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Corral Personal Items
To prevent the room from becoming a dumping ground, try this rule: By dinnertime, the kitchen must be clear of personal items.
The Big Picture
To get a handle on all the food, gadgets, and equipment that live in the kitchen, catalog those you use regularly and divide them based on where in the room they're most used. Store things as close as possible to where you use them. If you rarely or never use an item, give it away or store it in an out-of-the-way spot, such as in the basement, on high shelves in the pantry, or in the back of a corner cabinet.
Hang It Up
Hooks are a simple and inexpensive storage solution. Install enough for everyone's coats, umbrellas, purses, backpacks, and briefcases.
Create Shoe Storage
Shoes collect at the entryway, so find a way to contain them. "It can be as simple as a big basket. It's quick, it's easy," says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Organizer.
A Place for Everything
Whether it's a dedicated room or a stretch of wall inside the door, the key is to have a place for all the things you bring in that don't need to go any farther into the house. Make a list of those items -- coats, boots, mail, keys -- and create an easy-access storage spot for each one right by the door.
Creating a sense of togetherness is effortless when you choose integrated storage. The first step is to be realistic about how everyone uses the room so you can give each activity some space of its own. Such agreed-upon zones keep activities enjoyable and clutter-contained.
Final Resting Place
The bedroom may not be first on the list to organize, but dresser tops and chairs can quickly become towers of stuff in need of a home. Track the things that stack up over a week, and create permanent places to keep them in the room. Nightstands combine display space with attractive storage for personal items, extra linens, or books.
Limit medicine cabinets to items you use every day. Keep medications in original containers on a high shelf or other safe spot, particularly if there are small children in the house. Store remaining items one layer deep, doubling space with acrylic ledges. Rest toiletries in caddies or trays on the vanity so you can lift them for quick cleaning or tuck them away when guests visit.
Grooming is so much more enjoyable when drawers are clean and clutter-free. Use removable organizers in vanity drawers to keep things from migrating. Once a month, remove all toiletries and thoroughly wash containers, trays, drawers, and drawer liners. Remember to toss expired products and transfer unused or out-of-season items to less prominent locations, such as under the sink.
The secret to organizing the bathroom is to be diligent and ruthless about getting rid of what you don't need. "The bathroom is probably the key place where we rummage through stuff that we hardly or never use to get to the stuff that we use every day," says Christopher Lowell, author of Christopher Lowell's Seven Layers of Organization.
Make it easy for kids to keep their rooms tidy by creating special, clearly marked spots for absolutely everything they own. Choose small baskets, crates, and pails that are portable and light enough for little ones to tote.
Make Room for Hobbies
Always find room for your child's interests, whether that means bins for sports equipment, a flat surface for drawing, or a special hook for dance outfits.
If you want an organizing plan to succeed in a child's room, involve your child in the process to devise a system he or she understands. This fosters a feeling of independence -- and excuse-proof cleanup.
Enlist Wall Space
Because shelves tend to collect clutter, opt for solutions that mount to the wall or ceiling. They take up less space and require you to designate specific spots for each item. A wall-hung storage system organizes a mountain of sports gear in a slim space, keeping the floor clear of clutter and allowing a car to park nearby.
Keep It Convenient
Encourage the whole family to recycle by designating an easy-to-reach zone for cans, papers, and plastics. A trio of stackable bins forms a compact recycling station that is conveniently located near the door to the house. Plastic containers offer clean, moistureproof storage, while clear labels help keep things in order. Reusable grocery bags are stored nearby for trips to the store.
In Plain Sight
Fill wall-mount pockets near your workstation with bills, items to file, and correspondence so these documents are always in plain sight. Place project- and person-specific materials that aren?t time-sensitive in labeled document boxes or expandable files; that way you can transport relevant documents quickly.
Time to Recharge
A little R&R is important for everyone, including technology. Designate one accessible location, like a desk or console table, for recharging all your personal devices. Choose a charging station that hides messy cords, or repurpose a small basket or other container. Label each charger with a sticker or tab so you can quickly connect.
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