A Room-By-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist, According To Tidying Experts

How to clean and organize your small bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and closet in a breeze.

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We asked organization experts to dish on their tips for tidying small spaces, from closet to kitchens.
We asked organization experts to dish on their tips for tidying small spaces, from closet to kitchens.

By the calendar, spring has officially arrived. While you might have envisioned the start of this season a little differently, there’s one thing that doesn’t change no matter what else is going on: spring cleaning.

The annual ritual of deep cleaning your home, organizing your closet and letting the fresh air in has often been symbolic of a farewell to winter and a start of new beginnings. That sentiment might be more relevant now than ever before.

If you’ve been working from home and practicing social distancing, chances are you’ve gotten a jump start on cleaning this year by disinfecting your doorknobs and clearing out a corner for your work-from-home setup.

But if you’re still searching for that cathartic spring cleaning feeling — or you’ve simply got lots of time on your hands these days — we’ve got some tips to make this season your most productive spring clean ever.

We reached out to the organizing experts at IKEA and The Container Store for their spring cleaning hacks, tips and advice for small spaces.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. Tackle the dust collection points in your bedroom.

Use <a href="https://fave.co/2UsgDXi" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">protective under-bed storage boxes</a> for anything you&rsquo;re stashing under the bed to protect it from dust and grime.
Use protective under-bed storage boxes for anything you’re stashing under the bed to protect it from dust and grime.

According to the American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology, dust mites are the most common cause of allergy from house dust. Dust mites and their particles are often found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture. But unfortunately, most people don’t clean or replace their sheets and pillows as often as they should.

Start off by flipping your mattress (just make sure it’s a double-sided mattress that’s intended to be flipped), washing or replacing your pillows, cleaning the windows and shaking the dust from blinds and curtains.

Don’t forget to the pull the bed back from the wall to clean behind the headboard and under the bed. Use protective under-bed storage boxes for anything you’re stashing under the bed to protect it from dust and grime, according to Janice Simonsen, a design spokesperson from IKEA.

2. Make your bathroom great again.

It&rsquo;s no secret your bathroom is crawling with bacteria, which more often than not <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/phonesoap-review-does-it-work_l_5e62c0bfc5b68d6164544fed" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ends up on your phone</a>&nbsp;if you enjoy bathroom breaks with Instagram. &nbsp;
It’s no secret your bathroom is crawling with bacteria, which more often than not ends up on your phone if you enjoy bathroom breaks with Instagram.  

A small bathroom can make or break your routine, especially if you’re not the only one using it.

This is why it’s important to organize the existing space and create new space where you can, according to Lauren Hill, a merchandise director at The Container Store.

Take advantage of the bathroom’s vertical space by installing wall and over-the-door racks to hang extra towels, products and more. (Don’t forget the valuable real estate above your toilet.) If you have the space, keep a hamper in or near the bathroom so clothes don’t end up on the floor.

The same goes for under your sink, according to Hill. It’s key to make sure everything is within reach so nothing goes unused.

“Make use of the cabinet doors, vertical space, and work around obstructions like pipes,” Hill told HuffPost Finds.

It’s no secret your bathroom is crawling with bacteria, which more often than not ends up on your phone if you enjoy bathroom breaks with Instagram.

Aside from disinfecting obvious offenders like your toilet, faucet and (if you just bought one), bidet attachment, don’t forget overlooked areas like your shower curtain and liner. Shower curtains and liners can be a haven for mold and mildew that thrive in the hot and wet conditions of a steamy shower.

If you have a fabric shower curtain or a plastic or vinyl one with a machine-washable label, simply remove it from the rings, toss it in the wash with a half-cup of baking soda to the usual amount of laundry soap, and let it air dry. For shower curtains that can’t be machine washed, scrub stubborn spots with damp cloth and baking soda, and rinse clean.

3. Create kitchen shelves worthy of Instagram.

Clear out your fridge, pantry and spice cabinets, and wipe down all of the shelves before lining them with protective shelf liners. Soon enough you’ll have a pantry rivaling Chrissy Teigen’s.

“Opt to store food in stackable containers with clear lids or bottoms to keep easy inventory of dry goods and leftovers (and reduce food waste), while keeping shelves neat,” Simonsen, the IKEA design expert, told HuffPost Finds.

If pots and pans are a problem, lid organizers and roll-out drawers can maximize the space in your cabinets and minimize any stacking mess.

And don’t forget to label everything to make sure everyone knows what goes where when the cleanup is done, Hill from The Container Store said. Label makers are useful for everything from pantry staples to craft containers.

“By adding labels to your organizers, you define a home for what you’re storing, and it gives everyone in your household direction on where things belong,” Hill says.

4. Get your clothing clutter under control.

To start cleaning you closet, begin by sorting clothes into three piles: donate, repair and keep.&nbsp;
To start cleaning you closet, begin by sorting clothes into three piles: donate, repair and keep. 

Unsurprisingly, one of the most common clutter complaints is clothing storage. That’s despite that fact that most people only wear 20% of the clothes they actually own.

To tackle the problem, remove all of your clothing from closets and drawers, and evaluate everything by sorting into three piles: donate, repair and keep. Perhaps Marie Kondo’s “joy sparking” method is on to something.

“Clothing that is too small, out of style or that no longer makes you feel good should be donated, and items that haven’t been worn because they need a repair should be placed in a separate pile to repair at home or be brought to a tailor,” Simonsen said.

Organize everything in your “keep” pile in the closet by length and type. Consider this task a good time to swap out all of those mismatched hangers for a cohesive set.

Make sure you’re actually wearing all of your clothes by turning all of your hangers backwards when you’re organizing, and only turn them forwards when you wear that item. This way, you’ll notice what’s not being worn in your wardrobe and make your clean-out easier next season.

Winter clothes can be especially bulky, so if you want to make your seasonal closet swap easier in the future, Hill suggests using underbed boxes to take up less space.

Lastly, come up with a solution for your “chairdrobe” — that chair in your bedroom where you pile half-clean, half-dirty clothes. HuffPost Finds editor Brittany Nims recommends an over-the-door multi-hook organizer to hang your PJs, sweats and other half-worn clothing throughout the week.

5. Make everything pull double duty.

Look for coffee tables with storage, couches that convert into bed and other multipurpose finds for the home.
Look for coffee tables with storage, couches that convert into bed and other multipurpose finds for the home.

Small-space living means you probably prioritize furniture that serves multiple purposes — one of them being storage.

“An ottoman with storage can serve as table or extra seat for guests while keeping board games and puzzles inside to minimize clutter,” Simonsen said. “Versatile products – like a portable utility cart – can be used in endless ways in every room of the house (from a bar cart to a bathroom organizer) as your needs change.”

A wall or over-the-door rack is a useful multi-purpose product that can be used in any area of the home, Hill said. Use it in your pantry, bathroom, closet and laundry room to create extra storage without taking up space.

If you’re feeling inspired to take on a few rooms of your home, below we’ve rounded up some key products to help you with your spring cleaning and organizing.

Take a look below:

Storage And Organization For Small-Space Spring Cleaning