What’s on My Book Stack : 13 Homekeeping Books to Inspire Organization


Fall is the perfect time of year to do a little cleaning, decluttering, and getting ready for the ‘long winter’.  I find that I’m always a little more motivated once fall hits – maybe you are too?  The books I’m sharing today are ones some of my favorites and have a little something for everyone.  I’m breaking them down a bit so you can see if a book will fit your personality and needs.

Feel like getting cozy?  These 3 books have fun projects to boot, perfect for fall

Pretty Prudent Home: Your Ultimate Guide to Creating a Beautiful Family Home

The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures

The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping

If you clean and organize a little differently or feel like you’re not a ‘naturally’ organized person

Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Successful and Less Stressed

What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?

Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD : Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized

New Order: A Decluttering Handbook for Creative Folks (and Everyone Else)

Simple Household Wisdom: 425 Easy Ways to Clean & Organize Your Home

If you feel uninspired or discontent with where you are and are struggling with starting the process

Make Room for What You Love: Your Essential Guide to Organizing and Simplifying

The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How to Decorate and Live Well  

Love the House You’re In: 40 Ways to Improve Your Home and Change Your Life

Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating

And my book – perfect for cleaning up after you’ve done some decluttering and organizing!

The Organically Clean Home: 150 Everyday Organic Cleaning Products You Can Make Yourself–The Natural, Chemical-Free Way


Have a favorite to share?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Love homekeeping books?  My new book, SIMPLY CLEAN came out in March 2017 – it will definitely be a favorite homekeeping book!

There are affiliate links in this post – go here to see my full disclosure policy.

Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Summer

Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Summer - Clean Mama

Is summer in full swing in your house?  I’ve already fielded quite a few questions about organizing with kids this summer so I thought it would be a perfect time to share a couple things that work for us or things that we’re implementing right now.  With schedules calming down it’s nice to have a little structure in place and these methods successfully meet those needs.

Summer 2016 Calendar full - Clean Mama

Use a calendar – I shared this free printable of Summer 2016 at-a-glance calendar last month.  If you haven’t grabbed it yet, grab it and fill in some important items for the summer.  If you’re looking to put together a homekeeping binder this summer (a great way to get organized), I recommend my Homekeeping Foundations Kit or joining Homekeeping Society.

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama


Get the kids involved and do a quick clean of closets following this simple method for organizing and maintaining them.  I detail kids closets in the post but you can apply the techniques and steps to your own closets and drawers.

Essentials for Getting the Kids Involved In Cleaning - free printables and tips that work! - Clean Mama

Need a little direction when it comes to cleaning with kids?  I’ve written quite a bit on the subject – go here to get started with age-appropriate tasks that kids can tackle right along with you!

small summer boredom busters

Put together a boredom busting bucket or basket – perfect for rainy days, quiet time, and just relaxing.  I put this together a month or so ago and my kids have pulled it out almost every day of summer break.  It’s been a big hit!

Keep Snacks in Bins to Keep them Organized via Clean Mama

Keep healthy snacks accessible.  I keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies washed and ready for snacking but we also have some snacks at the ready in the pantry as well.  This works great for grabbing something if we’re doing an impromptu outing, going to the pool, or if the kids just need a quick bite to eat.

Put together a couple totes, bags, or bins that will simplify some of your favorite summer activities – here are our favorites:

Put Together a S'mores Caddy via Clean Mama

S’mores Caddy – My kiddos love putting our s’mores caddy together every summer, this makes for a great Saturday evening at the fire pit.

The Perfect Picnic Bag via Clean Mama

The Perfect Picnic Bag – I love having a handful of picnic-ready supplies all packed up and ready to go, it makes it so simple to get out the door!

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Art + School Supply Caddy – I usually put this together before school starts but we swap out some of the supplies for summer art projects and it works great!

Toys Out - Toys Put Away via Clean Mama


Practice One Task to Keep Your Home Clutter Free – it’s so simple but it can feel so difficult!  Take it out, and put it away.  Keep this in mind this summer and I bet you and your family will appreciate taking that little step to put things away.  It’s so simple but so hard to keep up with unless it’s a conscious decision.


3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia

3 Steps to Quickly Sort Through Memorabilia - Clean Mama

For many, myself included, sorting through memorabilia is one of the most difficult organizing and decluttering tasks. It is hard to not attach memories and feelings to some of those special pieces. I am not going to tell you to sort through everything and take mental pictures of it all before you toss or donate it or to ask if it is really all that special. Memorabilia is personal and everyone has a different interpretation of what falls under keep worthy or not. Because of memorabilia’s nature, it doesn’t fall under my typical sorting pattern. I have a fairly simple method of keeping things that are special and important that I hope will help you as you begin this task. The goal is not to make it overly complicated or involved, but to create several containing systems or spots in which to save these special and important pieces and then file it accordingly.

You may wish to alter my rules and you are certainly welcome to do that. Chances are, you’re a little less or more sentimental, so tailor the rules as needed.

Three action steps:

Start with the really old items:
Begin with the really old things that you have been holding on to for years and years. These are the things that you know you really have no reason to keep and aren’t overly attached to. Spend a little time doing a quick purge of these items, moving quickly and efficiently without spending time to over-analyze. Label the things you are keeping by year or era. Examples of categories may be high school, college, wedding, grandma’s items, 1990-1995 etc.  Working chronologically backwards is helpful for me as those are the things that are harder to remember where they’re from and why I kept them in the first place.  If you find yourself not remembering or knowing why you kept something, it’s probably time to donate or toss.

Choose a bin for each child:
If you have children, use a bin or a box to store things that aren’t paper in nature and therefore can’t be filed or stored flat. These may be items such as special outfits or blankets. Keep it in their bedroom closest that you can easily access it and look through it with them. There is no sense in keeping these special items stored in the basement or tucked into a dark corner where no one will ever even look at them.  Having a bin for each child also limits the sheer amount of stuff that is kept as well.

Pick a method that works for you:
Establish a workable method from this point forward that works for you and your family. If you get all the old stuff sorted and don’t have a plan for implementing the deluge of papers and memorabilia that come in to the house, you will quickly find yourself overwhelmed again.  I choose to keep our children’s special papers in a file drawer that has a file folder for each year. Artwork and larger pieces get stored in a large folder. You can also take pictures of artwork and special pieces and save them digitally as well. The file folder method can easily be used for other memorabilia as well. Scrapbooks, both digital or paper, are also a great method to keep the memorabilia out of the closer and in to a special, easily accessible place.

These three action steps have been invaluable for me as I decide how and what to keep. Only you can truly determine what is important enough to keep and what you can do without. If you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of what you have to go through or it is emotionally difficult, start small so you don’t get overwhelmed. With the implementation of these steps, memorabilia doesn’t have to overwhelm you or stay stashed in chaos in your closets, garage, basement, or storage.

How to Reduce Paper in the Kitchen

How to Reduce Paper in the Kitchen - Clean Mama

One of my most clicked on posts and ideas is how I cut way back on paper towel usage in the kitchen.  A few years ago I felt like I was going through a roll of paper towels every day and if you’ve ever bought paper towels you know that that can get a little bit pricey and wasteful.  So I tried to figure out a way to get kick the habit.  I rolled up bar mop cloths in a clear glass jar and put it where my paper towel holder used to be.  Five years later, I’m happy to say that I am still using the same jar and idea!  I still use the occasional paper towel, but I love the way bar mop towels clean counters and the whole kitchen.  They truly work better than paper towels and they are so much prettier!   I now have aqua and white bar mop towels in my shop – these incorporate all my favorite features into one beautiful and functional towel.

Rolled Bar Mop Towels - Clean Mama

What’s so great about bar mop cloths?

Once I figured out how much I enjoyed using the bar mop cloths, I found them to clean better than paper towels – no streaking, no/less lint, I can clean all the counters with one cloth.  And they just plain feel better – soft and luxurious.

Close-Up Bar Mop Towels

Tips and tricks to reduce paper in the kitchen:

  1. Stop buying paper towels and put away your paper towel holder.
  2. Buy at least a dozen bar mop cloths, put the cloths in a container where your paper towels used to be.
  3. Use one or two cloths every day to eliminate possible cross-contamination.
  4. Have a plan for the dirty towels – I put mine on a hook under the sink and then in a basket when they’re dry.
  5. Have kitchen towels that you love and keep them in a convenient place for hand drying (by the sink or dishwasher) – put out fresh ones nightly.
  6. Use microfiber on appliances (microfiber will last through 300+ washings).  I love my new Clean Mama Home microfiber cloths – the polishing cloth works amazingly well on stainless steel!
  7. Add fabric napkins if you’re feeling ambitious – this is something that I tried but went back to paper when my youngest was a baby and haven’t gone back yet.

Bar Mop Cloths in Drawer -Clean MamaI keep extra bar mop cloths in a drawer with these microfiber stainless and glass cleaning cloths.

Make your homekeeping a little more enjoyable by adding pretty products in the kitchen and reduce your paper waste in the process!

Kitchen Towels - Clean MamaThis is my kitchen hand and dish towel drawer – organized towels make it easy to find what I need and just nice to look at when I open the drawer.

Here are a couple of my favorites for reducing paper in the kitchen:

Bar Mop Cloths – aqua and white
Kitchen Towels – gray and white
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – gray/polishing
Anchor Hocking Jar – glass

The Clean Mama HOME Bar Mop Towels and Kitchen Towels are in my shop – perfect for cutting down paper towel usage!


You might also like this post:

How to Launder Kitchen and Cleaning Cloths main via Clean Mama

In the Kitchen with The Complete Book of Home Organization

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, look you know that Toni from A Bowl Full of Lemons and I are dear friends.  We’ve partnered up to bring you great challenges, printable bundles, and content.  To say that I was excited to hear that she was writing a book would be an understatement.

*Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post for a chance to win an autographed copy!

The Complete Book of Home Organizationvia

When The Complete Book of Home Organization showed up at my door, I was so excited to see what Toni had to share!  And let me tell you, it’s not only a beautiful book, it’s so informative and motivating.  The soft, flexible cover, rounded corners, silver corner protectors, beautiful photographs and illustrations are just amazing.  It makes me want to organize every inch of space in my home.

Kitchen via

The book is structured as a 15 week challenge that you can take and organize your entire home and (even your car) or you can use it to inspire small spurts of organizing when you have the time.  Either way, it’s an awesome book with realistic and doable organizing ideas.  Toni does a Home Organization 101 Challenge on her blog every year – it starts today if you’re interested!

The kitchen is one of my favorite spaces to organize and make more efficient so I thought it would be fun to show you how The Complete Book of Home Organization inspired a little kitchen organizing in my own home this week.

Organized Kitchen Towels via Clean Mama copy

I organized my bar mop and stainless steel cleaning cloths (Clean Mama Home found here).

Organized Every Day Kitchen Items via Clean Mama copy

I straightened up my every day tools and seasonings.  I love this little spot by the stove.

Organized Measuring Cups and Spoons via Clean Mama copy

I organized my measuring cups and spoons.

I just know you’ll love the layout, organization, and practical tips found in The Complete Book of Home Organization.  


Follow me on Instagram for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Complete Book of Home Organization today!

The Complete Book of Home Organization can be found anywhere books are sold – I used links to Amazon in this post but you can also find it at Barnes and Noble, and Books a Million.

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Complete Book of Home Organization but I would have purchased it myself and am only recommending it to you because I LOVE it!  This post contains affiliate links – you can see my policy here.

Holiday Card and Thank You Note Caddy

Holiday Card and Thank You Note Caddy - main - CLEAN MAMAThe holiday season can feel so busy but taking a couple minutes to put together a mini system or two goes a long way to making things simple and easy.

Holiday Card and Thank You Note Caddy - CLEAN MAMA

I put together a little holiday card and thank you note caddy for the coming month or so.  This will save me time from searching out cards and envelopes and it also makes it easy to teach the kids proper thank you note etiquette.

Gather Your Supplies - Clean Mama

Here’s what you need:

  • caddy/box/bin – use something you already have
  • thank you notes and note cards
  • holiday cards
  • pens and pencils
  • stickers
  • washi tape
  • small notebook for keeping track of thank you notes
  • mason jars or cans to keep pens/pencils and washi tape separate
  • stamps

Gather your supplies, separate them in a way that makes sense for you and your family and put it in a convenient place so you can grab it quickly for notes and thank yous.

Notecards and Notebook - Clean Mama


Notecards with Rubberbands - Clean MamaI put rubber bands around the notecards to keep them separated and easy to grab.

Pens and Pencils in Mason Jar - Clean MamaSeparate pens and pencils and washi tape in mason jars – it’s a cheap and adorable way to organize supplies!

Supplies in Caddy - Clean MamaAdd the supplies to your caddy neatly so you can quickly find what you need.

Thank You Note Caddy - Clean MamaMaking a holiday card and thank you note caddy is a simple and easy way to stay organized this holiday season and it only takes a couple minutes to put together – make one today!

Quick Tip : On Your Way Up Basket

Quick Tip - Use An On Your Way Up Basket via Clean MamaYears ago I talked about this tip and today I’m bringing it back because it’s still working for us and I think it’s a great tip!

QUICK TIP : Use a basket (or a bag, bin, or tub) to corral items from one area to be returned later to another area.

Put Stuff In Here and Bring It Up 'On Your Way Up' via Clean Mama

We do a little clean up in the evenings before dinner – I either set a timer for the kids for 5 minutes or we’ll just have a contest to see who can pick up the most items from the lower level.  (With a preschooler that loves Duplos, this is pretty easy.)  The kids bring any items upstairs that need to be in their rooms and they check the basket on the steps to see what else needs to be returned to their proper places.

On Your Way Up Basket via Clean Mama

How do the items get in the basket?  It’s basically anything that we don’t want to bring upstairs right now.  So during the day it might be a couple socks left on the floor or a toy I find in the refrigerator and it can also be if the kids don’t want to bring it up right now.  This works well for us because sometimes you just don’t want to go all the way upstairs to put one sock away.  (Yes, this sounds lazy, but I bet you feel this way too :))  Everything gets returned to its proper place at the end of the day and that’s what matters.

So tell me – do you have an ‘on your way up basket’?

Cleaning and Organizing the Entryway for the Holidays + a Giveaway from The Organizing Store

Cleaning + Organizing the Entryway for the Holidays - Quick Tips You Can Use Today via Clean Mama

This post is sponsored by The Organizing Store.  I love what Deborah and Allie – the mother and daughter team behind The Organizing Store have created – if you haven’t ‘stopped’ by their shop, please do so.  I’ve met them in real life and they are even more wonderful than the shop appears. Rest assured, I only recommend products that I personally use in my own home and love.  You can see my full disclosure statement here.

The holidays are coming and now is a great time to prepare the entryway for the holidays.  Whether it’s just welcoming neighbors in for trick-or-treating or hosting a holiday with family and friends, there are a couple things you can do now to get your entryway ready for the holidays.


  • CLEAN IT UP: sweep the outside entry area first and shake out any rugs.  Then start on the inside by cleaning the rug or carpet at the door, wipe down the front door, clean windows, vacuum and wash the floor, and tidy up your coat closet if you have one.
    Organized Entryway via Clean Mama
  • ADD STORAGE: make sure you have a place to hang coats – add hangers and a coat rack if necessary.
  • CONTAIN: baskets and bins are great for storing items in a coat closet – take inventory and add baskets if necessary.
    Entryway Closet Organization via Clean Mama
  • GARMENT KIT: put together a kit for clothing and shoe care – perfect for any guest mishaps and it’s accessible for you as well.  I like to always have a couple lint rollers and sweater shavers on hand too.  Lint rollers aren’t just for clothing – I use them to dust lampshades and they work great on furniture as well.

Put Together a Basket with Fabric and Shoe Care Items via Clean Mama

  • SLIPPERS + SOCKS: have slippers and socks for guests to slip on – this will nicely ask your guests to remove shoes (without asking) and make them feel right at home at the same time.  I store this in my coat closet and pull it down when necessary before guests arrive.  (Slippers are from Target 🙂 )
    Put Out Slippers for Guests via Clean Mama

I put together a little inspiration board with some of the items I used to get my entryway ready for the holidays and a couple other items that might work in your entryway this season.

Ideas for Organizing the Entryway via Clean Mama


How about a giveaway to get your entryway ready for the holidays too?  Today The Organizing Store is giving away 6 copper wire  baskets and a Murchison-Hume Dry-Cleaning Alternative kit!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simple Toiletry Organization

Simple Toiletry Organization with Dymo via Clean Mama

This post is sponsored by DYMO brand and I was provided with the label maker and labels that you see in this post.  Rest assured, I only recommend products that I personally use in my own home and love.  You can see my full disclosure statement here.

I love an organized cupboard, cabinet, drawer, closet….you name it, organization and order is my love language. I’ve been working my way through some cupboards and cabinets in our home this fall that haven’t been functioning to their full potential so I did some inventory, took measurements, and set out to find the best organizers for certain spaces.

Today I’m going to show you how I organized the toiletries in the wall cabinet in our master bathroom.  Use the simple step-by-step directions to organize your toiletries, regardless of if you have a closet, cupboard, or a drawer.

Here’s my ‘before’ – not terrible but without labels and the small containers, I was the only one that could truly find something.

Toiletries Before via Clean Mama

I started by removing everything from the space – rule number one in organizing a space.

Remove everything from the space via Clean Mama

Then I wiped the space clean with an all-purpose cleaner.

Completely clear space and wipe clean via Clean Mama

Once I had a clean space to work with I sorted/tossed/recycled every single item in the cabinet.

Toss Pile and Re-Grouped and Sorted Toiletries via Clean Mama

‘Keep’ items allocated, I put them in bins and returned them to the shelves.  I used these bins from my local Ikea (I cannot find them online – sorry!) – they keep everything sorted and easily accessible.

Toiletries - After via Clean Mama

I’ve found that writing down the labels on the bins on a sticky note is a great way to work when labeling more than a couple items.

Pre-Label Before Labeling via Clean Mama

I used these categories for my bins:

  • teeth and mouth
  • sun and travel
  • ear, nose, and throat
  • mani and pedi
  • first aid
  • kids remedies

I used the DYMO LabelManager® 160 to make the toiletry labels.  I love that I can edit with a single touch and with six font sizes, eight text styles AND over 200 symbols, it’s a perfect any purpose label maker.

Print Labels via Clean Mama
I printed out the labels and applied them to the appropriate bins – yay for simple organization 🙂

Dymo Label Manager Close-Up via Clean Mama

Simple Toiletry Organization AFTER via Clean Mama

Check out this BEFORE and AFTER – such a simple yet effective transformation!
Simple Toiletry Organization via Clean Mama

I have to tell you that this DYMO label maker is so easy to use – I just love that you don’t have to push ‘shift’ to capitalize the letters and you can adjust the size and font types with one button.  Better yet, it can be held in one hand for on the go labeling!

DYMO Label Manager via Clean Mama


5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family for Fall

5 Simple Ideas to Organize the Family For Fall via Clean Mama

With fall on the doorstep, it’s helpful to prepare the house for the new schedules and routines.  I’m working my way through this little list and know that the effort will pay off in time saved in the months to come!

3 Things Every Command Center Needs via Clean Mama

Organize or put together a Command Center – start with these 3 things every command center needs.  Having a command center is really helpful but only if you’re using it wisely.  Take the time to put one together and you’ll be glad you did!

How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama

Clean and Organize the Refrigerator – use a couple simple steps to get your refrigerator clean and organized for the busyness that fall brings.  Clean thoroughly, adjust shelves if necessary, and group like items together to keep your refrigerator tidy this fall.

Gather School Supplies to Make a Homework Caddy

Put together a homework station to make homework an easier process.  I keep our supplies mobile with this simple homework caddy.  All you need is a caddy, some canning jars, and school supplies.  This is much cheaper to put together now that school supplies are so inexpensive!  Click through to see the completed caddy!

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Do a quick clean of closets following this simple method for organizing and maintaining them.  I detail kids closets in the post but you can apply the techniques and steps to your own closets and drawers.

Toys Out - Toys Put Away via Clean Mama

Practice One Task to Keep Your Home Clutter Free – it’s so simple!  Take it out, and put it away.  Keep this in mind this fall and I bet you and your family will appreciate taking that little step to put things away.  It’s so simple but so hard to keep up with unless it’s a conscious decision.

What’s on your list?  What would you add to make your life a little easier into the transition to fall?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama


How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

If you have children and they have a closet and/or a dresser and clothing, chances are there are some issues regarding clothes, organization, and laundry.  While teaching kids to be tidy might be important to you, it’s probably not on their radar.  Instead, doing a couple things to set them up for success is probably a better idea.  So today I’m going to share some ideas for quickly organizing kids’ closets and dressers in ways that make it easy for them to maintain themselves.  What better time than fall and back to school season to give a little thought to the organization in their closets and drawers.

How to Organize Kids Closets via Clean Mama

First things first, a couple ideas to keep in mind when organizing for and with children:

  • Keep things easily accessible – hang items at their level so they can take them out and put them away easily.
  • Group like items together – the key to keeping things organized works SO well for kids.  Group everything and it will be so much easier.  Label if needed with words or pictures, whatever works for your kids.
  • Keep often used items in plain sight so they are easy to find and put away.  Storage without lids is great so they can simply see where the item belongs and put it there.
  • Stay on top of outgrown clothing.  Have a system for storage of outgrown clothing is key.  I keep a bin in each child’s closet for anything that’s outgrown.  Once it’s filled up it’s either passed down to a younger sibling or cousin or it’s donated.  If you have younger children, keep only what you need and know your next child will use.  Put the clothing in storage bins and clearly label them so it’s easy to find the clothing when they are needed.  I find it really helpful to either have one large bin of clothing for a specific age OR to have one bin for fall/winter and one for spring/summer clothing.
  • Teach your kids to de-clutter clothing and toys together so they understand this process.  I find that it’s also especially helpful for kids to see how quickly they become disinterested with toys and clothing so they are more selective about new toys and clothing.

Step One:

Empty the closet and any drawers completely.  This is always my method when cleaning and organizing ANY space.  Once you have emptied the entire space clean and wipe down any shelves and drawers.  Vacuum if necessary.

Step Two:

Sort Quickly through Clothes via Clean Mama

Sort through clothing quickly – what fits, keep.  What doesn’t fit put in one of 3 categories: pack away, toss, donate/sell.  Use this simple method for all clothing sorting and organization – it works!  If there are outfits or clothing that your child no longer likes or never liked but it still fits, either pack it away or donate/sell it.  It isn’t worth taking up space if it isn’t an outfit or piece of clothing that will get worn.

Step Three:

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Group like items together – long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, pajamas, undies, socks, etc.  Keeping everything grouped together makes it SO much easier to put away and to find certain articles of clothing in a hurry.

Group Like Items Together via Clean Mama

Step Four:

Hang or fold (almost) everything.  Here’s the thing.  If you want to get your kids involved with doing their own laundry or some part of the folding and putting away process and you want to start at a young-ish age (like 3+), having everything hung, folded, and put away neatly may or may not work.  When I am doing little ones laundry and they aren’t helping, everything gets folded and put away standing up.

Folded Clothes in Drawers via Clean Mama

I’ve done this for years for my own clothes and for the kids and it works great for limited storage plus you can easily see everything at a glance.  My oldest can keep up with this but my younger two cannot and I don’t expect it from them.  I am just happy that one can fold his own clothes and put them away and the younger one can choose his own clothes and get dressed by himself.  Point being, don’t expect perfect and figure out ways to let the kids take some responsibility.  For example, kids’ socks and undies go in small bins in their dresser drawers unfolded.

Keep Socks and Undies in Containers in Drawers via Clean Mama

If needed, use the door for storage – I put an over-the-door storage hanger over the back of the door for my daughter’s doll clothes – it’s a great way to keep them accessible for her and they’re also easy to put away.

Use the Door for Storage via Clean Mama

Now for maintenance. Keeping a closet neat and tidy will need some supervision, but start with an accessible laundry hamper and making sure clothes are folded and put away where they belong is key.  If the location of the clothing makes sense to your child and it’s easy for them to access, then they will have success!  We do a big closet clean out in the spring and fall and this seems to be all that’s necessary.

What’s your best tip for organizing and maintaining kids closets?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama

The Best Way to Clean + Organize the Refrigerator

The Best Way to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
I receive numerous emails, messages and questions daily asking about my recommendations for cleaning and organizing. Awhile back I asked my readers to share some of their biggest frustrations and issues in the home and we’ve worked through a lot of them. Today’s topic is perfect for this time of the year when school is looming and a little organization and cleaning can go a long way – the best way to clean and organize the inside of the refrigerator.  If you’ve been with me awhile, you know that I am a big fan of using natural cleaners whenever possible to cut back on exposure to chemicals, save money, and use safer ingredients. Cleaning and organizing your refrigerator is one of those tasks that can easily be forgotten about, but it doesn’t take long for drips and spills to accumulate. Now is the perfect time to give it a good cleaning and organizing!
I like to clean my fridge when it is almost or nearly empty. Pick a day when you have grocery shopping and stocking up to do or do it the day before a planned grocery shopping trip. Begin by emptying out the entire fridge and going through everything. Take a look at expiration dates and separate things that are past their prime or are virtually empty. Rinse and recycle containers that you can and toss or compost everything else.  When your fridge is empty, it’s time to wash down shelves and drawers. My favorite cleaner for the fridge is a natural one that uses just three ingredients.
 How to Clean Your Refrigerator - Clean Mama

DIY Refrigerator Cleaning Solution:

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of dish soap (or my favorite, Dr. Bronner’s Citrus Orange castile soap), 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4-6 cups of warm water.
  • Wipe down the shelves with a well rung out microfiber cloth or dish cloth.  Repeat until all shelves and drawers have been wiped clean.  Dry if necessary.

Wipe shelves via Clean Mama

When your fridge is clean and dry, it’s time to organize!  Here are five easy steps:

  1. Group like items together. Keep your dairy items on one shelf, beverages together, snacks in one section etc.
    Organize Drawers via Clean Mama
  2. This is a big fridge clutter buster for many: limit and keep an eye on those condiments! Make sure you have just one jar of mayo or bottle of ketchup open at a time. Try to limit your condiments to what you can store on the inside of the door.
    Keep Condiments Simple via Clean Mama
  3. Height matters. Store your taller bottles and containers in the back and shorter in the front.
  4. Running short on storage? I love to use clear, stackable containers to group like items together that don’t fit in the drawers. Going vertical with storage also maximizes your space and can double your options.
    How to Clean and Organize Your Refrigerator via Clean Mama
  5. Think outside the box when it comes to your crisper drawers. Not all fruits and vegetables require the higher humidity in those drawers. Consider how you could use this space for easily accessible snacks or meal components for the kids or your family or for bottled or canned beverages.
Having a clean and organized refrigerator can make such a big difference for both efficiency and peace of mind. Take a half hour and you will be surprised at just what you can accomplish in a short amount of time.

3 Things Every Command Center Needs

3 Things Every Command Center Needs - Clean Mama

If you’ve ever set up a command center (or wanted to), chances are you took a peek around Pinterest or your favorite shop or online retailer and were either overwhelmed by all the choices and options or not sure how to translate that into what might work for your family.  Today I’d like to share the 3 things every command center needs – hopefully this simple approach will help get your own simple command center started.

First of all, let me preface this by saying there are many different types of command centers, but the one that I’m talking about is a simple counter top version perfect for appointments, events, and family schedules.  Keep reading for some inspiration as well!

If you’ve tried to implement a command center and it hasn’t worked, I would argue that you most likely added too many components and made it more about how it looks/looked than how it would actually function.  Keeping a command center SIMPLE is more important and will keep it working for your family.  Start with these three things and you’ll be on your way to a more organized and efficient command center.

3 Things Every Command Center Needs:

  • calendar
  • organizer
  • 3 folders

Detailed Command Center Musts via Clean Mama

I put a small calendar on the wall, you’ll also see that our home phone is on this counter so if I need to make an appointment or schedule change, the calendar is accessible.  This calendar is just a simple one from Target.

An organizer is a component that every command center needs – there are many different types of organizers available in all sorts of designs and price ranges.  Find something that you love that matches your decor and budget and use it.  The one I used (and love) is from HomeGoods – discount stores like TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Marshalls are great places to find one of a kind, high end organizers at discounted prices.

Once you have an organizer and calendar, you need 3 folders to keep your most important information in and accessible.  Yes, you might be able to come up with other categories for more folders, but I think that keeping your categories simple and broad will keep your command center running more smoothly.  Come up with 3 categories that you think will cover the majority of anything that needs to be accessible and stored in your command center.

3 Categories for Command Center Folders:

  • IN PROCESS – paper that you know you need be able to access in the next month – memberships, coupons, etc.
  • INVITATIONS – birthday parties, weddings, dedications, etc.
  • SCHOOL (or work) – calendars, forms, phone book

Need some organizer inspiration?  Here are a few different options in a variety of finishes, styles, and price ranges.

Command Center Organizer Inspiration via Clean Mama


 How about you?  Would a command center help get your family info in a central location and make things a little easier?

Stay tuned for some exciting shop updates and the new Everyday Planner next week!  Sign up for emails on the sidebar so you don’t miss a thing!

How to Organize Snacks and Lunches to Encourage Independence

How to Organize Snacks + Lunches via Clean Mama

We’re halfway through the summer and one of the best things I did at the start of the summer was to take a little time to organize some snack and lunch options for the kids to access.  Maybe it’s just my kids but it seems like they’re always hungry and this really helps because they can quickly choose a snack and aren’t standing in front of an open fridge looking for something to eat.  They don’t have open access to these areas any time of the day, but if they need an afternoon snack, they can choose one thing from the refrigerator or pantry.  Even the littlest member of house likes being able to choose a snack or put together a couple components of lunch too.

A couple purchased snacks and lunch items, zip top bags, and some storage bins are all you’ll need to give your kids some independence and healthy snack and lunch choices.  (I found the bins pictured here at Target and Amazon).

Snack and Lunch Ideas via Clean Mama

Snack and Lunch Ideas:

  • yogurt
  • yogurt tubes (in the freezer)
  • cheese and cheese sticks
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • crackers
  • nuts
  • cereal bars
  • fruit – oranges, apples, prepped seasonal fruit
  • apple sauce
  • guacamole – great for dipping veggies in
  • veggies – carrots, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas, small tomatoes
  • dried fruit

Measure Out Serving Sizes and Put in Zip Top Bags via Clean Mama

Use a measuring cup to portion sizes and put in a zip top bag.

Mix Up Different Crackers for Your Own Custom Mix via Clean Mama

Mix up a couple types of different crackers to make a snack mix.

Keep Snacks in Bins to Keep them Organized via Clean Mama

Once you’ve portioned out the snacks and lunch components, put them in an accessible place – I keep bins in the pantry and the refrigerator.

Keep Refrigerated Snacks Accessible via Clean Mama

What else would you add?  Do you think this would help your kids with snack and lunch choices?

The Ultimate Guide to Simple Organizing

The Ultimate Guide to Simple Organizing via Clean Mama

I love to organize but I like to keep the process and solution simple and easy to maintain.  I’ve written a lot about organizing systems and processes over the past year – scroll down to see the categories and posts.  Make sure you pin the post for later!  Ready for 2015?  Don’t miss the new FREE calendar for January!

Methods and Systems:

Memorabilia and Collections:

Craft and Art Supply Storage:

Kids and Toys:

Bedrooms and Living Spaces:



Paper Organization: 

Cleaning and Cleaning Supplies:

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