ALL POSTS IN Cleaning & Organizing

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It’s Friday! And you know what that means? It’s time for another #HGTVWeekend and new, fun projects to cross off our list! Last #HGTVWeekend, we planted an adorable bundt pan succulent garden and relaxed in our very own at-home bathroom spa. It was fabulous!

This weekend, don’t forget to change your clocks as we spring forward into (hopefully) warmer weather and longer days. To honor this unofficial start of spring, the first March edition of #HGTVWeekend is focused on freshening up our homes and our daily routines for an effortless transition into this lovely new season.

If you try out these projects (or tackle some of your own), we want to hear from you! Tag your project photos #HGTVWeekend on Instagram and Twitter and we’ll share some of our favorites right here on Design Happens. And make sure to check back every Friday for more fun to-dos!

What we’re doing with our extra hour of sunlight this weekend:

Cook This: DIY Natural Home Scents

Have you ever put dinner in the slow cooker in the morning and came home to its delicious scent filling the entire house? For this project, HGTV Crafternoon’s Marianne Canada combines natural ingredients like grapefruit and sage in a slow cooker for incredible home scents made from grocery store basics.

How to Make These Scents, Plus More Fun Projects

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Oh hi! I’m Carley, the Home Technology girl for HGTV.com. I’m mildly obsessed with helping people improve their relationship with technology, and how they live with all the gadgets in their lives. Basically, in the Venn diagram where tech and home meet, that’s where you’ll find me, you know?

I’m new here at Design Happens, and I’m ready to answer any of your questions about tech— fire away!

Carley Knobloch, HGTV Tech Expert and Digital Stylist

Carley Knobloch

For my first post, I’d like to talk about an affliction that used to plague the living rooms of yesteryear: Ugly, bulky speakers. Take yourself back a few years, and remember what your family room set-up was like. Do you see a pair of big, black, bulky boxes, hulking near your television and busting up your beautiful decor? Or maybe you’re STILL looking at those boxes today, and thinking, I just. Can’t. Take it. Anymore. And don’t get me started about the miles of cables… not pretty.

Thankfully, speakers have gotten a major makeover: They’re slimmer, hipper, and have a serious case of wanderlust. They’re free to roam from room to room, adorning desktops, walls, shelves and bedside tables like beautiful objets, and they come in colorways to fit any room’s style.

Most wireless speakers work with Bluetooth technology, which connects your phone (and the music apps on it) to the speaker, allowing you to broadcast your favorite music somewhere between 15 and 30 feet away. Other speakers use WiFi (both speaker and mobile device connect to your home’s router), which has better range and better audio quality, but it can sometimes be a bit challenging to set up, and not all systems offer it as an option.

Either way, there are many beautiful options that makes these speakers a bona fide part of your room’s design story. Here are a few of my favorites:

Wireless Speakers That Aren't Ugly -- HGTV Design Happens

Oree Pebble Speaker

1. Oree Pebble: The austere Oree pebble, available in walnut and white marble, looks like a minimal paperweight. It’s got a Bluetooth speaker inside, and can also wireless charge your smartphone. It would look fabulous in a minimal, modern space.

Wireless Speaker in Beachfront Bedroom

Clio Acrylic Bluetooth Speaker

2. Clio Bluetooth Speaker: If you’re lucky enough to have a bedroom with this ocean view, a speaker would junk it up, no matter how pretty it was! The Clio Bluetooth speaker uses a curved piece of clear acrylic to broadcast great sound while still letting the view shine through.

3 More Stylish Speaker Solutions

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Can you believe we’re already two full months into 2015? The year is flying by and we’re diving into spring whether Mother Nature is playing along or not.

If you’re using Pinterest (and you’re following us, right?), allow us to kick-start your March inspiration with some of our most popular pins for this time of year.

St. Patrick’s Day

No surprise here. March is full of the luck of the Irish. From cocktails to crafts, there are lots of ways to get festive for St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s make sure you don’t get pinched.


1. DIY Felt Shamrock Craft 
2. Create a Leprechaun Garden
3. ‘Kiss Me I’m Irish’ Cocktail Recipe
4. Shamrock Garden Stones Craft

Garden Goodness

Snow days are fun and all, but boy are we ready to start digging in the dirt. The days of freshly picked tomatoes and strawberry shortcakes can’t come soon enough and these popular pins prove it.


1. 20 New Plant Varieties For Spring Gardens
2. How to Start an Edible Spring Garden
3. Create and Care for a Lavender Hedge
4. How to use Evergreens for Privacy

Spring Organizing

Along with spring cleaning comes spring organizing, especially in the rooms where we spend the most time. Neat and tidy kitchens, laundry rooms and mudrooms are getting lots of re-pin love this month.


1. 22 Mudroom and Storage Decorating Ideas
2. Genevieve Gorder at Home with HGTV Magazine
3. Inside Vern’s Dog-Friendly Home
4. Laundry Room of Smart Home 2013

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Hampers

There’s nothing in the world my dog loves more than lying in a pile of dirty laundry. Unfortunately, I’m not a dog, so mountains of dirty laundry only serve to gross me out, take up space and remind me what a bad housekeeper I am.

I’ve made it my mission to search far and wide for the most fab, stylish, chic hampers out there to help tame the dirty laundry monster that always seems to live right next to my bed, on my bathroom floor, and if I’m being really honest, on my closet floor, too.

1. Provence Laundry Hamper. Is this a bedside table? A side table? Spoiler alert: NO! It’s actually a hamper cleverly hidden inside a piece of furniture. #genius

2. Charcoal Felt Hamper. This hamper makes me think about neckties, dress shoes and Leonardo DiCaprio yelling “Act as if…!” from Wolf of Wall Street. It’s a pretty swank spot for your dirty socks.

3. Elephant Hamper. Sometimes if I’m having a bad day I’ll type “best friends elephants” into YouTube and spend 20 minutes smile-crying while watching sweet elephant videos. This hamper makes me smile the exact same way.

4. Aqua Herringbone Hamper. Bring a little cheer to the misery that is the spin cycle with this bright, bohemian-chic African basket, or store your snake/belly dancing supplies in it. Whatever works.

5. Round Commercial Hamper. This hamper captures the industrial-chic spirit with the ease of wheels. This would be particularly helpful if, like me, your laundry needs to be collected from all corners of your home.

6. Stainless/Leather Hamper. This is clearly the Rolls Royce of all hampers. If I owned one of these bad boys, I’d probably put it in the middle of my living room floor for everyone to see rather than hidden in a closet corner. It might be the most beautiful hamper I’ve ever seen in my life.

Which one suits your design style? Let us know in the comments.

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Every year over the winter holidays I do a major purge and winter cleaning while I’m off from work. Knowing I’ll be trapped inside for much of the next few months makes me want to organize and create a more cozy, inviting home. I hit all the major areas: the living room, bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom. An intense scrub-down does wonders, but there are lots of other ideas for creating order and a freshened-up look that really help, too.

If you’ve made New Year’s resolutions to organize your home I thought I’d share some of what I do and more of HGTV’s tips and tricks.

sabrina soto cleaning

Sabrina Soto shows us how it’s done.

1. Clean

First off: take advantage of any cleaning urges you get! I tackle one room at a time so a whole-house cleaning doesn’t seem too overwhelming. If for some reason you lose initiative, tackle the next room the next day. Gather everything you’ll need for cleaning in a bucket or cart. I’ve got a little cleaning caddy that holds all the sprays, cloths and sponges so I can carry it from room to room. It’s a huge help.

2. Purge!

As you’re picking up clothes, putting away all those odds and ends that pile, and stacking magazines and books, set aside the things that you haven’t used over the past few months. For me, if I didn’t (or my kids didn’t) wear a piece of clothing the previous season, out it goes! Donate any books that you know you’ll never read again. Cut out and file away the pictures from magazines that you want to keep (or find that article you love online and bookmark it) and recycle the rest. File away any bills and see if there are any old ones that can now be shredded.

3. Everything in Its Place

Once you’ve made space in your closet and cabinets and drawers, you should have some more room for what you’re going to keep. I worked in clothing stores when I was younger and still love the look of a well-folded stack of clothes. (Perfectionists can even steal the store’s trick: folding boards.) You’ll be surprised to find out how much more likely you are to keep up a nice looking closet than a messy one. I found that I am probably going to need more storage, so I’m looking at something like this media console for my bedroom. I love that it has doors to hide messier necessities.

4. Update Accessories

If you haven’t done so already, swap out some of your lighter accessories for cozy winter ones. Thick blankets, fluffy pillows, shag rugs: this is the stuff winter design is made of, so take advantage! If you want to be very of-the-moment, add Pantone’s Color of the Year to your home with a throw pillow or flower vase. Even something as simple as installing an additional towel rack in the bathroom made the difference for me. Winter white sales can also give you a chance to update your bedding to give your whole room a fresh feel.

5. Lighting

Winter blues are no joke, but you can combat them with good lighting. If you’ve got overhead lighting, adding a table lamp makes a huge difference. Believe it or not, spring lines are coming out now. While the snow falling outside may contradict the timing, brand new lighting is good any time of year. Faceted bases and metallics are still going strong. If you go for a classic shape, it’ll look good all year long.

While I’m not big on resolutions that I can’t keep, organizing my home is one that I love to have. What about you? Do you have any resolutions for your home this year? Let me know in the comments.

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Finding creative storage solutions is always a little bit exciting for me. I know it may sound sort of nerdy, but an organized linen closet and some perfectly-sized bins is enough to make my day. When everything has a place in my home, I feel like my mind is clear and I can move on to more fun and creative things. As I am wrapping up all the decorating for my baby girl’s room, I wanted to come up with a way to store her sweet little clothes, but have them easily accessible. That’s when I thought of creating a clothing rack DIY, perfect for kids! Using galvanized steel pipes (surprisingly affordable at local hardware stores) I was able to easily design and construct a children’s clothing rack that could display clothes now, and maybe some dress-up tutus as she grows. This is one DIY that I am very excited about and proud of how easy it is to make!

Let’s Get Started

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As a crafty person, the holidays are like my Olympics. By the time everything is done, my workspace looks like I hosted some kind of very wholesome rave. Glitter, bits of paper, and other supplies are strewn about and I can’t find a dang thing. Clearly I’m in need of some organizational help, but if you know me you know it still has to be pretty. So today I spruced up some boring black office supplies with a little paint and colorful embroidery thread. Check out the video below:

With office supplies like these I almost look forward to tidying up! Do you have any organizing projects on deck for the new year?

Office Supply Spruce Up

In the mood for more projects like this one? Catch up with Marianne on the HGTV Crafternoon page.

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New Year’s resolutions are all about reflecting on the past year and making strides to a better and more successful year to come. I generally set the same goals: exercise patience, be more active, use my bike more to get around, travel somewhere new, etc. I’m generally pretty good about following through, but sometimes it’s difficult to get started. We all need some “finspiration” every now and then to kick things off. Start out with these:

Get Moving and Stay Moving

Home Gym

Create your own home gym with inspiration from HGTV.com:

Peaceful, Serene Exercise Rooms
Put a Gym Anywhere in Your Home
Home Gyms for Him
Spa-Inspired Master Bathroom With a Home Gym
Step Into Actor Mario Lopez’s Exercise Space

Do Activities You Love, or Try Something New

Yoga Space

Check out these inspiring designs for creating an at-home yoga space:

Outdoor Yoga Pavilion by Jamie Durie
Tranquil Yoga Room by Brian Patrick Flynn
Asian-Inspired Yoga Space by Andreas Charalambous
Meditation + Yoga Room by Lori Dennis

Try Out Yummy, Healthy Recipes

Chicken-Stuffed Pitas

Dive into our favorite healthy recipes:

Garden Vegetable Soup
Curried Butternut Squash Soup
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts With Cranberries + Pine Nuts
Chicken-Stuffed Pitas
Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts With Toasted Walnuts
Roasted Butternut Squash With Sage + Pumpkin Seeds
Taleggio Crostini With Apple + Thyme Honey
Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

More Resolution-Friendly Ideas

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I’m a big fan of both spring and fall cleaning sprees in my home. There’s nothing more refreshing than moving into the harsher seasons (winter and summer) with a crisp, clean space. And doesn’t your mind feel clearer when everything is organized and in its spot? Before you crank on the heat, check out this quick and easy to-do list to improve your home’s design and your feeling of well-being from Susan G. Komen®. Plus, it’s just one more thing to tackle before company arrives for the holidays!

First: Unclutter

Organized Home Office

Organized Home Office

It’s easy to let paper clutter get out of control. Unclutter your home to unclutter your mind. Create a space to keep personal information organized, whether it’s a chic filing system or hidden closet storage.

Second: Add Color

Blue and Yellow Home Office

Green Living Room

Every color affects your mood to some degree; it’s called color psychology. Yellow is often associated with happiness, while a hue like sapphire blue packs a more dramatic and powerful punch. Try a burst of color in an unexpected place — like on an accent wall, bookshelf back or mirror frame — for an emotional lift.

Third: Inspire Conversation

Eclectic Living Room

Cottage Living Room

One of the most important things about a living room is the way the furniture is arranged, especially if you expect to host friends and family regularly or even during the upcoming holiday season. Creating a balanced setup will inspire conversation among guests.

We are Susan G. Komen® — a force united by a promise to end breast cancer. For over 30 years we’ve led the way funding groundbreaking research, community health initiatives and advocacy programs in local communities across the U.S. With your help, we’ll continue pushing for progress to end breast cancer, until it’s a thing of the past.

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Remember that amazing slide-out kitchen pantry featured back in July? It might still be the best kitchen storage idea I’ve come across, but this super smart space-saving pantry runs a really close second. Just look at all that storage, and it barely takes up any space in the house. Wouldn’t it be cute painted in a fun pattern? And I would finally have the space to stock a well-supplied pantry!

space-saving pantry

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I don’t know about you, but if my workspace is a mess, I can’t get any work done. My mind is so busy stressing over the tangled electrical cords and endless piles of magazines that I lose focus on the task at hand. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for home office organization ideas. If your home office is in need of some organizational TLC, try one of our tips:

Organize and Store Electrical Cords
Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into cubbies with scraps of cardboard. Label each section so you won’t confuse cords, and decorate the cardboard with scrapbook paper to keep your space looking chic.

Desk Cord Organizer
Install Open Shelving
Rather than piling magazines and books on your desk, install easy-access shelving to keep your materials at hand. Opt for sleek shelving that matches your office so your storage remains stylish.

Office Shelving
Use Mason Jars as Cubbies
Organize your writing utensils by keeping them in mason jars on your desk. Mason jars are trendy and inexpensive.

Mason Jar Desk Organization

At Comfort Suites® hotels, we’re committed to your success. Spread out in our large contemporary suites and wake up refreshed with a free hot breakfast full of choices. Enjoy free high speed internet access and a 24 hour business center to meet all your office needs. Best of all, it’s provided with friendly service at a reasonable price. Learn more about the amenities or book your stay today.

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I don’t know about you, but if my workspace is a mess, I can’t get any work done. My mind is so busy stressing over the tangled electrical cords and endless piles of magazines that I lose focus on the task at hand. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for home office organization ideas. If your home office is in need of some organizational TLC, try one of our tips:

Organize and Store Electrical Cords
Keep unruly cords organized by using media boxes that are divided into cubbies with scraps of cardboard. Label each section so you won’t confuse cords, and decorate the cardboard with scrapbook paper to keep your space looking chic.

Desk Cord Organizer
Install Open Shelving
Rather than piling magazines and books on your desk, install easy-access shelving to keep your materials at hand. Opt for sleek shelving that matches your office so your storage remains stylish.

Office Shelving
Use Mason Jars as Cubbies
Organize your writing utensils by keeping them in mason jars on your desk. Mason jars are trendy and inexpensive.

Mason Jar Desk Organization

At Comfort Suites® hotels, we’re committed to your success. Spread out in our large contemporary suites and wake up refreshed with a free hot breakfast full of choices. Enjoy free high speed internet access and a 24 hour business center to meet all your office needs. Best of all, it’s provided with friendly service at a reasonable price. Learn more about the amenities or book your stay today.

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I believe home organizers have a seasonal cycle.

At the beginning of the year, online organization tips spike and a couple of months later, it’s spring cleaning season. So it makes sense that now, our audience loves finding new ways to use old things…as in stuff they couldn’t bear to toss.

Whether it’s for an environmental or a sentimental conviction, upcycling is a creative way to justify keeping old stuff.

Upcycling Ideas from HGTV Design Happens

In a few months, we’ll be organizing closets again for fall. This will likely be followed by a thorough cleaning in preparation for the holidays. Then, perhaps the unused items can be upcycled into Christmas gifts.

Just know, if you don’t use it or toss it, this stuff will keep cycling through the seasons.

How do you stay organized? Let us know or just keep clicking

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Okay everyone, I have a confession to make: until a week ago, we didn’t own a working lawn mower. Thanks to our assortment of spring flowers, we got by for a while on the excuse that our yard was “cottage style.”

But then a storm came through in the middle of the night. We woke up to a yard full of scattered tree branches and flower petals. On top of that, it seemed like the rain caused the grass (and weeds) to shoot up two feet! With visions of Cinco de Mayo festivities dancing in our heads, we knew it was time to clean outside of the house. With help from a dear friend, we are now proud owners of a fully-functional lawn mower and a tidy lawn.

If you’re like us and have been neglecting your yard, now is the perfect time to give it a makeover just in time for summer – barbecue season, anyone?

Start with the gutters. The rule of cleaning from top to bottom still applies outdoors. Cleaning the gutters will remove any debris that built up over winter.

More Outdoor Cleaning Tips

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With warmer days ahead, now is the time for closet organization. Online readers are searching for organizing shortcuts and stylish storage. Let’s face it, switching out a seasonal wardrobe can get ugly, especially if you have kids. It IS possible to make any closet or storage space stylish and functional.

 Closet organization tips and tricks from the experts at HGTV's Design Happens

When I’m organizing closets for a seasonal overhaul, it is a minimum two-day, 4-step process: wash, toss, store and stock.

Step 1: Wash/Dry Clean Winter Coats, Snow Gear and Sweaters.
Step 2: Toss Old, Unused or Outgrown Clothing.
I trash the bad and donate the good. When I was a stay-at-home mom with infants and toddlers, who outgrow clothing several times every season, I participated in children’s consignment sales. This is a great way to cash in on old clothes in order to buy a wardrobe in the next size. Here in Knoxville, we’re getting ready for the Duck Duck Goose event, the largest children’s consignment sale in the region.
Step 3: Store Cold-Weather Clothing. Early spring weather is unpredictable, so as a rule of thumb, I keep boxes of winter clothes accessible until Mother’s Day weekend. This is where stylish storage comes in handy.
Step 4: Stock Warm-Weather Clothing. Before organizing closets, make a list of everything you need for spring and summer. As you load up shelves, closets and drawers, take inventory so you can formulate a detailed shopping list. Knowing exactly what you have and what you need is essential for staying on a budget.

Even when it feels daunting, stay the course. Good closet organization is always worth the effort because it’s an everyday time-saver and the best way to greet the first warm, sunny days.

How do you organize closets for the changing seasons?

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Can you believe Tax Day is almost here? Yes, it’s true – somewhere between building that raised bed and decorating all those Easter eggs, we’re less than two weeks away from the April 15 deadline.

Preparing your tax return can be chaotic, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping important papers organized year-round can help you spend less time scouring your file cabinet and more time planning your Tax Day shopping spree (you know you’ve been browsing the sales).

Browse clever ideas for banishing paper clutter from HGTV.com's blog, Design Happens.

SPRING PROJECT: Upcycle Your File Cabinet

Start with the mail. It’s easy to let the mail stack up, and somehow even easier for unread letters to make rounds through every room of the house and get lost. Since it’s not always possible or practical to deal with the mail as soon as you walk in the door, create a system for sorting the mail that works for you – it doesn’t matter when or where, but a consistent routine will help you stay on top of things.

More Ways to Curb Paper Clutter

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We love music in my household. In fact, my roommates and I have a speaker in just about every room of the house. They help us power through our chores whether it’s tackling piles of laundry, scrubbing the tub or vacuuming – we do a lot of vacuuming.

Spend more time dancing and less time dusting with Design Happen's spring cleaning playlist.

With March finally underway, I want to kick off spring cleaning season by sharing a couple of playlists to help you breeze through your household tasks. Categorized by cleaning mood with everything from today’s pop hits to ‘80s power ballads, you’re sure to find something to get you motivated.

You can listen to the entire mix here, or read on for the individual playlists.

More House Cleaning Music

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