Using Stuff Up, Part 2

Last time, I talked about how much I love to use stuff up. This time, I’d like to address a related topic: stuff that never gets used up.

When I work with clients, here are some of the most common places where I see this happen.

  • In the kitchen: food that gets opened but doesn’t ever get finished. Or food that gets purchased and never even gets opened.
  • In the bathroom: products that are used for a while but then get displaced by a different product. If the number of bottles of shampoo in your shower exceeds the number of people using that shower, then you know what I’m talking about.

Space is limited, so leaving products hanging around unfinished is not a good idea. They become clutter and they collect dust (or worse).

Many items in bathrooms and kitchens have expiration dates. As I addressed in my post entitled Making Friends with Expiration Dates, an expiration date lets you know how long ago you bought an item and can help you make the decision about whether it should stick around. Even if you aren’t concerned that your packaged cake mix expired in 2016, it’s an indication that you just aren’t into baking cakes.

Sometimes we want to try a product — a new face cream for example — and then don’t like it that much, so we stop using it. Or we try a new face cream and like it a lot, so the one that we were using before never gets touched again.

The best way to root out these unloved products is to remove everything from the space where they are stored. (This also gives you the rare opportunity to scrub that space, since it probably hasn’t been empty in a while.) Then start putting back the things you use all the time or plan to use very soon. I’m guessing that you’ll discover some items that you haven’t thought about in a while and maybe even forgot that you had.

If unloved products are long expired or just plain icky, it’s best to toss them. If they still have life in them, see if you can give them away. Products that have never been opened can be given away on BuyNothing, or donated to a shelter or thrift shop.

Get Your Brooms and Mops Off the Floor

Over the weekend, I embarked on a small project that is giving me great happiness. I got my brooms off the floor of the closet.

As you probably already know, I am a huge fan of Command™ products. I’ve written numerous blog posts about them (see, for example, Commanding the Bathroom and Hooks at Your Command.) I’ve used Command hooks in my own home to hang keys, handbags, clothes, masks, necklaces, potholders, pans, and utensils. I’ve also implemented Command products for many of my clients to help solve their organizing challenges.

For the past month, I’ve been looking for opportunities to improve my own space. (See my recent blog post Changing It Up if you want to be reminded why.) After I consolidated some brooms and related cleaning products into a closet corner, I wondered if there were a way to make that spot neater. Then I remembered the Command™ Broom & Mop Gripper, which I’ve put up for several clients.

I bought a few of them and got to work in my closet. I now have a broom, and a Swiffer, and a dustpan off the floor and hanging on the wall. It makes me very happy to see them there, and I find myself peeking into that closet a few times each day.

One disappointment was that, despite a photo on the package showing that it was possible, I was unable to get the Swiffer WetJet™ to stay on the wall. It was fine without the liquid cartridge attached, but once I added a full cartridge, it came down overnight. Luckily, Command products come off the wall without doing any damage. So I put the product back up and used it for the dustpan instead.

I urge you to check out the full Command line of products for organizing help in every room.

Creating a Home Maintenance Schedule

We recently spent some time moving all of the furniture away from the wall so that we could vacuum behind it and dust the baseboards. Yikes! It has apparently been a long time since we did that.

I’ve decided that it would be helpful to make up a year-round maintenance calendar for my home. (Luckily I live in an apartment building, so I don’t need to include things that house-owners would need to do, like roof gutters and lawns!) Tasks will include:

  • Vacuuming and dusting behind furniture
  • Dusting ceiling fans
  • Vacuuming bottoms of closets
  • Cleaning windows and window screens
  • Dry cleaning or laundering curtains
  • Vacuuming the refrigerator vent
  • Waxing wood furniture
  • Vacuuming upholstered furniture.

My plan is to assign one of these tasks to the first weekend of each month. Have you organized your home maintenance tasks to ensure that they don’t get overlooked? Let me know what is working for you.