How to REALLY Clean Things Up in Flash

How to REALLY Clean Things Up in Flash

I’m a firm believer that getting organized is a skill anyone can learn. It takes some time and practice to make it happen.

Sometimes you just need to get things done quickly, like yesterday, because your uber judgmental mother-in-law is visiting soon, like tomorrow.

Is it possible to clear those piles o’ crap in a flash without just tossing it all in a bin and sticking it in a closet, garage or basement never to be looked at again?




Here are my Top 5 Areas to Tackle Quickly for Big Impact


  1. The Entryway

I begin here because walking into your home after a long day and being hit in the face with piles of coats, bookbags, mail, shoes and God knows what else makes you want to turn around and run away.

Rework that entryway closet


  • Add hooks for backpacks & coats if your kids can’t reach the hanging rod.
  • Place bins on the floor of the closet for hats, gloves and those other annoying accessories that tend to get lost.
  • The inside of closet doors is prime real estate. Hang an over-the-door plastic shoe holder to house not just shoes but, gloves, keys, sunglasses – stuff you waste years of your life looking for.

No Entry Closet No Problem

  • Hang double hooks (one for each family member at their height) so at the very least you’re not tripping over that stuff.


  1. The Mail

It’s the digital age yet you’re still drowning in a sea of paper. Truly going paper-free (or close to it) is glorious but can be a tedious task. You can get your incoming mail in check in no time.

Mail Sort System


  • There are a billion different ways to house mail, (just look on Pinterest) but you only need to choose one simple system.
  • Decide where your mail-sort system will go. It’s best to put it close to where you pile it. So if it ends up on the kitchen counters then use the inside of your cabinets or a system on the counter
  • Tape a  hanging file folder inside a kitchen cabinet. Label – you, your partner, to pay, etc.
  • Stop that mail from coming in & save a tree in the process! (Tree Huggers RULE) (register here to stop all junk mail) (register here to stop unwanted catalogs) (Cool app – snap pic of unwanted mail & it stops it in it’s tracks)


      3. Kitchen Counters

You got your mail off of the counters (high 5!) so now  let’s work on the rest of the crap.


  • All kinds of strangeness end up on kitchen counters. Grab a bag and remove anything that is not kitchen related and take them to their said homes.
  • Store that George Foreman grill or deep fryer (and other small appliances you barely use) in a cabinet out of way. No cabinet space? High up in a pantry, closet or on a shelf in a basement and even a garage can work for now.
  • Contain all vitamins/medicines in a bin so they’re not spilling out onto the counter (after you’ve tossed the expired ones).
  • You probably have a shitload of spices, far more than you need so let go of duplicates & those you never use (spices you bought to cook one magical dish 4 years ago).
  • Keep only the spices you use regularly or those you know you’ll use on occasion.
  • There’s no perfect spice system for everyone (no matter what KonMari says) so look at what’s left and the space you have to house them. They can go in cabinets, drawers or on a rack on the wall. (aka – anywhere but the counters!).


  1. The Refrigerator

Repeat after me, “Aluminum foil is where leftovers go to die. No more aluminum foil!!”


  • All leftovers need to go in clear (plastic or glass) containers. If you can see it you will eat it.
  • Condiments (not milk) go on the fridge door but go toss those that have expired, are almost gone or smell funky.
  • Small, plastic bins (rectangular Tupperware works, too) will rock your fridge. I put cold cuts, cheeses in one and packaged raw meats in another


5. The Bathroom Toiletries

For the love of toiletries! I know you’ve got a crapload of dental floss and Q-tips. So much that you could probably supply an actual army.

Medicine Cabinet


  • If you’re still storing actual medicine here STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Bathrooms are damp, humid places and your meds and vitamins need to be in a drier climate.
  • Add a magnetic strip inside of the door for lightweight things like tweezers and cuticle scissors.
  • Add some strategy to those shelves. Place all nail care together on one, face care on another, hair care and so on.

Bathroom Sink


  • A tray makes it all feel fancy. Take the stuff that sits on your sink or vanity and place it on a small tray. Viola instant class!

  Linen Closet

  • Use the inside of the door (yup that plastic over-the-door shoe holder again) to hold all those smaller things like Q-tips, cotton balls, hairbrushes, etc). Everything will be visible and easy to find.
  • Baskets & bins are your friend. Small plastic bins housing first aid, tooth care, soaps, etc. work well. Larger baskets can be used for sheet sets, blankets, extra pillows.


  • Anne Carney Florsheim
    Posted at 18:44h, 03 April Reply

    Super helpful. I am working on my organization skills every damn day. Thanks Dawn.

  • Brent Campbell
    Posted at 19:30h, 03 April Reply

    Great post, Dawn! Thank you for these tips.

  • Emma Stambach
    Posted at 20:43h, 03 April Reply

    Dawn I love you! Will you marry me?!
    This post is AWESOME and has given me lots of ideas!
    Thanks for being abso-frigging-lutely (to quote yourself!) amazing!

  • Dina Delicce
    Posted at 22:05h, 05 April Reply

    I love this! Especially the plastic bins in the fridge. Thank you. This will make a huge difference in my kitchen and with meal prep!
    My meds are not in my bathroom – but, I’ll have to make sure that they place they are in is dry.

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