There's a Better Way to Sweep and 4 More Tidying-Up Secrets
Experts share their best under-the-radar tips for cleaning and organizing your space.
When Using a Broom, It's All About Direction
For quick clean-ups, it's hard to beat a simple broom. You probably already know the difference between indoor brooms (they have finer bristles which work well on hardwood or tile) and outdoor brooms (their stiffer bristles can move larger pieces of debris on concrete or cement). Melissa Maker, host of the YouTube channel CleanMySpace, says angled indoor brooms are great at getting in tight corners. Once you've got the correct type of sweeper, use this advice from Cassandra Aarssen, of the cleaning site ClutterBug. Sweep toward you, instead of away, to help control the pile of debris and limit the amount of dust that rises up into the air. Start in the corners and sweep toward you in short, smooth motions. Then, use a dust pan often to avoid dragging your dirt piles across the clean floor.
Power Strips Can Go into Hiding
Unsightly wires needn't clutter your space. Melissa Levy, the professional organizer behind the company declutter+design, recommends strategically placing power strips—by attaching them with Velcro or heavy-duty, double-sided tape to the underside, or back, of desks and to walls. It's one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ways to eliminate under-the-desk chaos, she says. Or, try this DIY rain-gutter solution we spotted on Lifehacker.
Your Cabinets Aren't One-Size-Fits-All
Here's an easy way to declutter your bathroom medicine cabinet (or any cabinet, really): Shift the shelves. Lisa Zaslow, an organization and productivity expert and the owner of Gotham Organizers in NYC, says she often helps clients who have no idea that they can adjust the shelves in their kitchen and bathroom medicine cabinets. Doing this allows you to then group similarly sized items together; e.g., all small pill boxes can go on one shelf, all tall bottles can go on another.
Your Dishwasher Is a Multitasker
Toothbrush holders, sweat-stained baseball caps and plastic kids' toys can all be pretty dirty. Save the elbow grease for your walls and instead toss these items into the dishwasher, where the hot water, soap and gentle spray will get them sparkly clean and bacteria-free.
You Can Clean with Something You'd Normally Trash
When Clean Mama blogger Becky Rapinchuk is doing the dishes, she balls up a piece of aluminum foil that had been used to cover a dish earlier in the day and uses it as a scrubber for pots and pans or food storage containers, which avoids getting scrub bristles dirty (adding to your list of things to clean). This, she says, is especially effective on reheated food that's stuck to the container, since food that's been warmed twice tends to be harder to remove.