Whether we’re officially sheltering in place or just sensibly staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the inside of our homes is suddenly getting a lot of scrutiny.
For some of us, this started out as a nice little reprieve from things like a daily commute or being away from our pets during the day. But self-quarantine got old real quick. Stir-crazy is a real thing—and it’s rough.
So now, we’re all thinking of creative ways to keep occupied. For many of us, that means finally crossing items off our “someday” to-do list. You know, those things you’ll do “someday,” when you have time?
Suddenly, those of us who can’t telecommute have all the time in the world. That also means lots of us have really clean houses—even though no one can come over and see them.
And the cleanest of houses undoubtedly belong to those whose homes are always in tiptop shape: professional cleaners, organizers, and designers.
That’s why we asked them to share the weirdest, most particular things they’ve cleaned since being stuck at home. Here’s what they had to say.
Bathroom vanity drawers
All that spare time can lead you to clean things you’ve never even considered before.
“I’ve been focused on our bathroom vanity drawers. Totally random and rarely done,” says Andrea Walker, certified professional organizer and the owner of Smartly Organized.
“Even with drawer organizers, they get super gross over time, with toothpaste, hairbrushes, makeup, and other products.”
To get her drawers spick-and-span, she empties them out and scrubs them down with a sponge and cleaner. She also soaks the drawer organizers in hot water and scrubs them.
“I even clean the items in the drawer, like the toothbrush, toothpaste, and other items!” Walker says.
Disinfecting wipes canister
Kathy Turley, director of marketing at Home Clean Heroes, has picked up a weird quarantine cleaning habit we can all sympathize with.
“More times than I can count, I’ve cleaned my canister of disinfecting wipes with disinfecting wipes,” she says.
These days, there’s really no such thing as too much disinfectant.
Every. Single. Drawer.
Some people are taking the time to clean their entire house, one drawer at a time. One of those people is Marty Basher, home organization expert with Modular Closets.
“I am in the process of tackling cleaning out every drawer in the house, from the bedroom and bathroom to the kitchen, home office, and even the garage,” he says. “It’s quite a task, but I am finding that decluttering in this way is very therapeutic.”
To accomplish this massive project, he takes two drawers a day, discards what he no longer uses, gives the drawer itself a thorough cleaning, and adds drawer organizers to drawers that contain multiple items, before placing them back in.
Too many mugs
Organizer Amanda Clark, owner of Ever So Organized, tackled a problem area a lot of us have in our kitchens.
“I took a good look at my large collection of coffee mugs. I always grab for my few favorites, so I decided to declutter the rest and open up room in my kitchen cabinets,” she says.
“Sorry, ‘World’s Best Mom’ mug—it was time to let you go!”
All the food storage containers
Most of us would probably admit to having a nightmare drawer for Tupperware and the like, but Tracy McCubbin, decluttering expert and author of “Making Space, Clutter Free: The Last Book on Decluttering You’ll Ever Need,” took straightening up that area to the next level.
“I pulled out all my food storage containers and made sure all bottoms had a top,” she says. “I wiped out the drawer before I put it all away, but what I did next, I’ve never had time to do—I took all the cracked lids from my reusable glass, researched replacement lids, and ordered new lids.
“That’s something I’ve wanted to do forever and finally had the time! Plus, with how much I am cooking, it’s great to have it all organized,” she says.
Phone storage and email inbox
All this extra time also gives us time to clean up our technology—both the physical devices and everything up there in the cloud.
“Not only have I been disinfecting my phone multiple times a day … but I’ve also been decluttering the photos stored on my phone,” says Clark. “I’ve been deleting old screenshots and multiples, as well as creating albums for photos I want quicker access to.”
And that’s not all she’s been doing.
“I’m closer to inbox zero than I’ve ever been,” she says. “I created folders for emails I wanted to keep and unsubscribed to over 1,000 emails. It feels so good!”
Pile of business cards
Eventually, the world will start back up again, and when it does, McCubbin will be ready to start reaching out.
“In my office, I tackled that giant pile of business cards that have been on my desk for years—tossed the ones that were no longer applicable and made sure to add the important ones to my phone contacts,” she says.
“I also added notes on my phone about where I met the person and who referred them, or why I was interested in their business.”
Water damage on the ceiling
It’s not just random cleaning projects that are finally getting tackled. Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer and author of “Organizing Your Home With SORT and SUCCEED,” finally got to a small home project that had been long postponed.
“My kids overflowed the toilet over a year ago,” she says. “I finally have time to patch and paint the ceiling that it ruined!”
Under the toilet seat cover
A lot of grime is hidden in the bathroom, and one small project can also lead to many. That’s what Nicole Graff, co-owner and principal designer for the Los Angeles based interior design firm Hamsa Home, found out during quarantine.
“I replaced one of my toilet seat covers, as it was starting to discolor. When I removed the cover, I was surprised to see what accumulated underneath there over the years,” she explains.
“Seriously, who would have thought? This only encouraged me to unscrew all my other toilet seat covers throughout my home and clean!”
And if you thought that was kinda gross, here’s one of those projects you try to put off as long as possible, but thanks to COVID-19, you might as well get it done.
“My son is coming up on 22 months old, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I had never once cleaned his diaper pail,”” says Kait Schulhof, founder of A Clean Bee. “I noticed a few weeks ago that tiny spots of mold were developing on the underside of the lid, so I knew that this job had to be done. I simply had to mentally gear myself up for it!
“Last week, under quarantine … I disassembled his diaper pail and disinfected the whole thing. I scrubbed it with vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide (in different steps), with a cleaning toothbrush.”
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