How to Become the Neat Freak You've Always Dreamed of Being

POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich
POPSUGAR Photography | Mark Popovich

If you've ever been inside the home of a neat freak, you were probably in awe of the sheer perfection of the place. Books lined up systemically, shoes in a perfect stack, and a remarkable shine from floor to ceiling. If you have aspirations of becoming a neat freak, or at least picking up a few tricks of the cleaning trade, look no further than these helpful tips below.

  1. Sort your bookshelf alphabetically or by cover color.
  2. Always store refrigerator food in the appropriate compartments.
  3. Make your bed every morning.
  4. Eliminate clutter.
  5. Give your items a "home." Designate a place where the keys go, where spare towels are stored, where sunglasses are kept, and don't deviate from this system so that you always know where everything is.
  6. Clean your fridge weekly. Throw out anything past its date, and use anything that is almost expired.
  7. Make to-do lists, schedules, and charts. For everything.
  8. Buy or make drawer dividers so that your underwear and socks do not cross the line into each other's territory.
  9. Follow the "something in, something out rule" — if you get something new, something old that you don't use anymore has to go.
  10. Containers are your best friends — use them excessively.
  11. Make cleaning enjoyable. Pick out cleaning products you like, turn on music while you work, or clean when you're stressed so that you feel accomplished.
  12. Organize your bathroom, and maintain your system on a daily basis.
  13. Always take out recycling and garbage the minute it is full or begins to smell, instead of waiting until it is overflowing or unbearably smelly.
  14. Store up, not out. Buy or build shelves instead of stuffing items into closets or under the bed.
  15. Never leave dishes unwashed in the sink. Do them as soon as you're done using them.
  16. Organize your pantry by food group or type (all cereals and snacks on one shelf, all cooking oils and spices on another shelf, for example).
  17. Dust the house from top to bottom weekly; do it more if you have pets that shed!
  18. Vacuum after you dust. Empty and clean out your vacuum bag if it needs it.
  19. Store clothing in drawers based on type (pants vs. tops) and season (Winter vs. Summer).
  20. Labels, labels, labels. Stick them onto everything you can, and follow their instructions!
  21. Wipe down counters before you cook, while you're cooking, and after you're done cooking.
  22. Enforce the "no shoes in the house" rule.
  23. Fold clothing and linens in a uniform and consistent way so that they all lay on top of each other seamlessly.
  24. Use an under-the-bed or closet storage system for things you don't need as often.
  25. Go paperless. Switch your bill payments to an online account, and input your legal document data on to a computer so that you can get rid of years worth of old papers.
  26. If you have kids or pets (or a messy significant other), then clean up after them as the mess is made rather than waiting to start until they are finished making it.
  27. Don't just wipe toilets, sinks, and tubs — SCRUB them.
  28. If you see something that needs to be cleaned or organized, don't wait — do it when you notice it.