Kansas City’s stay at home order was put into place on March 24th and it has been an adjustment, to say the least. Many are looking for ways to pass the time that they have and maintain some sense of normalcy, but it is difficult.
Between homeschooling, trying to track down what you need at the grocery store, and keeping some sort of a routine in place, the balancing act is overwhelming and some are also still working from home – a challenge in and of itself.
Keeping your home organized is probably not the highest thing on your list of priorities but it isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. It is especially important if your home is on the market – you don’t want to get stuck clean for hours and hours on a Sunday when people start shopping again.
Not only will cleaning and organizing help your home look aesthetically better and sell faster when business resumes, having less clutter around can help you be more productive when it comes to other parts of your life, too. It has also been shown that those who have a clean and organized home have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those with cluttered, messy homes. Less stress is something we definitely all need right now.
We have created a guide to help you with spring cleaning and organizing your home during this time.
- Make a list of what you want to accomplish that day
- Go at your own pace
- Turn on music, a podcast, or a show that you enjoy
- Get the family involved
- Reward yourself with a delicious treat or beverage
- If something doesn’t get done, give yourself grace
1. The Kitchen
When people talk about cleaning and organizing, the first things that come to mind are usually bedroom closets and playrooms and the kitchen is kind of an afterthought.
We are all spending more time in our kitchens these days and noticing things that we aren’t exactly loving. The counters may be clean and the sink empty, but the pots and pans are in disarray, the pantry makes no sense, and we are wondering why we have so much mustard and four containers of cinnamon.
If you haven’t deep cleaned and organized your kitchen in a while it may seem like a big thing to tackle but it feels great when you are done – we promise! Here is how to get started.
Take Everything Out of Your Pantry/Cabinets and Edit Your Inventory
This will seem scary at first. A lot of us have no idea how much food we actually have until it is all laid out.
Food and Spices
- Take all of the food items (including spices) out of your pantry and cabinets then put them on the counter.
- Check expiration dates and toss expired items.
- See if you have doubles (or triples) of anything and group them together – those four containers of cinnamon, for example.
- Combine items like sugar, flour, cocoa powder, spices, etc., that you have multiples of into one container. Small glass jars for spices and air-tight containers like these from Amazon work great.
- Label as you go if you are combining items into jars or other containers. You can use a piece of tape and a sharpie or get creative with chalkboard paint or stickers.
- Create a donate pile for unopened, unexpired items that you will not use and give them to a local food pantry.
- If you have a spice rack, wipe down the rack and replace your spices.
Pro-tip: Organizing your spices alphabetically makes sense for a lot of people. You can also organize your spices based on which ones you use the most.
Glassware, Plates, Bowls, and Cups
This is the time to be honest with yourself and figure out what you truly need to have in your cabinets. Yes, those novelty coffee mugs that you’re SO love from your trip across the country are great, but do you need 10 of them in the cabinet? Probably not.
- Decide what you use on a regular basis and keep those items in the cabinets.
- Pack up sentimental items and put them in storage.
- Donate what you don’t want anymore.
Clean the Shelves and Replace Items in a Way that Makes Sense
After you have your pantry and cabinet items “edited,” it is time to refresh the shelves.
- If you have protective liners on your shelves, consider replacing them. If your liners are rubber, soak them in the sink with hot, soapy water and let them air dry.
- Clean the shelves with a sponge using mild soap and warm water. You don’t want to use bleach or harsh cleaners as they can strip paint and potentially leak into plastic food packaging.
- Dry shelves with a cloth or paper towel.
- Replace all of the items on the shelf based on what you use the most. If you often are reaching for olive oil, it should be more accessible than say breadcrumbs. Again, some people like to go the alphabetical order route, but that is completely up to you.
Tackle the Pots, Pans, and Drawers Using the Method Above
Follow the same steps that you did for the glassware, plates, and bowls to organize your drawers and the area where your pots and pans live.
If you have the space, we highly suggest hanging your pots and pans if possible. They are actually extremely affordable on Amazon. We like this one that can go right above the stove.
Time to Hit the Fridge
The way you clean and organize your fridge will be similar to what you did for the pantry and cabinet but on a smaller scale with a few changes.
- Remove all items from the fridge and toss what is expired.
- Do not combine things you have multiples of because expiration dates can vary.
- Move more delicate items to the freezer while you clean. i.e. raw meat and dairy products.
- Wash shelves. Shelves in many modern fridges are removable so you can take them right to the sink.
- Use hot soap and water to clean the shelves and interior of the fridge.
- Replace shelves.
- Put delicate items back into the fridge and close it.
- Wipe down all condiment bottles and put them back in the fridge.
Note: Try to keep the fridge closed as much as possible when cleaning. You don’t want to reduce the temperature and risk putting your food in the danger zone!
Other Kitchen Cleaning Tasks
- Clean the kitchen cabinet and pantry doors with warm soap and water.
- Clean all hardware and doorknobs with a germ-killing cleaner
- Clean the outside of the fridge with a germ-killing cleaner
- Wipe baseboards
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Clean out the microwave with warm soap and water
2. The Bedrooms
Ah yes, the bedrooms. The places that we don’t want guests to see. Kids, especially teenagers, are the biggest culprits when it comes to just throwing things wherever and not putting things away. The biggest project you will have to tackle in these spaces is likely going to be clothing organization.
No matter how hard some of us try to keep clothes and shoes in their place, they end up on the floor or thrown haphazardly in a drawer. Will the closets in your home be 100% organized all the time after you do this? Probably not, but if you fully-reorganize everything now it is much easier to go in once a week for 5 minutes and hang up a few tops, put shoes back in their place, and then enjoy the rest of your day.
Think of closet organization as a way of sifting through your old stuff and curating a store of your own. If you have older kids at home (pre-teens and teenagers) you can try to get them into this mindset also but we can’t guarantee that it will work.
The key here is to put each family member in charge of their own closet organization. Some will definitely need supervision – so make a schedule and do your best to stick with it. Remind them when their closet organization time is and do not falter no matter how much complaining ensues. You can do this!
Note: a good rule of thumb to follow when deciding what to keep, toss, or donate, is to think about if you have worn or used the item within the last year. If the item is truly sentimental consider putting it into storage.
- Gather up every item of clothing and put it on the bed.
- Separate clothes into loose categories. i.e. shirts, underwear and socks, pants/skirts, etc.
- Set a stack of hangers next to each pile except for items that are never hung up i.e. socks and underwear
- Go through each pile and decide what you want to keep, toss, or donate and put items in the appropriate spot.
- Put items that need to be hung up on the hangers and fold items that belong in drawers as you go through the piles.
- Match up socks. You can use socks without matches for a number of other things!
We highly suggest you do your closet first to figure out what type of system works for you and set an example. Have a trash bag nearby for items you will throw away and another bag for things that you will donate.
Putting it All Away
There are several ways you can organize your clothes. Choose which method works best for you and your lifestyle.
- By color
- By type
- By occasion
Hang items based on the organization method you choose and put items away into dressers. When it comes to shoes and bags, choose storage solutions that work for the space you have. Many like to put their shoes on shelves like these while others prefer more discrete forms of storage like this piece from Ikea.
Will this ensure that the closets stay perfectly organized forever? Probably not, but spending an hour or two in full-blown organization mode now means that you only have to spend 5-10 minutes per week hanging up or putting away clothes that found their way to the floor, later.
Other Bedroom Cleaning and Organization Tasks
- Organize miscellaneous items (see below)
- Gather up bedding, blankets, and other linens so that they can be washed.
- Dust ledges, shelves, dressers, ceiling fans, etc.
- Go through papers on desks. Put necessary documents in folders and toss what is not needed
- Wipe baseboards
- Vacuum and/or shampoo carpets
We aren’t going to lie, toys are probably going to be tough. Even if kids haven’t played with something in months, they suddenly develop a special attachment to a toy once they think it will be gone – we will talk more about that below. If your children are small (ages 2-5), you may want to just take on this task yourself – if you do decide to go this route, do your organizing gradually and with stealth.
If your kids are a bit older (ages 6-8), you can have them help you go through the toys to decide what will be kept and what will be donated. You can use this method with items in the toy room, your room, and other rooms that house miscellaneous items, also.
- Grab items around the room that currently don’t have a home and place them on the floor
- Go through those items and decide what to keep, donate, and toss
- Find homes for the items in the keep pile.
- Go to an area where items are stored i.e. a toy box and repeat steps 2, and 3
- Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until everything in the room has been organized
Kids may have issues letting go of a toy that they don’t play with and has no sentimental value. If this happens, tell them that the toy will go to another little boy or girl and make them super happy. Pro tip: act like this is the most exciting thing that could possibly ever happen to the toy.
Bathrooms are the easiest spaces to organize but sometimes the hardest to deep clean – especially if you haven’t done it in awhile.
The level of effort involved with bathroom cleaning and organization will vary from household to household. For example, homes with people who buy a lot of skincare and makeup will have different challenges than those ones with two pre-teen boys. For that reason, we are going to keep this section pretty general.
- Go through toiletries and toss old products.
- Go through the medicine cabinet and toss old products or medication
- Get rid of bulky packaging and replace with labeled containers when possible
- Give all items a home
That sounds easy enough but what if space is limited in the bathroom? Well, you can definitely buy a home with a bigger bathroom (kidding!). You can find space-saving storage solutions pretty much anywhere these days. Some of our favorites include:
Bathroom Deep Cleaning
There really is no trick to making this part easier, unfortunately. We suggest giving everyone in the family one bathroom element to focus on so you don’t have to do all of the cleaning yourself. For example, one person takes on the tubs and sinks, another the toilets, someone else mops the floors, etc. If you do not have the extra hands in your home, go bathroom by bathroom and clean each one completely.
- Scrub and sanitize the toilet
- Scrub and sanitize around the toilet base and the floor
- Get a new rag or sponge for scrubbing and sanitizing the sink. Pay close attention to the grout around the faucet.
- Scrub and sanitize the tub and shower
- Scrub and sanitize the outside of the tub
- Mop the floors
- Get a paper towel and wipe down the door and door handles
- Clean the mirror with glass cleaner
The beauty of this guide is that you can go at your own pace. If you want to knock everything out in one day with a double-shot latte in hand, go for it! If you want to use those hours that you would have spent commuting to work and driving the kids to practice to tackle a few tasks during the week, that works too!
Also, if you planned to clean the fridge on a late Saturday afternoon but aren’t feeling up to it and would rather video chat a friend with a glass of wine, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that instead. Right now is a time to focus on things that make us feel comfortable, happy, and healthy because that is truly what is most important.
Many were in the process of buying or selling a home before this situation took hold. Our team is here to answer your real estate questions when you need us. Feel free to call our team at (913) 521-8809.
The hunt for a new home doesn’t have have to stop because of social distancing. Click below to view our featured listings.