I got a jump on organizing and decided to start somewhere quick & easy – cleaning out the cleaning supplies. (Oh, the irony of having to clean and organize your cleaning supplies!) But, I figured it would be a job that would take about 30 minutes and I would fly through it. I don’t have to try things on or weigh the sentimental value of bottles of toilet cleaner. Sort, consolidate, and done. If you missed my February challenge, you can read about it HERE.)
Well, it ended up taking me two hours!
I knew that things were out of hand because of the crammed cabinets under each sink, in the laundry room, and the kitchen, but I didn’t know the extent of it until I spread it all out over my kitchen table. It was way more than anyone needed for one house and there were so many products I never used in addition to the half-empty bottles.
I started the process of cleaning out the cleaning supplies by gathering the products from each floor and bringing them to the kitchen table…
After just bringing down the products from the upstairs bathrooms, I knew this would be a bigger undertaking than I anticipated!
Once I emptied out the two other bathrooms, the laundry room, and the kitchen, the entire table was full.
I shared my spread on my Instagram stories and the comments I received were so funny. Some wondered if I had so many cleaning supplies because I liked cleaning or if I had so many because I bought them, but wouldn’t actually use them. I also had several people trying to sell me miracle one-bottle-does-everything cleaning products, but I politely told them I clearly don’t need to buy any more cleaning supplies at the moment!
I think there were a few factors that contributed to the chaos…
- I would often start using a new bottle of cleaner before another one was empty. This resulted in half-empty bottles of cleaner stashed all over the house.
- I do like cleaning and trying new cleaners, but I almost always end up going back to my tried & true favorites, and the product I was testing sits unused.
- I did do a bit of cleaning-product hoarding when cleaning supplies became difficult to find. I would snap up several bottles of something, fearful I wouldn’t be able to buy it again for a while. (This was a little silly and proved to be unnecessary.)
- I keep cleaning supplies under each bathroom sink and in other rooms (like the kitchen and laundry rooms) where those supplies are used. With products spread all over the house, it’s easy to lose track of what I have. I needed to create a system, so I only keep one of each cleaner I need in each room and store the extras in the same place. I’ll then know I need more when the surplus storage is exhausted.
- I receive freebies and promotional items from ordering supplies as a customer, but also to use and review as a blogger. I don’t want to get rid of them because I feel like they are useful, but the truth is I only use them in some cases. In other cases, they languish in my stash of supplies.
Once the cleaning supplies were gathered, I worked on consolidating them.
I refilled all of my glass bottles and mixed any half-used plastic bottles of cleaners and soaps. (Just a note: When you’re doing this, make sure you’re only mixing cleaners that are compatible. Mixing bleach with certain other cleaners can be very dangerous! If you’re unsure, look it up first.)
As I said earlier, it took me two hours to sort and consolidate all of the cleaners and I ended up filling an entire laundry basket with empty plastic bottles to recycle! It was quite the production.
Each bathroom got an all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, toilet cleaner, toilet brush (stored in a mason jar), and a hand soap refill. Each bathroom with a tub also got a tub cleaner and scrub brush for the tub. (I have found that I don’t use the dedicated tub and tile cleaner very often, so I’ll finish using it and then not buy any more.) The boy’s bathroom got a container of Clorox wipes, so they can clean things easily themselves between mom’s thorough toilet cleanings. (I think you know what I’m talking about!) The master bathroom got a large bottle of vinegar and a jar of dishwasher tabs for cleaning the jetted tub.
Even what I put back feels like a lot, so I’m going to use what I have and be more mindful of the supplies I buy in the future. Since I use a steam cleaner for a lot of bathroom cleaning jobs, I really don’t need as many bottles of cleaning supplies as I feel like I do.
All of the spaces are so much better! I can see what I have clearly and everything is where I use it to make cleaning easier and more efficient.
Here are some of my takeaways from the experience of cleaning out my cleaning supplies; some mental notes I made for myself…
- Buy the same tried-and-true cleaners if at all possible. Consolidating would’ve been so much easier and quicker if there was more uniformity among my supplies. It’s also just neater and tidier all around. I had some uniformity, but having it in every product would’ve made this process a little faster. I realized I use the same cleaners over and over again and the ones that weren’t my favorites and go-tos sat unused and sometimes unopened. This means skipping the promotions for seasonal scents, etc.
- Have a list of the items I want in each bathroom and on each floor. I made the list I shared above and it was so helpful to know what I needed where. I found I was tucking supplies into bathroom cabinets that didn’t need to be there.
- Keep the surplus together in the same spot to “shop from” and resupply when it’s out or running low. This will (hopefully) prevent me from running out of something in one bathroom and then feeling like I need to buy more.
As a little bonus, I found some project supplies hiding among the cleaners…
I had purchased some beeswax, resin, and oil to make my own beeswax food wraps…
…as well as a bunch of rice to make a lavender & rice hot/cold pack. I set those supplies aside and those projects are going to happen in February!
In addition to cleaning out the cleaning supplies, I have started sorting and purging the clothes in my wardrobe so it’s only filled with clothes that fit properly, I cleaned out the freezer, and I started scanning family documents. It’s a big job, so I’m going to keep this basket by my scanner and just do a little bit each day. Some of the letters are dated from the mid-1800s! I want to scan and share them with other family members who might be interested.
Included are a bundle of my Opa’s letters to his family during WWII, postcards from my great-aunt Marian (who traveled extensively) to my Oma Marian, and many other treasures I’ve yet to discover I’m sure.
Now, I sort of cheated and started cleaning, organizing, and purging before February started, but it is a short month and there is a lot to do. For those doing this challenge with me, have you gotten a head-start on any organizing projects?