Trying to cut the clutter which accumulates in the average family home is tricky at the best of times. It just seems to grow and grow on a daily basis! There are plenty of Experts out there waiting to help and the fantastic BHG (Better Homes and Gardens) site has been busy asking for their suggestions. Here are my top 10 picks of their answers to common problems:
- Target your efforts : Avoid zigzag organizing. Scattering your efforts over multiple rooms prevents you from seeing progress. For visible, dramatic results, work one room at a time, one section at a time, completing each area before you move on to the next.
— Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out
Slip a slim step stool inside the linen closet so you can easily make use of the top shelves. If you can’t reach it, you won’t use it.
— Jamie Novak, author of Stop Throwing Money Away
- Clean Out and Donate Go through toys with your child before birthdays and holidays. Have a donation station always available for kids to put toys when they have decided they are tired of them.– Lorie Marrero, author of The Clutter Diet
If you earmarked something for donation, take it directly to your car. Items ‘waiting’ for a trip to the charitable drop-box linger, grow, and mutate into a mountain of clutter.
— Susan Pinsky, author of The Fast and Furious Five-Step Organization Solution
— Stacey Platt, author of What’s a Disorganized Person to Do?
5. Mail Sort
Keep a folder labeled “Tax Documents” where you sort your mail. As statements come in, slip them into the folder. When tax time comes, everything you need is in one spot.
— Meredith Schwartz, Penelopeloveslists.com
— Amanda Catalanotto, professional organizer
7. Good Looks
You can’t hide all clutter, but you can contain it. Look at where it collects and set up attractive ways to deal with it. Place a large bowl on the kitchen counter to collect keys. Leave a big basket by the door for shoes. Check discount stores and office supply houses for patterned folders for storing bills — or wicker, fabric, and leather boxes to match your decor.
— Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer: A to Z Storage Solutions
8. Book It
Create an instant room divider by placing bookshelves back to back as storage for collections, dishes, and, of course, books.
— Nancy Peham, professional organizer
9. Open Areas
The dining table is often the place where family members spread out projects. With the right organization, it can still be ready for dining at a moment’s notice. Designate a bin for whatever tends to find a temporary home on the table. This can be permanent storage or a way to move things to their rightful room.
— Meryl Starr, author of The Home Organizing Workbook
10. Double Time
Think dual-purpose. Look for furniture that works hard : beds and coffee tables with drawers, ottomans with lift-off tops for out-of-sight storage and chests that can stow linens and tableware and also serve as buffets.
— Betsy Bruce, design consultant