Checklist: Basic Cleaning Supplies for a Small Space

Small spaces = less cleaning. It's one of the best benefits of living in a tiny apartment. The only problem is that living small also means less storage space, so you want to streamline your cleaning supplies into a kit that can be easily stowed in a kitchen cabinet or closet.

Here's our basic checklist for everything you need to keep your tiny home clean…

  1. Broom, Dustpan, and Mop: These are the basic tools of floor cleaning. We use a small interlocking broom and dustpan. (Sets like these are sold at any big box or hardware store). Bissell also has a new folding microfiber mop on the market that looks like it might be a good solution for a small apartment.
  2. Vacuum: Depending on the amount of carpet in your home, you may not need a big vacuum. Apartment Therapy has posted good reviews of the hand-held Dyson Root. If you vacuum a lot, a canister model might be a better bet. It's more compact than an upright, but can be just as powerful. For recommendations, see this post.
  3. Bucket: A mop bucket can double as a catch-all for cleaning supplies. Any modestly sized bucket with a handle will do.
  4. One Bottle of All-Purpose Cleaner: Rather than keep a bunch of different cleaners on hand, use one green all-purpose cleaner for counters and non-wood surfaces. For recommendations, see this post.
  5. A Box of Baking Soda: This natural ingredient is the basis for a whole range of homemade cleaners, from bathroom scrubs to drain cleaners.

  6. White Vinegar: Diluted with water, white vinegar is a great window cleaner and stain remover.
  7. Wood Cleaner: Many people recommend cleaning wood floors or furniture with white vinegar or just a dry cloth, but we've always preferred to use a cleaner made specifically for wood. We've been happy with Method's Wood for Good surface cleaner.
  8. A Couple of Sponges: Keep separate sponges on hand: one for dishes and one for surface cleaning. If you really want to be compact, try using pop-up sponges, which can be stored flat. When you're ready to use one, just add water and it expands.
  9. Scrub Brush: These are useful for scouring pots and pans in the kitchen. We usually only go through one at a time. Any more seems unnecessary.
  10. Dish Soap: If you really want to make your sink area feel clean and organized, try using squeeze bottles to store your dish soap. As you refill the squeeze bottle, you can dilute the dish soap with water, making it last longer.
  11. Microfiber Cloths, Rags, or Paper Towels: We hang a rag bag near the pantry and keep it full of old cloths for cleaning. Others recommend microfiber cloths, while wall-mounted paper towels can be a convenient space saver.
  12. Dish Towels: Keep a couple of clean towels near the sink for drying dishes. They're also handy for absorbing surface spills.
  13. Laundry Detergent: In a small space, it helps to choose a small bottle laundry detergent that won't eat up too much room.


Anything we've forgotten? Let us know in the comments.

Photo: SimpleHuman Bamboo Cabinet Organizer

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