Housekeepers Say These Cheap, Clever Things Make Your Home Much Nicer

Get your place sparkling for less.

by Christina X. Wood
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If you’re staring at dust and clutter as tumbleweeds of pet fur float past, it may be time to call in a professional. Or, you could just borrow some pro-level tricks from master cleaners that promise to freshen up your place on a dime.

Despite your scouring prowess (or lack thereof), discovering that there is an easier, better, faster way to keep things nice just may inspire you to tidy up your surroundings — and maintain it, too. So, with your sparkliest home in mind, peruse these expert tips from housekeepers who recommend a slew of cheap, clever things to make your home much nicer.


A Simple Squeegee For A Streak-Free Shine

“One of the most important things people should invest in to maintain a tidy home is a good squeegee,” says Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning. It’s not possible, he says, to keep windows and mirrors clean without one. “Homeowners constantly neglect to buy one and because of that they always have messy windows and mirrors in their homes.”

This squeegee with a silicone blade and foam handle is perfect for all your glass-cleaning tasks and is comfortable to use. It’s lightweight and convenient — and is said to work wonders on car windows. It even comes with two extra blades.


This Long-Handled Squeegee & Microfiber Mop For Cleaning Windows

If you are facing the task of cleaning lots of windows or big mirrors — especially ones that are too high to reach — this two-in-one window squeegee cleaner will make that job easy — possibly even fun. It has a removable, telescoping extension pole that reaches 62 inches and an attached microfiber cleaning cloth for sudsing up the surfaces.

“When you are cleaning windows and mirrors,” advises Pallares, “wipe them down with a sponge of soapy and hot water first. Afterward, swipe all the soap and water off with [the] squeegee.”


A Telescoping Duster That’s Made For Ceiling Fans

“Invest in a duster,” asserts Pallares. “Dusting hard-to-reach places such as ceiling fans, door headers, and upper cabinets is easier with a duster as opposed to hopping on a ladder and wiping it down with a cloth.”

This ceiling and fan duster extends from 27 to 47 inches to bring all those hard-to-reach places closer and has fluffy fibers that grab dust. The dusting head slides right over ceiling fan blades, too, so you don’t rain dust on your head.


This Super Long-Handled Duster For High Places

If you don’t have ceiling fans but do have high places that are dusty, this washable, extendable duster will reach shelves, fixtures, the top of the fridge, and other high places. It extends up to 100 inches. It collapses to 30 inches, though, so it will also sweep quickly over dressers, side tables, the TV, and closer surfaces. And it becomes electrostatically charged as you work so that it actually attracts dust.

Just be sure to follow Pallares’ advice: “Make sure you do all your dusting before cleaning the floors or else you will just give yourself more cleaning when the dust from higher areas falls.”


Some Dish Soap As A Versatile & Effective Cleaner

“We often overcomplicate cleaning by thinking [we] need to buy a whole bunch of different cleaning products,” says Pallares. “Most surfaces do not require an expensive multipurpose cleaner but simple dish soap.”

This concentrated biodegradable dish soap is derived from plants and is easy on your hands, surfaces, and the environment. And it makes your cleaning chores smell so good with the aromas of cardamom, eucalyptus, and balsam.


Extra Tip: The First Step Is Decluttering

According to Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO at AspenClean, you should make decluttering the first step in your housecleaning effort.

“Get rid of items you no longer use or need,” she says. “You can donate, sell, or recycle them.” After you get rid of everything you don’t want to keep, then you can get to organizing the things that are staying.


A Designated Place For Everything, Like Your Keys & Mail

After you have gotten rid of the stuff you don’t want, says Sokolowski, it’s prudent to corral the things you plan to keep. “Create a designated spot for everything,” she says. “Assign a spot for each item in your home and put everything back in its place after use.”

This mail and key rack is a great place to start. It will help prevent you from losing important mail or from ever frantically looking for your keys again. Hang it in a convenient spot near your entry and get in the habit of hanging keys, etc. on the six hooks and setting the mail on the shelf.


This Rack That Helps Stop Coat Clutter

Placing a coat rack near the entry is another solid method to create — and maintain — assigned places for your stuff. It will prevent the spread of jackets, bags, and hats throughout your house for a tidier feel. This wooden coat rack is minimalist, affordable, height adjustable, and easy to set up. It has eight hooks and comes in two finishes.


The Simple Organizers You Can Use All Over The House

Sokolowski suggests using small storage containers to help define where everything from toiletries to produce belongs. This inexpensive underwear organizer is perfect for so many items in so many places in the house — wherever you store things in drawers. Storage containers “will help you organize socks, underwear, bathroom products, food, and other small items,” she says.

“[There is] no need to spend much,” she adds. “And you can always recycle/reuse them for other purposes at some point.”


The Decorative Way To Stash Supplies

These apothecary jars, too, will create an organized, decorative, and accessible place to keep all the bathroom sundries you reach for often. They fit easily on small bathroom shelves or a corner of the vanity and come with clear and white labels that make it easy to designate which products go in what containers. This is a set of four, in two sizes.


These Bins For A More Organized Fridge

You do not have to tolerate the chaos that tends to reign in the fridge. These refrigerator bins let you organize everything from condiments to produce into dedicated bins and put a permanent stop to that. They make it so easy to prep a meal, too. Pull out all the condiments when making a sandwich or all the vegetables and cheeses when making a salad. This is eight bins — in two sizes — that will work wonders on your fridge and pantry.


The Hanging Organizer That Taps Vertical Space

Sokolowski recommends you utilize space that is going unused to bring order and increase your storage space. “Use hooks or a hanging shoe organizer to utilize the vertical space in your closet,” she says.

The slender shelves on this model quickly clean up the floor of the closet — and probably the bedroom — by providing ten slots for shoes, wallets, small bags, and other hard-to-store items.


This Over-Door Rack That Instantly Adds More Storage

This over-the-door organizer turns the back of a door into a decorative, high-capacity storage area by placing 14 hooks there. They are spaced to allow you to hang something on every one of them and installation could not be easier. Just hook it over the top of the door. It comes in two colors and two sizes.


The Smart Way To Store Bags & Purses

Handbags can be particularly difficult to store. But this purse organizer does it admirably by hanging them in easy reach while keeping them visible and clean. Just tuck the bag into the side to put it away and it won’t create clutter. It will also be ready — and not dusty — when you want to use it again.


These Spray Bottles For DIY Cleaning Solutions

You can save money and reduce clutter, according to Sokolowski, with one simple household hack. “Make your own cleaning products,” she says. “Vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice are cheap and effective. You can also have a look at [AspenClean's] natural cleaning products.”

House your DIY creations in these decorative amber glass spray bottles and your cleaning products will be inexpensive yet look chic. They have trigger-style nozzles that lock and adjust from a stream to a fine spray. They also come in blue.


A Shoe Rack & Bench That Helps The Entry Look Tidy

“Use a shoe rack!” asserts Sokolowski. “It can help keep your shoes organized and off the floor, making your space neater and more put together.”

This shoe rack bench also provides a spot to sit when you put your shoes on. Each shelf will hold four pairs. It’s made of bamboo and finished in your choice of three colors. It’s easy to assemble and everything you need is included.


This Drawer Organizer That Expands To Fit

Instead of tossing all your cooking tools or art supplies into a drawer and letting them fight it out for space, “use drawer organizers,” says Sokolowski. “Your drawers will stay tidy, and it will be easier to find what you need.”

This expandable drawer organizer is so versatile you can use it in almost any drawer. It expands from 13 inches to 20 inches, adding compartments as it gets wider. The water-resistant bamboo is pretty and easy to clean, too.


These Clever Dividers For Custom Dresser Drawers

In larger dresser drawers, these bamboo drawer dividers let you create customized compartments for your clothing. The spring-loaded dividers grip the drawers with rubberized feet and stay put as if they were custom-built right into the drawer.


These Shelves For A More Orderly Shower

“Use a shower caddy to store your shower essentials, which can help keep your shower area looking tidy,” says Sokolowski. This two-pack of adhesive-mount shelves creates a clean and useful spot for all your in-shower supplies. The shelves drain and have holes that allow you to store shampoo, liquid soap, and conditioner upside down for easy dispensing. They come in black and silver gray.


The Easier Way To Make The Bed

“Make your bed daily,” suggests Sokolowski. “It is a simple but effective way to make your bedroom look neater and more put together.” To make that task easier, this bed sheet tucker will snug the sheets under the mattress with no lifting or struggling on your part. And when getting those sharp sheet corners is this easy, you will want to make the bed.


This Chart To Keep Track Of Chores

Sokolowski recommends that you keep a cleaning schedule to maintain your tidy home once you get it that way. “Create a cleaning schedule and stick to it,” she says.

Use this dry-erase chore chart to track what needs to be done, by whom, and when it got done to keep yourself on track and help others in your home do the same. “This can help you stay on top of cleaning tasks and keep your home looking tidy,” she shares.


A Deshedding Brush That Helps Keep The House Cleaner

According to Jessica Samson, cleaning expert at The Maids, “Deshedding your pets at least once a day is one of the most clever things you can do to keep your house nice.”

Keep this deshedding tool somewhere convenient and spend a few minutes indulging your fur baby with it every day. Your pet will love it. It’s especially important to do this in the spring and fall, Samson says, because that’s when dogs and cats shed the most.

“Cleaning your home will become a lot simpler and easier if you do this often,” she adds. “We all adore our furry pals, but managing their hair shed will save you a ton of time cleaning your home, and leave it feeling nice.”


These Magic Erasers That Will Clean Almost Anything

Chris Willatt, founder at Alpine Maids, recommends stocking up on the good old Magic Eraser. They “offer homeowners 100s of uses,” he says, including “removing scuffs from walls, cleaning mirrors, removing adhesive residue, removing dried paint, removing rust spots, removing baked-on stains, cleaning dirty range hoods, and [they] can even polish silver and gold.”

They are very affordable and you just wet them and start scrubbing to get magical results, he says. “These sponges are perfect for everyday cleaning and can be used dozens of times before replacing.”


These Microfiber Cleaning Cloths That Are So Efficient

“Microfiber towels are great for cleaning surfaces in your home,” Willatt tells Bustle. They work well on kitchen counters, floors, bathrooms, and pretty much anywhere. This pack of 12 microfiber cleaning cloths is not only affordable but the big, thick cloths are ultra-soft, too.

They are “much better than cotton... which basically pushes around the dust without really picking it up,” Willatt adds, sharing that the “net structure of [microfiber towels] helps attract more dirt allowing you to capture more dust.” He also says they’re more absorbent than traditional cotton, which makes them a preferred choice when cleaning up spills.


The Gentle Cleaning Pad You Didn’t Know You Needed

Willatt is also a fan of white Scotch-Brite cleansing pads. “These small pads are great for cleaning surfaces you don't want to scratch,” he says. “Unlike some other sponges, they aren't abrasive and will clean your surface thoroughly.” These are best used to clean vinyl, porcelain, glass top stoves, and other delicate surfaces. The brand says they work especially well with a liquid detergent (i.e. dish soap).


This Simple Scrub Brush That Gets The Job Done

Get yourself a basic scrub brush suggests Willatt. “These brushes have been around for years and there is a reason why,” he says. “They work. [They] have stiff bristles and an ergonomic handle to allow you to get into grooves and tough spots for deep cleaning.”

Use yours to remove stains from bathtubs, sinks, backsplashes, and baked-on grease — anywhere that needs a good scrub. These are made with tough, durable bristles built to last. The handle is ergonomic so when the situation calls for elbow grease, it’s comfortable to go at it.

Willatt adds, “They are also great for cleaning grout because the bristles will get into the area between the tile.”


This Baking Soda Hack For A Fresh-Smelling House

Emma Rostron, general manager at UK cleaning service One Less Thing, offers baking soda as a brilliant, money-saving hack. “To keep your bathroom smelling fresh without spending a ton of money on air fresheners,” she says, “try using a bowl of baking soda instead. Just place a bowl of baking soda on your bathroom counter or in your linen closet to absorb any odors.”

Save even more money by buying your baking soda in this bulk bag that holds 1.25 pounds of the stuff. It’s food-grade with no fillers or additives, and has a satisfaction guarantee.


These Essential Oils That Make Affordable, Custom Air Fresheners

Once you have your bowl of baking soda installed, you can use it — with essential oils — to custom-scent your linens or bath. “Refresh the baking soda by adding a few drops of essential oil to it every few weeks,” says Rostron. “[This is] a simple and affordable way to keep your bathroom smelling clean and inviting.”

Stock up on scents with this set of six essential oils in a range of delicious botanicals including lavender, geranium, and eucalyptus. Mix and match to create your own blend for aromatherapy and beyond.


A Toilet Brush That Looks Nice In The Room

Rostron suggests — for keeping your bathroom clean and hygienic — that you invest in a high-quality toilet brush. “This might not seem like the most exciting purchase,” she explains, “but it's an essential tool for keeping your toilet bowl sparkling clean.”

Look for a brush with durable bristles that won't scratch the porcelain, she says. Consider this stainless steel toilet brush and holder that hides the brush from view rather elegantly, while keeping it — and any toilet water it might drip — off the floor. The brush features sturdy yet flexible bristles, and the holder is rust resistant.


This Microfiber Mop That Makes Cleaning Easier

Mathew Morris, the proud owner of Go Cleaners London, believes “[one] of the best budget-friendly cleaning tools you can invest in is a microfiber mop.”

This slender and easy-to-store version with a telescoping handle has changeable mop heads so you can pull off a dirty one, slap on a clean one, and keep right on cleaning. “These mops are reusable and washable, so you'll save money on disposable mop heads,” says Morris. “Plus, they're great for cleaning a variety of surfaces, including hardwood floors, tile, and laminate.”


A Set Of Nice-Looking Storage Bins For All The Clutter

“When it comes to maintaining a clean and tidy home, it's important to stay organized,” says Morris. “One budget-friendly way to do this is to use multi-purpose bins and baskets to store and organize your belongings in your cupboards, or even on side tables.”

This two-pack of storage baskets in neutral tones will blend right in. The handles make the contents easy to access and the bins are sturdy enough to stack. “They'll help you keep clutter at bay and make cleaning easier,” he says. These also look super stylish and come in three fabric styles.


These Small, Stacking Storage Bins For The Bathroom Or Office

The storage bin strategy works well in the office and bathroom as well. These small, stackable storage bins are the perfect tool for deploying that tactic. Use them to organize cosmetics, toiletries, supplements, office supplies, and more. They are clear so you can see what’s in them, have a handle on each side, and stack on a shelf or in a deep drawer.


The “Cleaning Powerhouse” That Is Vinegar

“White vinegar is a cleaning powerhouse,” according to Toby Schulz, CEO and co-founder at Maid2Match. “You can use it in a number of ways, to clean a variety of surfaces and items.” Mix equal parts of white cleaning vinegar with water to make your own all-purpose cleaner, which works especially well on windows and mirrors. This one is cleaning strength so it’s not suitable for use in food, but is people- and pet-friendly.

Vinegar “cuts through grease and loosens stuck-on food and grime,” Schulz says. “You can add a few drops of dish soap for more cleaning power.”


These Weird Cloths Instead Of Paper Towels

“Disposable tools are more convenient, but you’ll spend a lot when buying replacements over time,” says Schulz. “Reusable cloths, mop pads, and brushes are more sustainable, even if they take more effort.”

These Swedish dishcloths are great for replacing paper towels. They are absorbent, flexible, and slightly abrasive like a paper towel. But they are much sturdier and you can wash them and use them for years.


A Mop With A Built-In, Refillable Spray Bottle

Refillable products, too, will save you money in the long run, according to Schulz. They allow you to buy in bulk or make up your own DIY cleaning solutions. This spray mop with a built-in spray bottle is a super convenient way to deploy your product of choice. The refillable bottle is mounted to the mop and you can spritz the floor with your cleanser from a trigger in the handle.


This Refillable Cleaning System That Saves So Much Money

This all-purpose cleaning spray bottle with four refill tablets sets you up to clean for months without having to buy expensive cleansers or even mix up your own. Just drop a tablet — the starter kit comes with four — into the bottle and let it dissolve. It will create a lemon-scented cleaner that’s free of parabens, phosphates, ammonia, chlorine, VOCs, and phthalates.


Extra Tip: These Common Items Make Great Cleaning Tools

Shulz is a big believer in reusing common items and repurposing them for cleaning tasks. He suggests hanging onto your already-squeezed lemons and limes because “[they’re] great for deodorizing microwaves, fridges, and garbage disposals.” For microwave use he says to stick the lemon inside and zap it for a minute to get a fresh, clean scent.

He also recommends keeping spent dryer sheets. He says: “You can recycle them as dusting rags for baseboards, blinds, shelves, and screens. They have anti-static qualities that’ll help remove and repel dust from these surfaces.”


The Simple Toothbrush That Has So Many Uses

“Don’t toss your old toothbrush!” says Schulz. Even if it’s too worn for cleaning your teeth, those small brushes are great for a lot of other things. “Use an old toothbrush to clean shoes, sinks, faucets, and even light switches,” he says. “It’s also great for getting into nooks and crannies.”

So it’s a prudent move to stock these inexpensive bamboo toothbrushes that come out to less than a dollar apiece. The brushes in this pack of 12 are biodegradable so you won’t add plastic to the planet’s problems just to clean your shoes — or teeth.