Organizing Tools: A Well-Stocked Cleaning Caddy

My daddy taught me that most tasks are a heck of a lot easier to do if you have the right tools at hand, and the task of cleaning is no exception. The tools we'll be discussing today are cleaning caddies and the supplies that go in them. In a follow-up post, I'll recommend some non-toxic cleaning products, but we'll just touch on the general cleaning supplies here.

Often when I am organizing a client, we will clear off shelves, tabletops, or counters that haven't seen a dusting rag in months, if not years. Once cleared, I will ask the client to fetch their cleaning products so that we can clean the surfaces before putting items back in place. I can't tell you how many times clients have responded with, "Oh, I don't think I have any spray cleaner." At that point, we make a list of these basics that the client should purchase:

  • Cleaning caddy. Make sure that the caddy that you purchase will fit under a sink, in a cabinet, on the floor of a linen closet, or in your laundry area. You want to be able to easily tuck it away so that kids can't get into it and your guests don't have step over it when visiting. Purchase a caddy for each floor of your home and fill the caddies with the supplies below, as appropriate.
  • Latex gloves to protect hands from chemicals. I have a funky pair that a my client Sue gave me after I coveted hers.
  • Window/glass cleaner
  • General-purpose cleaner (may be same as window/glass cleaner)
  • Heavy-duty powder cleanser for tough stains and rust
  • Tub and tile cleaner
  • Feather duster or micofiber cloth for dusting
  • Paper towels, soft rags, and sponges
  • Oil soap for wood cabinets, furniture and floors
By keeping these items together in an easy-to-carry caddy, you can maneuver your way through your maintenance cleaning quickly and efficiently. By eliminating the need to stop in the middle of a cleaning job to get a product that's downstairs under the kitchen sink or out in the laundry room, you're more likely to stick with the task at hand. Goodness knows, most people can be easily distracted while cleaning.

This doesn't go in the caddy category, but no cleaning project would be complete without proper tunes. I find that putting on some fun music keeps me dancing through my wiping, dusting, and scrubbing.

What makes cleaning more fun for you?

Law of Attraction in Action: Michael Phelps

This weekend 23 year old Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps set a new record for the most gold medals won by an athlete at a single Olympics. The road to this amazing accomplishment hasn't been an easy one.

In elementary school, Phelps was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, and briefly took Ritalin before telling his mother that his friends didn't use medicine and he would handle it himself. Along the way, a middle school teacher told Phelps that he would never be successful.

About this same time, he started swimming at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, the swim club where his sisters competed. It was there that he met coach Bob Bowman, the same coach that has trained Phelps ever since.

In a June, 2008 interview with TODAY's Matt Lauer, Coach Bob Bowman and Phelps discussed their goal-setting techniques. As the swimmer did before going to the Olympics in Athens, he writes his goals for the year down and keeps them next to his bed. When Lauer asked for hints as to what his 2008 Olympic goals would be, Phelps replied, "The times are faster and then Bob takes care of hopefully getting me to those times in training."

Lauer then asked Bowman what he believed would be written about Phelps after the 2008 Games were over. "Greatest Olympian ever," said the coach.

Now, there are two individuals who are very, very clear about their intentions. They write down their goals. They create a plan to reach those goals. Then they execute the plan. THOSE are steps we can all take to make our dreams come to fruition.

You see, it's not enough to just know what you want. You need to write it down. Then you have to take action, even if it's just small steps, toward your goals. You may feel uncomfortable at times. Occasionally during practice sessions, Bowman pushes Phelps past the point of exhaustion and into places he doesn't want to go. In an AP article on, Phelps says, "Bob has a saying, 'Putting money in the bank.' When we train every day, sometimes there are workouts you don't like, don't want to do. Bob says you're putting money in the bank. I guess I put a lot of money in the bank over the last four years, and we withdrew pretty much every penny in the bank. After Bob and I both grab a little break it'll be time to start depositing."

When told that people are comparing him to golfer Tiger Woods, Phelps said, "I just think of myself as, honestly, a normal person coming here, swimming every day because I love it. I just have high goals for myself, and I don't want to give up until I achieve those."