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  • Writer's pictureKay Patterson

Organizing cleaning supplies sounds like an absurdly meta experience as cleaning and organizing are cousins of sorts. However, most of the time when I end up going to someone's house and working in either a kitchen or a laundry room, or a garage, I often end up setting up an organizing system for cleaning supplies, so I thought it would be worth talking about this because it appears that some of us could use some help in this area!

The first thing I usually like to recommend if people are having trouble keeping their cleaning fluids and powders organized is that they downsize on the amount of these specialty cleaners. Companies are very good at making us believe that we need a lot of specialty cleaners for different surfaces when there are actually a few that will work for most surfaces. I'm not saying you can't have your specialty cleaner, but if you're dealing with a small space or you're struggling with excess, you may want to reconsider having so many separate specialty cleaners in favor of a few general ones. You can use a multipurpose spray cleaner in the bathroom sink and still do a good job. In a wonderful video from Melissa Maker, she informs us that you don't even really need to invest in wood furniture polish!

My first step with clients is to usually go through these cleaners that are under the sink or whatever and figure out which ones get used and which ones are actually kind of redundant. My favorite solutions are all-purpose cleaning concentrates like the ones from Mrs. Meyers and I know that Grove Collaborative makes one too or if you're feeling fancy, you can buy concentrate from The Laundress which smells fancy. I find that purchasing a glass spray bottle can help if you like to switch the scents of your cleaners frequently because the glass spray bottle is least likely to hold the fragrance of whatever you're using and I find that they tend to clean up much better than plastic bottles.

While we're talking about under the kitchen sink I find this to be the place where people need the most help when it comes to organizing cleaning supplies. After downsizing under here, I always recommend some organizing solution that is going to work around the plumbing under the sink.

If I'm going to use the vertical space under the sink, I make sure I purchase a solution that can fit to the left or right of the plumbing. This Elfa drawer unit has been a real workhorse in my home for a number of years and it still lives under my sink to this day.

If you're pressed for space, hooks can be useful!
Hook it Up!

Using hooks on cabinet doors is also going to be super helpful in under sink cabinets as everything I need to hang. I have been using Command Hooks for years.

If I am pressed for valuable real estate under the sink, I will allocate a space for cleaning supplies used less often and in my case, I stored them on a shelf on top of where all my stick goods are hanging

The Elfa Utility System from The Container Store
The Elfa Utility System

And backs of doors are great places to store cleaning items too!

The Elfa Shelving System from The Container Store
Our Elfa Utility Closet & Door Rack

Storing dish towels in a file folding method is a lifesaver if you find yourself unable to see them all or need help choosing which is the best one for the job!



*Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of these links are affiliate links where I'll earn a small commission if you make a purchase. Shopping through these links is a great way to support the channel so I can keep making helpful videos for you. Win/Win!

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  • Writer's pictureKay Patterson

Paper Clutter can be a huge issue even in 2020. Most of us don't even buy CDs and DVDs anymore, but we still have piles and piles of papers, bills, cards, letters, and even Post-It notes cluttering up our lives. Here are some of my tips for reducing some of the insanity.

  1. Stop Paper Clutter AT THE SOURCE! This mostly has to do with the mail. I get a lot of clients asking me to set up a mail organizing system in their homes because their unopened or un-dealt-with mail is getting to be an issue and I always tell them that I haven't found a system that works aside from changing one's own behaviors. Taking five to ten minutes a day to process letters, bills, invitations, junk mail, and publications as soon as they land on your doorstep can be a difficult habit to adopt, but one that will ultimately eliminate the mail clutter problem at its source. Simply stopping procrastination when it comes to processing mail, is the only solution I find that is FAIL PROOF at dealing with mail clutter.

  2. Go Paperless! Luckily enough, most businesses are happy to stop sending you physical bills in the mail. This includes your bank, your insurance company, and even when you shop in a physical store. If you're concerned about these things cluttering up your email box, you can set up a separate account for receiving these documents like

  3. Digitize Physical Memorabilia: If you have boxes of old photos (or even worse, slides) lying around and are overwhelmed, a great idea that I've seen work for many is to have these photos digitized. If you're willing to spend the time, you can scan them yourself or you can send them off to a company such as iMemories and they will charge a small fee to scan each photo and send you a digitized version in whatever format you choose.

  4. Use an App for Passwords: Keeping track of passwords can be overwhelming, especially now since we have logins to sp many online places. My favorite password App is Dashlane, but LastPass is very good as well. These apps can create secure passwords for you so that you have some peace of mind when logging into websites.

  5. Utilize Scanning & Cloud Apps: There are so many places online now to store scanned documents online and some of my favorites are Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive. Dropbox is excellent for being able to share these documents with other people. Evernote is my favorite however being that it's easy to create documents and tag them so that you can easily find them later. Evernote Scannable is the very sleek scanning app that coordinates seamlessly with Evernote.

  6. Take Advantage of Scanning Services: If you need to scan a large number of documents and don't want to spend the time, you can have a service scan them for you with FedEx Office and Staples being the easiest to access and most widely available.

Setting Up A Filing System:

There are likely three kinds of papers you typically have kicking around:

  • Active Files (Keep Temporarily)

  • Permanent Files (Keep Forever)

  • Things to Shred/Recycle

Active Files might be medical bills, documents having to do with your vehicle, tax documents, etc. ALWAYS consult your tax preparer or legal representatives if you have questions about how LONG you need to keep physical copies of certain documents! For example, if you have questions about whether or not to keep physical copies of medical bills or other items consult whoever might collect these documents, like your insurance company, your auditor, or creditor. You may only need to keep them for a LIMITED amount of time. I recommended making a note of HOW LONG they require you keep the hard copies and make a note of it when you file it:

Physical Copies To Keep FOREVER: anything related to state or federal matters, including certifications, licenses, deeds, marriage licenses, divorce certificates, birth certificates, death certificates, wills, adoption papers or records of paid mortgages.

When trying to sort out files, try to keep categories broad at first. It's overwhelming if you start to micro-categorize. Remember to keep it simple! Again, if you are concerned about whether or not to keep a hard copy of a document, you consult whoever may need to collect it. Find a few of my favorite paper organizing items here on Amazon! (Affiliate Storefront: This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.)

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  • Writer's pictureKay Patterson

As I'm writing this blog post, there is a lot going on in the world right now. We are in the midst of battling an invisible challenge that has the world on edge. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now and I know a lot of us are scared. Many of us are bored or don't know what to do. It seems as if the world is ending and it seems fit to marinate in a soup of sadness, fear and hopelessness.

But...what about opportunity? If we are isolated at home with our families...perhaps it's time to adopt another perspective. This is the time to reset. This is the time to renew your relationships with your family. This is the time to nurture the relationships of those we've been neglecting. This is the time to reap the benefits of acts of kindness for those who are unable to get supplies or food. This is the time to learn a new skill. This is the time to update that resume you've been putting off. This is the time to finally clean out that closet you've been putting off (I am a professional organizer after all...did you expect any less of me?) This is the time to learn to bake bread if you've always wanted to. This is the time to teach your child how to ride their bicycle. This is the time to finally write that book, start that YouTube Channel or Podcast you've been itching to do but been afraid of what people might think. NOW is the've been given a gift. Don't squander it.

It's easy to get caught up in the fear and sadness...after all...we have not seen anything like this before in a long time. It's easy to let the sensationalism of the media infect your optimism. I am inviting you to be brave right now. Don't let anyone kill your spirit, dull your shine or tell you what you do at this time doesn't matter. I feel that whatever you do at this time matters more than ever. Be brave and use this opportunity to do things that will enrich your life and others' when clouds have lifted.

We will get through this. In the meantime...what are you going to do with your opportunity? I hope you take it. I hope you run with it. Please be kind...and wash your hands :)

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