80 of the Best Space-Saving and Cleaning Tips
Get your home sparkling clean and completely organized with these creative tips for organizing your home. You’ll be amazed with the results.
Bathroom Shelving Unit
Find out how to build it.
Spice Shelf Inside Cabinet
Cabinet Door Message Board
Learn how to make a message board inside a cabinet.
Cutting Board Rack
Check out how to get it done.
Magnetic Office Supplies Holder
Check out the complete plans for a magnetic office supplies holder.
Tie, Scarf and Belt Organizer
Skinny Laundry Room Cart
Above Door Shelf
Plus: Build a Shoe Organizer
Turn-of-the-century office supply holder
Keep Your Spray Bottles in Line
Put a Lazy Susan in Your Fridge
Use a Bookshelf
Add-On Clothes Rod
Turn Your Hangers
Find out how to get rid of anything.
Baskets and Ottomans
Use a Tablecloth
Dorm Room Spinning Storage Unit
Make the Most of Skinny Spaces
New Use for Old Cabinets
Stuffed Animal Storage
Ladder Pot Rack
Dresser to Bench
Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage
Under-Cabinet Wine Rack
Photo: Courtesy of Door Sixteen
Pack Seasonal Clothing
One simple way to make extra closet space is to store seasonal clothing and accessories somewhere else, leaving you more space for the items you need now. Put clothes, accessories, shoes and purses in a vacuum storage bag—you’ll be surprised how compact it all becomes once the air is removed. Insert a list of what’s in each bag where you can read it, so you can locate something if you find you need it unexpectedly. Store the bags in your attic, under your bed in a self-made storage box, or in another accessible place.
Photo: StockPhoto Video/Shutterstock
Store Multiple Items on One Hanger
You can cheat significantly on the 40-hanger rule if you get hangers designed to store multiple items. Some versions let you hang as many as five items on one hook, which saves on rod space. There are many commercial multiple-hangers available, with different design features to suit your taste. But if you’re on a budget, use soda can ring-pulls over the hook and use another standard hanger. But be careful not to cram too much in, or your clothes will get rumpled and creased.
Organize Shoes and Boots
Shoes and boots take up a lot of space and are often awkward to store, but leaving them in a jumble on your closet floor is a nightmare when you’re looking for a matching pair. If you have enough shelf space, using stacking shoe boxes. Transparent ones let you see what’s inside at a glance. Hanging pockets are another option, either on the clothes rod, or attached to the wall or door. A shoe rack is also simple to make and can be wall-mounted to save floor space.
Patio Cushions and Camping Gear Storage
Belt and Other Hang-Ups
Musical Instrument Storage
Closet Glove Rack
Basement Junk Storage
OK, maybe junk is too harsh a word. We’re talking about luggage, camping gear, the ugly vase Aunt Martha gave you for your wedding—stuff you need to keep but don’t use all the time. If your house has a set of stairs with a sloped closet underneath, you have a huge amount of space that’s mostly wasted. Here’s how to get the most out of that black hole. Build a custom rolling cart that fits perfectly in the closet. This one is built like a shelf unit and rides on fixed casters so it slides straight out to keep things organized and accessible. When Aunt Martha comes to visit, just roll it out, grab the vase and you’re golden.
Clean the Exhaust Fan
Caution: The cans contain chemical propellants, not just air. Don’t let children play with them.
Ditch Your Carpeting
Closet Nook Shelves
Wire shelves are available in a variety of widths. Measure the width and depth of the space. Then choose the correct shelving and ask the salesperson to cut the shelves to length for you. Subtract 3/8 in. from the actual width to determine the shelf length. Buy a pair of end mounting brackets and a pair of plastic clips for
Hanging pots and pans is a great way to save cabinet space while also keeping everyday items within reach. Hang a pots and pans organizer over the kitchen island. You can make one yourself with lengths of copper pipe and S-hooks.
Here are 9 Space-Saving Kitchen Storage Ideas to help you save even more space.
Add-On Clothes Rod
Hang Under the Island
If you don’t have the cupboard space and don’t want to hang your pots and pans overhead, the island is a good solution. You may give up some sitting space, but you will have your pots and pans organizer within easy reach. Anchor some S-hooks under your island counter and hang away.
Two-Story Closet Shelves
We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can’t hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.
Magnetic Knife Strip
This is a good solution for small kitchens with too many pot lids. You can buy magnetic knife strips at home stores. Leave some space on the end for smaller pot lids.
Discover how a magnetic knife strip can help organize your office supplies with these home organization tips.
Double-Decker Closet Rod
Locate studs on the back wall of the closet with a stud finder. Then attach metal brackets to the studs. Use a level to align the brackets along the top. Space the brackets no more than 32 in. apart. Need even more storage? Check out these easy ways to expand your closet space.
Open Cabinet Shelves
If you don’t mind having your cookware visible, try some open cabinet shelves. Open shelves can be sized to fit your kitchen and will allow you to stack your pots and pans.
Photo: Igor Zvencom/Shutterstock
Clean the Air While You Clean the House
Your vacuum’s agitator brush and exhaust whip up dust that eventually settles on the surfaces you’ve just cleaned. Filter out some of that dust before it settles by switching your thermostat to ‘fan on.’ This turns on the blower inside your furnace and filters the air even while the system isn’t heating or cooling. Leave the blower on for about 15 minutes after you’re done cleaning. But don’t forget to switch it back to ‘auto.’ Most blowers aren’t designed to run constantly. Plus: Here are 8 simple furnace fixes you can do yourself.
Clean a Vacuum with a Vacuum
The typical way to clean the filter of a bagless vacuum is to tap it against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But that raises a cloud of dust and doesn’t get the filter completely clean. For faster, neater, more effective filter cleaning, use your shop vacuum. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way. Just remember to be gentle with the shop vacuum’s nozzle. Some filters have a coating that you can scrape off if you press too hard.
Cover the Sink
Your pantry may be the best spot for your pots and pans organizer. Just hang a basic pegboard on the inside of the pantry door and add some pegs. You can hang your pots and pans, and other kitchen gear as well.
Dust with Your Dryer
Synthetic Soap Simplifies Bathroom Cleaning
Buff Off Heavy Grime
Pick up some polishing compound at a home center or an auto parts store and use an auto buffer to polish off the offending scum. If you don’t own a buffer, you can buy one for as little as $20 or borrow one from a gearhead friend. If possible, remove the doors and take them out to the garage to avoid messing up the bathroom.
Duster for the Vertically Challenged
Clean Grout with a Bleach Pen
For really mildewed grout, you may need a second application, and it can help to gently scrub the bleach into the grout with a toothbrush before allowing it to work for 10 minutes. Make sure to run the fan in the bathroom and to avoid skin contact. This method is best for light or white grout. If you have colored grout, test a small area first. It might fade.
Instead of trying to find a bleach pen at the store, the cleaning solution to grout might already be in the bathroom.
Clean with Microfiber Products
Microfiber dusting tools for blinds, ceiling fans, floors and general cleaning are available online and at many stores. Buy your microfiber cloths in the automotive section. ‘Cleaning’ and ‘detailing’ towels are the same as ‘dusting’ cloths, and they’re often a lot cheaper.
Make Your Own Greener Cleaning Solution
In a 5-quart bucket, mix: 1 cup of distilled vinegar, 3 tablespoons of borax, 1 gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup of soap (Maggie uses Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds). Maggie likes to add 10 or 15 drops of tea tree, lavender or lemon oil for a nice fragrance. Mix the ingredients and then pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle. Save the rest in a gallon jug. This is enough all-purpose cleaner to last for years!
Use this mixture to clean tile, countertops and painted woodwork. It’s a good all-purpose cleaner, but it’s not the best for cleaning glass. Maggie uses club soda to clean glass.
Clean a Sluggish Toilet
Easier Bottle Cleaning
Vacuum First, Then Scrub
For a really thorough cleaning, start at the top, vacuuming the dust from light fixtures and the top of window casings. Then work your way down. And finally, vacuum the floor methodically so you cover every inch. You don’t want to leave any stray hair or dust bunnies to muck up your cleaning water. A soft-bristle upholstery brush works best for this type of vacuuming. Figure out what vacuum to use here.
Protect Your Shower Doors from Mineral Buildup
Two brands are Aquapel and Rain-X. Follow the instructions on the package to apply the treatment to your shower door glass. You can buy Aquapel or find a local dealer online. You’ll find Rain-X at any auto parts store.
Let a showerhead amaze you with the comfort it can provide and check out 10 showerheads for a better shower experience.
Trash Can Cleanup
Clean Your Bagless Vacuum Filter
People avoid cleaning filters because it’s a messy job. The typical method is to tap the filter against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But this raises a thick cloud of dust and doesn’t get the filter completely clean. Here’s a faster, neater, more thorough approach: Take the vacuum out to the garage and clean the pleated filter with a shop vacuum. Some pleated filters have a special coating that you can damage, so be gentle with the shop vacuum nozzle. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way.
Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky Disposer
- With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
- Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
- Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.
Plus: Bad Smell in the House?
Garbage Bag Holder-Upper
Flashlight Glass Finder
Besides being an all-time great Parliament song, a glow-in-the-dark flashlight might be a light saver in a blackout.
In the plumbing aisle, you’ll also find PVC and rubber ‘reducer’ couplings that let you connect your vacuum hose to a different-size pipe.
Beat the Dust out of Cushions
Renew Wood with Mineral Spirits
Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape
Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface gets full of hair.