Six tips for keeping pet messes under control. 

By Marla Christiansen
Updated October 31, 2018
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Organizer Shira Gill holding adorable puppy
Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography for Shira Gill Home

Pets have an undeniable talent for making us laugh and completely turning around a bad day, but these emotional perks don’t come without a serious investment. They may be cute, but these furry friends can also get messy. Coming home to a warm, cuddly friend not only means increased responsibilities but often a complete shift in your current lifestyle and your cleaning routine. Though having a pet may create some initial challenges, home organizing guru and new puppy parent Shira Gill proves that proper preparation is the key to keeping your trusty companion safe and happy while keeping you sane.

Follow these six tips to keep your home organized even with pets, then check out Gill's Instagram for even more tidying tricks and updates on her new puppy.

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Puppy eating food next to storage containers
Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography for Shira Gill Home

1 Ditch the Packaging

Rather than keeping everything in its original packaging, as it tends to be quite bulky and space-consuming, Gill recommends a pared-down storage solution. “We use large glass canisters with scoops and label stickers from The Home Sort to store puppy treats, dry food, and toys,” says Gill. Eliminating all packaging has an added bonus, Gill explains: “It creates a streamlined, cohesive look, and it’s easy to see when food or treats need to be replenished. A win-win!”

2 Leave the Dirt at The Door

Pets can’t help but track dirt and grime into the home, and when it’s raining…forget about it. Looking for a simple solution? “Stock a few clean towels and a pet cleaning glove (like this one!) in a convenient spot in your entry or mudroom,” Gill suggests. “A quick wipe-down will make a world of difference.” Add to that a high-quality doormat and a washable throw rug, which will help corral outside dirt before it even enters your home.

3 Containment Is Key

Preventing the spread of messes is essential to maintaining a tidy home. Mealtime in particular is an inherently sloppy affair. Gill’s smart fix? “Laying a placemat or tray under food and water bowls allows for an easy cleanup and keeps messes from soiling your floors or carpets.”

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Organizer Shira Gill Holding Puppy
Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography for Shira Gill Home

4 Keep Up With Grooming

Grooming your furry friends on the regular will decrease shedding hair and dander on clothing, floors, and furniture. “Set up a regular grooming schedule or outsource with your local groomer,” Gill says. She also recommends keeping the bathroom stocked with pet shampoo and grooming essentials for easy access. “A regular cleaning schedule will help ensure that hair and dirt don’t build up,” she explains.

Pet supplies in jars and basket
Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography for Shira Gill Home

5 Kick Clutter to the Curb

“Practice minimalist principles and invest in fewer, better things for your pets,” encourages Gill. Instead of splurging on all the latest toys, outfits, and gadgets, limit quantity and invest in quality.

Still have too many things to manage? “Donate any gently used items to your local animal shelter, and store the keepers into one centralized vessel—any bin, basket, or container will do the trick,” she advises.

Tidy living room with couch and rug
Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography for Shira Gill Home

6 Practice a Nightly Tidying Routine

There’s nothing like waking up to a clean home, especially on a busy morning. Gill’s secret: “Before you turn in for the night, practice the 5-minute-tidy to restore your home to its former glory. Gather up stray toys that have migrated all over your living spaces and return them to their home. Hang dog leashes and stow poop bags, put away grooming accessories, and rinse out food and water bowls.” This simple trick will keep you from having to scramble around the house for any misplaced items. “Think of it as an instant reset for your space” Gill says.