Bad Bedroom Cleaning Habits to Put to Bed

bad bedroom cleaning habits

Keep your bedroom ready for R&R by putting these bad bedroom cleaning habits to bed. Image: Cornish Interiors

Your bedroom is your sanctuary. It’s where you go to rest and get rejuvenated. It’s where you dream, plan and — if you’re like us — do a lot of your Netflix binging. This is a restorative space. At least, that’s the idea. But after you’ve cleaned all the other parts of your house that guests will actually see, keeping your bedroom tidy can feel like a low priority. That’s a problem, though. Bad bedroom cleaning habits can impact your mood and your sleep.

If you want to get better rest, feel more rejuvenated at the start of your day and enjoy those movie marathons in bed guilt-free, keeping your room clean is key. And we’re here to help. We’ve already talked about how to up your cleaning game in the bathroom and kitchen, but let’s not leave our sanctuaries shabby. Ditch these five bad bedroom cleaning habits to enjoy a better bedtime.

bad bedroom cleaning habits - bed

A platform bed that is flush with the floor can ensure the space under it stays clean. Image: Hsu McCullough

Ignoring the monsters under your bed

Let’s get one of the worst bad bedroom cleaning habits out of the way. Cleaning under your bed is a huge hassle, but it’s a whole lot better than sleeping over a huge pile of dust bunnies (hello, allergies!). First, pull every item out from under your bed. If you’re using that space to store stuff you never use, it might be time to part with it. Running the broom or vacuum under the bed is a whole lot simpler when you don’t have to navigate a pile of junk.

If you want a hack to make this chore a breeze, start with a bed skirt. It’s also known as a dust ruffle for good reason. This protective barrier doesn’t just make your bed cuter, it also minimizes the dirt and debris that accumulates underneath. Or, if you want to check off this to-do permanently, get a platform bed with solid edges that connect your mattress directly to the floor. You get bonus points if it has built-in storage.

Making/not making your bed

Mom was right. Making your bed every morning is actually pretty important, it turns out. Not only does it instantly make your room look cleaner, it can actually support your overall productivity and mental health. And, for real, it takes all of two minutes, so why not try it for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference?

If your bed is covered in a mountain of decorative pillows and throws, consider streamlining the design. While these fun accents can add flair to your space, they might be best used in a guest bedroom. If they’re keeping you from wanting to make your bed every day, they’re actually hurting the overall design of your space.

Now, all this said, don’t pop out of bed and make it first thing. Leave your sheets pulled back while you brush your teeth and make your coffee. This gives your bedding a chance to breathe and ensures you’re not trapping sweat and dust mites inside your sheets. And, on that topic, don’t forget to wash your sheets on a regular basis.

bad bedroom cleaning habits - the chair

Leave the chairs in your room for sitting. Image: Coats Homes

Using “the chair”

Ah, the chair. It’s pretty much iconic. If TV is any indicator, every teen girl’s bedroom has this glorified closet replacement in one corner. But don’t fall prey! A chair is not a wardrobe and worn clothes shouldn’t be left there. It’s not a closet. It’s not a viable clothes storage option. Don’t let the chair stand between you and your best, most organized self.

If you’re a user of the chair, take some steps to break the habit. First, clean out your closet. (If you’re having trouble letting go of stuff, the KonMari method could help.) It’s a whole lot easier to hang an item back up if you’re not having to use several shoves to squish it back into place. More space for clothes storage makes organization easier.

Then, do something else with the chair. Set it up with pillows and a cozy throw for a reading nook. Put a potted plant on it for a couple weeks while you break the habit. Do whatever you need to do to force yourself to either put things away or put them in the hamper after you wear them. Once you break the habit, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to keep your room tidy.

Cleaning while you wash sheets

If this article is motivating you to do a big bedroom clean, kudos! But don’t start by stripping your bed. If you’re going to be dusting, leave your bedding on. Otherwise, you knock all that dust and debris onto your bare mattress, then cover over it when you put clean sheets back on your bed. And while you’ll probably never notice the difference, it’s not doing your bedroom hygiene any favors.

bad bedroom cleaning habits - pillows

Don’t forget to clean under the sheets. Leaving your mattress as-is is one of the most common bad bedroom cleaning habits. Image: Thorp Design

Ignoring your mattress and pillows

Speaking of bedroom hygiene, let’s talk about the stuff that’s a little harder to throw into the washing machine. Your pillows and mattress are sort of protected by your sheets, but not entirely. They need to be cleaned and sanitized everyone once in a while, too.

And, good news, you actually can throw pillows in the washing machine, so that’s a pretty simple task. Add a few tennis balls into the dryer for extra fluffiness, and you’ll be glad you tackled this to-do.

The mattress, while daunting, is actually pretty simple to clean, too. It’s as easy as vacuuming your mattress, spot treating any stains, sprinkling it with baking soda to deodorize it, then vacuuming again! Ideally, leave the baking soda for 24 hours so it can do its best work.

Do you have any bad bedroom cleaning habits you’re ready to put to bed? Is this guide helpful? Tell us how you keep your room ready for relaxation in the comments below.

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New Container Store Custom Closets Make Your Closet A Showpiece Quickly And Affordably

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The Container Store is expanding their Container Store Custom Closets series. As of March 20, creating a stunning closet will be easier, more stylish and totally affordable.

You’ll be able to redo the tiniest or largest closet space, turning it into a custom-looking showpiece by choosing from the Elfa Classic, Elfa Décor, Avera and Laren (previously known as TCS Closets) lines.

Here’s a breakdown of the new Container Store Custom Closets available:

Avera

avera container store custom closets

Avera offers customers the option of a modern and minimalist custom closet look. All images courtesy of The Container Store.

avera container store custom closets options

Wood grain and back wall panels add a high-end custom cabinet look to the series.

Avera is the Container Store Custom Closets’ newest addition. The design is sleeker and more contemporary for a high-end look.

The line includes four wood grain finishes, soft close drawers, coordinating back wall panels and optional built-in LED lighting.

Elfa Classic

elfa classic container store custom closets

The Elfa Classic made its way stateside from Sweden 40 years ago, but it still looks modern today.

container store custom closets and home offices

A bright and well-organized office space featuring Elfa Classic closet hardware and accessories.

Elfa is the original and most popular custom drawer and shelving system. The Container Store has sold the Swedish brand since 1978.

The unique wall-hanging system is strong and versatile so you can add shelves or drawers over time as you need. It’s perfect for closets, home offices, craft rooms, pantries and garages.

Elfa Décor

elfa custom closets

The Elfa Décor line features Scandinavian wood finishes and higher-end hardware options that kick the Elfa Classic collection up a notch.

the container store custom closets and pantry

A custom pantry that’s organized and attractive enough to be left open while still maximizing space.

Elfa Décor takes the classic collection to the next level by adding three different wood finish options and solid drawer faces.

If you’re detail-oriented, you’ll appreciate the quality additions like gliding shoe shelves, the jewelry and accessory system and a variety of drawer pulls.

Laren

container store custom closets

This custom closet featuring the Laren series was designed for fashionista Kelly Golightly.

custom closets at container store

This walk-in closet looks custom-built thanks to rich dark woods and floor-to-ceiling built-ins.

Laren is the new name of the TCS Closets collection. It’s the most luxurious of the custom closet collections and includes durable 1″-thick construction, eight exclusive finishes, optional islands, glass-front cabinets and LED lighting.

Laren is the perfect collection for a walk-in closet design when you’re looking for a custom built-in style.

Now that you can pick up a new custom closet design through the Container Store website or by visiting your local store, there’s no reason not to transform your closet space or create a new one.

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How to Create an Indoor Compost Bin that Doesn’t Smell

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Finding fresh, enriched soil for your garden can get surprisingly pricey. A 12-quart bag of pre-made compost can run around $25. It’s simply $25 you don’t need to spend if you start composting. You can even do it right in the comfort of your own home by starting an indoor compost bin.

Starting your own indoor compost bin ranks on the easier side of home projects. All you’ll need is a suitable compost bin and all those food scraps from the kitchen that would normally go to waste. Time and nature take care of the rest. You can learn how to make your own compost bin in several minutes or find an indoor compost bin to purchase online or in a store. Read on to learn how to start that compost bin inside. It’s a great way to make a more sustainable home.

Indoor Compost Bin Overhead Picture

You can put scraps like bread and eggshells into a compost bin. Image: photographyfirm/Shutterstock

Indoor Compost Bin Materials

If you want an indoor compost bin, the first aspect of the bin you’ll need to understand is what to put in it, of course. Knowing how to keep a well-balanced compost bin will be your first line of defense in creating a bin that has little to no smell. Adding items to the compost bin that certainly shouldn’t be there, or adding the wrong balance of organic materials, will create an unpleasant odor that could make indoor composting impossible.

Your compost bin needs five major components:

  • Greens: This is a misleading label. It actually covers anything that is nitrogen-rich, not necessarily only green waste. That means you could use veggie leftovers, fruit waste like apple cores and banana peels, eggshells and even old bread. Anything is game, as long as it’s somehow plant-based. Animal products like meat and dairy should be kept out of the bin, as those will immediately lead to a smell.
  • Browns: This label is a little more literal. It covers anything carbon-rich, like coffee grounds, tea leaves, dry grass/leaves and untreated paper (like coffee filters). A general rule is a 2:1 green to brown ratio, but ratio estimates vary dramatically. If your pile is slimy, add more browns. If your pile is dry and slow to compost, add more greens. After a while, you’ll learn the correct balance.
  • Air: Your indoor compost bin should have some type of mechanism that allows for airflow, like holes or filters. That will allow aerobic breakdown of the scraps in a way that doesn’t lead to a foul odor. Estimates vary for when you should turn your compost pile, but a general estimate is that you should turn it once or twice per week for decent aeration.
  • Water: The compost pile should be slightly damp, but not soaking, to the touch. Usually, kitchen scraps can keep this level of moisture, but you should check to make sure the compost pile isn’t drying out. Spray with water if the pile is dry.
  • Soil: The soil has microorganisms that will help with the breakdown of waste. You’ll only need one scoop from the great outdoors.

From there, you’ll want to decide if you want your bin inside full-time or you want a bin that you can take out to a larger compost bin outside. If you have a lot of kitchen scraps, you might want a bin you can keep inside and carry to a larger compost bin out back when the inside container gets full. Otherwise, if you don’t like the idea of schlepping out back in the middle of winter, there are systems that allow for a full-time indoor compost bin.

Indoor Compost Bin Black Style

Many attractive compost bin styles can fit right on the counter, like this Breeze 0.85 Gal. Kitchen Composter. Image courtesy of Wayfair.

Types of Bins

There are several different types of bins you can choose for your indoor compost bin:

  • Basic countertop scrap bins: These are literally just tubs that sit on your countertop. They’re meant for filling with scraps in the kitchen and taking to a larger compost pile. Many come in distinct shapes and colors to work with any decorating style. Some also have bags inside to cut down on odor and mess.
  • Under-counter bins: These attach to the inside of cabinet doors. They’re larger but are still typically meant for emptying into a main compost pile. They’re a convenient way to keep the composting bin out of the way.
  • Bokashi system: This is a type of bin and microorganism mixture kit. It allows you to fill the bin with waste and then cover the waste with a mixture to neutralize the smell and ferment the material. It’s a system you can use as a full-time indoor compost bin.
  • Aerobic bins: These bins have some sort of vent and filter system, usually with charcoal filters. These allow for the aerobic breakdown of waste, which can also cut the smell. These are also suitable for full-time indoor use.
  • Worm bins: Some kits allow you to grow worms, which can aerate the material and keep it more nutrient dense. These systems are also odor-free, making them good for indoor use. Plus, it’s a good science project to do with kids.

And remember, your indoor compost bin should be able to fit your family and your environment. For instance, people in harsher climates may want a full-time indoor bin. Or families with a high volume of kitchen scraps could opt for a system of collecting scraps indoors and carrying them to a larger pile outdoors. The compost bin should work for your lifestyle first and foremost.

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Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite: Separating Fact from Fiction

Orkin recently released its list of the cities with the most bed bugs. (The list is based on the cities in which the company performed the most residential and commercial bed bug treatments.) The top 10 cities, in order, are Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus OH, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York, San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose and Dallas/Fort Worth.

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding these bugs. Whether you live in one of these cities or not, here’s what you need to know to keep these pests out of your bed.

Myth #1: Bed bugs can fly

Bed bugs anywhere

Bed bugs can be anywhere, but can’t fly. Image: Astronaut Image/Getty Images

Fortunately, they cannot fly. “Bed bugs cannot fly because they do not have wings,” according to Sydney Crawley, Ph.D. public health entomologist at  Scotts Miracle-Gro. “Instead, they crawl, traveling one meter per minute on average,” Crawley tells Freshome, adding that they also cannot jump.

Myth #2: They only bite at night

Bed bugs adjust

Bed bugs will adjust to your schedule. Image: LEK_3DPHOTO/Getty Images

Bed bug activity tends to peak at night, but Crawley says they can bite at any time during the day. “This is especially true if the primary host is active during the night and sessile during the day.” In fact, Crawley says these bugs will adapt to the habits of the host. “Motivation to take a blood meal may drive them to bite at any time.”

Myth #3: They are too small to see

Bed bugs are tiny

Bed bugs are tiny, but not invisible. Image: Anna Cor/Zumbansen/EyeEm/Getty Images

Bed bugs are indeed visible. “Although bed bug eggs and first instars (newly hatched bed bugs) are very small, they are still large enough to see with the naked eye,” Crawley says. “After the first instar, juvenile bed bugs will molt 4 more times before reaching the adult life stage. First to fifth instars range anywhere from 1.3 mm to 4-5 mm and adults range from approximately 4-7 mm in size.”

Myth #4: They prefer unsanitary conditions

Bed bugs clean tidy

These pests don’t care if you’re clean and tidy. Image: Gabriela Tulian/Getty Images

It’s possible to have bed bugs even if your home is spotless because these insects don’t discriminate, according to Crawley. “Bed bugs prefer small cracks and crevices which are found in every home,” Crawley says. “Populations of bed bugs will continue to grow in homes where proper elimination strategies are not performed, regardless of the level of cleanliness.” Granted, you still need to clean your house, especially the nine nastiest areas of the home.

 Myth #5: They only inhabit beds frames and couches

Bed bugs suitcase

These little bugs also like the inside of your suitcase. Image: LOOK Photography/Getty Images

While they like bed frames and couches, according to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), bed bugs can be found in stuffed animals, suitcases, wheelchairs, purses and on the inside of bedside lamps.

Myth #6: They are usually found in hotels and apartments

Bed bugs hospital

Hospitals are sanitary, but not immune to bed bugs. Image: Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

These may be the two places that get the most media coverage, but they’re not the only place you’ll find these pests. According to the NPMA, the 3 most common places where they are found include single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%), and hotels/motels (68%).

But guess where else they show up? Nursing homes (59%), schools and daycare centers (47%), offices (46%), college dorms (45%), hospitals (36%) and public transportation (19 %).

Myth #7: If you don’t see them, you must not have them

Bed bugs mark

They can leave their mark – sometimes on you. Image: Vlajs/Getty Images

You may not always see the bugs themselves, but you can see what they leave behind, and you can also feel them. For example, they tend to leave fecal spots on your mattress, walls, and upholstery (ranging in color from red to reddish brown).  You may also see empty eggshells. Another sign is the presence of bite marks on your arms, legs and other parts of your body. In addition, if there are a lot of bugs, you may start to detect a sweet smell.

Tips for avoiding bed bugs

Bed bugs vigilant

Be vigilant again bed bugs. Image: ben-bryant

“At home, inspect furniture, especially mattresses, box springs and bed frames,” Crawley says. She warns people to be very careful when purchasing secondhand furniture. “Before bringing any used furniture into your home, inspect it thoroughly to ensure that no bed bugs are present.”

When you’re traveling, be advised that these pesky bugs like to travel for free – in your suitcase. Search your hotel room carefully, inspecting the mattress seams, sofas, chairs, and behind the headboard. If you find bed bugs, the NPMA recommends changing rooms to another area since rooms next to, above or below might also be infected.

Bed bugs dont bring home

Don’t bring them home with you. Image: Nikada/Getty Images

“Search all bags, luggage and clothing thoroughly before you return, and take special care to inspect the seams, as they are a common hiding place for bed bugs,” Crawley says. “When you return home, put clothing and bags in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of two full cycles on high heat to ensure that all potential bed bugs and eggs have been killed.”

Whether you’re at home or traveling, she also recommends a product like the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap. “These detectors can determine whether there are bed bugs present – within an hour.”

Do you have any additional tips for preventing these bugs from getting into your bed? Let us know in the comments.

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Scrub These Bad Bathroom Cleaning Habits Out of Your Life

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Want a bathroom that looks this fresh? Kick these bad bathroom cleaning habits to the curb. Image: Erik Isakson/Getty Images

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If you’ve been following our bad cleaning habits series, we hope it’s motivated you to revolutionize your kitchen cleaning. But don’t stop there. Now that we’ve gotten the hang of this whole better cleaning deal, we want to move onto one of the biggest cleaning challenges: the bathroom. Let’s talk about five bad bathroom cleaning habits worth scrubbing out of your life in 2019.

Not cleaning what cleans you

Your shower does a lot. Let’s give it some credit! But it isn’t a miracle worker. It cleans you, but it relies on you to clean it. You can spend hours sweating as you try to scrub the walls every few months, or you can take the easier, faster route. After every shower (or, at least, every few) wipe down the walls. Bam! Soap scum is no match for your proactivity.

Another hot tip for keeping your shower clean is even easier. Close your shower curtain. No, really, that’s it. Closing the curtain allows all its folds easier access to air, helping it dry quicker and avoiding mildew growth.

And speaking of your shower curtain, when was the last time you cleaned it? Or your liner, for that matter? Don’t panic! Most curtains and liners can go through the washing machine on a gentle cycle, so it’s an easy fix.

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Ample places to hang towels makes it easy to keep them off the floor – and mildew-free. Image: Jon Lovette/Getty Images

Treading on towels

When you start your bathroom cleanup, do you begin by picking towels up off the floor? Then you’re doing it wrong. You might think the list of bad bathroom cleaning habits only pertains to, well, cleaning. But how you keep your bathroom clean is important, too. Leaving towels wadded up on the floor prevents them from drying, potentially leaving you with mildew growth.

If you’re short on hanging space, that’s another easy fix. When you do your next big bathroom clean, add ten extra minutes to place peel-and-stick hooks on your wall or door. We’re not talking cheap looking plastic ones, either. They come in modern designs and pretty finishes so you can get the hook-age you need without ruining your bathroom’s design.

Working with one disinfectant wipe

If you use disinfectant wipes to clean the bathroom, good on you. They’re easy to grab, ensure you’ve got the right amount of disinfectant to deal with your bathroom’s bacteria and can simply be tossed in the trash when you’re done. And let us preface this next tip with a little disclaimer: we’re all about reducing waste. That said, your bathroom clean isn’t a place to skimp. When you use one disinfectant wipe for the entire bathroom, you can transfer bacteria. That one little square just can’t do it all!

Want to be sure you’re using the right amount of wipes? If your wipe is still wet enough to leave the surface damp for a few minutes after cleaning, it’s still got enough disinfectant in it to do the job. If not, it’s time for a new square.

bad bathroom cleaning habits

A bathroom rug can help protect your floor. Plus, who wants to step out of the shower onto a cold floor, anyway? Image: hemul75/Getty Images

Not readying rugs

Do you have a plush bathroom rug ready to greet you when you step out of the shower? This is a little luxury you shouldn’t skip. When you drip water on the floor, it can stain tile, cause wood to warp, ruin grout – you get the idea. Water + flooring = not good. Invest in bathroom rugs to protect your floors and make your cleaning job easier.

Then, every time you start cleaning your bathroom, throw those bad boys in the wash. Plus, did know that flushing your toilet with the lid up can spread small particles across your bathroom? Yeah, maybe give those rugs a double wash.

Not cleaning completely

When you think about bad bathroom cleaning habits, your mind probably immediately goes to how you scrub your toilet or disinfect your counter. But everything in your bathroom needs to be cleaned, not just the usual suspects.

When you’re cleaning, wipe the handles of toothbrushes and makeup brushes. If you have a hand soap dispenser, wipe that down, too. Keep that train rolling. Stand in the middle of your bathroom and slowly spin all the way around. Look for anything that is regularly getting touched. If it is, it needs to be regularly cleaned, too.

Do any of these bad bathroom cleaning habits sound familiar? Yeah, we can’t imagine either… we wish! We’ve got a lot to learn, so we’ll be joining you to tidy up the way we tidy up so we can all enjoy cleaner, healthier homes and apartments in 2019!

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Green Spring Cleaning: How to Keep Your Clean Eco-Friendly

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Get your home in top shape without hurting the environment with these green spring cleaning tips. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Spring cleaning can feel daunting to tackle, but you know it’s worth it. Sure, you’ll spend a few days working hard to clear out the last year’s dust, clutter and whatever else you find. But, in the end, you get to step back and admire your work. It’s the best feeling! At least, it should be. But when you look at the mountain of dirty paper towels soaked in chemical-based cleaning solution, you might start to feel less excited about what you’ve accomplished. But fear not! With these green spring cleaning tips, you can get your house in top shape without causing the earth any harm.

Reduce, then reuse or recycle

Green spring cleaning, or really any cleaning, is a lot easier if you’re not trying to navigate around junk piles during it. Before you start sanitizing, use this opportunity to clear out your house. To start, get three boxes. One is for recyclables, one is for items you plan to sell or donate and one is for items you think you may be able to reuse. Then, go through your home or apartment room by room and toss anything you want to clear out in the appropriate box. Old receipts and magazines, clothing you haven’t worn in years, toys your kids don’t play with anymore – anything taking up space in your home is fair game.

Note that we didn’t say to have a trash bin. Ideally, you want to minimize the amount you send to a landfill as much as possible. A great way to do this is by thinking about what can go into your reuse bin. Upcycling can help you make the most of what you’ve got while simultaneously reducing your household waste.

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Refresh your air naturally with the help of plants. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Freshen the air naturally

Ah, spring. There’s a sense of freshness as new growth springs from the earth. In fact, that’s a big part of what inspires us all to refresh our homes during this season. So, naturally, you want to throw your windows open and let the spring air in. And you should! But if the fresh air isn’t quite enough, you’ve got a few options to try before resorting to those room sprays filled with who-knows-what.

For starters, you can boil rosemary springs or citrus peels in a big pot of water while you’re cleaning your kitchen. The resulting steam will fill the space with a fresh, detoxifying scent. And if you want to expand that feeling of freshness to every room in your home, go green. No, really. There are a number of houseplants you can add that will purify the surrounding air, plus their green and living nature helps any space feel more vibrant.

Choose green cleaners

Look at the ingredient list of most household cleaners and you’ll see a long string of words you can’t pronounce. Sure, some of them are totally safe for your family and the earth, but others aren’t. Instead of keeping a running mental list to do your part for your household’s health and the earth, why not swap out your old cleaners with ingredients you can trust – and probably already have in your kitchen?

Whether you need an all-purpose spray, tub scrub or grease remover, we’ve got you covered with some eco-friendly cleaner options. When in doubt, a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water is a great go-to. Add some essential oils for a refreshing scent and you can tackle all your cleaning tasks without worrying about what chemicals you’re leaving behind.

green spring cleaning

Tidy up your office, streamline your life and reduce paper waste during your green spring clean. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Save the trees

This isn’t your first rodeo. You probably know how to spring clean (and if you don’t, this guide can help). But do you use this opportunity to clean parts of your house that aren’t necessarily dirty but do contribute to clutter? Here, we’re talking about papers. Your spring clean is a perfect opportunity to ditch those piles of paper, filing what you need and recycling the rest. And, while you’re at it, make your future cleaning jobs that much easier by switching all your billing and notifications to paperless. Yes, it’ll add a little extra time to this year’s green spring cleaning, but it can save you hours upon hours of organizing and filing in the future. Plus, it’s good for the trees!

Minimize material waste

The whole point of green spring cleaning is getting your house spick and span without any environmental impact. So if your usual cleaning routine results in a pile of used paper towels and disinfectant wipes, it’s time to make a change. Plus, a reusable microfiber cloth will make it easier than you ever imagined to get windows and mirrors streak-free and sparkling!

Remember that reuse box we set up earlier? If you’re short on cleaning rags, it’s wise to add a couple of old cotton t-shirts to it. These can be cut up to help you wipe down any number of surfaces. And because cotton is such a soft material, you don’t have to worry about any scratching.

Happy green spring cleaning, and thank you for doing your part for the earth! Do you have any green cleaning tips? Please let us know in the comments so we can use them in our own homes and apartments.

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Bad Kitchen Cleaning Habits to Kick in 2019

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Want a sparkling kitchen? Kick these bad kitchen cleaning habits in 2019. Image: aydinmutlu/Getty Images

Are you freshly invigorated by the new year? We definitely are – and the clean start is motivating us to, well, clean. In the spirit of new year’s resolutions and becoming our best selves in 2019, we’ve been working to upgrade our cleaning routines. And that means eliminating bad kitchen cleaning habits.

We’ll be doing a whole series on bad cleaning habits worth kicking this year, but we’re starting in the kitchen. As the hearth of the home and the place where all your food preparation takes place, it’s a key area to keep hygienic. Let’s get started! Here are five bad kitchen cleaning habits to break this year.

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Don’t forget your sink when you’re doing your kitchen clean. Image: Jonathan Kitchen/Getty Images

Skipping your sponge and sink

Do you clean your cleaners? If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the hygiene of your sponge and sink, it’s time to start now. For starters, get a sponge setup that allows it to drain. Sitting in its own food-particle-filled water definitely isn’t doing it any favors. This can be as simple as wringing it out and propping it up against your dish soap bottle. Just get in the habit of allowing it to dry between uses.

You should also regularly disinfect it. Run in through the dishwasher, microwave it or soak it in full-strength vinegar or diluted bleach. Bam! You’re ready to wash dishes without any weirdness hanging around.

And, the next time you disinfect your kitchen counters, don’t forget your sink. Who knows what mishmash of bacteria could grow in there if you’re not giving it a regular wipe down.

Ditching your disposal care

Think your garbage disposal is one of those set-it-and-forget-it things? Think again. Your garbage disposal needs some TLC. Just think about all the stuff you’ve asked it to handle for you over the years! You can buy garbage disposal cleaners, but you can also DIY. Sprinkle in a half cup of baking soda, then pour a cup of white vinegar down. Let it sit for ten minutes, then follow it with boiling water.

If you’ve got a smelly garbage disposal and are looking for a quick fix, freeze some citrus peels into ice cubes. Run them through the disposal for an instant refresh.

Also, if you’re still dumping grease down the drain, stop! Not only can this cause issues in your own household plumbing, but it’s also got far reaching implications. Have you ever heard of a fatberg? Yes, you read that right: fatberg. Apparently, when we all pour grease down our drains, it builds up in the sewer system and bonds with calcium, creating giant fatbergs that can cling to the sewer system’s ceiling. Over time, this can cause a major sewer backup. Don’t be a part of the problem. Store a lidded metal coffee canister under your sink and pour your grease and oils into it. Once it’s full and the liquids have cooled and set, you can safely toss it in the trash.

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Want a sparkling kitchen like this? Work from the top down. Image: Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images

Cleaning floors first

When you clean your kitchen, move from top to bottom. Wipe off your kitchen hood first, then clean your stovetop. Otherwise, everything you just wiped off can settle right where you prepare your food. The same goes for the rest of your kitchen. Start at the top, cleaning cabinets, then disinfect counters. (We’ve got some eco-friendly DIY disinfectant options for you.) Finish with the floor and you’ll have a truly clean kitchen instead of one in which you’ve just relocated whatever dust and food particles were accumulating.

Procrastinating

Look, we know that procrastination is a fact of life. In fact, it’s hard to rank it on the list of bad kitchen cleaning habits because it’s in a field all its own. But, when it comes to your kitchen, it’s really worth trying to push past.

Why? When you let things sit in your sink (yes, we know the whole “I’m leaving it to soak” routine), you invite issues. For starters, sitting out a room temperature gives any leftover food bits the opportunity to mold. Beyond creating a bacteria breeding ground, you invite pests. Most of them will come to call in the night, which means you have no idea what’s scuttled across your kitchen countertop while you were sleeping.

bad kitchen cleaning habits

What’s hiding behind those pristine stainless fridge doors? Image: Luxy Images/Getty Images

Forgetting your fridge

A sparkling kitchen is a beautiful sight. But don’t forget about the areas you don’t see when you step back to admire your handiwork. Your fridge, in particular, needs attention. Make it a part of your regular cleaning routine to open those doors, wipe down shelves and check expiration dates. Adding a fridge sweep to your kitchen cleaning checklist can prevent you from discovering that a small lifeform is evolving in the jelly jar that was tucked in the back. It can also help you cut down on food waste. When you know what’s about to expire, you’re more likely to use it. And that saves you money! It’s well worth the extra few minutes.

If any of these bad kitchen cleaning habits sound familiar, don’t worry. We’re right there with you. But 2019 can be our year to get it right and start keeping our kitchens totally clean!

The post Bad Kitchen Cleaning Habits to Kick in 2019 appeared first on Freshome.com.

How to: Clean your Refrigerator

clean your refrigerator 1

If your kitchen is spotless, don’t let your fridge spoil it. Use this guide to clean your refrigerator. Image: JadeNinaSarkhel/Twenty20

The new year always offers a fresh start. Why not take this opportunity to knock out a few to-dos that will help you start the new year strong? This is an ideal opportunity to take on those tasks you always say you’ll get to someday. Tasks like taking the time to clean your refrigerator.

Sure, it’s not fun. Yes, it will take time. And yes, you will probably find a long-forgotten condiment growing something you wish you hadn’t seen. But that’s all the more reason to jump on it! Every time you open your sparkling clean fridge, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment. Plus, you’ll likely end up clearing out some space you can use to help yourself on any New Year’s healthy eating resolutions.

So where to start? Here’s a quick checklist you can use to deep clean your refrigerator.

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Shutting off power and emptying out the fridge makes your deep clean a lot easier. Image: BondRocketImages/Shutterstock

Step one: disconnect the power

You will need to open your fridge door for quite a while, so there’s no sense wasting energy while you clean. Either unplug your fridge or, if you’re not keen on climbing behind it, turn off power at the fuse box or circuit breaker.

As soon as you disconnect power, open your freezer door so it can begin to defrost. No one likes to have cold hands while they clean!

Step two: transfer food

If you think you’re going to hustle through this project, you can simply take all your food out and put it on the counter. But if you’ve got a larger fridge, know yours is going to need some serious elbow grease or simply don’t want to feel rushed, grab a cooler. Load the highly perishable items like dairy and fresh produce into the cooler with items from your freezer to buy yourself some time.

While you’re at it, take any removable parts – like glass shelves and crisper drawers – out and put them on the counter. Letting them come to room temperature before you start cleaning them can help you avoid cracks.

clean you refrigerator 2

Would you let people take photos of your open fridge? After this clean, you’ll be setting up your own photoshoot. Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Step three: wipe it down

While it might be tempting to grab your Windex and get to scrubbing, don’t. Chemical cleaners shouldn’t come into contact with your food, even indirectly. Instead, choose a food-safe option. You can make a paste of baking soda and water for caked-on grime (like that oddly-colored goop that accumulates under condiments in the door). Use a spray of half vinegar, half water for your general wipedown. A wet towel can be a huge help in grabbing particles from all the tiny nooks and crannies inside your fridge.

Step four: clean the door seals

Have you ever looked inside the flexible seals around the edges of your fridge doors? This is an often-overlooked area, even if you regularly clean your refrigerator, so don’t skip it now! Spray it down with your vinegar solution, then use your wet towel to get inside the folds of the seal.

While you’re at it, check the seal. If your fridge doors aren’t sealing properly, your fridge is working overtime. This shortens the lifespan of your refrigerator and drives up your energy bill, so it’s worth getting fixed.

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Don’t just wipe down your fridge’s interior. Clean the removable parts and exterior, too. Image: bezikus/Shutterstock

Step five: clean drawers and shelves

While it’s tempting to throw your shelves and drawers into the dishwasher, they could crack in there. Instead, use the same food-safe solutions you used above to get them sparkling clean. Or, if you’ve got a large enough sink, you can wash them the same way you would any other dishes.

Make sure these items are completely dry before you add them back to your fridge. Otherwise, trapped moisture can breed bacteria, undoing all your hard work.

Step six: clean the exterior

You’re almost done! When you clean your refrigerator, don’t forget to wipe down the outside. Disinfect the door handles, then grab a step stool. Wipe down the top of your fridge to keep your kitchen that much more sanitary. Clean fridge doors with the appropriate solution (e.g. glass cleaner for glass fridge doors, stainless cleaner for stainless doors). Because the food stays inside the fridge, the no-chemical rules don’t apply here.

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Voilà! Once you load your food back in, your sparkling refrigerator can become a source of pride. Image:  asbe/Getty Images

Step seven: reload the fridge

Now comes the fun part. Use this opportunity to organize your fridge and you’ll be significantly more likely to keep it clean. Before you put any item back into the fridge, check the expiration date. This is the perfect time to make sure you haven’t been harboring any long-expired products in the depths of your refrigerator.

What tips and trick do you use when you clean your refrigerator? Did any of these help you out? Let us know in the comments.

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Closet Organization Tips from the Freshome Team

closet organization tips

Want a gorgeous closet? Use these closet organization tips. Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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Maybe you’re the type of person who loves organizing your closet, getting your clothes just-so and stepping back to admire your work. Or maybe you’re the type of person who has “the chair” that accumulates worn (and tried on) clothes day after day. Whether you’re Type A or take a more relaxed approach to your home organization, you deserve a gorgeous closet that makes it easy – and enjoyable – to get dressed. To that end, we polled our Freshome team and gathered up our best closet organization tips.

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Make it easier to keep your home’s closets tidy by investing in bins and baskets. Image: edcorbo/Getty Images

Buy baskets and bins

We know, you don’t necessarily want to have to spend money to get your closet in top shape. But we swear you’ll never regret investing in some baskets and/or bins. Why? When you have quick and easy storage in your closet, it can become a catch-all. That pile of scarves can be neatly stored. That bundle of belts gets a home. Socks and underwear are kept in order. In short, baskets and bins are the easiest way to corral your closet items and avoid clutter.

If you’re on a budget, affordable, stackable plastic drawer bins, like the IRIS Chest Plastic Box at Wayfair, is a great way to create some sense of order in your closet. The clear front of the drawers makes it easy to see what’s inside at a glance. Or, if you want something a little more aesthetically pleasing, check out the Water Hyacinth Storage Bins from The Container Store. They come in a variety of sizes so you can customize your closet to meet your needs.

Want a one-stop shop to get you started with closet organization? Invest in the Luxury Closet Starter Kit, also from The Container Store. It’ll set you up with 25 thin hangers to free up more closet space, plus a bin for storing your handbags, one for storing your sweaters and four for your shoes. Again, the clear-paneled front makes it easy to see what you’ve got and pick out an outfit in a flash.

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Organizing your closet by color gives you a set organizational system – and it looks nice. Image: ben bryant/Shutterstock

Coordinate by color

When we went around asking for closet organization tips, quite a few of our Freshome staff recommended organizing the closet by color. And our reasons for this recommendation were pretty varied. Some of us like the aesthetically pleasing nature of having a closet that mimics a rainbow. Some of us like the efficiency that comes with being able to find things quickly with just a glance. And some of us like the way a color-coordinated closet makes it a no-brainer to put together a matching outfit when you snoozed your alarm one too many times.

If you’ve been thinking about organizing your closet, try pulling out all of your hangers and re-hanging everything with similar colors. You’ll be amazed at how rewarding it is to step back and look at your beautified, organized closet.

Also, another of our favorite closet organization tips can come into play here. Rehang everything with the hanger facing the “wrong” way. After six months, any hangers that are still facing backward clearly hold items you don’t actually wear and can donate or sell.

closet organization tips

Paring down your wardrobe will help you keep it organized. Image: heyyehblog/Twenty20

Streamline your stuff

Want a surefire way to make it easier to keep your closet organized? Clear it out. Seriously, we know it sounds daunting but paring your wardrobe down to only what you actually wear is key. It’s a whole lot easier to keep a moderately full closet organized than to try to shove things back into the right places in an overstuffed one.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to get rid of a bunch of clothes, either. Consider buying a few bins to pack seasonal items into storage. You’re not going to need those bulky sweaters during the summer, and you probably won’t be reaching for your shorts during the winter, either. When you pack up your storage bins, put your favorite items on top. That way, if you go on vacation to a different climate, you can quickly grab what you’ll need.

Beyond that, consider donating or selling the clothes you don’t wear anymore. If you’re feeling really hesitant about letting things go, pack them into a box and put them in storage for a month. If you truly miss any pieces during that time, you can bring them back out. But you might just love the extra space in your closet so much that you can’t imagine going back to the way it was before.

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Help yourself keep shoes off the floor by adding proper storage for them. Image: Astronaut Images/Getty Images

Shelf your shoes

We don’t know what it is about shoes, but they seem to be one of the hardest items to keep in order. Much like bins, shoe organization items can completely transform your closet with minimal effort. That’s why one of our top closet organization tips is to shelf your shoes. And you’ve got options, depending on your available space. If you have open floor space, we love a rack like the 4-Tier Shoe Rack from Target for its versatility. It can house flats, heels, low boots, sneakers and more. Plus, its walnut-finish top is ideal for stashing items that usually end up on your closet floor.

Or, if you’re tight on space, you could opt for shoe storage with a minimal footprint like the 15-Pocket Over-the-Door Organizer, also from Target. Over-the-door organizers don’t have to just be for shoes, either. You can use them to store any small closet items that clutter up the space.

We all had some general closet organization tips and tricks, but what works for each of us is a little different. What hacks have helped you keep your closet beautiful? We’d love if you shared them with us in the comments!

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12 Stylish Ways to Get Organized in 2019

Get organized media cabinet

When your living room needs to get organized, a media cabinet with a decorative fireplace delivers much-needed storage space and a the bonus of  a warm, glowing focal point. Image: Kirkland’s

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We love the satisfaction of an organized home — and organizing doesn’t have to be a chore when you find the right products. The secret to organizing your home in 2019 is choosing storage pieces that you’ll enjoy using every day.

You can control clutter in your home by incorporating the perfect products into your decor.  It’s impractical to pack away items you don’t need every day, but will need often, into the back of a closet or basement. Clever storage options can hide that type of clutter, but keep it handy when you need it.

There are so many beautiful storage solutions available today. Here are a few of our favorites.

Organize your living room with stylish storage pieces

We use our living rooms for more than just watching TV now. Today’s living room often serves as a home office, casual dining space and a homework space. The secret to keeping your living room looking organized and attractive, while hosting a range of activities, is controlling clutter. Because the living room is used by everyone in the house, your storage solutions should be attractive and fit in with your decor.

Mid-Century Storage Bench

If you’re short on space in your living room, a storage bench works wonders near the front door. It offers flexible seating that you can pull into the room when guests arrive. An upholstered bench is also a smart choice for taking off shoes. Especially if you add a basket or two beneath it for shoes and boots. Image: AllModern

Organized Storage Bench

Turn any space near a door into a storage-friendly mud room with Pottery Barn’s Wade Bench. A dedicated mud room, or even just a spot near the an exterior door, can help you get organized on hectic mornings. Image: Pottery Barn

Bar cabinet ideas

We love to entertain, and a beverage cabinet is the ultimate indulgence for keeping your bar supplies organized. The Gray Barn Latigo Sonoma Oak beverage cabinet from Overstock allows plenty of space for the essentials, and storage space for extra supplies. This pretty cabinet can also hold dinnerware and accessories in a dining room. Image: Overstock

Organized Coffee Table

The right coffee table can double as a storage trunk in your living room. The Laurel Foundry Glenns Storage Trunk has a slender silhouette but offers a lot of storage space for games, blanket and toys. Image: Wayfair

Get organized in the kitchen with ideas for controlling clutter

We love cooking in a clutter-free kitchen. It’s not always possible to contain the clutter when we’re cooking. But having the right storage available keeps the kitchen organized in between the chaos of preparing large meals. The key to finding the best storage pieces for your kitchen is to identify where your clutter happens and to add places to stow it. If you like to keep your counters totally clutter-free, baskets are a beautiful behind-the-scenes way to store things in cabinets and drawers.

Baskets for Kitchen Organization

Countertops are often cluttered with mail, magazines and paperwork. Setting a pretty storage box or basket in that spot will help you tame that paper monster. Image: World Market

Organized Kitchen Utensils

Kitchen drawers can become a jumbled mess, leaving you searching for utensils. It can take the fun out of using your kitchen. Countertop utensil storage can simplify your life in a gorgeous way. Image: Amazon – Livfer

Organized Kitchen Shelves

Finding stylish storage shelves for your cookbooks and decor can give your kitchen a style boost. Open shelving continues to be a hot trend for all styles of kitchen decorating. Image: Wayfair

Kitchen Organization Ideas

The front of your refrigerator can disappear under layers of magnets and papers. Try a fun message board in your kitchen to keep things organized instead. A magnetic memo board or chalkboard is a fun and versatile idea for any room. Image: Birch Lane

Beautiful storage ideas for organizing your bedroom

Our bedrooms may not be the dedicated retreat space we dream of when space is tight at home. Bedroom multi-tasking can become a way of life for many of us. Your bedroom might also serve as a home office, craft room or media space. When you choose decor with clever storage solutions, you can enjoy a more relaxing bedroom.

Bedroom Organization Ideas

Look for clever bedroom storage ideas to get organized in 2019, like under-bed baskets. Choosing an attractive under-bed container keeps your bedroom looking good, even when the container is out. Image: West Elm

Get Organized With Bedroom Bench

A gorgeous storage bench at the end of your bed can not only provide a place to relax, but adds more storage for blankets and pillows. Image: Joss & Main

Bedroom Media Cabinet

A bedroom armoire is a great spot for your TV and electronics, with extra storage to declutter your space. Image: Wayfair

Closet Organization Ideas

The secret to decluttering your bedroom could be as simple as installing a closet organizer. A fully-designed storage system, or even just a shoe storage cabinet, can streamline your daily routine and keep your bedroom organized. Image: Target

What are your favorite organization ideas for 2019? Let us know in the comments.

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