It can be surprising how many cleaning products you have in your home. Good intentions and visions of a sparkling clean house can lead us to purchasing all sorts of specialty products that may not actually make it into our cleaning routines. Or, if you have a lot of storage areas in your house, you may own duplicates of the same product.
You Don’t Want to Move Cleaning Products
If you’re planning to downsize in the future, you will not want to pack and move a bunch of cleaning products. They are heavy relative to their value, and many companies don’t want to move chemicals. You probably won’t have the space to store all of them when you get there anyway.
In our free downsizing plans, we recommend gathering all of your cleaning products into one area and to try to either use them up, or pass them along to someone else.
Reduce the Need for Cleaning Products
If you’re ready to tackle your cleaning products, Professional Organizer Amy Dobson has some tips to help you stay on track:
The best way to avoid needing specialty cleaning supplies is to clean regularly. Try setting up a cleaning schedule to ensure each area is cleaned routinely. Or, if your budget allows it, consider having a bi-weekly cleaning service do the work for you! Most companies prefer a bi-weekly schedule because it allows them to stay on top of the everyday dirt as well as fit in something extra, such as baseboards, cabinets, walls, etc. Many services also bring their own supplies, so there’s no need for you to store as many.
Avoid Single-Purpose Cleaners
For most purposes, soap and hot water or an all-purpose cleaner is sufficient for daily sanitizing. If you are considering alternatives to bleach, try a bleach-free disinfecting wipe or a 50:50 solution of water and 91% isopropyl alcohol and allow it to sit for 3-5 minutes before rinsing. Just be aware that if you are cleaning natural stone countertops, you should read up on the recommended cleaning products, as some cleaners like bleach and vinegar are too acidic for certain types of stone.
Keep the Basics:
Amy finds that her her own small condo, keeping some basic supplies on hand is adequate for her cleaning needs. Below is a list of what she uses, in combination as needed:
- All-purpose cleaner
- Paper towels and rags
- Disinfecting wipes
- Vinegar (she infuses hers with leftover lemon peels for a fresh scent)
- Baking soda as a mild abrasive
- Upright vacuum and a small hand vacuum
- Spot treatment and enzyme-based carpet cleaner
- Steam mop for tile and laminate
Jolie Kerr from the The Inventory shares Amy’s philosophy, and recommends these three name brands to cover all the bases:
- Scrubbing Bubbles
- Dawn Dishwashing Soap
- Windex Multi-Surface
If you clean regularly, stick to multi-purpose cleaners and keep the basics on hand, you can really minimize the number of cleaners you keep on hand. You’ll save valuable cabinet or shelf space too!
That Clean-House Smell
When I got married my mom shared a little trick she used to make my dad think she’d been cleaning all day: pour a half capful of Pine-Sol into hot water in the bathroom sink right around 5:00. I’ve tried it and it works! Now I think of my mom every time I smell Pine-Sol.
If you have a favorite product that gives you a good feeling or makes your home smell like your home, I’m giving you permission to keep that too. Just try to limit it to one.
Do you have any favorite cleaning products?
Amy Dobson is a Professional Organizer based in Arlington, VA. Her company, Reclaim Interiors, helps Seniors downsize and feel at home in their new surroundings.
Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and the host of the podcast “Ask a Clean Person”.