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10 Ways to Cut Clutter in Your Home

Mired in mess, fuss, and disarray? These quick hints for home organization can help you de-clutter fast.

10 Tips for Organizing Your Home continued...

Look for simple clutter control solutions. Often, there's an easy solution to even stubborn clutter problems. "One of my clients could never remember where she put her keys," says Laura Leist, a professional organizer in Seattle, and president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. "I suggested that she put a hook by the front door, so she could hang her keys up every time she walked in the door. And it worked." Leist is also a fan of lazy Susan turntables for organizing pantries or laundry rooms, can risers, drawer dividers, and bins and baskets to group items in bathrooms and linen closets. To add storage space in a crowded room, consider adding a shelf just below the ceiling. Overrun with CDs? Take them out of their jewel boxes and store them in a CD binder.

Think home organization "kits." Buy some clear plastic shoebox-sized containers, and use them to create kits where you store all the items you need for a particular task. For instance, you could create a shoeshine kit, a bill-paying kit, a manicure kit, and so on. That way, you can easily find everything you need to accomplish everyday tasks.

Stick to a schedule. Some spaces, like kitchen counters, need daily de-cluttering. Others can be tackled weekly or monthly. When that time comes, be systematic. Take all the items in a defined area (a cabinet, a desk drawer), and spread them out so you can see what you're facing. If you're de-cluttering the drawer where you keep kitchen utensils, for example, spread them on the counter, and then sort into two piles: utensils you use regularly and those you don't use. Be patient -- effective de-cluttering takes time. "People tend to underestimate how much time it will take," says Leist. If it looks like a two-hour job, budget four. And don't get discouraged if de-cluttering takes longer than you think it should.

Whatever happens, try not to feel embarrassed about clutter. It's important to remember that organizing need not be perfect, and that "good enough" really is. "When you're on your deathbed, you're not going to wish that you had found the perfect organizing container," says Robertson. "The important thing is being able to spend more time with family and friends." De-cluttering helps make that happen.

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Reviewed on September 21, 2010
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