Unique Ways to Keep a Clean, Productive, and Organized Home

Guest Post

It’s common for homeowners to neglect small housekeeping duties, but they often stack up over time resulting in numerous, preventable annoyances. For instance a busy mother might repeatedly lose her tweezers and waste time scrabbling around the home searching for them. Or a couple might walk passed their scratched hardwood floor each day and feel regret for dragging the couch across it.

There’s no need to become overwhelmed by these nuisances because there are plenty of easy, cheap, and clever ways to fix the issues and streamline tasks.

Here are a few small tips and tricks to turn a disorderly house into a comfortable home.

In the Kitchen

  • Clean and deodorize the garbage disposal by peeling an orange and churning it in the disposal for about 30 seconds. This releases a nice citrusy scent and the acids help clean grime off the disposal’s blades.
  • To clean a grubby microwave, place a damp sponge or towel in the microwave and heat for a minute or two. The steam released from the sponge makes it easy to clean stains from the inside of the microwave. This method also removes bacteria living in the sponge.

cleaning microwave

In the Closet

  • Store sets of sheets inside their pillow cases. This technique creates a neat bundle of folded sheets rather than a slippery pile that exposes poorly-folded fitted sheets.
  • Designate a small box or basket for all the extra buttons and packets of thread that come with clothing purchases. These containers can be a decorative boxes or even shoe boxes.
  • Wrap rubber bands around the ends of slippery hangers to prevent clothing straps from falling off.
  • At the beginning of each year, turn every hanger around the wrong way on the rod, so that they face outwards. As each piece of clothing is worn, turn the hanger around the correct way. By the end of the year, consider donating any pieces of clothing that remain hanging backwards.

Organizing a closet

Around the House

  • After boiling pasta or other nutritious foods, let the water cool and use it on houseplants. The water has been enriched with nutrients that are great for plants.
  • Use an adhesive lint roller to clean dust off of lampshades and book covers.
  • Move heavy furniture across floors by placing two folded towels under each side of the piece. Slowly pull the furniture to its new location without scratching the floors.
  • When painting, wrap aluminum foil around hardware such as door knobs or drawer pulls. The foil protects the hardware and is easier to apply than painter’s tape.
  • Remove wax from old candle holders by freezing them for a few hours and stabbing the wax remnants with a butter knife until it breaks loose. The cold temperature causes the wax to shrink and release from the container. Clean the wax residue off with olive oil and then white vinegar.

how to clean candle wax

On Wood Surfaces

  • Use a wet towel and an iron to remove dents in wood flooring and furniture, which are caused by compressed wood fibers. Simply place the damp towel over the dent, turn the iron on medium heat, and slowly work the iron over the dent.
  • Use a blow dryer to remove water rings on wood furniture, which are caused by trapped moisture. Turn the blow dryer on high and hold close to the stain. It may take up to 20 minutes for the stain to disappear, but the results are worth it.
  • Rub a walnut or other oily nut against scratches in wood flooring and furniture to disguise scuffing. This method also works for wood fibers that have been scraped off.
  • Mop wood floors with plain black tea; it helps bring out the wood’s color and shine.

Cleaning wood

In the Bathroom

  • Glue magnets to the inside of a bathroom cabinet and stick tweezers, nail clippers, and other loose tools to the magnets in order to prevent them from getting lost. If loose magnets aren’t readily available, the free magnets sent in the mail by businesses can be cut down, reversed (printed side down) and glued to the door.
  • In a poorly ventilated bathroom, start the fan in the bathroom before every shower, and only turn it off fifteen minutes after the shower. The increased ventilation helps avoid mildew.
  • Secure a magazine collector to the inside of a bathroom cabinet, and use it to store hair styling tools like blow dryers and hair straighteners.

how to organize a bathroom

It’s easy to let a home become overrun with small housekeeping duties, but simple changes like these make a significant difference in the comfort, cleanliness, and productivity of a home and its owners.

Tali Wee is the Miami community outreach manager for Zillow. During her free time, she enjoys spending time on projects around the house.


  1. Wow, these are some amazing tips! Going to give them a try, especially the one about cleaning the microwave.

  2. Good tip about the boiling water, I never heard that before!

  3. I so totally did not know that you could clean the wax remnants out of a holder with olive oil and then white vinegar. Guess what I’m doing this week?!

  4. Thanks for the reminder that my microwave needs to be cleaned!

  5. I absolutely love the idea of storing bedding in their pillow cases and hanging them in the closet. Such a space saver!!

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