Back-to-school cleaning tips from House Spouse’s team of experts

Back-to-school cleaning tips from House Spouse’s team of experts

It’s August, and children are back in school in most of Arizona. Already, the house is acquiring that “school kids live here” clutter around the front door, the bedrooms, and the tables.

How can you keep an uncluttered look with the inevitable cascade of books, markers, papers and projects?  (Not to mention the creeping clothing explosion of sweaters, T-shirts, socks and more as everyone settles into scholarly and after-school pursuits.)

Let’s face it.  When the house is too cluttered to clean, you need a plan.  Here are two words for you: storage bins.

They don’t have to be clunky, ugly boxes. Think colorful tubs, or woven baskets. The key here is creating a specific, contained space for those items that tend to get strewn around the house.  Everyone in the family gets one near the door and in the bedroom (and the bathroom, too, if there’s space).

If you’re being particularly frugal, you may want to search out different-sized cardboard containers, which can function quite well for the length of a school year. You can decorate plain boxes yourself (now, there’s an after-school activity!) or find acceptable tubs, bins, baskets or other containers from a retailer.

Now the backpacks, school papers, project materials, jackets, sports gear, etc. have a place to land as the kids rush the door. For grown-ups, briefcases, purses, mail or other paper can go into the personal bin. No rushing around madly in the mornings trying to find the soccer socks, the bookbag, or the briefcase – all will be in the appropriate bin.

Give each family member their own laundry bag or basket, too. It’s handy if these are placed where the kids tend to drop their dirty clothing – but if the drop point happens to be in the middle of the hallway, you may need to break some bad habits. Ideally, place laundry hampers in the bathrooms or bedrooms where the children change clothes.

The bathroom is another spot for some back-to-school organizing. As everyone rushes through hair, teeth and make-up in the mornings, having everything stored handily will make the routine go easier, especially with personalized containers for each person sharing a bathroom.

Find boxes, carts, hooks and more to help.  Stash makeup in containers designed to hold smaller brushes and similar tools, along with bottles and small jars.

Some makeup items can be hung – use a magnetic sheet inside a frame and stash small makeup items in a design or pattern for aesthetics as well as practicality.

Having some basic organizing tools readily available will go a long way toward containing the inevitable chaos that comes from school and multiple activities. Let’s beat the clutter before it gets started.

With a tidier house, it’s easier to get down to the actual cleaning of your home, and that’s where House Spouse is ready and willing to step in. If you need assistance getting the organizing started, we can do that, too.

House Spouse is a Phoenix-based cleaning service that provides ongoing maid service, custom concierge services, carpet and tile cleaning, rental-property cleaning and more. Visit us at, call us at (480) 834-2905 or email us at

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