by Stacy Freed
Though there may be a dozen other items on your to-do list, you can’t hide from the one you wrote in red at the top of the page in all caps and circled twice: “Clean the house.” It’s a drag, and the task always takes twice as long as you expect it to.
But it doesn’t have to be a drag. Not if you’re organized, that is.
When everything is accessible and ready to go, you’ll be motivated to get started — and you’ll finish faster, says Jan Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning.”
Try these ideas for a bit of motivation to grab your cleaning gloves:
Tension Bar for Spray Bottles
The rooms that require the most cleaning accoutrements are the bathroom and kitchen. Fortunately, they both typically contain the gold standard for supply storage: the cupboard under the sink.
But this blank box can be a lot more efficient. Add a cheap and easy-to-install tension bar to hold your spray bottles where you can easily see and grab them.
Alternatively to a tension rod, Dougherty suggests installing a sliding rack at the bottom of the sink cabinet so you can easily pull out what’s under there without breaking your back to get it.
Use S-Hooks to Convert Any Closet to a Broom Closet
Have just one broom closet, but three stories and nine rooms to clean? Or no broom closet at all? Turn any closet into an efficient space for cleaning supplies by using inexpensive S-hooks to hang mops and brooms right where you need them. And, wow, look at all that floor space for storing your buckets and other supplies!
Use a Cart to Move With You
No closets? No problem. Do what hotel maids do — use a cart to haul your cleaning supplies around. The one pictured comes from IKEA (about $30), and does the job without taking up a ton of space.
Build (or Buy) Shelves to Fit That Odd Corner
Your home is a special snowflake. Whether it’s small and open or huge and labyrinthine, locating your home’s unique opportunities for shelf space can be a great way to make cleaning supply storage more convenient. It could be that open area in the corner by the stairway, or that dead space at the end of the hall.
After all, you don’t want to run around looking for things.
Inexpensive shelving can be tucked anywhere, and you can configure units to fit your supplies. If you’d rather not look at your storage, you can always use a decorative curtain or screen to keep it out of view.
Can’t find room in the main house? Garage space — especially close to the door of an attached garage — can be an efficient spot for a set of shelves to live.
Hang a Hook for Gloves
Below the sink is the natural spot for gloves, but finding them crumpled up and stuck to the side of a grimy spray bottle makes for a gross cleaning delay. Hanging them up makes rubber gloves easy to find, and keeps them clean and dry. Add some grommets to your gloves, or use a chip clip with a looped top for the same effect.
Pull Out a Closet
This is the Cadillac of cleaning storage solutions — making a closet-sized pull-out rack. If you’ve got a foot or two of blank space between the right walls, you can have a pull-out closet custom fit for all your supplies. From the outside it looks like one of your cabinets. Inside, everything is visible and easily accessible.
Hold It All in a Shoe Caddy
It’s cheap. It’s easy — and all those pockets! The beauty of using a behind-the-door shoe caddy is you can hang it in or on any closet or door depending on where you want your supplies. Clear plastic sections make products easy to see for grab-and-go cleaning. Drips and spills wipe right off. And to keep the cleaning product clutter out of sight, simply close the door.
Pegboard the Lot
Pegboards are the Swiss Army knife of the organization world; they can do everything. You can hang small shelves, baskets and, of course, hooks of every shape and size on this baby — just need wall space. Pegboards keep cleaning products up off the floor and make them easy to locate.
The secret, says Dougherty, is the discipline to put everything back the same way every time. “I have eight crews out and eight vans, and every van is packed the same way,” she says. “No matter which vehicle one of my cleaners used, the interior is familiar.” Do the same with a pegboard, and reaching for the rag, bottle, or duster you need will be a cinch.