Home Cleaning (truly) Simplified

Maristella Bertram
8 min readNov 20, 2023

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In the minds of most, cleaning and organizing are two activities that go together. We think of a messy place and imagine it as both disorganized and dirty.

For this reason, organizers get asked if we clean, too. When asked this question, I politely smile and say, “Well, I clean my house, of course!”
So, I’ll share some cleaning secrets with you now.

Most Organizers, myself included, refuse to place items neatly organized in dirty spaces. Therefore, we do our best to clean some or engage the client in doing the cleaning so the project ends at its best.

I am okay with asking the client to postpone any particular cleaning project until the home is organized — for the best results on the cleaning.

But here’s an irony that I can’t ignore. Some homes feel very cluttered and dirty when it is precisely the many (unused) cleaning stuff that occupies so much cabinet space.

That leaves no space in the cabinet to store what should be in them. Instead, people complain about needing more storage space and having everything all over the house and on counters, which should be inside their cabinets. (huh?)

Some love an over-complicated life and spaces. But life should be easier and our homes simpler so we can rest and enjoy the space.

So Many (Unused) Products!

As an Organizer, I am impressed by the number of cleaning products I find in every household, especially those that need the most cleaning. There are often many products for every purpose imaginable, as well as multiples of the same products and cleaning tools.

So, let’s start simplifying the cleaning process by letting go of all those extra-specialized products and tools we would never use. Keeping it simple usually translates into less storage space taken up by all those products we don’t even recognize.

The key to simplifying the cleaning process is to use a minimum of multipurpose products and multi-task tools. These should be simple and occupy minimal space. These should also be easy to maintain and clean to avoid additional work. We can’t expect to clean effectively using dirty tools, can we?

I usually suggest to my clients a handful of multipurpose products and tools that accomplish many cleaning jobs and eliminate most of the extra work.

Also, cleaning products should preferably live in the laundry room. Kitchen cleaning products go under the sink. You should keep some heavy-duty products to clean stuff outside the home, like the car, equipment, boat, etc. Those should have a place in the garage.

What You Need

Keep your life simple and save space in your cabinets and laundry area. Let’s eliminate all those unnecessary products and tools we never use and will never need. Then, let’s get some simple, clean new equipment and products that get the job done quickly.

The cleaning products and tools suggested here take into consideration the environment, are cost-effective, and get the job done well with a minimum of effort.

You can also research natural alternatives to chemicals currently used, especially with the recipes created with Young Living essential oils, baking soda, and vinegar.

Superior Mini Mop System — Forget the broom, dustpan, mop, pail, and cleaner altogether. This mopping system from Norwex accomplishes it all. The handle is adjustable and very comfortable to use.

Swiffer Dusters 360 Extended Handle (long handle kit plus refills)

Clorox Free & Clear Compostable Cleaning Wipes

Clorox Free & Clear Multi-Surface Cleaner

Scotch-Brite Multi-Purpose Scrub Sponge — These are the best sponges, even for manually doing the dishes.

Assortment of brushes with and w/o handle and different kinds of bristles

Gloves — Protect your hands, ensuring adequate mobility and comfort.

Arm & Hammer Clean Shower Daily Shower Cleaner (1 bottle per shower or tub) — this product is truly a miracle. This is the only cleaning product you should keep in your bathroom, specifically the shower caddy. You might want to transfer this product into a transparent or translucent, un-branded spray bottle to maintain the spa allure we always wish for in the bathroom.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponges (tough stains, marks on walls, even cleaning the tub w/o bleach)

Microfiber rags

  • Use them to dry off cleaned areas
  • Use with the multi-purpose cleaner
  • Use with the mop system as an alternative to the sponge

Clorox toilet wand kit (one per toilet) — Best invention ever. The kit lives in the bathroom, by the toilet. It looks great. The sponge is single-use, disposable. The sponge contains a cleaning agent, so there is no need to deal with toilet brushes or specific toilet cleaners. There is no need to handle the used sponge either- eject it in the trash. Do not flush the sponge.

Window Cloth, BacLock® — Amethyst with Graphite trim — A couple of years ago, I came in contact with this product from Norwex, and what a game changer it was! This cloth removes 99% of bacteria from surfaces with only water, and what it does for glass, mirrors, and even stainless steel is formidable. No cleaner, sprays, foams, creams, or anything else is needed — just water. How it cleans surfaces and even removes fingerprints without leaving water marks will amaze you. I would buy about three or four of these clothes. Just know it should not be washed with fabric softener.

Cleaning caddy — Keep all your products in the caddy so they are easy to move around your house. Only one set of products is needed. You want a rectangular caddy with straight angles and not overly divided for greater versatility.

7–10 Gallon Clear Garbage Can Liners- Trash bags in sizes according to trashcans in the home (essential to always line your trashcans. To avoid ruining the look of a nice-looking trashcan, use transparent bags. Pro tip: knot the rim of the bag to make it fit the border of the trashcan. Hide the excess bag between the trashcan rim and the bag rim.

OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger with Holder — Most homes permanently have the unsightly toilet plunger next to the toilet. And the usual plunger found in most homes is appropriate for the sink but not the toilet. Toilet plungers should be of a different shape to exert the right amount of suction for the toilet plumbing. Here’s a plunger that’s up to the challenge and can live next to the toilet because it has a cover that automatically closes when the plunger goes on its base. There is no need to look at the plunger anymore.

If you have dogs/cats, you will want these two things:

  • Lint Remover — This little thing looks inoffensive, but it will destroy your clothes if you attempt to remove hair and lint from them with this item. However, I have never found something more effective for removing fur and fuzz from fabric furniture, carpet corners, and carpet-covered stairs. Use it to remove hair, lint, and fuzz from those places and vacuum it all with the fantastic tool described next.

But You Also Need A Method!

  1. Assign a day to wash towels and bedsheets. A good idea to simplify your life is to have only one complete set of towels per person per bathroom and one set of sheets per bed that complement the décor. On laundry day, wash, dry, and place them back in use. No need for storage space. No need to fold.
  2. Wash bathroom rugs at least once a month.
  3. Assign a day for each household person to do their laundry (from start to finish on that day). That way, family members take turns, and no clothing awaits washing.
  4. Accumulate all dirty dishes and utensils inside the dishwasher. At night, run the dishwasher. Empty the dishwasher and put everything away first thing in the morning (or before bed). There is no need to keep that dish mat or the piles of dirty dishes on the counter day after day.
  5. If you have dogs or cats, it’s a good idea to vacuum at least once every other day. With the cordless vacuum, this is therapy (at least for me).
  6. Keeping disinfecting wipes in the kitchen and bathroom makes it easy to wipe off surfaces as often as needed.
  7. At least once a week, clean the inside of toilets with the toilet wand and the outside with the Clorox wipes. Clean all surfaces with wipes and clean the mirrors with Windex.
  8. Keeping a bottle of Clean Shower in your shower or tub helps you use this product daily. When you do this, this product virtually eliminates the need to clean the shower! You’ll probably want to scrub the tiles and all other areas once a month with Ajax or a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge.
  9. Dust all that you can see with the duster. Working with this product is so easy that you’ll quickly get in the dusting mood. When finished, trash the duster. It’s that simple.
  10. Clean from top to bottom and from left to right to track the progress. It’s essential to have an efficient methodology. As dirt falls on the floor, you should leave the floor for last.
  11. Finally, use your vacuum all over! Go over the floor with the dry Swiffer if desired, and finally, use the wet Swiffer to clean floors. Alternatively, use a microfiber rag instead of the Swiffer wet cloths.
  12. Remember to dress the beds, re-place bathroom towels, and change all trashcan liners at the end.
  13. Get a glass of wine and take a bubble bath in your clean tub!

All this is exponentially easier if your house is uncluttered and organized. And if it’s not, let’s start with that. Then, you’ll see how easy it is to maintain your home clean.

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Maristella Bertram

Maristella Bertram, MBA, CPO, owner of My Space Reclaimed, LLC, is a Board-Certified Professional Organizer, Redesigner and Stager.