14 Ingenious Ways to Keep Your Home Clean & Organized

SparkPeople members have prioritized fitness and healthy eating in their lives, both of which take time. To keep up with other household chores, they've devised ingenious solutions for getting things done as efficiently as possible.
Make de-cluttering your spark streak. Add a goal to donate or throw away an item each and every day. The SparkPoints will motivate you and every day you track your other goals you will be reminded to get an item out of your house, apartment or room.
- Submitted by BONSAIAMAZONE
Use the 15 -minute rule. When I have a pile of clutter that needs organizing, or a tedious job I dislike doing, I set a timer for 15 minutes. I tell myself I must only work that long. Every time I end up working much longer--sometimes even finishing the job!
- Submitted by DONNYE2008
Do the closet shuffle. When your closet starts getting overcrowded, take all the hangers with your clothes and put them in backwards. If you use a garment, you can reverse the hanger. After a month pull all the clothes that are still hung backwards and remove them -- you're not wearing them and they just take up space!
- Submitted by MOXIE22
Don't put it down. My Grandma always said, "Don't put it down, put it away!" When I remember her words and take that extra 30 seconds or so to put something away, I save myself a lot of time and energy later trying to find where I put it down. It also cuts down on the clutter factor considerably! 
- Submitted by JFDOHERTY
Keep pictures, not stuff. If you keep stuff you don't use because of a sentimental attachment, take pictures of it and put it in an album (online is OK) with a note explaining what it was, why you cherished it, and why it should find a new home. That way, you can keep the memory but recycle the item to a new home. 
- Submitted by JBINAUSTIN
Balance what you bring in with what you take out. Whenever you buy something new, get rid of something you already have. If you KNOW ahead of time that you will be getting rid of something you already have in order to make room for the something new you are looking at, you will really think twice before buying it.
- Submitted by CRANBYRRE 
Start small. Do something small. Organize that pile of mail, find a place to keep your keys so that they are always in the same spot, organize your pots and pans, throw out an old prescription. Do something small, it'll give you the push you need to get more done!
- Submitted by THE_BLUE_CRAB 
Make a daily list. A daily list of the tasks that I want to accomplish helps me get things done and it also gives me a great boost of self-esteem. It can be as short or as long as you like (be realistic, 20 large tasks will probably not get done and then you'll feel like you didn't succeed).
- Submitted by GHODGE6 
Clean during commercials. When I am watching TV in the evenings, I get up during the commercials to wipe down the counters, unload the dishwasher or do any number of quick chores. It feels less overwhelming to do things in quick bursts and I get a lot done!
- Submitted by TIAD21 
Give yourself a cleaning reward. I feel really good when I use my "candle" reward while cleaning the house. When I have completed a room I light a candle in that room. It adds ambiance and aroma to the cleaned room and each time I see it I can say, "good job"
- Submitted by SEEMENOW10 
Do a quick wipe down. Whenever I am finished using a washcloth from the bath/shower I quickly wipe down any surface such as the sink and then do a quick wipe of the toilet, then down to the laundry it goes. Keeps the countertop, sink and toilet in check until cleaning day! 
- Submitted by MUGSYMOM
Pump up the volume. Turn the TV off and the stereo on. The TV requires you to sit still and watch. If you turn on your favorite music, not only can you move around the house without missing anything, you are likely to dance through the house! 
- Submitted by NOAHSFITMAMA 
Do the worst thing first. Whatever chore you hate to do and just dread, do it first! Get it out of the way before you just procrastinate and keep pushing it back and dreading it more! This way it's done and you don't have to think about it anymore!
- Submitted by JHADZHIA 
Make chores your exercise. On days I can't fit a "workout" in, I use my daily chores around the house as my exercise, such as extra trips up and down the stairs putting things away, squats when folding clothes, you get the picture. Instead of trying to be efficient, and carrying multiple items to put away, make a separate trip for each item.
- Submitted by CPATRICK9 
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Member Comments

Everything can't be easy. Like exercising (for some) you do it anyway! Report
I too used to watch hoarders. It always inspired me to clean up clutter. Most of my clutter now is papers that I need to sort through. I try to do it when it comes in but sometimes it does get ahead of me. Report
Thanks for the info Report
Start in one corner and progress from there. When I clean my classroom at the end of the year I have recycle, trash, Goodwill, other teachers or office, file, closet, cubbie, or cupboard, etc. I always like to start the new year with a tidy classroom. Report
I have a friend with a gorgeous clean home. I asked how do you do it. She says she never leaves a room without cleaning something. I started doing this and it works. Some days it is a tiny piece of lint--but there is always something. Report
A new year, a new start, and the renewed challenge of being consistent with these great tips! Report
Interesting tips, but not too practical. I wonder if the tipper has seasons in their part of the world, I wear different clothing in the summer, fall winter and spring, so it will be longer then a month before I wear many items. Also you really need to have a few good items of clothing, sometimes I don't wear them for years but I still keep a suit for funerals and weddings and stuff. Also at least two of the tips are based on the premise that you watch TV or have one, not everyone does. Report
like GTNP4ME, I found Fly Lady to be of great help several years ago when I was overwhelmed by how much "stuff" I had around. And yes, I too watch Hoarders with fascination because I can't believe people let their clutter get to that level ... My biggest struggle now is with papers - notes, articles, work-related documents and because as an independent contractor I work with several organizations, all the papers are different but important.. well, important to me anyway. Report
These are GREAT strategies!!! Report
If you have too much clutter, I would advise watching one of those hoarder t.v. shows. That will make you want to organize and clean up fast. Report
Good tips, but these tips, like anything else, get tiring after awhile, that's why they have been around for decades. And I'm not tossing my mothers 100 yr. old doll and items like that, after taking a picture of them, thanks just the same! Silly gal!! Report
Great tips. Am going to get started today. It's so inspirational. Report
Fly Lady (FlyLady.com) has done an excellent job of helping set up, remind, track, and get into these sorts of systems and processes. I started "Flying" not too long before I started Sparking. Just as Spark Guy advocates starting in 10-minute increments, FL uses 15 minute blocks of To Do Today.

While FL has helped me get back on track with my basic household chores, Sparking has gotten my back on track with health, nutrition, exercising and more.
Steven Report
Love these. This is one area I need to improve on. Very helpful. Report
These are all great ideas I have used many over the years and I know that it is easier to keep something clean than trying to clean up after a big mess. These are things I try to convince my kids. I send them to their rooms and set an timer for 10 minutes. They are to work as fast as possible and after 10 minutes most of the stuff is put where it belongs and their beds are made. Report