Day 09 – Cleaning Supplies | 31 Days of Decluttering

Hello friends! 

Today it's all about cleaning, literally. You probably (hopefully) clean more or less regularly – but do you ever clean and clear out your cleaning supplies? As you know by now, Mari Kondo's method to get rid of things is to only keep items that only truly "spark joy". But cleaning supplies? The heck? When did toilet cleaner give me joy EVER?

But it's true. Think about it. Are there any products that you actually LIKE to use – because you like the smell of it, or the cute packaging, or the non-toxic ingredients...? For example, I find that ever since using my colourful reusable cleaning gloves I'm more motivated to clean. – Let's get to work!

The Goal

  • a neat, functional selection of supplies
  • multi-purposing products
  • less toxic ingredients
  • getting rid of untouched products 
  • easy access
  • making cleaning easier and more fun

Guiding Questions

Which product do I use most often?
Which do I "enjoy" to use?
Is my cleaning cupboard organized?
Which could be multi-purposed?
Do I have any duplicates? 
Can I eliminate more chemicals from my home?
Can I recycle some of my old towels or clothes to use as cleaning rags?

Working Steps

1. Declutter

Remove all cleaning products and supplies from under the kitchen sink and bathrooms, including:

all purpose cleaners
window cleaners
toilet cleaners
oven and grill cleaners
mold and mildew sprays
upholstery sprays
floor polish 
stain removers 
room fresheners 
laundry detergents
cleaning gloves
mop bucket

That way you get a full picture of how many cleaning supplies you actually have. And which you have already forgotten about because you never use them.

Clean the empty surfaces.

2. Go through your guiding questions

Do any of your cleaners have such an overwhelming scent that you don't like to use them (and that are probably full of nasty chemicals)? Do you still need that wood floor cleaner now that you covered your hardwoods with carpet? When was the last time you used your leather furniture cleaner?
3. Assess and organize

As always, sort everything into your keep and don't keep pile.

Basically, if you don't use the product, get rid of it. Also, get rid of anything that has a smell that you can't stand. Maybe ask a friend if they can get some use out of it.

If you have multiple open containers of the same produce (e.g. two half-used bottles of all-purpose cleaner) combine them to save space.

The easiest way to multi-purpose cleaning products is to switch to more natural products – that way you'll need less different products, and it will also improve the quality of your indoor air, and prevent allergies and illness.

Make your own! Vinegar, baking soda, castille soap, and lemons is all you need to make your own multi purpose cleaner, window cleaner, carpet cleaner, air freshener, as well as to clear out the drain, clean cutting boards, and much more – and of course, they are chemical-free, effective, and save a lot of money!

4. Return

Return all cleaning products you decided to keep to their designated home. In terms of storing and organizing, I have two different suggestions:

1) Keep similar items together in groups. So surface cleaners, wood polishes, glass cleaners, etc. That way it's easier to prevent buying duplicates.

2) Keep "room specific" cleaning supplies in the respecting room. So bathroom cleaning supplies in the bathroom, kitchen cleaning supplies in the kitchen, laundry cleaning supplies in in the laundry room. That way you are more likely to clean the room since everything you need is already close at hand.

Another idea would be to store your cleaning supplies in a shoe organizer which you hang up in your cleaning closet, laundry cupboard or wherever you can easily access it when you need to clean the house.

5. Donate / Discard 

Give away any products that are still in tact (or even unopened) but you don't want to use any longer. Most people need things like dishwasher detergent, surface cleaners and drain opener, so find neighbours or friends who live nearby and offer them your cleaners.

Discard any products that are either too icky to give away or have lost their effectiveness with time. Don't just dump them in the trash or flush them down in the toilet though. To safely dispose of your harmful household chemicals such as bleach, weed killers or nail polish remover, read the instructions on the label. In Germany at least, most cleaning agents have to be taken to a local waste disposal facility or a recycling depot to ensure eco-friendly disposal.

6. Celebrate

You did it! Another day of decluttering is over. If you're not too exhausted, why not take this opportunity to clean your house – or at least one room! See you tomorrow :)