartment was a mess. … So I took everything off the walls, repainted and then had people come over and help me rearrange the artwork, decide what was going to go up and what I was going to put in storage.”

Be sure to provide food, drinks, and music to make all that rearranging and reorganization a true party.

Motivate yourself with money

Thank you Battle Creek Michigan for your love and yuks. I still don't know where Battle Creek is but I love it here. ❤️

A post shared by Whitney Cummings (@whitneycummings) on

Whitney Cummings fielded readers’ questions for Esquire ahead of her HBO comedy special I’m Your Girlfriend. When one reader wrote in asking how to rectify his messy habits, Cummings delivered this half-sarcastic, half-useful advice:

“Grow up? And have a yard sale. Put your stuff on eBay. As soon as you can get money for your c**p all of a sudden getting organized seems way more appealing.”

You should also consider selling stuff you don’t need, such as your old CDs and DVDs, on Craigslist, Offer Up, and Facebook. You might not want that old coffee table anymore, but your friend who just moved might.

Don’t get hung up on stuff

In some ways, George Carlin was the original Marie Kondo. Sure, he cursed a lot more, but he shared her views on clutter. As his famous bit goes:

I don’t know how you are, but I need a place to put my stuff. You know how important that is. That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much g*****n stuff, you wouldn’t need a house… When you take off in an airplane and you look down, you see that everyone has got a little pile of stuff. And when you leave your stuff, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don’t bother with that c**p you’re saving. Ain’t nobody interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They’re looking for the good stuff! That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

In order to avoid a stuff-induced crisis, try to pare down to things you truly need and/or love. And please, throw out those fourth-grade papers.

Have a purgatory bag

A photo of Sara Benincasa at a microphone
© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

In comedian/writer Sara Benincasa’s advice book Real Artists Have Day Jobs, she tackles all sorts of topics ranging from flossing to fan letters. But she also imparts a useful organizing tip she’s used to keep her home tidy. It involves designating a so-called Purgatory Bag.

“The concept of the Purgatory Bag is quite simple. Once a month, or whenever you feel like it, you go around your house and throw a bunch of clutter in a bag. Not trash, mind you — you throw the trash out. I’m talking about clutter… Then, on a designated day, you have a Purgatory Bag session. You go through your most recent Purgatory Bag and decide what goes to Heaven (its proper place in your home or someone else’s home) and what goes to Hell (the garbage can).”

Benincasa insists the bag can be large or small, so long as you empty it completely on the appointed day. Also, she reminds you to remember that “Heaven” is a big place — if you don’t want to send something in your bag to “Hell,” there’s also charities to consider.

Clean before things snowball

A headshot of Nora Ephron
Prachatai via Flickr

It wouldn’t be fair to cite the late, great Nora Ephron as an organizational muse. She was very open about her messiness, as illustrated in her essay, “I Hate My Purse”:

“Here’s what happens with a purse. You start small. You start pledging yourself to neatness. You start vowing that This Time It Will Be Different, you start with the things you absolutely need – your wallet and a few cosmetics that you have actually put into a brand-new shiny cosmetics bag, the kind used by your friends who are competent enough to manage more than one purse at a time. But within seconds, your purse has accumulated the debris of a lifetime. The cosmetics have somehow fallen out of the shiny cosmetics bag (OK, you forgot to zip it up), the coins have fallen from the wallet (OK, you forgot to fasten the coin compartment), the credit cards are somewhere in the abyss (OK, you forgot to put your Visa card back into your wallet after you bought the sunblock that is now oozing into the lining because you forgot to put the top back onto it after you applied it to your hands while driving 70 miles an hour down the highway).”

Obviously, this is not how you want to handle clutter in your home. But you can glean advice from Ephron’s struggles with her purse. Namely, take care of messes while they’re still manageable. Sort through the stack of papers on your counter before they morph into a mountain, and break up the pile of scarves sitting on the floor of your closet before they blanket the whole thing.

See the space

When it comes to reorganizing rooms, you can trust Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show host revealed herself to be a secret home decorating fiend last year with her book Home. It includes lessons she’s learned from her house-flipping ventures. Here’s one she shared with The Los Angeles Times on pseudo feng shui:

“Envision where, say, your sofa is going to go, where certain pieces will go. And not that I believe in feng shui completely, but I do think there are certain aspects of it that make sense. Like, you want to have a clear path, you don’t want a lot of things in your way as you walk through a room. And you don’t want to see the backs of things when you enter – if you have to position the sofa that way, put a console behind it. And always remember: paint makes all the difference in the world.”

Decorate like an adult

Chelsea peretti does standup
Miss Wright via Flickr

Like Cummings, Chelsea Peretti took over the Esquire “Ask a Comedian” column ahead of her Netflix comedy special One of the Greats back in 2014. Here’s the sage wisdom she imparted onto a reader seeking to set up her first “adult” apartment:

Is an “adult” apartment covered in d****s? Does it read The New York Times? Does it take yoga? Does it drive a minivan and drop its little-kid apartments off at school in the morning? I’m very interested in this unorthodox structure you describe. There are a lot of different kinds of adults, but when in doubt get a gold log end table (Google ‘gold log end table’ to see what I mean) or DIY paint something gold for a warm yet sophisticated color pop. You can find more examples of fancy decor on Pinterest or interior-design magazines.

Think of the future

But in the end, the best advice on keeping up your home might come from Mindy Kaling. She wrote on her blog, “I figure, it’s best to live your life and decorate your house such as if you ever become mega famous and died, people would have a lot of fun touring your crazy house.”

If you’re looking for decorating ideas, check out Kaling’s Instagram for occasional glimpses of her L.A. home.

Invest in MakeSpace

What if we told you that you could be sitting in a blissfully clean apartment right now without getting rid of a single thing? You’d probably laugh and tell us to leave the comedy to Carlin. But this isn’t a joke. It’s the power of MakeSpace.

To get started, simply schedule a pickup. We’ll come get your things – whether it’s an old coffee table, extra kitchen appliances, window air conditioner, or surfboard – and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you never forget what you have in storage.

That’s not all.

When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

It’s not a gag. It’s storage made simple.

Top image via Flickr/celebrityabc

58 Best Organizing Tips And Ideas From 24 Top Professional Organizers

The benefits of getting organized are endless: There’s less housework. Goals become clearer. There’s more space for things you love. You may even sleep better.

There’s just one hurdle: The journey from Clutterville to Tidy Town can be bumpy.

To make your ride as smooth as possible, we asked 24 top professional organizers to share their best organizing tips and ideas.

All aboard!

Beth Penn, BNeato Bar

beth penn, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

1. How to determine if your clutter is, well, clutter

Clutter is sometimes hard to recognize. We live in our houses day-in and day-out, where clutter becomes part of the landscape. We don’t recognize piles and groupings of stuff because it’s become the norm. We have gotten pretty good at ignoring clutter, or just plain not realizing it’s moved in.

It usually doesn’t show itself until you can’t find what you’re looking for, or realize you have bought something you already had – costing time and money.

My recommendation for individuals wondering if they have clutter is this: Take a photo of the space. Start small with a drawer, a closet shelf, or a bookcase. Zoom in on the photo. How does the stuff make you feel? Do you use it all? How often? How would your life feel if the space was tidy, leaving room to grow?

The answers to these questions will be great indicators to the work that needs to be done.

2. Keep these three things in your bag to stay organized on-the-go

  • Cord Tacos for wrangling cords and earbuds (lifesavers, since wires can become a tangled mess).
  • Scannable app for taking photos of receipts and recycling paper.
  • A portable iPhone charger.

3. Use these four apps to digitally organize and save time

Snooze: Allows the user to snooze an email until they are ready to deal with it.

Snippets: We often type the same text over and over; emails, phrases, introductions – the list goes on and on. Snippets saves time by allowing you to create templates of saved text that you can insert within any email just by typing a short command.

Todoist: A task management app that coordinates effortlessly with Gmail. There are so many great features but my favorite is the ability to create to-dos from actual emails, therefore getting rid of the email. Emails can’t be prioritized, but in Todoist, they are.

FileThis : An online tool that helps me stay paperless. FileThis logs into each of my accounts and files my statements in Dropbox. It also alerts me when things are coming due so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Seana Turner, The Seana Method

seana turner, a professional organizer in connecticut

4. Accept that you probably do need to declutter

You may think you don’t have anything you want to get rid of, but believe me, you probably do. Even if you’ve carefully pruned before a move, you will likely still pull items out of a box and think, “Why did I bring this?”

Life tends to bring new items into our space each day, and we frequently fail to recognize the pace at which we are accumulating things.

5. Let yourself let go

Ownership is overrated. Often we feel that we need to own something to enjoy it. In reality, we may get more pleasure out of borrowing or renting something. Anything we own requires that we clean it, move it, store it, maintain it, and maybe insure it. This all takes energy. Be open to alternative ways to access and enjoy physical objects.

6. Get your kids on board

Set times each day for restoring order. Avoid using the words “clean up,” which children interpret as “make look pretty.” This leads to items being tossed into the nearest container.

Teach children that a space needs to be reset, with items going back into their homes. Do this at least once a day, and maybe more if children are in the space all day. For example, consider a cleanup before lunch and before dinner.

7. File, don’t pile

Paperwork is always better stored vertically than horizontally. Piles are difficult to sort through, and typically only provide a reminder of the page that is on the top. Even in a mostly paperless environment, there will still be some paper, so have either a file drawer or box where this paper belongs.

Separate the action space from the storeroom. Often we buy office products in bulk (e.g., a box of pens and a 20-pack of sticky notes). Don’t keep all of them in your desk. Keep one or two of each supply at your desk, but set up a separate supply space for the bulk packages. When a pen runs dry, throw it away and go get another from your storage area.

8. Put items away now, rather than later

It is very tempting to put something down rather than away. We tell ourselves we will put it away later, but then life gets in the way and it never happens. If you can, push yourself to get the item to its final destination in the moment.

Pooja Naik, Organizing With You

pooja naik, a professional organizer in chicago, illinois

9. Seek functionality over visual appeal

This is the best way to ensure you can stay organized. Organizing is about creating systems that cater to your needs, not just tidying up or putting things in piles. If you’re a visual person, label everything!

10. Take baby steps for your organizing goals

If it gets overwhelming, you will lose interest and momentum. A little bit every day, but continuity is key.

Organizing is not an end destination, it’s a process of acquiring skills, applying them, and being committed to being organized every day.

Linda Samuels, Oh, So Organized!

linda samuels, a professional organizer in croton-on-hudson, ny

11. Use an event to motivate your decluttering efforts

Entertain: Throwing a party, from an intimate dinner to a large BBQ, can motivate us to declutter as we prepare for company. Use social, happiness-producing events for clutter maintenance.

Move: Moving motivates us to evaluate our stuff and release the extraneous. The more you edit and declutter before a move, the faster your home will sell, and the easier it’ll be to organize your new space.

Sell: Having a yard sale gives you a specific deadline to work towards, increases your letting-go motivation, is an enjoyable social activity, and lets you make a few bucks in the process. It’s also fun to meet the buyers of your stuff.

Free Bonus: Move-Out And Move-In Cleaning Checklists You Can Actually Use

12. Prevent future clutter by developing a steady awareness of what you are doing

If you have just entered the house with groceries or purchases in hand, take time to put them away. The few minutes spent doing this minimizes clutter that might otherwise collect in hallways, corners, and on floors.

13. Tackle any closet build-up with these basic starts

Remove all extra hangers. Recycle, give away, or reroute hangers that don’t belong.

Pick up your clothes from the closet floor. Hang them up or reroute to laundry, dry cleaners, or giveaway.

Set the timer for 10 minutes, and quickly remove clothes that you absolutely no longer want. Reroute them to give away.

Voilà! This is a great beginning. Your closet feels more spacious and is on its way to being clutter-free.

Regina Lark, A Clear Path

regina lark, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

14. Set aside time and energy

Before one can start a decluttering strategy, one needs to make sure to:

  • Schedule blocks of time for every single project.
  • Plan in advance by putting every single project on a calendar.
  • Have someone to help on the projects that are too heavy, too emotional, too time-consuming.

15. A place for everything, and everything in its place

To stay organized anywhere, be mindful of everything you bring in through your front door. Everything needs its own home – don’t bring it in unless you know exactly where it’s going to live.

Rachel Rosenthal, Rachel & Company

rachel rosenthal, a professional organizer in washington, dc

16. How to begin decluttering if you’re overwhelmed by all your stuff

Once you start purging items (donate, trash, or consign) you’ll likely feel relieved, and even motivated to move on to another area.

Enlisting the help of a friend or family member to help you get through the task will give you the support needed to finish the (sometimes daunting) task at hand.

Tip: Start in the kitchen and pantry to weed out any expired food. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at what you’ve been holding onto, and will be inspired to tackle the next spot!

17. Limit your nightstand contents to vital objects

Items like eyeglasses, hand cream, ChapStick, a phone charger, and a nightly read (e.g., book, magazine, or e-reader) are the standard for this storage spot. If your necessities list is longer, by all means don’t stop yourself from having the items within arms’ reach.

If you depend on your nightstand for extra storage, just make sure you are strategic about what goes inside. It’s easy for an empty drawer to turn into a junk catch-all, so in order to prevent that from happening, give it a purpose before you start storing. Stick with one or two categories (e.g., sunglasses and jewelry) so that you know exactly what’s stored inside when you need it.

18. Restrict items in your office space to what you really need

A pad of paper and pen are always helpful for jotting down the thoughts and reminders filling your head. Headphones or noise-cancelling earbuds are great for blocking out noise and helping you focus. And a calendar nearby (digital or hard-copy) is a necessity to keep your schedule in check.

If you have the available space, add a personal touch with framed art or a plant.

Use structure in drawers. There is no way to keep small supplies from sloshing together if you don’t have a drawer organizer. Measure and get inserts to keep like items together.

19. Be strategic when packing for a trip

Create a list of items that you need to bring to ensure that you never leave without the essentials. Tip: Make a digital version on your computer so you can reference it for each trip.

Plan full outfits in advance (rather than bringing seven tops and four bottoms for a weekend trip), so that you know exactly what pieces work together and what you are comfortable wearing. That’s preferable to lugging around extras, “just in case” the outfit didn’t work out like you envisioned in your head. Similarly, ignore the “what if” scenarios!

Be realistic with the amount of options that you bring and stick with that number when choosing your clothing.

Tip: Stick with a color scheme and choose options based off of the scheme to ensure that all clothing, shoes, and jewelry can be mixed and matched!

Andrea Hancock, Dexterous Organizing

andrea hancock, a professional organizer in alexandria, va

20. Recommended organizing and decluttering books

Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much gives a rip-the-Band-Aid-off approach to decluttering, and most importantly, on making space for the things that are important to your life.

Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing From the Inside Out helps people figure out what some of their blocks are to organizing. She also provides a reusable formula for tackling any organizing project, whether it’s a wallet or your garage. I use that formula when working with my clients, and in my own life.

Getting Things Done by David Allen is great for productivity and time management. Even if you use just his core methodology, you’ll live a much more peaceful and productive life, with fewer things slipping through the cracks.

Once I get my client’s space organized, it’s up to them to maintain the systems we put in place. I love the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It teaches us that if we don’t put habits in place, we get frustrated when getting and staying organized. It’s full of anecdotes and science, but presented in an interesting and intriguing read.

Tova Weinstock, Tidy Tova

tova weinstock, a professional organizer in nyc

21. Go paperless when you can

Set up automatic payments for monthly bills and make sure companies don’t send paper mail – all the information you need will be available online.

Send junk mail straight to the recycling. Don’t even let garbage mail hit your counter or tabletop –  pull it out of the pile as soon as you can and send it to the trash. Only keep important mail that involves items you have to address.

File important papers in an accordion folder. Its size will keep your papers down to a minimum. And remember: There are very few that you actually need to hold on to.

22. Keep sentimental papers in check

Don’t hold onto every card just because it was once special. I advise having one plastic container for sentimental items, and don’t let it overflow – if something new comes in, reconsider what you’re holding onto.

23. Keep your suitcase organized when traveling

Store smaller items and accessories in mesh bags. Keep your undergarments in a bag, and wires and electronics in a bag. This will keep things in your suitcase tidy.

Refrain from leaving trash in your bag. It’s a suitcase, not a trashcan!

Store toiletries in a clear plastic bag. This will keep them safe from spills and easy to see.

Free Bonus: 7 Super Creative And Cheap Ways To Store Your Luggage

Jean Marie Herron, POSSE Partners, LLC

jean marie herron, a professional organizer in new jersey

24. Treat your surfaces wisely

The more surface space you have in your house, the more opportunity for clutter, because people feel entitled to put things down on it – even if that’s not where the item belongs. So take away extra furniture surface space if you can.

But most importantly, either give everything you own a “home,” or get rid of it.

Julie Naylon, No Wire Hangers

julie naylon, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

25. Maximize what’s available in your closet

If you can see the back wall of your closet, you are not utilizing all its space.

Instead of piling hats on a shelf, install some hooks and hang your hats on the walls inside your closet. Hang clothes on the same type of hanger by style, and then by color. Make sure they are all facing the same direction.

Lisa Zaslow, Gotham Organizers

lisa zaslow, a manhattan professional organizer

26. Respect, don’t neglect, your bedroom

It’s tempting to store suitcases in a corner “just for now,” to pile up clothes that need to go to the cleaner or tailor, or to leave unfinished projects and papers strewn all over the dresser.

Banish anything that isn’t related to dressing, sleeping, relaxation, or romance. Relocate items to other rooms or closets – or let them go. Add fresh flowers or a candle.

27. Label, label, label any at-home storage

I.D. the contents of containers so you know what’s inside.

Clearly label file folders by topic.

Note what’s in a box before you stow it in a closet or in the garage.

Label the inside edge of a drawer or the inside of a cabinet door so it’s obvious what’s stored where.

Go pro with a label maker (I love the Brother P-Touch), or simply use a Sharpie marker.

Jodie Watson, Supreme Organization

jodie watson, a los angeles professional organizer

28. Practice the art of purging

We all have too much stuff (yes, even organizers have more than they need). If we don’t regularly and open-heartedly let go of things, the abundance of stuff starts to slowly overcome us and we find ourselves getting overwhelmed and squeezed out by our possessions.

Once we start to practice the art of purging, we are continually looking for what can be let go of.

This piece of advice actually benefits us in two ways because we also start to think more carefully before bringing more stuff into our lives.

29. Don’t be too hard on yourself when decluttering

Oftentimes, I hear my clients criticize, judge, and condemn themselves for the way they have let things become.

Decluttering and organizing takes time and can be hard work. So definitely don’t beat yourself up and tear yourself apart as you go. Keep your focus on where you are headed, not on where you have been.

Jeni Aron, Clutter Cowgirl

jeni aron, a professional organizer in nyc

30. Make your wardrobe space-efficient

Keep only current season clothing in your bedroom. Have the right amount of drawer and hanging space. If you create a routine of hanging up your daily clothes when you come home, this habit will keep clutter at bay.

31. Prime your bedroom for relaxation

Many people decide to eliminate TVs and other electronic equipment from the bedroom. Placing a desk somewhere other than the bedroom might be a good idea. Work, bills, paperwork, and other clutter leads to poor sleep and an unsexy environment.

Make your bed every day to ward off the piling of books, magazines, and other stuff.

Check in with yourself and your partner about how you feel in your space frequently.

Free Bonus: 9 Creative Book Storage Hacks For Small Apartments

Ann Sullivan, Ann Sullivan Inc.

ann sullivan, an nyc professional organizer

32. Be closet conscientious

The average person wears 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, so edit your closet twice a year and donate unwanted items.

To keep the closet organized, color code from light to dark. Invest in slim hangers to maximize space, and use shelf dividers to keep sweaters from tumbling.

Stephanie Shalofsky, The Organizing Zone

stephanie shalofsky, an nyc professional office organizer

33. Think of your desk as a command center

All of the items that you need to do your job must be in arm’s reach when you are sitting at your desk. The tools that you keep in this space should be customized so that they support your daily activities and tasks.

By doing this, you will be much more effective and more productive.

Barbara Reich, Resourceful Consultants

barbara reich, an nyc professional organizer

34. Dispose and reassess toiletries

Purge any expired products. Both over-the-counter medications and prescriptions have expiration dates. And makeup, once the package is open, is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Check dates and dispose of old products every six months.

Use acrylic makeup organizers that will hold your toiletries upright in your vanity.

Use drawer organizers inside shallow bathroom drawers to separate cosmetics.

Use apothecary jars to store small items like hair elastics, chapstick, q-tips, and makeup applicators.

Use vanity accessories like a soap dispenser, soap dish, and tissue box holder for a polished look in your bathroom.

Free Bonus: 11 Beautifully Easy Makeup Storage And Organizing Ideas

35. Find your packing harmony

Strike a balance between packing too far in advance and not waiting until the night before the trip. I always recommend that the packing take place the weekend before the trip. Generally, you’re calmer then, and if there are things you need, you’ll have time to purchase them.

Pack small items in individual Ziploc bags. For example, children’s underpants and socks can be stored in a Ziploc bag, and then placed in a suitcase.

Pack the suitcase in layers, and place heavier items on the bottom. For example, shoes go on the bottom of the suitcase along with jeans and sweatshirts, which are heavier than a silk blouse you may want to lay on the very top.

Put layers of tissue paper between items of clothing to prevent wrinkling.

Carry prescription medicines, cameras, laptops, and any expensive jewelry onboard with you.

For airline travel, employ “the rule of fractions.” If there are four people in your family, pack a fourth of each person’s clothing in each piece of luggage. If luggage is lost or stolen, everyone will have enough to wear until it’s found.

36. Tidy up while cooking

Wash or put items in the dishwasher as you go.

Put things away as you go. For example, if you’re done with the flour, put it away. If you’re done with a condiment, put it away.

When possible, prep food items ahead of time.

Determine when you need dishes to be ready and work backwards, time-wise.

Nonnahs Driskill, Get Organized Already

nonnahs driskill, a professional organizer in pasadena, california

37. Use produce drawers as time capsules in your fridge

Most refrigerators have two produce drawers. Instead of dividing produce by category into the drawers, try this trick:

When you are checking the fridge before you shop, toss out the unusable things in the drawers. Move everything to the right drawer which you have labeled with a sticky note. Eat these produce items first. Once you have new produce, put it all into the left drawer.

38. Use clear (preferably glass) storage containers for food

Regular plastic storage containers are cloudy and hard to see into. Take-out containers are even worse!

Put your leftover food and ingredients into sturdy containers with safe-sealing tops (I love the Pyrex ones) to clearly see what there is to eat in the fridge and freezer. I often store these containers full of food upside down for even greater visibility. Crazy!

39. Use a Lazy Susan for overlooked olives

Who can remember what condiments are hiding in the back of the refrigerator? Not me! I gotta see it to believe it. So, I use two Lazy Susans in the fridge. One is for pickles and olives. The other is for rarely used condiments. No more buying what you already have.

40. Tackle the black hole in your freezer

Most freezers are extremely hard to keep organized. The main problem is the things we store in there are all weird shapes and sizes. Hello turkey carcass for making soup!

Use a small cookie sheet to freeze your liquids into nice flat solids right in Ziploc bags. Then you can stack the solid bags. (Write the contents on the bag before filling it.)

Stack clear, glass storage containers for non-liquids in the freezer. Label them with a little piece of paper that sticks out of the lid.

Sarah Giller Nelson, Less Is More Organizers

sarah giller nelson, a professional organizer that serves miami and chicago

An organized home doesn’t just happen – it is the result of specific habits and routines that help one maintain a clutter-free environment long-term. Here are some habits that professional organizers, and organized people in general, use every day that help keep their homes neat and organized:

41. Make your bed every morning

Since your bed is the dominant feature in your bedroom, a made bed will make your whole room feel orderly. Bonus: This task takes less than two minutes.

42. Keep a donation bag in each of your clothes closets

You now have a place to keep clothes you no longer like or that no longer fit until you have the time to take them to a resale shop.

Pro Tip: MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

43. Keep a trash bin as close to the mailbox as possible

The vast majority of the mail you receive will be junk. Throw it away [or recycle!] before it clutters your main living space.

44. Use more hooks

Hooks involve much less work than hangers. Place them low enough so your children can easily hang up their own coats, backpacks, and gear.

Jeffrey Phillip, Jeffrey Phillip

jeffrey phillip, an nyc professional organizer

45. Be constantly aware of your limits

When it comes to organizing and living with less clutter, something that we can all do very easily is to be more conscientious consumers and live within our spatial means.

By asking ourselves a few questions before we bring something home, we can easily help stop the clutter before it enters our house. A few example questions are, “Do I have space for this item?” “Do I need this item?” and “What am I willing to donate so that I do have room for this new item?”

Andrew Mellen, Andrew Mellen, Inc.

andrew mellen, an nyc professional organizer

46. Declutter your kitchen cabinets

Start by emptying out everything on your counters or table. Sort like with like. Get rid of everything you will not use or eat: donate still-good food to a local food bank, and discard anything that’s no longer consumable.

Zone the cabinets before you put things back: baking, cooking, storage, utensils, sharp items, dish towels, dishes, serving pieces, canned goods, spices, and sauces. Wipe and clean the cabinets thoroughly. Use Lazy Susans, bamboo drawer dividers, or wire shelves to corral smaller items such as spices, herbs, utensils, and hand tools.

Load everything back in, according to the zones you’ve created. Label the drawers/doors if needed for the first week or so, until you remember where things live now.

47. Attain inbox zero

Sign up for Unroll.me to get rid of all unwanted subscriptions. Create a separate email address just for subscriptions and online shopping, and migrate everything to that address so your personal one is reserved exclusively for actual correspondence.

Use your app’s rules or filters to pre-sort emails into clearly labeled subfolders.

Schedule appointments with yourself for any action items, and delete emails instead of allowing them to stack up in your inbox as a “tickler” or reminder.

48. Develop time-management skills

Always live in the math: 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. If you aren’t in the math, you’re in the story, and the story seldom has a happy ending.

If you want a simple life, make simple choices. Think each choice through to its natural conclusion. Don’t stop examining the choice without carefully considering all the costs – both immediate and in the future.

Every person should do a set of core value exercises to gain complete clarity on what is important to them. If you live or work with anyone, you should do them as a family, team, or roommates.

Someday doesn’t exist.

There is no such thing as multitasking. You can’t bake a cake and do open heart surgery at the exact same time.

Sharon Lowenheim, Organizing Goddess, Inc.

A headshot of Sharon Lowenheim of Organizing Goddess

49. Embrace the power of uni-tasking 

We’ve gotten used to things happening quickly on the computer. If something takes more than 10 seconds to open, it feels like forever.

Maybe we’ll start looking for something to do while waiting. For example, I may go back to my e-mail program to see if I can read and eliminate another e-mail. By the time I am done, I may have forgotten about the other task I had started to do.

Or I’ll get back to the program I was opening — my browser, or one of my desktop apps — and I can’t remember why I opened it!

Make the commitment to do one thing at a time. If you’re opening a program and it takes a little while, stay with it. Take deep breaths until it’s ready to do what you opened it to do.

Focusing on one thing at a time allows us to use our time more effectively. And deep breathing is good for you!

What one small change can you make to be more effective?

50. Let your space define how much you can own

To prevent your stuff from taking over your home, decide how much space you want to allocate to a particular item, and then stick with that.

Here’s an example: I have one drawer in my dresser that I’ve allocated to sweaters. I don’t allow myself to own any more sweaters than can fit in that drawer. If I buy a new sweater but the drawer is full, I have to get rid of a sweater. I can’t put it in another drawer or on a shelf in the closet.

It’s the same with my shoes. If my shoe bag is full, I can’t buy a new pair of shoes unless I give one away. By creating limits for myself, I ensure that I continue to live comfortably in a small space.

Rashelle Isip, The Order Expert

51. Create an itinerary to organize your travels

An itinerary is a useful reference when it comes to your personal or professional travels. What’s more, the physical act of preparing your itinerary helps you to organize, process, and digest information related to your trip.

To create your own itinerary, gather necessary travel documents and related information. Then, open a word processor or text editor, and create sections for general information, dates/times, and notes.

Next, write down all the dates of your trip. Using your travel documents and related info, fill in the details for each day, working your way from morning until night.

Lastly, don’t forget to proofread and double-check your work.

52. Customize your journals and notebooks to your needs 

The beauty of a blank journal and notebook is that you can create and organize information however you like.

First, think about how you’d like to use your notebook, be it for personal use, work, or school. What information are you going to store/organize/retrieve in your journal?

The next step is to sketch out the journal/notebook contents. Some ideas include dating pages and entries, and creating sections for a table of contents, index, and charts.

Once you’ve finalized your plans, you can start customizing your notebook according to your plans.

Jessica Decker, Become Organized

a headshot of professional organizer Jessica Decker

53. Maximize vertical space

Maximize your vertical space at home to capture every useable inch.

Install shelves to hold books and decor, and add baskets to store miscellaneous items. Double hang your clothes in your closet to double your hanging space. Hang kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling to maximize vertical space, and put a shelf below to easily access frequently used dishes.

The large area on the back of a door is almost always overlooked as a way to claim vertical space. Use an over-the-door shoe hanger to store much more than just shoes. Try one out with toys in a child’s room, or hats, gloves, and scarves in a hall closet. You could even use it to store cleaning supplies in a laundry room.

54. Do a purse purge 

Never again be the person in line fumbling through your bag looking for your wallet, or standing in the rain searching for car keys.

Organize your purse contents using small mesh pouches with zip closures. Have one for your toiletries (lipstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, gum), one for electronics (headphones, phone charger), and one for other items (pen, small paper pad, etc.).

When items are no longer running free range along the bottom of your purse or hidden in pockets, you’re able to easily pull out and access the pouch you need. Remove any accumulated trash at the end of the day to give your purse a reset.

55. Locate any paper – in under one minute 

There are only three decisions when it comes to paperwork: Act on it, trash it, or file it.

File your paperwork weekly so it doesn’t accumulate into a mountain of filing that you dread addressing and ultimately ignore. Before you start filing, separate the pile into categories to easily view and assess each category as a whole.

A good filing system has a category and subcategory for every paper you need to store, keeps necessary papers easily retrievable, and keeps you on top of bills and other important documents.

56. Make sure the kids are organized, too

Kids are constantly growing, and their rooms need an occasional review to ensure that their bedroom keeps pace.

Organize age-appropriate books on a bookshelf in themes: fiction, non-fiction, history, or poetry. Create a cozy corner for reading. Clear off a desk for studying and provide good lighting and a comfortable, sturdy chair.

In the closet and dressers, donate outgrown clothes. If you can, remove most of the toys and place them in the playroom to make the bedroom a haven of quiet reading, studying, and sleeping.

Juli Oliver, OrganizeNY

a headshot of professional orgnanizer Juli Oliver

57. Tips for staying on top of a move 

Make a “moving” notebook, and make sure it never leaves your side. Keep track of everything related to moving: Pre/post move information, schedules, master list of all your boxes, checklists, tasks, contacts, and resources. With everything accessible in one place, unpacking in your new space will be a much smoother process. 

Prepare an “Open me first” box ahead of time. This is the box (or suitcase) containing immediate essentials: toiletries, food/snacks, medicines, pet supplies, a couple days’ worth of clothing for all family members, important documents, entertainment for the kids, electronics, bedding, towels, scissors/tape, paper/pen, knife/cork screw, and cleaning supplies. 

Once you’ve arrived, unpack the rooms you need to use the most first: Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. Stay focused and complete each one before moving onto the next.

58. Use decor make your home organized and happy 

Surround yourself with things you love. This could be a color scheme, a certain style of art on the walls, furniture from a special era, a particular brand of cookware/dishes/glasses, or photographs of your loved ones.

Incorporate nature, as plants bring the outside in and infuse life into your space.  The same goes for natural light, which can improve your mood.

Lastly, label as much as you can. With items continuously going back into the same place, you’ll create a sense of order that will keep household members on-board as well.


It’s no secret that getting organized is hard work. But sometime between restructuring your fridge and taming that paper dragon, take a step back. Breathe. Appreciate the extra space you’ve created.

And when you’re ready to make even more space?

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup
 

We’ll pick up any bulky winter coats standing between you and your soon-to-be she-shed. Then, we’ll transport your items to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember what you have in storage.

And when you want something back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Now that’s an organizing hack.

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA
New York City
Washington, DC

These 15 Awesome Apps And Services Will Spring Clean Your Entire Apartment

The sun is out and winter coats are snuggled away. Spring has finally sprung!

The change of season, of course, has us thinking about spring cleaning. Namely, how to get out of it so we can ride our bikes instead.

Now, what if you could go cruising and have a sparkling home?

Welcome to 2017, where anything is possible … at least with some help.

These 15 apps and services do your dirty work for you, whether it’s hacking IKEA furniture or nixing junk mail for good.

For those of you who like doing the cleaning yourself, don’t worry, we didn’t forget about you. As in, there’s a service on this list that will send someone to your favorite brunch spot to wait in line for you. Please save us a waffle?

1. Outsource your chores to TaskRabbit.

taskrabbit app on a white iphone
Download the TaskRabbit app for iPhone or Android

Like your own personal Oddjob minus the evilness, TaskRabbit is your reliable, one-stop shop for outsourcing any errand. Such as assembling your furniture. Which is still sleeping soundly in an unopened box. In the middle of your living room. On wine-stained carpet.

Taskers, who are fully vetted by TaskRabbit and reviewed by other customers, obliterate your spring cleaning to-do list by taking care of pretty much anything you can imagine.

Things like cleaning your carpet, helping you move into a new place, mounting floating shelves and TVs, getting groceries, cooking those groceries, delivering potted plants to liven up your abode, performing puppet shows, packing your MakeSpace bins, and organizing your closet on a Saturday morning.

You know, so you can wait in line at your favorite brunch spot for 90 minutes. No wait, a Tasker can also wait in line for you, so you can sweep in last minute like a G.

2. Get your apartment masterfully cleaned by Merry Maids.

2 merry maids cleaning a kitchen
Merry Maids

Your apartment’s been through quite a bit this past winter. Give it a deep clean with zero labor on your part by enlisting the help of Merry Maids. Certified, background-checked pros will come to your home and clean every room better than the imaginary grime-fighting quartet of Rosie the Robot, Mr. Clean, Scrubby, and Brawny Man.

Merry Maids uses the brand’s own eco-friendly products, and will wash your dishes, do your laundry, fold your clothes, make your bed, and take out your trash and recyclables. Merry Maids … will you marry us?

3. Get butler-esque service from Alfred.

hello alfred app on a white iphone
Download the Hello Alfred app

For the 1%, there’s a live-in butler. For the 99%, and Batman, there’s Alfred. Up to twice a week, a carefully-vetted Alfred will swing by your Batcave and complete your chores and errands while you save Gotham.

Alfred will sort your mail, tidy up your apartment, do your grocery shopping, stock your fridge, and pick up and drop off your dry cleaning, laundry, and pharmacy items.

Have a top secret request, such as “Bring me a green smoothie. Go heavy on the power pellets”?

Alfred can take care of that too, so you return to your Batcave unharmed and with an awkward smile, Master Wayne.

4. Sell almost anything using OfferUp.

offerup app on a white iphone
Download the OfferUp app for iPhone or Android

The only thing that untouched set of dumbbells hiding in plain sight gives you is dust. Make it give you dough instead. Use OfferUp to easily sell just about anything (except for these forbidden items) to people in your neighborhood.

All you need is the app, your phone’s camera, and 30 seconds to list any item for sale. Just be sure to double check the buyer’s reviews so you can get your cash with confidence.

5. Sell your stacks of books and tech using Decluttr.

decluttr app on a black iphone, samsung phone, and other smartphone
Download the Decluttr app for iPhone or Android

Textbooks taking up precious shelf space? Unwanted video games, Blu-rays, CDs, or DVDs collecting dust ever since you discovered, well, the internet?

You could use them as coasters and collect nothing. Or you could send them to Decluttr and collect dollars.

The app turns your camera phone into a barcode scanner so you can get an instant value for your discs. You then ship your discs to Decluttr, using a box and their free shipping label.

The best part:

You’ll get paid immediately after Decluttr finishes processing your collection of Alanis Morissette albums and Adam Sandler movies.

But don’t stop there. Recycle one more thing – karma – by donating the proceeds to charity directly through the app.

6. Ship your stuff anywhere in the world using Shyp.

shyp app on a white iphone
Download the Shyp app for iPhone or Android

While purging your closet, a Tasker found a camera you no longer use. You’re thinking about giving it to your newbie photographer cousin who lives across the country. Or maybe you have to return a pile of online purchases that you trip over every time you pass through your entryway.

In either of these cases, how would you ship the items without, you know, actually doing it yourself?

Use Shyp. All you have to do is take a photo of the item and enter its destination. Shyp picks up the item, securely packs it, and sends it anywhere in the world using the most efficient option. Long lines at the post office and shipping stores during your lunch hour, begone.

7. Go paperless with Scanbot.

scanbot app
Download the Scanbot app for iPhone or Android

Take that pile of paper on your desk, yep the one that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and recycle it at long last. But only after you download and use Scanbot to hi-res scan and upload any paper that’s invaded your fortress.

Got some important info lurking in that stash of reincarnated trees?

Scanbot will convert all writing to searchable text in the uploaded images, so you can easily reference the papers later.

8. Stop receiving junk mail with Catalog Choice.

catalog choice: reduce clutter, simplify life
Catalog Choice

If you have five seconds and Catalog Choice, you can stop junk mail from ever touching your mailbox’s lips again.

Just search their database for any company that’s sending unwanted mail, enter your name and address, and Catalog Choice will contact the sender to remove you from their distribution list. The trees will thank you.

9. Teleport your kids’ artwork from the floor to your pocket with Keepy.

keepy app on two white iphones
Download the Keepy app for iPhone or Android

So you managed to get your own paper chaos under control, but now you’re faced with the glitter-gun abyss that is your kids’ homemade art collection. Clear out Picasso Jr.’s masterpieces — without any guilt — using Keepy.

Simply snap a photo,  save it, and then share it with adoring “fans”… also known as grandparents. You can even enrich each photo with voice or video recordings.

10. Mass unsubscribe from junk email with Unroll.Me.

unroll me app
Download the Unroll.Me app for iPhone

Your apartment isn’t the only thing that packed on some extra pounds this past winter. Your inbox needs a detox, too. Sign up for Unroll.Me, see all your subscription emails in one place, and unsubscribe from the junk you don’t want in just one click.

For the subscriptions you do want, Unroll.Me lets you combine them into one email called the “Rollup.”  Sup Inbox Zero?

11. Declutter like the most organized person on the planet with the KonMari app.

marie kondo using the konmari app
Download the KonMari app for iPhone

Konverts, rejoice! You can now spark joy from your pocket with the KonMari app.

As you tidy up, keep tabs with a checklist that adheres to the five categories outlined by the demigod of decluttering, Marie Kondo:

  1. Clothes
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Miscellaneous items
  5. Sentimental items.

You can also upload photos and share your progress with other users. Of course, if you’d rather hire someone to thank your socks for you, you’ll soon be able to hire KonMari consultants directly via the app.

12. Convert your closet clutter into cash with Poshmark.

poshmark app on a rose gold iphone
Download the Poshmark app for iPhone or Android

Bid adieu to your Jimmy Choos, while making a pretty penny to boot. Better yet, do it from the comfort of your own couch. PoshMark connects you to thousands of shoppers based on your brand, style, and size preferences.

Once you’ve snapped a pic of your gently-worn jeans or too-small blouse, upload the item to the fashion cloud to make it rain. Then share your listing on Facebook and Pinterest because why not. And if you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe, browse the boutique-worthy pieces uploaded by your fellow hustlers.

13. Pawn or sell valuable items on PawnGuru.

pawnguru: get multiple offers from pawn shops near you
PawnGuru

Gone are the days of frustrating encounters with uninterested brokers at the pawn shop. Thanks to PawnGuru, you can upload a photo of whatever goods you’d like to pawn or sell, then negotiate directly with a number of interested shops to get the best deal.

If you’re cleaning out your jewelry collection, take note: Bids can vary massively according to each pawn shop’s specialty, margins, and capital, so this is a great platform to use if you’re listing valuable items.

14. List, don’t lift, your furniture with AptDeco.

aptdeco's website on a black iphone
AptDeco

So you’ve decided your couch really doesn’t spark joy. But then again, neither would hauling it down three flights of stairs for a sketchy Craigslist buyer. Enter AptDeco.

For a minor percentage of the final selling price (which they’ll even help calculate!), they’ll pick up that extra coffee table for you, unassemble it if necessary, and then deliver it to the buyer. The only finger you’ll lift is when you give the movers a big thumbs up.

15. Effortlessly store the stuff you love, but don’t need right now, in MakeSpace.

makespace storage app on a white iphone
Download the MakeSpace app for iPhone

Now that your apartment is almost in tip-top shape, what should you do with the stragglers that are overstaying their welcome and eating your space, rent-free? As in all your sweaters, snow boots, gloves, knitted hats, scarves, snowboard, skis, bulky coats, and other winter gear that you love but don’t need at the moment.

For those items, schedule a MakeSpace pickup, pack your stuff (a Tasker can do this for you too), and do your thing.

We’ll pick up everything, except for the Tasker, store it in our secure storage facility, and create an online photo inventory of your stuff, so when you need something delivered, it’s just a few clicks away.

Welcome to your newly-pristine sanctuary. And more time to enjoy spring, which gets shorter by 30 seconds every year.

35 Powerful Spring Cleaning Tips And Tricks From Professional Cleaners

If you need medical advice, you ring your doc. Digging a new ’do? Swing by the salon. But if your closet feels cramped, your fridge smells funky, and your tiles look terrifying … Who you gonna call? Grout busters?

Turns out, just like fixing back pain and botched bangs, effective deep cleaning is a lesson best gleaned from the pros. That’s why we’ve reached out to the best in the biz for the ultimate spring cleaning tips, tricks, and straight up hacks for every room in your home. So you can literally clean like it’s your job.

Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:
Prep
Kitchen
Living Room
Bedroom
Bathroom
Laundry Room
Home Office

Prep

1. Disinfect your sponge in the microwave (we’re not kidding).

how to clean a sponge in the microwave according to chasing foxes: soak the sponge in water and microwave it for 2 minutes
Chasing Foxes

Quickly clean your sponge and eliminate bacteria by trying this hack from Maids by Trade:

Fill the sponge with water, set it on a microwaveable plate, and nuke it for two minutes.

Voilà: 99% of bacteria, gone.

2. Clean your vacuum and its attachments with a damp cloth and mild detergent.

laura’s crafty life says to air dry your vacuum cleaner attachments after washing them with warm water and dish soap
Laura’s Crafty Life

According to domestic demigod Martha Stewart, you should already be cleaning your vacuum monthly. We mere mortals can use a damp cloth and mild detergent to wipe any dirt from the unplugged device.

Cori Morenberg of Ms. Green-Clean recommends cleaning specialty attachments with warm water and a bit of dish soap. Air dry all the attachments, except the rug piece.

For the rug piece, use a white cotton utility cloth “to wipe and scrub the brush and superficial underside,” instructs Morenberg. Then dry carefully with a clean towel.

And don’t forget to change any full bags!

3. Sanitize your mop with vinegar.

bottles of heinz distilled white vinegar on a store shelf
Flickr/Mike Mozart

Start by rinsing the mop until the water runs clear, instructs Julie Bradshaw from Super Maids. Then, place the mop into a bucket filled with 1-2 gallons of water, followed by a cup of vinegar.

After letting it soak for 15 minutes, rinse with water again and air dry.

4. Bang out your broom.

Maids by Trade suggests cleaning your broom by thoroughly whacking it against a tree. Which, as a bonus, is pretty therapeutic.

Afterward, soak the broom in a bucket loaded with warm, soapy water for 30 minutes. Then rinse it off and dry with a cloth, or place it bristles-up in the shower.

To, ahem, brush up between cleanings, try BuzzFeed’s clever broom bristle cleaning hack shown in the video above.

5. Go for a reusable, eco-friendly wipe.

use an alaskan blue e-cloth and water to remove dirt, grease, oil, grime, and over 99% of bacteria from hard surfaces
e-cloth

Merry Maids swears by these mighty little cloths from e-cloth. Use them to remove dirt, dust, grease, oil, grime, and over 99% of bacteria from any hard surface.

Bonus: They last up to 300 machine washes, which makes them an environmentally-friendly alternative to paper towels.

Kitchen

6. Refresh your garbage disposal with ice and citrus.

citrus and distilled white vinegar garbage disposal refreshers from hello glow
Hello Glow

Bradshaw from Super Maids recommends tossing a couple ice cubes down the drain while the disposal is on. This will also help clean the unit.

Next, add a handful of lemon or orange peels (while the disposal is on) to eliminate any smells.

Pro Tip: Want an extra-clean drain without using dangerous chemicals? Check out Tips Bulletin’s step-by-step guide on how to unclog a drain, shower, or toilet using a safe homemade cleaner.

7. Make sure your dishwasher is running up to snuff.

how to clean dishwasher with vinegar: fill a mug with vinegar, put it in the top rack, and run a normal cycle
Clean Mama

To revamp your dishwasher, Molly Maid suggests filling a mug with vinegar or baking soda . Or you can do one of each. Place the mug(s) right side up in the top rack without other dishes, then run it for a normal cycle.

If there’s a funky smell permeating your plates, run a normal cycle with detergent plus two cups of vinegar added to the base.

8. Freshen up your fridge with a natural mix.

ground coffee beans on a clean white surface
Flickr/Joe King

Martha Stewart recommends combining two tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of hot water. Dip a sponge in the mix, and wipe your fridge’s interior. Wipe the surfaces again with a separate damp cloth, and dry with a towel.

Warning: Steer clear of soap and detergents, which leave odors that food might absorb.

Odd smells emanating from old food?

Scatter fresh coffee grounds on a tray and leave it inside your fridge until the odor dissipates.

9. Defrost your freezer in a flash by turning it into a sauna.

how to defrost a freezer with hot water in a pot
Mom on a Mission

The home cleaning pros at Cleaning Exec shared their speedy, five-step process for defrosting your freezer:

  1. Unplug your fridge or freezer unit and remove all frozen foods.
  2. Line the bottom of the freezer with paper towels.
  3. Fill a bowl or two with boiling hot water, and place them on top of the paper towels.
  4. Close the freezer door. The steam from the bowls will melt the frost. And in case you’re wondering, the paper towels will absorb the wetness.
  5. Wipe the freezer down with a sponge and some all-purpose cleaner.

10. Use an eco-friendly alternative to your oven’s self-cleaning mode.

cleaning oven racks using dish soap and dryer sheets
Life Love Larson

Whip up Molly Maid’s non-toxic paste of vinegar and baking soda . Apply it to any spills, let it sit for at least an hour (preferably overnight), and wipe down with elbow grease.

If your racks are wrecked, Molly Maid has another idea:

Place them in your tub and cover them with hot water. Add a half-cup of vinegar and ¾ cup of dish wash, let the racks soak for two hours, and then rinse them off. Scrub any remaining bits with a brush.

11. Sprinkle this one ingredient to clean your stove top.

clean a glass stove top with baking soda and a wet cloth
The Make Your Own Zone

Unplug cooled coils and wipe them down with a wet cloth or sponge, says Maids by Trade. To get rid of grease buildup, coat with baking soda and wipe with a wet cloth.

Wish there was an easy way to keep drip pans clean for future use?

Cover them snugly with aluminum foil.

12. Rejuvinate your cabinets with simple ingredients you already own.

how to remove grease from cabinets: wipe them with a rag dipped in baking soda, dish soap, and
Frugally Blonde

Since cabinet and pantry materials vary, Merry Maids recommends keeping the cabinet cleaning process simple: Use hot water and a disposable cloth or paper towel to spot clean.

To remove grease, Frugally Blonde mixes a paste of 1 tablespoon baking soda, ½ tablespoon dish soap, and ½ tablespoon water.

To clean smudges from glass-front enclosures, wipe them with a microfiber cloth and Windex.

13. The secret to getting gunk out of your coffeemaker is…

leftover coffee grinds in a coffee maker basket
Flickr/Gideon Tsang

According to Saudia Davis, founder and CEO of Greenhouse Eco-Cleaning, here’s the secret combo for clearing out any oily residue or hard-water deposits your coffeemaker has accumulated over the years:

A 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Yep, that’s it.

“Halfway through the cycle, turn it off for at least 30 minutes — allowing the mixture to steam-clean your machine — before turning it back on to finish,” she says. Finish with two or three cycles of only water.

Living Room

14. Use this everyday product to revive your rugs.

homemade carpet cleaner made of vinegar, water, and dishwashing liquid
Creekline House

Spill booze on your berber?

Resist the urge to scrub, warns Joseph from Maid Sailors. “The best way to get out a stain in any rug, especially when it’s fresh, is to simply dab it,” he says. This pulls up any excess material that hasn’t yet settled.

Then apply your secret weapon: Shaving cream.

Apply the cream directly to the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, then do another dab. Spray the stain with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water. Finally, wipe it dry, like this:

15. Clear windows with this Windex alternative.

cleaning a window with a yellow glass polishing rag
IHeart Organizing

Wash your windows on a cloudy day to avoid streaking. And forget traditional glass cleaner – NYC and Chicago cleaning service MyClean recommends mixing 8 parts water to 1 part vinegar for a DIY solution. Then wipe the panes down with a coffee filter or newspaper.

Sounds insane, but it works.

16. Quickly wipe your blinds dry.

clean blinds in half the time with swiffer sweeper clothes rubber banded around tongs
A Cultivated Nest

Since most of what you’ll find on blinds is dust, Merry Maids advises keeping the cleaning process dry.

Use your handy microfiber cloth to wipe the convex side of your blinds from top to bottom. Then turn the rod and repeat on the other side.

Or, cut your cleaning time in half by attaching a clean rag to tongs, á la A Cultivated Nest. Clamp the tongs on a blind to clean both sides of it at the same time.

Last but not least, vacuum any spilled dust.

17. Take proper care of your hardwood floors.

mom 4 real's homemade wood floor cleaner in a spray bottle is made of water, vinegar, isopropyl alcohol, and dish soap
Mom 4 Real

First you’ll need to vacuum or dust, says TIDY. Next, fill a bucket with warm water and add ¼ cup of either white vinegar or all-purpose cleaner. Dip your microfiber towel in the solution, wring it out, and attach it to a mop handle.

Important: Take special care not to get your floor too wet while cleaning. And be sure to wipe away any excess water when you’re done.

18. Freshen up your carpet’s look – and smell.

homemade carpet deodorizer powder in a mason jar by mom4real
Mom 4 Real

No carpet powder? No problem. According to King of Maids, you can simply sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and vacuum after at least 30 minutes. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for an extra fresh touch.

For particularly stubborn stains, blot the area with club soda on a cloth, then spray it with a 1:1 mix of water and white vinegar. Rinse with just water, and use your hands to readjust the carpet hairs in their natural direction. Dry with a paper towel.

Bedroom

19. Use this awesome guide to declutter your closet.

rubbermaid homefree series closet system organizes, stores, and hangs clothes, shoes, bins, and more
Flickr/Rubbermaid Products

Organize your wardrobe – on the cheap! – with our comprehensive guide on how to organize your closet.

20. Wash your pillows in the washing machine.

how to wash pillows in washing machine
A Crafty Fox

Your pillow type will determine how you wash it, says says Merry Maids.

Put down- and fiber pillows in the wash on a warm, gentle cycle. Follow with an extra rinse to get all the detergent out, and tumble dry low with clean tennis balls to restore your pillows’ fluffiness.

Heads up: Foam pillows require gentle hand washing with mild detergent.

21. Sprinkle this white powder on your mattress.

a spoon of baking soda over a glass bowl of baking soda on a wooden table
Flickr/Aqua Mechanical

In addition to stepping up your mattress game and flipping it every six months, Maid Brigade has this simple mattress deodorizing hack:

Sift baking soda on the surface, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up.

Bathroom

22. Obliterate soap scum with these eco-safe grime fighters.

baking soda in a white jar, white vinegar in a clear bottle, a glass water pitcher, and a small blue olive oil bottle
Bren Did

The Maids recommends coating the shower surface with a 1:1 mix of baking soda and water, then spraying with a 1:1 combo of vinegar and water before wiping it down.

23. Use vinegar to spruce up your shower curtains.

checkered-shower-curtain-creekline-house
Creekline House

Merry Maids advises pretreating new plastic shower curtains in the wash on a warm rinse cycle with distilled white vinegar.

On the other hand, an older shower curtain requires more TLC.  Hand wash it under warm water with a microfiber cloth and baking soda. You can also put it in the wash with either vinegar, baking soda, or a gentle detergent.

Emphasis on the “or,” unless you want your washing machine to erupt like a volcano.

24. Try this crazy simple hack to unclog your shower head.

water coming out of a clean shower head in a bathroom

Your shower head works hard to keep you so fresh and so clean. Return the favor.

Kim from A Real-Life Housewife pours distilled white vinegar in a plastic bag and fastens it to the shower head with a rubber band. She advises letting it soak for an hour before wiping clean with a wet cloth.

25. Citrify your bathtub.

grapefruit cut in half
Katie’s Pencil Box

For the ultimate green clean, Davis of Greenhouse Eco Cleaning suggests pairing grapefruit with salt.

“After wetting down your tub,” she instructs, “slice the grapefruit in half, sprinkle with salt [Davis recommends coarse kosher salt], and scrub the grapefruit around your tub.” Margaritas optional.

26. Bon Ami + Dish Soap = Immaculate Toilet

live simply's homemade toilet bowl cleaner is made of water, baking soda, castile soap, lavender essential oil, and hydrogen peroxide
Live Simply

If you scrub your toilet regularly, just some all-purpose cleaner will suffice, according to King of Maids.

Got a bit of buildup?

Morenberg of Ms. Green-Clean recommends a “little dish cleaning liquid,” alongside a dash of non-abrasive, eco-friendly cleaner like Bon Ami.

27. Safely clean grout with these two kitchen staples.

cleaning grout with toothbrush by iheart organizing
IHeart Organizing

Joseph from Maid Sailors shares his trusty, five-step process for cleaning grout like a boss:

  1. Sprinkle some baking soda on the grout, taking care to cover all affected areas.
  2. Wipe away excess powder.
  3. Fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, and spritz the powdered part of the grout.
  4. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, but not for too long, or else the grime will settle back in.
  5. Scrub with an old toothbrush.

“It’ll get messy,” warns Joseph, so have some water on hand. But not too much water, since you want the solution to stay gritty for easy scrubbing.

Wipe up, vacuum any leftover powder, and clean the area as usual.

28. Clean mold the same way you clean cuts.

diy bleach and peroxide being mixed in a clear bowl with a whisk
Mom 4 Real

“Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water,” says Davis of Greenhouse Eco Cleaning.  (Bonus: Add a few drops of castile soap to make it a multipurpose cleaner as well.)

“Wipe the mixture on mold, let it sit for at least 10 minutes, scrub the area to remove all mold and stains, and wipe down the surface.”

Now that the mold is gone, how do you prevent it from growing in the future?

Easy: Spray the surface with a mixture of 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 cups of water.

29. Eliminate musty mildew funk with your favorite natural face wash

natural shower cleaner spray by a beautiful mess ingredients: water, white distilled vinegar, tea tree essential oil, and an urban outfitters glass plant mister
A Beautiful Mess

Joseph from Maid Sailors shared a natural anti-odor solution:

Simply mix one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water, pour it in a spray bottle, spray the affected area, and let it dry.

After a few days, the smell will vanish.

Laundry Room

30. Revamp your washing machine with a little TLC.

diy homemade fabric softener made from white vinegar
Creekline House

Tend to the door of the machine first, instructs Martha Stewart. Put some rubber gloves on and make a solution that’s one cup chlorine bleach to two cups of warm water. Wipe down the door’s seal, especially the lower portion, using your mix and a soft cloth.

Then move on to cleaning the inside. All you have to do is fill the bleach dispenser with bleach and run the machine on the hot-water cycle.

Can’t stand the smell of bleach and/or prefer a natural alternative?

Use, you guessed it, vinegar. But only vinegar! Because mixing vinegar and bleach creates toxic fumes.

31. De-lint the dryer in a flash with this cheap tool.

interior of a laundry dryer

According to Ms. Stewart, you can easily eliminate residual dust and lint in your dryer with just one cheap tool: a vacuum crevice tool or dryer vent brush, like this one from Home Depot.

32. Clean your iron like Salt Bae.

how to clean an iron step 1: turn the iron off and stand it up
Mom 4 Real

Unplug and make sure the iron is totally cooled, warns Maids by Trade. Then, place wax paper or a paper towel on a flat surface and sprinkle a tablespoon of coarse salt on top. Just like this:

 

Turn the iron on and crank it to the highest setting, but turn off the steam. Lightly press the iron down on the salted paper, moving it back and forth a few times until the sole plate is clean. Unplug and let cool.

Home Office

33. Spot check your desk for rings.

overhead view of a clean wooden workspace with a notebook, coffee mug, magic keyboard, and earpods

Keep an eye out for coffee and beverage rings, advises David Salsone, director of operations for the office-cleaning experts at Managed by Q. Wipe those spots down with an all-purpose cleaning solution and a rag.

34. Use a DIY solution to clean your computer screen.

diy computer screen cleaner, cleaning cloth, and a macbook from popsugar
Popsugar

Remember the magic mix you used on your coffee cleaner? The one that was just water and white vinegar?

Turns out, it works for cleaning your computer, too. Spray and wipe down with your microfiber BFF for a streak-free shine.

35. MakeSpace.

 

All done? Congrats! There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of a deeply-cleaned home.

Except, of course, a deeply-cleaned, spacious home. So, MakeSpace for spring!

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup and pack your space-eating skis, snowboard, and bulky winter gear. We’ll transport everything to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of each item, so you never forget what you packed.

When you need something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.

How To *Safely* Move With Dogs And Cats: The Ultimate Guide

You’ve signed the lease on your dream apartment, finished packing like a pro, and scheduled a MakeSpace pickup for your last-season wardrobe. All that’s left is tossing Fluffy’s litter box and Fido’s blanket in the trunk. Should be a cinch, right?

Just a doggone minute – that stress you feel while moving is amplified for your sense-heightened, totally paw-erless companion.

Whether you’re moving with pets across the country, flying abroad, or simply switching hoods, there are easy steps you can take before and on moving day to help the both of you smoothly transition under your new woof.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to move with your dog and/or cat — safely. Click any of the below links to jump to a specific section:

Before moving day
On moving day
At your new home

Prepare Your Pet A Month Or So Before Moving Day

prepare your dog for moving house a month before you move

Make sure all collars are updated with your name, cell number, and new address. If you’re leaving the vicinity, schedule a final appointment with your vet. This way, you can get recommendations for your new area, pick up vital medical records, and register a microchip if you haven’t already.

Got a particularly anxious dog or cat?

The ASPCA recommends leaving your packing boxes out a few weeks beforehand to ease your pet’s sensation of change. If you recently rescued your pet, this technique also allows him/her to get familiarized with his/her future kennel. Which should contain some treats, because it’s a sweet positive reinforcement trick.

Also, when you’re packing your own overnight bag, make sure you’ve got one for your four-legged co-captain as well. Load it with litter, food, toys, and treats — plus room deodorizer if you’ve booked pet-friendly lodging.

Ensure The Safety Of Your Pet On Moving Day

Each mode of transportation has its own pet safety tips. Click the link that applies to you:

I’m driving with my pet
I’m flying with my pet
I’m moving across the country or abroad with my pet

Important safety tips for driving with your pet

black and brown dog looking out of a moving car window while sitting on its owner's lap

As dog whisperer Cesar Millan points out, a tired pup is more likely to be a relaxed one. Go for a long walk or jog before starting your journey, especially if you’re planning on crating.

Not sure if you should crate your dog or cat in the first place?

According to Wirecutter, the best transportation vessel depends on the size of your pet. Bigger dogs and carrier-averse cats need a high-quality harness, such as the Sleepypod Clickit Utility. Smaller critters bode best in mesh carriers or crates, which pass more crash tests than plastic.

male white golden retriever named chowdah in a seat belt for dogs

No matter which pet carrying method you choose, Allied Moving Co. recommends you avoid feeding your pet for seven hours before driving.

Super important: Bring a gallon or so of water for the road. Unfamiliar water can cause upset tummies, which won’t mix well with possible anxiety and motion sickness.

Also, stop at least every two to three hours for breaks, stretching, and walks. For cats, bring a harness to prevent them from bolting into traffic.

Animals, just like humans, are sensitive to motion sickness, so keep the A/C on or leave the windows cracked a few inches. Because you don’t want stray litter or debris harming your pet’s adorable face.

While you’re driving, keep the windows on child lock because you never know when a loose paw can strike. And never leave your cuddly companion alone in the car. PETA warns that dogs can die when left inside a car, even in mild weather.

Important safety tips for flying with your dog or cat

henry, a chow chow who PetRelocation helped move from the US to Mexico, is sitting in front of a dog carrier
PetRelocation

Going the distance? Book as early as possible. The number of pets allowed is normally limited to one or two per flight.

Thinking about booking an indirect flight to save money?

Consider booking a nonstop flight instead to minimize any anxiety your pet may feel from being moved around too much.

On the day of the flight, Andi Parker from Air Animal Pet Movers recommends giving your pet plenty of water, but no food for at least four hours prior to departure. This minimizes “the chance for an upset stomach or need to soil the kennel,” says Parker.

Once you and your best friend are at the airport, make sure you both get some exercise with a short walk before doling out any necessary meds.

Speaking of meds, do not use tranquilizers, since they can cause breathing difficulties. Instead, Cesar Millan (we seriously love this guy) recommends naturally quelling your dog’s anxiety by rubbing lavender essential oil on your hands and massaging your dog’s spine or the base of his/her head.

Alternatively, Parker suggests placing an old t-shirt (because it’s saturated with your familiar smell) in the kennel/carrier for a calming effect.

Yes, regardless of whether or not you’re checking your pet with your baggage, he/she must be in a kennel or carrier. If your pet is going in the passenger cabin, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that you put him/her in a carry-on sized carrier.

If you’ve checked your buddy with baggage, confirm with a flight attendant after you’ve boarded to make sure your pet has also been loaded.

Important safety tips for moving across the country or abroad with your pet

bulldog sitting in the grass in front of a buddhist temple

Check the guidelines for your new home. PetRelocation has a great pet import requirements guide to get you started.

Feeling overwhelmed?

You might want to use a pet moving company, since the process can get extremely technical. Obstacles can range from weather-induced flight delays to unexpected regulations at border patrol.

“Many pet owners don’t realize they can hire pet travel professionals who specialize in carrying out complex pet moves around the world,” says Caitlin Moore of PetRelocation.

Help Your Dog Or Cat Adjust To Your New Home

Help your furry friend adjust to your new home by setting up at least one room with several familiar items before you have him/her enter. Things like your pet’s bed and favorite chew toys (which you can easily store in any of these 10 pawdorable dog toy storage solutions) will make him/her feel all the more at home.

Also, keep routines consistent: AARP suggests sticking to your normal schedule, including walks, bedtime, and outside time (even if kitty needs that harness again).

Free Bonus: How To Cat-Proof And Dog-Proof Your Home: 17 Pawesome Tips

All finished with your crate, but no place to store it?

Find yourself tripping on chew toys galore and your pet’s royal collar that he/she only wears once in a blue moon?

Schedule a MakeSpace pickup and clean your pet’s crate and toys with quick wipes like Nature’s Miracle Deodorizing Cage Wipes. We’ll pick up everything, transport it to our secure and temperature-controlled storage facility, and create an online photo catalog so you never forget what you have in storage.

When Fluffy wants her stuff back, all you have to do is log into your MakeSpace account and click the item’s photo. We’ll deliver everything to you.

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