Purges and Organizations Are Important to the Messy People We Have and the Oath

If you’ve always been a Type A, super neat or super-ordered, today’s post isn’t for you (but come back tomorrow for a really interesting farm disclosure, okay?). Today’s post is for the laggards, the ones who are dragging their feet and putting off cleaning and organizing until it’s a seemingly gigantic undertaking that feels hopeless and impossible. I am like that too! The case in question (get ready for a horrific 2009 bedroom photo)…


PLOT. Do you know where this picture is never supposed to go? The Internet, for millions of people to see. But sometimes, when I read cleaning or tidying tips, it comes from people who have never seen a beaver-like garbage dam in their house (or their bedroom, or their apartment, or anywhere else). And when you read posts or watch videos of people who are always neat, it’s easy to feel like you’re just missing an organizational gene, or that you’re lazy (because it seems so easy to others, right?), or that you’ll always be alive with batteries on the floor. It might be pretty overwhelming to feel like you’ve dug yourself into a hole that you don’t understand how to get out of, you know?

My linen cabinet | My bathroom dressing cabinet

My dresser drawer | My wardrobe

But guys, there is hope! It took me a long time (no kidding, a full 27 years, I think), but I finally defined a routine and a product that worked together to keep my home tidy. Is any of the systems or products I found worthy of IG? Not! Will I end up on the cute, well-curated ~org porn~Pinterest Board? LOL, NO. But this clean (ish) life is achievable and can even be fun to maintain (!!!), which is necessary when you have a tolerance that is remarkable enough for, uh, a bit of a rough life situation. (Speaking of me here, here is known as Princess Pyles.)


The first step? Changed my relationship with distractions. (And honestly, it doesn’t require a new purchase: If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, I recommend starting that post and coming back here in a month or two when you’re ready.) The second step? Finally took the time to look for a tool that worked for me.

So today, I want to introduce my favorite cleanup and organize the essentials (because they go hand in hand: cleaning is MUCH easier when you’re not trying to vacuum under a pile, I promise!). These are all products that I have in my apartment, I use often and really enjoy. Each of them made a huge difference in how I was able to maintain my home (and everything in it, TBH) – perhaps one of their new favorites would also be here 🙂.



  1. Chaos Cart: I’ve heard of many strategies to thwart the mess involved in dragging a basket of clothes every night and filling it with misplaced items. Do you know what I will never do, a lazy person? Grab a heavy basket and drag it around my house. For example, there is a reason why hospitals have bumper cars and not “just life-saving equipment containers.” Roll around your house, pick up things that are in the wrong place (or don’t have a home), and work from there. Put it in a closet or closet when you have a company. It’s a game changer for me.


  1. Drawer divider: I love these and they feel really sturdy, without slipping when I store a lot of clothes! – and they’ve optimized the chest space of the drawer I have. LOVE.


  1. Honeycomb Organizer: If you told me that one day I would be the one with organized underwear and sock drawers, I WOULD NEVER trust you. You can see mine in action above: it’s quick to assemble and you can make it as big or small as you need.


  1. Linen box: I have two of them: one for my regular bra and one for my sports bra. The two were put in a drawer. Finding a bra I really want/need to wear is a lot easier now.


  1. Multipurpose containers: There are a lot of containers out there, but these are too big at a better price. (I use it in my bathroom and linen closet.)


  1. Wire container: Target stopped my favorite Brightroom container (no!!!!), but it’s similar (and frankly, a bit more luxurious). I have 5 of them for towels, fabrics, sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. Reaching into the closet and being able to take the container I need (instead of carefully crushing the folded pile and then pushing the remnants back into the closet) makes life easier.


  1. Under the bed container: I have 4: one for Christmas sweaters, one for swimsuits, one for leotard/body suit and one blank. None of them were particularly crowded, but I didn’t anticipate how well I felt knowing I had room to grow (if necessary) without messing up my closet.


  1. Hanging organizer: I use mine for my shorts and jeans, but I also have two of them in my second guest bedroom closet, glad people can have a place to unpack a little bit, you know?


  1. T-shirt Folder: I LOVE THIS. It’s like a gateway to having an organized dressing room, I swear. (And that’s awesome too, for those struggling with folding!) Once you see a pile of very suitable shirts, you’ll want to take care of them! It’s like magic.


  1. File Box: Get a portable container for all your important documents (even if you don’t see them, or even open them, guilty here!!!). This is what I have, and it gets the job done. Insurance information, health stuff, banking stuff, all in the box for when you need it someday!


  1. Hangers in droves: After 13 years of unsuitable and collected hangers, I upgraded to this set and now love to look into my closet. Sometimes it’s the little things 🙂


  1. Small tray: Nail polish! Hair ties! Tongs! Patch zit! Pin! Arch! Clip! Kitchenware! It comes in many sizes and is useful in all rooms.




  1. Dyson V15: I recommended this vacuum cleaner after doing my Black Friday research, and it’s BETTER THAN I thought. I anticipated it would be quite effective, but I was impressed. My dark blue Nordic Knots rug, once covered with a thin layer of motionless pet hair, really looked like the day I received it. (I’ll be posting some before and after pictures in Link Up this week, because I’m EXCITED.)


  1. Little Green Machine: Again, a dream. He pulled the orange animal vomit out of my antelope print corridor without ANY EFFORT on my part. Also, be sure to empty the water after each use. (I always do, but some of the complaints I read are always like “it smells bad!” and it’s like… yes, I mean, there’s stuff there, so that makes sense.)


  1. Extended Arm Duster: I don’t know what’s in these little Swiffer feather duster pads, but they’re AMAZING. When your apartment gets big pollution from the street like mine, the dust can age very quickly, making it fun. I like extended sleeves for fans, lights, molds, etc., but the traditional sticks are also good.


  1. Mop: A hands-free drain, a telescopic handle, and a triangular-shaped tip to enter the corner. I know a Swiffer looks easier, but this particular mop surprisingly requires less work: just fill it up and go to town (no bending, no need to constantly adjust the wet Swiffer cloth!).


  1. Dish Rack: One day I will reveal my kitchen and you will all finally see this dish rack (my favorite quarantine purchase). Actually having enough space to dry a pile of dishes in the sink made me want to make a pile of dishes in the sink.


  1. Clothesline over the door: Do you know what makes clothes easier? Not having to dry things by throwing them into an open door, or the back of your chair, or shower bar, or balanced on other foreign surfaces provides adequate ventilation for drying clothes. (I keep mine in my living room closet so I don’t cannibalize the bedroom door space, it’s precious real estate!)


  1. Rubbing a sponge with a handle: Hi, I live in an apartment covered in rotting 100-year-old tiles, so I thought I would have some kind of illness or injury to my hands if I didn’t use a rubbing sponge with a handle. I have one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one in the bathroom.


  1. Set of Deep Cleaning Brushes: One day, you will wake up a changed person with too much free time and find yourself in your kitchen, with your hands and knees, cleaning the gap between the floorboard and the toe kick. You’ll want this. (Other quarantine purchases, for the record.)


  1. Power Grout Brush: Again, I live in an apartment covered with worn tiles, mostly butter-colored ones that look dirty after, uh, 15 minutes. Old nats are often disgusting (please confirm in the comments so you know I’m not just disgusting) and it’s fun and meditative to use.


  1. XL Lint Roller: Ideal for sofas, rugs, and clothes, honestly. You can see my top in my closet above (it’s in a special “feather roller” container). Pet owners can relate :)).


  1. Lobby Broom: No kidding, it’s a cleaning equipment that changed my own life. This was the first time I realized that maybe I don’t hate cleaning, I just don’t look for the tool that suits me best. Not that sweeping is my favorite pastime, but it’s quick and painless (although I’ve mostly replaced my daily broom routine with Dyson, it’s so easy to haul!).


  1. Toilet brush: This is what I have. It was funny and harmless. I love that the design also hides the feathers.


  1. Gloves: Two pairs, one for cleaning (so you are not blocked from touching dirt) and one for dishes (HACK: put on lotion beforehand and it’s like a small spa treatment, except you’re not at the spa, you’re at home and doing housework. But it’s still nice to go out with a soft hand, I guess?).


  1. Magic Eraser: I mean… They’re magical.


  1. Microfiber Fabric: For all your cleaning needs! I like this set because it comes with three different textures.




  1. Baking soda: I actually bought a 12-pack package. I mostly use it in the fridge and sprinkle it on my cat litter box, but there are plenty of good DIY cleaning solutions that require baking soda. If you have a room, buying in bulk is worth it.


  1. Deodorizing Gel: Magic Worker: I also use it near my cat litter box and it actually absorbs any odors that come out.


  1. Barkeeper’s Friend: The best versatile powder cleaner without bleach. (It’s awesome to draw from so many of my flea market finds as well.)


  1. Comet: My monthly deep cleaning involves cleaning all my counters, shaking off some Kites and going into town with tiles and sinks (often with the help of a rotating brush, or the scrubbers I mentioned earlier!).


  1. Vinegar: It’s natural, affordable and multifunctional (clean your windows, dress in cabbage, vinegar can do it all!).


  1. Wet & Forgetting: Another bulb product for me: I can actually spray this in my bathroom and eliminate the need for heavy-duty scrubbing. (I also changed my shower head for this one so I could spray the product easily.)


  1. The Pink Stuff: The only way I can think of to describe this is “the spray/glue version of the magic eraser.” When all else fails, Pink Stuff works. (It’s also very funny, so I really like to see it when I use it!)


  1. Shower Spray: Keep it in your bathroom and spray all walls and surfaces after bathing. This will not replace the need for deep cleaning, but will prevent dirt or dirt or soap scum from accumulating.


  1. All-purpose cleaner: You know, for most things in your home. I prefer disinfectants for the highest contact surfaces in my home, but these are great for most dining tables, bar carts, bookshelves, coffee tables, etc.


  1. Dishwasher liquid: If Dawn is good enough to take oil from penguins, it’s good enough to take spaghetti sauce from your dishes. (But really, any type would work.)


  1. Wood cleaners: VERY IMPORTANT, but often overlooked! Don’t use a general-purpose cleaner on your original piece of wood, folks, it’s too wet (who knows?) and can damage or erode the end result. This spray is impressive in that it makes the surface shiny and clean, but alternatively you can take this version to use with mops for wooden flooring 🙂 .


  1. Castile Soap: Real MVP Here: If you need products that can cleanse your body, your clothes, your fruits and vegetables, And your home … Well, baby, you’re in luck! The use cases here are endless (and people are finding new and effective blends all the time).


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