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The humble broom closet—staple of even the most modern houses, but often one left woefully neglected.

Even the most diligent of homeowners tend to let their broom closets fall victim to misuse and disarray. A lot of them wind up being a home for grocery bags you plan on reusing, coats you haven’t work in forever, or some combination thereof.

All is not lost, though! Broom closets are pretty easy to whip back into shape even if you have a dozen brooms you need to get stored in there. If you want to make your broom closet work a little harder for you, check out these easy tips for cleaning a broom closet:

 

Spread out

Broom closets, true to their name, tend to be designed with a focus on smaller cleaning supplies such as thin brooms, with a few shelves here and there for things like dusting sprays and cleaning wipes. If this is the case for yours, consider spreading out a little. Bulkier items like vacuums and heavier brooms could go down in the basement or out in the garage where you can still get to them but they’re not causing a much bigger mess. Try to pare down your broom closet to the smallest stuff you can get away with that will still help with whatever cleaning needs you might encounter.

 

Declutter the shelves

Speaking of those shelves, you might want to take a look and see what you can get rid of. Stuff like dusting spray and cleaning fluids can have an expiration date, so now could be a good opportunity to toss out anything that’s past its usefulness. For everything left, make yourself a system for organizing it all—try to sort them by how often you use them or how big/intrusive they are, and if you have a lot of stuff you need to keep in there you might want to consider using a kitchen pantry organizer to keep it all straight and tidy.

 

Hang around

When it comes to brooms and mops, more vertical storage is never a bad thing. Their length and shape lend themselves to being stored upright more easily than a lot of other cleaning supplies, and you can make this work for you. On the back wall of your broom closet, hang up some tool racks or wall hooks to dangle your brooms and dustpans from. This will help keep them close at hand and free up a little more floor space for anything else you want to store in there, even if it’s just that ratty old pair of boots you wear when it’s cleaning time.

 

Designate spaces

To make sure your broom closet can store everything you need it to and to prevent the mess from getting out of hand again later, you should make sure everything has a specific zone to go back into. Take some electrical tape and mark off spaces for everything: brooms go here, dustpans go here, cleaning cloths go up here, and so on. It’ll help you start a better routine for putting everything away and help your closet stay much cleaner as time goes on.

 

See what space is left

Finally, after all the essentials are tidied up and accounted for, you can take a look around and see if you can fit anything else in there. This might be a good time for a shoe rack, coat hooks, or just some over the door storage for seasonal clothes you won’t need for a while or any kitchen supplies you don’t have the room for elsewhere.

 

Follow these steps and you should have a much cleaner broom closet—and, better yet, one you can actually use!

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