Nothing beats that post-tidying up feeling of serenity, when the house is clean and everything is in its place. But sometimes tackling the chores necessary to get you to that calm space can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve fallen behind on your daily maintenance. Between smaller tasks like dusting, to bigger projects like organizing your pantry, the to-do list can feel endless.
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Fortunately, Apartment Therapy covers a lot of cleaning and organizing topics, and our archives are full of helpful hacks that will save you time and sanity. If you’ve ever felt like you just don’t know where to start, take a cue from the tips that resonated most with Apartment Therapy readers this year. These were our most popular cleaning and organizing posts of 2022.
Make your own dust-repellent spray.
Dusting is one of those chores that just seems like a losing battle. You dust, and a few days later, it builds right back up again. Enter: dust-repellent spray. It’s a cleaning solution that you can apply to surfaces that will repel dust and extend the amount of time between dusting sessions. Best of all? It’s easy to make yourself. Simply mix water, vinegar, olive oil, and a touch of soap in a spray bottle and use it in place of your regular surface cleaner.
Use olive oil to clean stainless steel.
Part of the appeal of stainless steel appliances is the sparkle factor they offer when they are clean. But there are times when they can look downright streaky, too. If you’ve ever tried to buff out the smudges and watermarks to no avail, try this secret ingredient: olive oil. After you’ve wiped the appliance clean, put a couple of drops of olive oil onto a cloth and be amazed when you see the streaks disappear as you wipe it across the surface.
Keep kitchen drawers closed while cooking and cleaning.
Ever wonder how piles of crumbs wind up in your silverware or utensil drawer? And forget cleaning them up — talk about difficult! First, you have to empty out the entire drawer, and then you have to awkwardly try to wipe the crumbs out of the corners. The best approach is to prevent this situation from happening in the first place. Simply keep your drawers closed while you’re cooking and cleaning, and no crumbs can get into them.
Upgrade your pantry with IKEA bookcases.
If you have a lackluster pantry that either has minimal storage or flimsy wire shelving, consider adding an IKEA BILLY bookcase. Starting at just over a hundred dollars, it’s an affordable and sturdy shelving option that offers plenty of space for your stuff. And it’s super customizable depending on your needs, with the option to add doors for a more cabinet-like solution.
Look for specific items to declutter.
Instead of decluttering an entire area of your home, which can escalate into an overwhelming situation, try focusing on a specific micro-category instead. Think: takeout menus and utensils, bread clips and twisty ties, promotional items like magnets, expired products, chipped dishes, and so on. Once you’ve purged everything from that category, move onto another category. It breaks the process up into small efforts that add up to big results.
Organize your closet with clear bins.
Easily the most under-utilized area of a closet is the top shelf. Not only is it hard to access, but anything that you tend to store up there winds up tumbling down when you actually try to reach it. Adding clear storage bins with handles allows you to see exactly what’s inside, and it makes it much more convenient to take items off the shelf. Another added bonus is that it makes your closet look so much tidier.
Ditch these four organizing habits.
Getting organized is certainly a noble pursuit, but sometimes our intentions don’t always align with our actions. To break the cycle of bad organizing habits, there are four things in particular that experts think you should ditch. Namely, stop overbuying organizer products, stop buying storage containers before decluttering, stop decanting into clear containers, and stop trying to organize your whole space at once.
Store your spices in a drawer.
If you struggle with spice jars toppling over in your cabinet, or you don’t exactly know which spices you even have, then it’s time to consider moving your spice storage to a drawer. You can snag a drawer organizer on Amazon for under $20, which will keep your spices from rolling around and will also neatly display them. With all of your spice jars at your fingertips, you’ll never have to wrestle with or wonder which spices you have again.