Ten Tips for Easy Bedroom Closet Organization

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The bedroom closet can be one of the most daunting spaces in your home to clean and organize. And no wonder! Closets are generally tiny spaces that are supposed to store a lot of stuff! How can you fit it all in without breaking the rules of physics?

And assuming you do manage to get your closet tidied up, how do you keep it from becoming the room-sized equivalent of a junk drawer, where you throw in items and cross your fingers that they’ll still be there when you come back looking for them?

Not to worry. There are ways to streamline the closet organization process and make the results easier to maintain.

The secret to easy closet organization and maintenance is to make efficient use of the storage space you have. Here are a few useful tips to get you started:

  1. Sort clothes for easier triage. You know the drill. When decluttering any space in your house, you want to separate items into three piles: Keep, Trash, and Donate. For your closet, you might want to include a fourth category for seasonal storage. But before you even get to the triage stage of clothes sorting, separate each item by type of apparel. A pile for pants, a pile for sweaters, a pile for short sleeved shirts, and so on. That way you can avoid sorting fatigue and more easily determine whether you have a surplus of any one type of clothing. Once you’ve got several piles of different types of clothes, continue on to the Keep, Trash, Donate phase of sorting.

  2. Take everything out of the closet and give it a thorough cleaning. Getting everything out is an important step because it helps you more easily visualize the possibilities for the space. With all your closet items temporarily stored in bins and boxes (or just on the bed), give your closet a good cleaning. Vacuum the floor, sweep out any cobwebs, and dust the shelves. Now you’re ready to implement some good organization solutions.

  3. Consider buying a shoe organizer. Shoes tend to be a big source of clutter in closets. Most of us have at least a couple pairs for each season, and some of us maybe have a slight shoe addiction. It’s even worse if you share your closet with your spouse or partner. Two people’s shoe collections can take up a lot of space! If you are in danger of being crushed by a cascade of pumps, trainers, and sandals each time you open your closet door, it’s probably time to invest in a good shoe organizer. They come in many styles and varieties, from shelving solutions to slanted floor racks to back-of-the-door pocket organizers. Pick one you like and use it!

  4. Use drawer and shelf dividers. If you have drawers in your closet (or plan to install drawer type storage solutions), drawer dividers will make your life a lot easier. Especially for sock, underwear, and accessory drawers. Similarly, shelf dividers will keep your organization functioning long-term. Don’t let your bed linens mingle with your holiday decorations! If shelf dividers won’t do the trick, store different categories of items in attractive boxes and baskets.

  5. Use a tiered system to keep what you need close to hand. For most people, it works well to keep the most-used items at eye level in the closet. Lesser used items should go on shelves below your hanging clothes, or on the floor. And your least-used items should go up high, on the top shelf. The exception is for very tall people for whom the top shelf is at eye level. If that’s the case for you, store your least-used items on the lowest tier of your closet.

  6. Maximize vertical space. When you arrange your top shelf, is there still a lot of space between the tops of your items or storage bins and the ceiling? If so, you can get more out of that vertical space by adding an extra shelf. This could be a wooden shelf that you install with mounts and screws, or it could be a couple of wire racks that give you an elevated space to store more stuff.

  7. Store out-of-season items elsewhere, if possible. If you have a more spacious closet, you can probably skip this step. But if your closet is very small, you might get better use out of it if you make it a space for in-season items only. During the summer, consider storing your heavy coats and snow boots in under-the-bed storage boxes or in bins in your garage or attic. When winter arrives, you can switch out your wardrobe and store all of your shorts and swimsuits in the out-of-season space.

  8. Eliminate negative space. Once you’ve got everything pretty well put in its place, take a final inventory of your closet. Is there any substantial negative space that could be filled, creating more storage space? Do you have empty suitcases that could be used to store large blankets? Empty wall space where a few hooks could be installed to store scarves and hats? How about the back of your closet door? Is it bare? Would you benefit from hanging a pocket organizer there?

  9. Hang clothes backwards. When you’ve removed all of the clothes you plan to throw out or donate, hang all the remaining items in your closet, but face the hangers backwards. When you wear any piece, simply replace it in the closet with the hanger facing the normal way. This trick will help you keep your closet de-cluttered for the long haul by giving you an easy way to tell at a glance which outfits get used and which don’t.

  10. Add lights. It’s hard to keep your closet organized when you can’t even see what’s in there. If your closet isn’t wired for a ceiling light, think about adding string lights or battery powered LED lights that adhere to the wall with sticky squares. If neither of those solutions works for you, keep a dedicated flashlight handy for closet rummaging.

And that’s it! With just these ten simple steps, you can get your closet neat and organized, and keep it that way.

Still feel like you need help? No problem. At Green Home Cleaning, we are expanding our menu of services to offer professional organization for your closets and the rest of your home (or business). If you live or work in the Asheville, NC area, you’ll definitely want to discover the benefits of professionally organized storage space.

Give us a call at 828.505.7320 or use our contact page to request a quote today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Use Green Cleaning Products? For Your Health!

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At Green Home Cleaning, we’ve been providing eco-friendly cleaning services to homes, offices, and vacation rentals around the Asheville area for thirteen years. We make our own cleaning solutions out of organic, non-toxic ingredients, and we encourage our clients to maintain green environments between cleanings by using healthy alternatives to commercial cleaning products.

Most people know that chemical-laden cleaning products can harm the health of both humans and pets (in addition to disrupting ecosystems.) But many of us are not clear on the specifics. Exactly what negative health outcomes could result from the use of regular old spot cleaner or laundry detergent?

In this post, we’ll go over the worst offending cleaning products and suggest non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives for each type.

  1. Fabric Softeners: The fragrances used in fabric softeners usually contain phthalates—known endocrine disruptors that can damage your reproductive health. Be warned, most products containing phthalates will not list it as an ingredient on the label due to proprietary laws. Other ingredients found in fabric softeners can increase your risk for asthma and other respiratory disorders. For soft clothes, towels, and linens, try adding half a cup of white vinegar to each load of wash.

  2. Window Cleaners: Most conventional window cleaning agents contain 2-butoxyethanol as a key ingredient. This harsh chemical can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema, and even severe kidney and liver damage. Clean windows with diluted vinegar or cheap vodka instead.

  3. Oven Cleaners: Sodium hydroxide, a cleaning compound found in commercial oven cleaners, can cause severe chemical burns to your skin on contact, as well as to the soft tissues of the throat and esophagus when inhaled. This can lead to a sore throat that can last up to several days. Instead, use baking soda paste and a little elbow grease to get your oven clean.

  4. Air Fresheners: Phthalates strike again! The fragrances used in most air fresheners, like those in fabric softeners can trigger allergies and even cause adult onset asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. For a clean, green, healthy scent, use essential oils instead. Lavender, peppermint, and lemon oils are great and not too expensive!

  5. Spot Cleaners and Carpet Cleaners: These cleaning products are basically made out of neurotoxin. Perchloroethylene—or “PERC” for short—is classified as a possible carcinogen by the EPA. Instead of toxic carpet cleaning solutions, hire a green carpet cleaning company to treat your carpets to a water-based cleaning. For laundry stains, try rubbing undiluted castile soap on the affected area prior to washing.

  6. Bleach: We all know that chlorine can irritate your eyes and throat, but did you know it may also harm your thyroid function? Clean with vinegar, instead!

  7. Ammonia: Ammonia acts as an irritant to eyes, nose, throat, and skin. And let’s face it: that stuff STINKS! Instead, use homemade vinegar-based solutions or clean with diluted antibacterial essential oils such as clove or lemon.

 

How to Host a Green Cookout This Summer

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Summer is here and it’s time to start taking advantage of that beautiful sunny weather. Inviting friends and family over for a day of grilling and outdoor fun is just the ticket! Unfortunately, all of that summer fun comes with a hefty price tag for the environment.

The United States Department of Energy estimates that Fourth of July barbecues alone pump about 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And that’s not even counting all of the cookouts from the rest of the summer. Plus there is all the physical waste produced at summer get-togethers—the Styrofoam plates, plastic forks, party decorations, latex water balloons…

No one’s saying you should give up grilling, but how can you ensure that your summer cookout doesn’t destroy your carbon footprint for the whole year? We’ve assembled a few tips to help keep this year’s cookout or BBQ as eco-friendly as possible.

 

  1. Mind your carbon emissions. Charcoal grills are the worst offenders when it comes to carbon emissions, so you might want to consider a more energy-efficient and cleaner burning gas grill instead. But if you can’t bear to give up the smoky flavor imparted by charcoal, there is an alternative. Instead of charcoal briquettes, look for lump charcoal. Made from tree limbs and blackened in a kiln, this type of charcoal not only burns cleaner but also is responsible for less deforestation than briquettes. And it still gives your food a delicious, smoky taste. Lump charcoal is available online and at many home improvement stores.

  2. Choose reusable plates, napkins, and cutlery. Do your part to keep paper and plastic waste to a minimum this summer by using your regular tableware for parties. If you’re afraid of glass and ceramic plates getting chipped or broken, opt for a set of sturdy, reusable plastic dishes that you can use at your barbecues for years to come. The extra clean-up won’t take too long if you enlist the help of your guests. You can even set up a backyard dish washing station, utilizing the bucket system like when you go camping. If you do opt for disposable tableware due to the size of your party, look for eco-friendly options and set up a recycling station.

  3. Handheld foods reduce the need for plates and utensils. Many summer foods don’t even require plates. Set out platters of kebobs, watermelon slices, and hot dog fixings to cut down on the amount of plates and forks needed.

  4. Be conscious of energy consumption. You’ll be spending the day outside, so the air conditioning probably doesn’t need to be running indoors. If you’re using a gas or electric grill, turn it off when not in use.

  5. Compost your vegetable and fruit waste. Why send all that valuable, enriching plant matter to the landfill when you can add it to your flower beds or vegetable garden next year? If you’re using unbleached disposable paper plates and napkins, you can add them to the compost pile, as well.

  6. Opt for local and organic ingredients. The more locally your food is produced, the less carbon pollution it takes to get it to your cookout. Take a trip to the tailgate market before your cookout and try to source as many of your ingredients from the seasonal bounty available close to home.

  7. Set up eco-friendly activities for the kids. Lots of summer barbecues include organized games and activities for children—many of them involving water! If you’re planning to let the kids get in some water fun, go for well-made water guns rather than sprinklers or water balloons. A continuously running sprinkler can use up a LOT of water over the course of an afternoon, and latex balloons create toxic pollution both in manufacture and disposal. A water gun, on the other hand, can be used for years and years, and will provide plenty of squirts, splashes, and fun in the sun.

 

 

 

2019 Best of WNC Voting Has Begun!

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The Mountain Xpress Best of WNC poll has officially opened! It's time to cast our votes to support our favorite local businesses in Western North Carolina.

You have voted Green Home Cleaning the best local home cleaning service for four years in a row. Thank you! That kind of community support really speaks to the quality of our service. And it helps get the word out so that more people can experience the earth-friendly clean that only we can deliver. We could never have experienced so much growth and success over the years without you!

But we have an extra special reason to be excited about this year's poll. If we can defend our title for a fifth year, we'll be inducted into the Best of WNC Hall of Fame! What a tremendous honor! We know we can do it, with your support.

So here's your chance to show a little local love for Green Home Cleaning and all the other WNC businesses you couldn't live without! Visit the Mountain Xpress website to cast your ballot, and remember to vote for Green Home Cleaning in the "Home Cleaning Services" category. Voting ends April 30th!


Spring Cleaning: 14 Things to Purge Immediately!

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  1. Clothes and Shoes. Go through your closets and get rid of anything that is damaged or that you don’t use. Shoes that are pinched, uncomfortable, scuffed, or out of fashion—donate them! If they are soiled beyond cleaning, or if they are missing a mate, toss them! Same goes for clothes. If you haven’t worn it in the past twelve months, chances are you’re not going to wear it any time in the next twelve months, either. This includes formal wear, Halloween costumes, and sentimental apparel from high school! If you harbor nostalgic feelings for the item, but it doesn’t fit and/or you know you’ll never wear it, why not take a photo to post to social media? That way you’ll have a memento that doesn’t take up any space, and all of your friends will be excited to see and comment on the photo. 

  2. Hoarded Paper. This can take many different forms, but nearly everyone has it. Maybe you have a collection of all your paper bills from the past decade, hogging up the filing cabinet or just moldering in cardboard boxes. Maybe it’s old receipts from previous tax years that you no longer need. Maybe it’s expired coupons, or paperwork on every appliance you’ve purchased in your adult life. Or maybe it’s your kids’ schoolwork. Whatever it is, chances are you’re never going to need it, and it’s just taking up space that could be filled with something cool, or replaced with wonderful, easy-to-clean NOTHING!  Recycle it now!

  3. Wire Hangers. For one thing, wire hangers look kind of junky. And for another, they can actually damage your clothes. The only things wire clothes hangers are good for are a) bending out of shape to clear clogged bathtub drains, and b) jimmying the lock on a pre-1995 car. If you think you might run into either one of those problems in the coming year, maybe keep one or two in your garage with the rest of the tools. If not, toss all of your wire hangers and replace them with plastic or wooden ones.

  4. Mate-less socks. If you’ve gone through three laundry cycles since the mate went missing, you’re probably not going to find it. Put the lonely sock to rest. In the trash can.

  5. Old Towels and Linens. The general rule of thumb is that you should have two sets of towels for each member of the family, plus one set for a guest. (Two sets per person so that one can be used while the other is being laundered.) If you have any more than that, it’s most likely wasting space. If your old towels aren’t worn out enough to throw away, you might consider donating them to Goodwill or to your local animal shelter. Or if you’re short on cloths for cleaning, cut the old bath towels up into smaller squares and transfer them to the rag bag.

  6. Anything Expired. Go through your kitchen, your bathrooms, and wherever you store your cleaning products. Check the expiration dates on EVERYTHING. Hair products. Cans of food. Makeup. Condiments—ESPECIALLY condiments. Vitamins and medications. Packages of frozen peas and anything freezer-burned. These things may seem small and insignificant, but once you clear them all out, you’ll realize how much space they took up altogether.

  7. Lidless Food Storage Containers. It happens. Tupperware lids get lost. Or, sometimes, the lid is right there in the lid drawer and it’s the container itself you can’t find. Either way, no reason to hang onto these items.

  8. Instruction Manuals. It is the age of information and we no longer need to hang onto the user guides for every appliance, device, and gadget that crosses our threshold. Most likely, you are still hanging onto manuals for items you’ve long since gotten rid of, but even if all of your manuals are current, you probably don’t need to keep them. Instructions for almost any product you can think of can be found on the manufacturer’s website these days, and more general troubleshooting and repair advice abounds on YouTube.

  9. Empty Jars and Bottles. We do it with good intentions. We hang on to spaghetti sauce jars because you never know when you might need a jar! Or we keep old wine bottles because they’re pretty to look at. The problem with this is, those jars and bottles add up quickly and end up taking up SO MUCH SPACE. And they collect dust like nothing else. And while it is true that a jar is occasionally a handy thing to have around, the truth is there’s almost always an almost empty jar of something in the fridge when we find ourselves in need. Just eat the last pickle, wash out the pickle jar, and use that. No need to store all empty jars under your sink for eternity.

  10. Dead Electronics. There are two reasons why people don’t throw out their old electronics. Either they lie to themselves and say that they are going to fix it one day (or use the parts for something else), or they don’t know where to properly dispose of the item. Let’s clear up both of these reasons right now. No, you’re never going to use the old parts from your first laptop. And in order to find out how to properly dispose of electronics in your area, simply check online (or call) your local waste management authority.

  11. Pots and Pans. If you hate cooking with it, it’s time to toss it. Same goes for spatulas, ladles, and other cooking utensils.

  12. Chargers and Cables for Devices You No Longer Own. Don’t feel bad about getting rid of chargers and cords you never use. You don’t even have to throw them in the garbage. You actually CAN donate these to most Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, and believe it or not, people actually buy used cords and cables for all kinds of projects.

  13. Kitchen Gadgets. From your apple corer to your salad chopper to that weird wire cheese slicer, spring cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of all those random gadgets taking up space in your kitchen cabinets. Don’t feel bad! If they are still in good condition, you can probably sell them on eBay for a little extra scratch.

  14. Old Textbooks. Many people lug around their old textbooks from college (or even high school) through moves and marriages and job changes, all through their adult life. These heavy tomes that take up a whole bookcase on their own feel like something you ought to hang onto—after all, they represent four or more years of your life, and all that learning that went into making you the smart professional you are today. But do you ever re-read them? Have you ever, even once, cracked the cover on any of those books? If not, do yourself a favor and pass them on. If they aren’t too out-of-date, you might be able to sell them to incoming college students on eBay. If they’re old, though, donating them to your local thrift store is a great way to give them a new life.