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Buy Organizing Bins for Clutter

Before purging yourself of unneeded clutter, you may need to buy some needed things: clear plastic bins, of various sizes, along with white first-aid tape.

“These bins are a lifesaver,” says Jacobs. “Proper containers are the #1 remedy of organizing. If they’re clear so that you can see what’s in them, and clearly labeled, you know what you have and where it is.”

Concentrate on Clutter Corners

Besides the kitchen counter, most organizing experts identify hall closets and the front hallway as classic clutter accumulation spots. “The hall closet is usually a horror,” says Jacobs.

Start by getting everything off the floor. When your closet is clogged, things start to accumulate on the floor. Sort these items in your boxes or bags.

Then, hang a canvas hanging shelf on one side of your closet rod. It’s cheaper and easier than buying a closet organizing system. Here, you’ll place all the accessories you need for the time of year: gloves and hats and scarves in winter, baseball caps and sunscreen and water bottles in summer.

On the “overhead” shelf -- the one that’s hard to get to -- put clear plastic bins, neatly labeled, with the stuff that’s out of season. Then, when it’s time to switch seasons, you can just bring down the bins rather than pulling down piles of outerwear and folding and refolding them.

Another organizing challenge: the front hall. “There’s always some spot where you first come into the house -- a table, a desk, a counter, wherever -- where people throw stuff when they come in the door,” says LaFrance. “Wherever that stuff lands -- even if it doesn’t seem to make sense -- put an organizer item there.” Look at what usually goes there and think about what makes sense. You may want an armoire, like LaFrance uses, or lockers, boxes, cubbies, or a hall stand.

“Don’t let this thing become a clutter collector,” she cautions. “Have a place for everything: mail goes here, jackets go there, shoes go there, everybody has a spot to put their stuff.”

For Paper Clutter, Put Up Cork Bulletin Boards

Paper clutters up every household -- lots of paper. Homework assignments, school calendars, kids’ art, photos, invitations, soccer schedules, permission slips, and so on.

Some of it winds up on overflowing refrigerator doors. The rest lands on countertops and dressertops -- or disappears.

The solution: cork. Buy 1’ by 1’ squares of frameless cork, or rolls of bulletin-board cork and cut to fit. Hang them inside the pantry door, the closet door, above your desk, on the wall in the kitchen.

“It’s cheap and it’s eco-friendly -- look for recycled cork,” says Jacobs. “If your child comes home from kindergarten with 10 projects, pin them up on the corkboard prominently for a week. You can throw it away then or put it in a bin for treasures, but your child feels valued.”

Inside the pantry door, you can pin up shopping lists and menus. Above your desk -- or above your child’s desk -- pin up school schedules, calendars, and permission slips. Once a week, purge the corkboards.

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