Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
March 2015 – Vol. 14 No. 3

Doing your best means to take action. You can have many great ideas in your head, but without action upon an idea, there will be no manifestation, no results and no reward. ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

vintagecleaningGet your spring clean on for a healthier home!

A clean home is a healthy home– unless you’re cleaning it incorrectly, in which case, you might actually be making your home dirtier! In this article, originally published on The Reliable Blog and reprinted with permission, I offer the following tips to help freshen your home this spring season– and keep it that way.

1. Water cleans as well, if not better, than other “chemical” cleaners. In a University of California-Davis study, it was proven that cleaning with a microfiber cloth and water alone was 99% effective at removing not only soil and grime, but also germs. What most people forget is that water is a chemical. It’s made up of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen (H2O). De-ionized water or distilled water has a pH of 7, which is neutral, making it the safest choice for cleaning tough dirt from the most delicate of surfaces such as marble.

2. Mop buckets spread dirt and germs. The second you put a dirty mop back into the bucket, you contaminate the water – and you can’t clean with dirty water! Invest in a steam floor cleaner such as the Reliable Steamboy Pro 3-in-1 steam and scrub floor mop. Not only does the Steamboy Pro clean sealed floors and sanitize carpets (perfect tool for freshening your pet’s favorite spot as well as removing fleas), it also simultaneously steams and scrubs tile and grout– without the use of harsh chemicals!

3. Vacuuming more often results in cleaner air. Carpet manufacturers recommend vacuuming once a week for each person living in your home. That means vacuuming four times a week if you’ve got a family of four! At the very least, vacuum high-traffic areas daily and have your carpets deep cleaned every 12 to 18 months to diminish trapped soils. This eliminates not only dust but also allergens from the environment.

4. Steam is your best friend for cleaning. After removing visible soil by brushing, sweeping, dusting, or vacuuming, you still need to get rid of contaminants that are bound to the surface. Steam cleaning combines chemical action from H2O with high-heat reducing the amount of agitation (effort) and time needed to clean any area. The Reliable Pronto 100CH steam cleaner and fabric steamer disinfects surfaces and refreshes fabrics, reducing germs to a safe level and creates a healthier, more hygienic household.

5. Be like a machine with your routine. Professional home cleaners have a system of cleaning that helps them remember what they need to get done by doing it in the same order each time. When entering a room, most cleaners will start top to bottom, left to right, back to front, and center last (or first). Always begin and end your home cleaning with the same rooms. For example, you might clean “dry” rooms such as the living rooms and bedrooms first before moving into “wet” rooms (like the bathroom and kitchen) to help prevent the spread of germs from the latter to the former.

More spring cleaning help

Speaking of spring cleaning, I did a 25-minute video interview with Smead Corporation on How to Spring Clean Like a Pro that was just released last week. You might also like this recent Chicago Tribune article in which I give tips about how to win the war on clutter in your home without starting World War III with your spouse.

And did you know that you can get help at with your cleaning and decluttering challenges at my web site? Go to Look for the search icon (the magnifying glass) at the top right of the home page. Then type in a keyword or phrase such as “organizing paper” or “spring cleaning” to find previous blog posts and newsletters where that topic was covered.

Finally, if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, I encourage you to follow me there. In addition to sharing practical tips, articles, and other helpful resources, I enjoy connecting with my readers and welcome your questions!

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 14 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month in this column, I share my favorites.

PCmageditorschoicelogoLast month, I introduced you to affordable backup solution for ALL of your devices – and access your data from anywhere via any browser, computer or mobile device. IDrive is a top player in the online backup space with more than 3 million customers worldwide. Not only can you back up all of your devices, it costs less than similar services. I made contact with the company and they have agreed to offer my readers a 75% discount off the regular annual price for 1TB of space for one year, or just $14.88 a year. If you decide to try it out, click here to access this special offer.

helpmyshelfThis month, I want to give a shout-out to a new favorite and an old favorite. If you have wire shelving in your home, now there’s an easy, affordable way to change over to regular shelving. It’s called Help My Shelf and it’s a complete wire shelf makeover kit that covers existing wire shelves with a smooth liner. It’s a simple way to get a custom shelving look without the custom price. To learn more, check out their web site where you can enter to win the Ugly Kitchen Pantry Contest. I just noticed that they are offering free shipping through 3/31/15.

Purse Perfector

Purse Perfector

And if you’ve ever wished for an easier way to change purses, check out the Purse Perfector. It’s an insert with pockets and compartments to help you organize everything from business cards to lipsticks that fits neatly into any purse and can be transferred to another purse in a snap. I’ve been using and recommending this simple solution for years. The company recently announced that it’s got a new logo, new web site, and new manufacturer (still made in the USA) and to celebrate, they are offering 15% off everything but sale items. Choose the Purse Perfector that’s right for you and then enter the discount code NEWLOOK at checkout.

Shameless promotion: Cleaning for a Reason

cleaningforareasonHave you heard about Cleaning for a Reason? This non-profit organization has recruited more than 1,100 maid services to donate free housecleaning to women who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Since 2006, their partner maid services have volunteered their time to clean for over 17,000 women.

Though I don’t clean houses for a living, I recently signed up as a corporate partner to help spread the word about this wonderful service. Do you have a female friend or family member going through cancer treatment? You can apply on her behalf at  Cleaning for a Reason.  If you have a house cleaning service, ask if they know about Cleaning for a Reason and encourage them to volunteer their services for the cause. Or maybe you’d like to honor someone by making a donation? Go to Cleaning for a Reason.

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this organizing tips newsletter may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. These earnings go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter which is free to you, but does cost to distribute. Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.