This article is for everyone who lives in a small space and cleans that small space. So, hopefully, that means everyone who lives in a small space. Cleaning is crucial, and to clean well, you need a good set of cleaning products and tools. But that can take up a lot of space, and suddenly your closet is full of cleaning supplies and nothing else. Which is a problem if you don’t have a lot of closet or cupboard space.
So it’s Melissa (me!) to the rescue for everyone living in smaller spaces. Today we’re talking about storage solutions for small spaces when it comes to cleaning supplies. And we’re going to talk about everything you need to assemble the perfect, easy-to-store cleaning kit for your small space.
Cleaning Tools for Floor Care
Let’s start with the biggest, bulkiest cleaning tools out there. I’m talking about vacuums and mops! They can take up a lot of space, especially if you don’t have a lot of space, to begin with. In smaller spaces, you want to find the best multipurpose tools you can to get the most cleaning action while saving you storage space (and money). So let’s get into it.
Flat Head Mops
These are a must-have for small spaces. They are a double-duty tool since you can use them wet or dry. This means you don’t need a broom, saving you space! If you don’t already own a flat head mop, I recommend the Maker’s Mop. It’s super versatile and has a 360° pivot head, which makes it great for getting into small spaces.
Storage Tip: The slim design of a flat head mop makes it easy to keep in the back of a coat closet or squeeze in next to your washer and dryer. Hang your mop on the closet wall with clip grips or a command hook to maximize your storage space.
Care and Maintenance: Wash your mop heads after each use. Especially if you did a wet mop, wash them soon after use to avoid bacteria and mold. Most can be machine washed, so throw them in on a cold cycle with detergent (no fabric softener) and toss them in the dryer, without a dryer sheet, for best results. Always check manufacturer instructions before washing!
When you go to use your flat head mop, check out my article, DIY Floor Cleaners (Hardwood, Laminate, & Vinyl), for great DIY recipes to tackle any type of floor.
Small vacuums are great space savers. I would recommend the Dyson V6 Absolute for small spaces. It comes with a ton of handy tools that can be used to tackle a variety of cleaning tasks, making the Dyson V6 the ultimate multipurpose tool. The longer attachments help with cleaning the floors, while smaller attachments can be used for cleaning upholstery or tackling dusting up high. If a Dyson isn’t in the budget, look into a stick vacuum. They’re very slim, and you can supplement attachments with small tools, like a lint roller, for cleaning upholstery.
I often get asked if small spaces really need vacuums. My answer is yes, simply because vacuums are key to removing dust and other debris from a space, which dry mopping or sweeping just won’t do. But a stick vacuum and a flat head mop will do just fine.
For more vacuum options, check out Which Dyson Vacuum Should You Buy? I go over each Dyson vacuum, what kind of space it’s good for, and pricing!
Storage Tip: Many small space vacuums can be purchased with docking stations, meaning they can be hung up in a closet and left to charge while not in use. For any accessories that come with your vacuum, store them in a small basket to keep them neat and organized, and keep this in the closet with your vacuum for easy access.
Care and Maintenance: Be sure to check the attachments after each use to make sure nothing is getting clogged or tangled in there. Regularly empty the canister and replace any bags or filters as needed. And always make sure to charge it after each use, so it’s ready the next time you need it.
Cleaning Kit Tools
There are so many cleaning tools out there, but let’s start with the basics and go over the type of tools you’ll definitely want to have on hand. The great thing about most of these tools is that they are easy to maintain and are inexpensive to replace.
This is great for heavy-duty jobs, namely for tackling things like the shower or grout lines. It’s a multifunctional tool, and with its small size, it’s easy to store anywhere.
Always have two sponges on hand at all times; one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom (to avoid cross-contamination). I prefer having double-sided sponges in my cleaning kit because I can use the soft side for things like dishes and wiping counters and the abrasive side for stuck-on foods or soap scum. It goes without saying, but replace your sponges when they start to look dingy.
Dish and Sink Brush
When it’s time to do the dishes, a dish and sink brush will come in handy. You can also use it for other jobs; just give it a good clean between uses.
I love having cleaning toothbrushes on hand. I always pick up a few extra whenever I’m at the dentist. They are helpful for smaller, detailed jobs or for getting into hard-to-reach places. As with sponges, keep one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen.
A Skrapr is always handy to have because it can be used to clean all types of messes on a variety of surfaces without scratching. I tend to use it most to remove burnt/caked-on food that always finds its way onto my glass cooktop.
For disposing of any trash you collect in the space. It’s a good idea to keep a trash can in the most common areas, like the kitchen and bathroom, and always put a bag in to avoid sticky messes from happening.
Some cleaning tasks should not be done with bare hands, especially if the product used can be irritating to the skin. Rubber gloves will protect your skin from cleaning chemicals, bacteria (especially for bathroom cleaning), and even from dry skin caused by doing dishes.
Squeegees are the ultimate multipurpose tool. You can use them for cleaning tile and glass (read The Ultimate Weekly Bathroom Cleaning Checklist) and to lift pet hair off carpets, bedding and upholstery.
Care and Maintenance: After using your tools, be sure to wash and clean them thoroughly. You’ll want to let them air dry to keep them from getting moldy or deteriorating.
Storage: Find a little basket and designate it for your cleaning kit. This basket can be stored in the back of a cupboard or at the bottom of a closet, so everything is accessible but out of sight.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloths
Microfiber cloths can be used on virtually any surface and come in different textures and sizes. You can use them for dusting, polishing, and cleaning glass or electronics. They are easy to maintain and last up to 500 washes with the proper care.
These cloths replace the need for paper towels for cleaning most surfaces. And if the time comes for your cloth to bite the dust (see what I did there), they are an affordable investment. There are three different cloths I like keeping on hand:
Heavy-Duty Polishing Cloths
These are good for larger cleaning jobs that require a delicate touch. You’ll need one, maybe two of these. From Maker’s Clean, I recommend The Duo Cloth. It’s the ultimate multipurpose tool because it has two unique sides–one to buff and one to use as a general-purpose microfiber cloth.
Glass and Electronics Cloth
It’s important to have a microfiber cloth made specifically to use on screens, windows, and mirrors. I keep one or two Glass and Electronics Flat-Weave Cloths around the house at all times.
General Purpose Cloths
These are the ones you need the most of since they can be used on any surface to clean, buff, and dry it. I like to use two for dusting, one for the bathroom, one for the kitchen, and keep a few extras on hand as needed. The General Purpose Microfiber Cloths from Maker’s Clean are available in a two-pack and a five-pack.
If your house is anything like mine, we rotate our tea towels pretty regularly. We use them to dry dishes, as mats to air dry larger pots and pans, and to dry our hands. Having a few extra gives you the option to change it out every few days without accumulating a huge pile of laundry. I like to have six tea towels at home since I’ll likely be using two at a time. That way, I don’t have to launder them right away.
Care and Maintenance: Wash with cold water using detergent (do NOT use fabric softener!). Fabric softener ruins the porousness of the cloths, affecting their ability to absorb liquids and attract dust. Tumble dry as you usually would. Avoid using dryer sheets since the static helps to trap and lock dust.
Storage: I keep mine in the cupboard above the stove. A basket or reusable bag also works well and can be kept above your laundry machines, under your kitchen counter, or under the bathroom sink. I highly suggest folding them since it will save space and make things look a lot more organized.
In terms of cleaning, paper towels are typically used for quick clean-ups, for cleaning areas you wouldn’t want to use your cloths on (i.e., they might get stained), or for things that would lead to the spread of bacteria. I use paper towels for cleaning the toilet, quick spills and messes, and outdoor cleaning. Since we are talking about small spaces, buy small packs only, unless you have storage space for it. Buying Costco-sized packs makes no sense in a small space! They are difficult to store, end up being huge and bulky, and can be replaced by microfiber cloths for most jobs.
Cleaning Kit Products
As many of you know, I am a big fan of making my own products. If you stock these basics (many of which double as pantry items), you’ll be able to whip up any cleaning solution you’d need and not have to worry about storing tons of bottles!
In fact, many of these I suggest making right before use only, so you don’t need to store products long term, just the ingredients. Ideally, keep three empty spray bottles on hand for use when you need them, and be sure to label each bottle, so you know what it is.
- Dish soap
- Laundry detergent
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Essential oils
I have tons of free articles on how to make your own DIY cleaning products, like Save Money with These 7 DIY Cleaners and The Best DIY All-Purpose Cleaner. Or, if you’re a cleaning fiend, check out my printable, 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes.
Storage Solutions for Small Spaces
In small spaces, finding the right place to keep everything can be a bit tricky. But, I have a few suggestions that will help you find the best way to optimize your space.
1) Keep a small bucket in the washing machine area for dirty cloth storage. You don’t want to leave dirty cloths sitting for days on end, but it helps to consolidate them for when you are done cleaning and ready to run a cycle.
2) Place a small enclosed basket either on top of the washing machine or under the kitchen sink to store cleaning tools and supplies that DON’T belong in the bathroom. If you have extra space and can store some in the bathroom, do it. If not, keep the sponges and brushes for the bathroom in a separate container, so you aren’t cross-contaminating (labeling helps here!). I like the enclosed basket so that you can use the container as a makeshift bucket if needed. Otherwise, a cleaning caddy would also be a great solution.
3) If you have space in the bathroom, put a small container in the cupboard to store items that would only be used in the bathroom. You don’t want to be spreading germs and bacteria by mixing up bathroom-only tools with those used in the kitchen or other areas.
4) The area under your sink is always an ideal space for DRY cleaning products and tools to be stored.
Small Space Storage Solutions and Cleaning Kits!
Being minimalistic about your cleaning needs means you can pack a cleaning punch without having to break the bank or use all your available storage. Remember, multipurpose tools are your best friends, always consolidate products in baskets or containers, and whip up your DIY cleaners as needed.
If you live in a small space, which I’m assuming you do since you made it to the end of this article, check out my other articles for small spaces like 7 Secrets for Organizing Small Spaces and Small Spaces Weekly Cleaning Routine.