The Cleaning Closet

This past fall we embarked on three major closet organizing projects – in one week!  I cannot take credit for any of the work of installing and building these closets and organizers (we hired someone), but I can take credit for the plan and organization of each project ;).

I’ve had a ‘cleaning closet’ since we moved into our home eight years ago.  It’s a large coat closet in the mudroom – you can see the before here.  I’ve experimented with a lot of different combinations of shelves and organizers, but always knew that a dedicated closet system would be the best route when it was in the budget.  We have a Martha Stewart closet system from Home Depot in our master closet and love it so much that  I ‘built’ one online and had it installed.

As someone that LOVES to clean, sells homekeeping products, and tests all sorts of cleaning products and tools for a living….the cleaning closet is dreamy!  It keeps my supplies organized and cute simultaneously.

Here’s what we did:

  • completely emptied the closet
  • removed the wire shelving and hooks
  • filled holes
  • painted the closet interior white
  • installed shelving

Once everything was installed, it was time to figure out the best way to organize supplies and goods.

This took awhile – I didn’t want to spend a lot of money filling it up with organizers but I still wanted it to look cute and coordinated.  I pulled out what I had and started there.  Once I had taken inventory I decided that I could use a couple baskets to pull the area together.  I keep clunkier things like dog stuff, batteries, and light bulbs in the aqua woven baskets and decided not to label them because you can pretty much see what’s inside by peering in the basket.

You’ll see that we also keep some shoes on the shelves in here as well – my husband and I keep smaller shoes and sandals in this closet.

I used cleaning buckets (found in my store) for a couple caddies – one is my dusting caddy and the other is for sprayers for my glass spray bottles.  I keep bathroom supplies in each bathroom in the same cleaning bucket to keep cleaning the bathrooms easy.

The far right section of the closet is just for floor items and dusters – the top shelf holds floor and carpet cleaning supplies. Keeping like items together is always a good idea when you’re organizing – it makes locating anything that much easier.  I used giant S hooks and knew that they’d work great for hanging tools.

My favorite shelves – DIY cleaner heaven – this is where I keep Borax, baking soda, washing soda, and Epsom salt, empty glass bottles, Castile and Sal Suds soaps, and a handful of pre-mixed DIY cleaners – here are oodles of DIY cleaner posts.  Did you know I wrote a book, The Organically Clean Home, about DIY cleaning?  You can find it here – it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Here’s a close-up of one of the cleaning buckets – totally ready for a new recipe or two 🙂  This also works well to allow any sprayers to completely air dry after being washed out.

The top shelf is more or less decor but still items we use – clothespins, scrub brushes, bars of castile soap.

Love having my cleaning recipes right on the spray bottles – this makes DIY cleaning a breeze!  You can find my glass spray bottles and DIY cleaning recipe labels here.

If you haven’t set up a dusting caddy, you totally should!  This post details my dusting caddy in detail.

I use my Clean Mama Home white bar mop towels for a lot of cleaning – they wash up beautifully and have a luxurious look and feel.  Keeping a basket of them at the ready makes it easy to use them.

And of course my beloved Clean Mama Home microfiber cloths have their own shelf too – I have a basket of utility cloths (aqua), a basket of polishing cloths (gray), and a basket of microfiber pads and dusters for the floor.

If you’re looking for the products in the post, you can find all of the Clean Mama Home products in my shop here and I’ve added a slider below with some of the other products that I used in my cleaning closet.  I hope it helps you as you organize your cleaning supplies!  If you haven’t considered eliminating toxic chemicals in your cleaning, I hope you try out a DIY recipe or two and give it a try. It’s easier than you might think!

This post is part of my HOME TOUR – go here to see more of our home – I’ll keep adding to it in 2017.

Home Tour : A Simple + Efficient Kitchen


I’m slowly making it through my home tour this year and today I’m sharing my kitchen.  I’ve shared different parts of the kitchen on the blog and on social media but today it’ll all be in one place.  We did a small update a couple years ago – we added added new countertops, a backsplash, moved the island, added new lighting, a new cooktop and vent and a couple other smaller details.  We love the kitchen and workspace – it’s large and still efficient and just right for our family.


Kitchen Counter with Bar Mop Towels in a Jar - Clean Mama

One of my favorite features is the backsplash – it’s simple and adds interest to the room and protects the walls and it’s super easy to wipe clean.  I love that it’s a variation on subway tile.


The subway tile backsplash is from Lowe’s – you can purchase at the store or online and there are a few color different variations of the same tile.


The granite we chose was from a local countertop supplier – it’s a fairly common granite that you can probably find at just about any supplier – New Venetian Gold.


The paint is Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter – my favorite go-with-everything neutral.

Clear Kitchen Counters via Clean Mama

I love having a couple simple ‘stations’ in the kitchen with everyday items – it really helps keep things organized and at the ready.

Organized Every Day Kitchen Items via Clean Mama

Clean Refrigerator via Clean Mama

One of my favorite things about the whole kitchen is the cookbook storage – I love it!

Recipe Binders and Cookbooks via Clean Mama

3 Things Every Command Center Needs via Clean Mama

I also love the little command center too – it’s just right.

Organized Kitchen Towels via Clean Mama copy

Organized towels and cleaning cloths is my love language (not really, I just love having neat and tidy towels :)).  You can see more about my favorite towels for the kitchen here.

Kitchen Towels - Clean Mama

I divided our kitchen up into zones or work spaces and then organized the drawers from there.  (You can see how I created zones in the pantry here and zones in the kitchen here.)  And here’s how to organize a kitchen drawer in 15 minutes.  I made a list of all the drawers and what went in each drawer – this was really helpful to keep everything together and contained.

Measuring Cups and Spoons via Clean Mama

Going around the kitchen from left to right, here are the drawers in my kitchen:

  • grill
  • paper goods
  • silverware
  • cutting boards
  • dish towels
  • measuring cups and spoons (baking)
  • oven mitts and hot pads and wraps (foil, parchment, etc)
  • pots & pans
  • oversized pans
  • baking pans

Oven Mitts & Pot Holders and Wraps via Clean Mama

I also have six large drawers in the island (work station) – the top two drawers have large silverware organizers and they are labeled:

  • thermometers, scoops, grate & press, cakes, miscellaneous
  • knives, openers, cutters, bottle stoppers, miscellaneous

Labeled Tool Drawer via Clean Mama

Then the pull-out drawers under each one are labeled:

  • food storage
  • baking pans
  • food processing
  • roasting supplies

Food Storage and Baking Pans via Clean Mama


Pots and Pans and Oversized Pans via Clean Mama

Nightly Sink Scrub Under the Kitchen Sink - Clean Mama

And under the kitchen sink too!  Keep your favorite cleaning tools ready for cleaning and you’ll be more likely to use them.

Here are some posts in this series that you might like – just click on the pictures to head to the post:


Easy to Clean Mud Room - Clean Mama


A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Tips, Tricks, and Methods that Work - Clean Mama

Laundry Room Tour


I’m slowly making it through my home tour this year and today I’m sharing my laundry room with you.  We just did a little redo of the teeny tiny space so I thought it would be a perfect time to share it with you.  You can see our previous laundry room in this post (with some other laundry tips too) if you’re curious.

Laundry Room Tour - Clean Mama

A couple things to note:  the laundry room is on the 2nd floor between the kids’ bedrooms and it’s small – it’s a 5.5 foot square space.  I absolutely love it!  Sure, I’d love a larger laundry room with a folding counter and a sink or more room for a larger drying rack, but I’m totally happy with the space and love having a 2nd floor laundry room.

With such a small space, there are only a few things that actually fit making decorating it both easy and difficult.  I have it pared down to the basic necessities:

  • washer + dryer
  • drying rack
  • wall shelf
  • ironing board
  • laundry supplies
  • ironing supplies
  • containers to keep supplies tidy

Laundry Supplies - Clean Mama


When we re-did the laundry room a couple weeks ago, we had the old washer and dryer removed, I completely cleaned the room, had tile installed (the linoleum was removed), and then I painted the whole room white and repainted the trim.

Tile Close-Up - Clean Mama

We chose a plank style gray and white porcelain tile for the floors – we only needed 2 boxes – a plus side to an itty bitty laundry room!
97cad9c6-534f-4caa-8e4c-a8fb16da178f_1000For the paint we chose Benjamin Moore’s Super White.  It’s a great white that has slightly warm undertones.

Benjamin Moore - Super White

I already had this shelf but it was a creamy/off-white color and when we hung it didn’t look right so I painted it a soft gray.


I had this drying rack and didn’t need to paint it because the white is a true white (it’s whiter than this image in real life) and matched the wall paint color nicely.


I don’t iron often, but I love having the ironing board on the back of the door – it keeps it off the floor and out of the way.  The ironing board is from Target and the over the door ironing board holder is from The Container Store.


This project started when Samsung asked me if I’d like to try their new washer and dryer – of course I said yes!  I’ll talk more about them in an upcoming post post but I love how the black stainless steel looks in the room.


I changed up some of the containers for laundry and ironing supplies – the ones at the top are from HomeGoods and the buckets on top of the washer are from The Container Store.  I keep extra supplies and the iron in the baskets on the shelf and in the larger bucket I keep dirty microfiber cloths that are waiting to be washed and in the smaller bucket I keep laundry supplies that are in use.  You can find my favorite laundry supplies under Saturday on this page.

Laundry Buckets - Clean Mama

Here are some posts in this series that you might like – just click on the pictures to head to the post:


A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Tips, Tricks, and Methods that Work - Clean Mama

Cleaning Closet : Organization 101


As a cleaning expert and blogger, I have a lot of cleaning supplies and I truly enjoy cleaning and homekeeping.  In order to keep supplies accessible, I use a closet in our mudroom as the prime storage area for supplies, tools, mops, brooms, etc.  This system has been tweaked, organized and adapted over the years, and I’m happy to say that not only does it work, but it keeps cleaning simple and a little bit more fun.

Cleaning Closet Door - Clean Mama

Want to take a peek?  The cleaning closet is in our mudroom so it’s the first room you walk into from the garage.  The sole purpose of the mudroom in our home is a place to take off shoes, coats, and have a place to store backpacks.  The cleaning closet is large and set up for coats or shoes, but we keep those on wall hooks and in a bench with baskets in lieu of the traditional closet system.  This works well for us and with three young children it’s easier for them (and us) to be able to access their shoes and coats themselves.

Full Cleaning Closet - Clean Mama

Now, before I go any further, I will preface this by saying that you need to keep in mind that a.) I really LOVE to clean, b.) I wrote a book about making your own cleaning products, c.) I sell homekeeping products, and c.) I blog about cleaning and test out cleaning products and tools all.the.time.  I’m sharing my cleaning closet with you to inspire you and give you ideas for organizing a system that might work for you 🙂  Also, I don’t keep a lot of bathroom cleaning supplies in the cleaning closet because I keep small bathroom cleaning caddies in the bathrooms.

First up is this hanging organizer (from Target) – I keep cleaning sponges, batteries, light bulbs, vacuum cleaner attachments, etc. in this organizer.  It works really well and keeps things neat.  You might spot the steam mop on the floor right next to it as well.  I use the steam mop on all the tile in our home.

Hanging Organizer - Clean Mama

I’ve had cleaners on in this over-the-door pocket organizer for years and it works great for keeping things neat and accessible.  I also keep long handled tools and floor cleaners on a hook rack.  This works great and keeps them organized.

Full Cleaning Closet - Clean Mama

I keep empty glass bottles with sprayers in this as well – this makes it easy to mix up a cleaner any time.

Glass Bottles Close-Up - Clean Mama

On the top shelf of the closet I store three bins with often used products – cleaning tools, cleaning cloths, and floors + carpet supplies.

Cleaning Closet Boxes - Clean Mama

I love using microfiber cleaning cloths for cleaning – they wash up beautifully, clean without streaks, and make cleaning a little more fun.  You can find these in my Clean Mama Home shop 🙂

Cleaning Cloths - Clean Mama

Built-in shelves would be beautiful, but this little re-purposed bookshelf works fine in for now.  I keep tools, cleaners, and cloths on the shelves.  You can see how I organized my cleaning powders here.  Simple and accessible.

Cleaning Closet Shelf - Clean Mama

Bar Mops and Floor Pads - Clean Mama

I keep bar mop cloths – great for cleaning – and floor mopping pads in plastic containers (these are from the Target dollar section).

Cleaning Closet Shelf Details - Clean Mama

Do you organize your cleaning supplies?  Have a tip to share?

This post is in a little series called Home Tour.

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Tips, Tricks, and Methods that Work - Clean Mama

If you have been cleaning your home for any length of time, you know that it’s much easier to clean if you aren’t cleaning around clutter.  Have you heard the phrase, “cleaning for the cleaning lady”?  Same principle, it’s easier to clean when you don’t have anything to clean around or move to clean.  I decorate with a minimalist approach, but I love mixing in things that we love or just plain enjoy.

Mantle - Clean Mama

If you find that you are having to clean before you clean or that cleaning itself takes a ridiculous amount of time, I’d love to show you a couple decorating strategies and tips that really (really) work.  When I say that it only takes about 15 minutes to dust our entire house, disbelief ensues.  It really only takes me 15 minutes to dust and it’s because, a.) I hate clutter, and b.) I move fast and use the right tools.  You can see my favorites here.

Duster - Clean Mama

I have a fairly simple decorating strategy – if it’s useful (as in, we use it), and/or we love it, it stays out.  Otherwise, it probably leaves the house or finds its way to a storage box in the basement.  If the item is stored it’s because I know we’ll use it again or I’m saving it for some reason.  For instance, when the kids were itty bitty, I put fragile items in storage.  I’m starting to pull some of those items out again and if I still love it, it’s going out of the box and getting used OR it’s given away or sold.

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Clean Mama

Let’s talk about decorating for a minute, shall we?  Decorating is personal.  It reflects your style, your memories, your life.  I’m not going to tell you what to use to decorate WITH, or what style to use, but I do have some tips to make cleaning and keeping your home clean in between cleanings easy.

Living Room - Clean Mama


  1. KEEP SURFACES AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE.  Clear surfaces are always easier to clean than full surfaces.  This is obvious, but hard to remember.  Try this approach if you need a refresher course.
  2. DECORATE WITH WHAT YOU LOVE.  If you don’t love it, don’t keep it around.  If you notice something out isn’t working for you anymore or that you can’t remember why you have it out to begin with, put it away for a bit and see if you miss it.
  3. DECLUTTER OFTEN.  I list ‘clutter’ every day on my cleaning routine, that’s because I know that if clutter isn’t dealt with daily, it becomes a problem.  Get in the habit of putting things away after using them is huge.
  4. FEELING OVERWHELMED?  Completely clear multiple surfaces in a room, clean them and let them ‘breathe’ for a bit.  You might like having those surfaces less decorated moving forward. If you’re unsure of what to decorate a surface with, remove everything and add back little by little until you reach a look that you love.
  5. BE SMART ABOUT STORAGE.  Most people and homes need some form of storage.  When you buy furniture, look for pieces that serve multiple purposes.  One of our coffee tables has small doors and we store games and puzzles in it.  A dining room buffet can hold dishes, linens, and other dining room items.
  6. GET RID OF STUFF.  If you are holding on to things that you no longer need, want, or love, it’s time to get rid of them.  Set a goal or daily ritual of decluttering a spot, filling a bag, setting a timer for 5-10 minutes, whatever works for your situation.

Entryway - Clean Mama


Simplify your spaces so you aren’t moving items around to clean.  Quickly dusting over a surface with one or two used and loved items is much easier than clearing a space, cleaning it, cleaning the items, and then returning them.

Corner - Make Cleaning Easy - Clean Mama

What’s your best tip for decorating to keep cleaning easy?

This post is part of a brand new series – HOME TOUR – go here to see a post about the colors in our home.

A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama

Have you seen Clean Mama Home?  Wait until you see how cute cleaning can be!



How to Choose a Color Scheme for Your Home

How to Choose a Color Scheme for your Home


I LOVE choosing paint colors – the fan decks, the paint store, the paint swatches.  It can be a fun process but it can also be frustrating as well.  I’ll be doing a house tour on the blog this year and I thought that a paint tour would be a fun way to kick it off.  So for those that have asked for specific paint colors in the rooms of my house, I’m excited to share that and some helpful tips for you as well.

All the paint colors I used in our home are from Benjamin Moore – I use the VOC free paints and I only use flat paint throughout the house.  Benjamin Moore and Pottery Barn have nothing to do with this post other than I love their products.

I was a part-time employee at my local Pottery Barn for almost 6 years when I was teaching – I loved it and I especially loved when the new paint decks came out.  Remember those?  The color choices were great but the most valuable part for me was that they had weeded through the colors and picked the best ones.  This is really helpful if you are showing color choices to your spouse 😉

When we moved into our home 7 years ago, I had all the colors picked out before me moved in BUT guess what?  The colors that I had picked looked horrible in our new home.  They clashed with the carpet, were too beige, and just didn’t work.  The carpet that our home came with wasn’t our first choice, but considering it was practically brand new and we had other more important things to pay for, we were stuck with it.  The paint we chose made the carpet blend in and look so much better.

I pulled out the Pottery Barn paint decks and started searching for neutrals that would be gray and beige – greige if you will and came across the lovely Revere Pewter.


We used this THROUGHOUT our home – it’s perfectly cool and warm and has plenty of contrast against white woodwork.  Here’s where you’ll see Revere Pewter:

  • entryway/foyer
  • living room
  • dining room
  • family room
  • kitchen
  • hallways
  • mud room
  • laundry room

The living room and dining room have a chair rail – we painted Galveston Gray (2 shades darker than Revere Pewter) on the lower portion.

galveston gray

The powder room and my office round out the first floor – they are similar but different colors.

buxton blue

Office – Buxton Blue

kentucky haze

Powder Room – Kentucky Haze

Here’s a look at the 4 colors all together:

First Floor Paint Colors - Clean Mama

The upstairs has been a process and all of the bedrooms have been re-painted at least once as we had a baby in that time, changed rooms, and changed a craft room into a tv room (that’s a story in and of itself).

The hallway and laundry room are Revere Pewter.


The tv room is Stonington Gray (which is gorgeous!).

stonington gray

Our daughter’s room is Water Drops – of course I love this one!

water drops

Our oldest son’s room is Alaskan Husky – a great soft gray.

alaskan husky

The boys have a shared Jack and Jill bathroom – it’s Mediterranean Sky.

mediterranean sky

The littlest one’s room is this lovely true blue – Athenian Blue.

athenian blue

We painted the Master Bedroom and Bathroom Wedgewood Gray – it’s soft blue green that can appear gray.

wedgewood gray

Here’s a look at all the 2nd floor colors together:

Second Floor Color Scheme - Clean Mama

Tips for choosing a whole house color scheme:

  1. Use pre-picked colors to get started (like the Pottery Barn colors or a brochure from your local paint store).
  2. Go slow – don’t choose everything all at once – it might take years to get to your perfect color scheme and that’s okay!
  3. Start with a NEUTRAL and build on that.
  4. Make sure the paint coordinates/compliments the flooring.
  5. Choose colors based on accessories or items that are in the room.
  6. Have fun!

A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama


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