For those of you who follow along with our cleaning tips, you know that sometimes the best advice comes from other readers. From tips for deep-cleaning and decluttering to strategies you can implement in your day-to-day life, here are some of the very best ideas straight from the Apartment Therapy comments section.
Everything you need to know about decluttering makeup:
Two years from the date that they've been opened is the standard answer for powder eye shadows. Any eye makeup that you've used while you've had an eye infection should be thrown out.
Okay, having said all of that, I'm going to say "it depends". An eye shadow that is in a compact form.....two or three years if it's stored properly between uses with the container shut and in a cool, dry storage spot. When you're using a pressed powder eye shadow, you're going from skin to brush or applicator to shadow and back again repeatedly. Oils, foundation, etc. are transferred to the powder. However, if you use loose eye shadow powder such as Bare Minerals sells, you're shaking a little powder out of the container into or onto something to apply it so there's no transfer of oils, foundation, etc. to the powder itself. I've used those for years until they were empty with no issues whatsoever.
Any wet makeup goes bad more quickly than pressed powder makeup which goes bad sooner than loose powder makeup. Mascara should be tossed after six months. Lipsticks can be used a loooong time but toss them if they smell funny, taste of them changes or they develop beads of moisture on them.
That's what I know from working at a fancy salon, lol! Hope it helps!
A cat-safe, environmentally-friendly floor cleaning method:
I moved into my own apartment a little over 2 years ago. The builder had already installed oak hardwood, which I decided to paint a few shades lighter. It's not exactly white, but it's very light and has a greyish tint. I'm into Scandinavian design, so I'd say other than the cat, the floors are my favorite thing about my apartment. They have a matte finish.
I use a Vileda microfiber mop head and a bucket filled with hot water, a drop of dish soap and some white vinegar. The floors look pristine and this cleaning method is very eco-friendly and cat-safe. I've since started using vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner.
P.S. I know this is a very heated topic at AT, but no shoes on my floors. Guests do sometimes keep shoes on, but boyfriend and I leave them at the door. Honestly, the floors aren't really dirty this way, just a quick vacuum with the Dyson or Swiffer is what I do on most days and mop every two weeks or so.
A Marie-Kondo inspired document and mail-sorting strategy:
My system is very similar to what Marie Kondo describes in her books. I keep essential files that must be kept forever/indefinitely but accessed infrequently (things like birth certificates, marriage certificate, mortgage papers, diplomas) in a fireproof safe as we live in a bushfire prone area.
Then I have 4 upright magazine files. One each for my husband and I to keep personal documents we need on hand for the moment. One for "household" documents - stuff relating to renovations, pets etc.
The last file is for papers that need to be actioned — bills that need paying, gift certificates that need to be redeemed, documents to scan before filing. When these are dealt with they are disposed of or slipped into their appropriate files.
We have automated and digitised as much as we can, so further sorting of the papers within the files isn't really necessary. With everything held upright it can be rifled through easily. But if you needed to you could use manila folders for different categories.
A way to organize with things you'd normally throw out:
Speaking of rubber bands - yes, tons of them. My first instinct was to go out and purchase a beautiful organizer box to make everything beautiful then after realizing I was purchasing it for anyone that might open the drawer and say, "Wow, what a cute organizer thingie." (who really goes into your junk drawer anyway...) I decided to make an un-like me decision and use a ball jar cardboard box with dividers. 12 dividers - perfect for all the little things that clutter up a junk drawer and readily available since I am an avid jam maker. Yes, it's not as cute or pretty but it is recycled. I'm happy to reuse and my drawer looks B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Thank you. Now to the tool junk drawer......
A quick trick for putting things back where they belong:
Someone on this forum wrote years ago that they try to do three things when they walk into the house or apartment. It could be three simple things like hanging up your coat, putting away the groceries or anything else that takes a few seconds. Another trick is when you leave any room, take out something that doesn't belong with you and put it in its proper place whether it be in the sink, garbage or an article of clothing.
How to use a spreadsheet to organize your projects:
We bought our first house last summer and the list of projects became overwhelming very quickly but we've found a strategy that helps us stay on budget and prioritize how we spend our (very precious) spare time. We settled on creating a spreadsheet in Google, so it can be shared and updated on the fly when something comes to mind. It includes both items to buy and projects to do, but most importantly, prioritized by short-term, mid-term and long-term (i.e. major renovations). I've found it's now much easier to determine whether a purchase/project is really critical or not and help my husband communicate about what we each think is most important.
How to truly deep-clean your oven:
You can undo the bolts from the top inside corners of the door, then be careful because the door could come clattering down. Then you can just use glass cleaner! I'm not sure if your ovens will be different, but the plastic piece at the top of my door as well as the handle come off when you take the bolts out. It was very easy to put back together and I can't believe I never knew about this before! I somehow had, like, cobwebs in there.
A daily cleaning strategy that only takes 10 minutes:
I've been doing a "10 minute pick-up" regularly for years and it is my favorite habit to keep clutter in check. With a new baby and still trying to find our family's new normal, I would say I manage to do my 10 minute pick-up most days but not everyday, and it is still incredibly helpful.
For my 5 year old, I'm trying to use the phrase "What is this item's home?" to emphasize that every single thing we own should have a home and things should be returned to their home when you're done using them or playing with them. Most days, she enjoys tidying up with me.
A DIY way to reduce the amount of shampoo you use:
I don't use shampoo at all. I clean my hair with either bicarb/baking soda or rye flour every couple days. It takes a few months for your hair and scalp to adjust. I have since seen suggestions to slowly reduce the amount of shampoo by filling the shampoo bottle with water after every shampoo so that the actual % shampoo slowly reduces. Then the transition to bicarb and/ or rye flour would be much easier. I have very long hair and it seems to work well and look thicker. There are shampoo bars available which hopefully are packaged without plastic. They didn't work well for me. Any commercial product will still have chemicals that your body absorbs. So, the bicarb and / or rye flour or other DIY is the best for you and the planet. Hope it goes well. You can DIY conditioner with aloe and DIY lotion is also fairly easy. I have decided DIY soap is best to just buy at my local market. Wishing you all the best. 💗🌏
And why you should keep an inventory of your pantry:
May I suggest that while cleaning and sorting, you also create an inventory of what you return to the shelves? I find this incredibly helpful when developing my meal plans and/or grocery lists. I keep mine online (Google drive) so when I'm at the store wondering if I already have a can of diced tomatoes, I can pull it up on my phone and check.