No-Clutter Decorating Tips

Get organized: 3 smart ways to store those magazines, batteries, remotes, and other everyday clutter.

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Table Those Magazines

Table Those Magazines

Keep the most recent issues of your favorite magazines and newspapers neatly stored in a side table with pull-out trays. A divider in the center of one tray maintains a tidy look for magazines. You can adapt an ordinary side table for this purpose by attaching runners to each pair of legs for trays to rest and slide on. Paint the table and trays in one color for a cohesive finish.

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Tuck Pubs into Bins

Tuck Pubs into Bins

If you like to keep your magazines for reference, there's no reason for them to cause you a storage headache. Tuck sturdy bins underneath a console table behind your living room or family room sofa. Most tables will accommodate two or even three large bins that can also tidy up pillows, throws, DVDs, and books that pile up in the rooms you use most often.

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Hang Your Reading in a Bucket

Hang Your Reading in a Bucket

No room for a bedside table or nightstand to hold your late night reading material? Here's an easy solution: Create a magazine catchall with a vintage metal bucket suspended from an outdoor plant hanger next to the head of the bed. In addition to magazines, it can hold a notebook, pens, and reading glasses.

Next up: Remotes

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Basket the Remotes

Basket the Remotes,

A decorative basket does a fine job of corralling all those electronic remotes and game controllers that add up to clutter very quickly in the family room. Keep the basket in a central location visible to all, to make sure everything gets put back in place.

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Pocket the Remotes

Pocket the Remotes

Keep remotes at the ready with an apron side pocket. If you'll be using it on a chair, cut off the top portion of a pocketed apron and hem a straight edge for a finished look. Attach the holder to an upholstered chair with twist pins or hook-and-loop tape. If you're using the holder bedside, simply tuck the top half of the apron between the mattress and the box spring.

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Create a Remote Caddy


Keep remotes tucked away in a cabinet with other media storage. Put remotes and game controllers in a small bin with handles that's easy to remove and carry to the sofa when needed. Because it will likely spend a lot of time sitting on a sofa or side table, find an attractive storage bin that will add a decorative touch when it's on view.

Next Up: Keys

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Sort Your Keys

Labeled drawer organizer

Divide and conquer! Use a large divided basket or cutlery tray near the front door to gather keys, as well as cell phones, sunglasses, or work IDs. Label each compartment by type of item or give each family member his or her own space to drop things.

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Hook Up Your Keys

key holder

Turn a shadowbox into a key case. For a decorative touch, line the back of the box with scrapbooking paper that complements your decor. Screw in a row or two of hooks, depending on your needs. If keys are not distinctive, include a small label above each hook for easy identification. Hang the box on the wall next to the front door.

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Let Your Keys "Rule"

Let Your Keys ¿Rule¿

Create some vintage personality at the door with a key rack made from old wooden rulers. Those with advertising or store names have the most character. Attach small picture hooks to the backs of rulers with glue and secure rulers to the wall with small nails.

Next up: Batteries

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Pack Up Your Batteries

Pack Up Your Batteries

Batteries die at the most inconvenient times. Keep a stock of all sizes on hand and store them in an easy-to-organize plastic bin. Lidded boxes made specifically for this use are available but you can also adapt divided plastic boxes made for tool, craft, and sewing supplies. Use stick-on letters from the scrapbooking aisle of the craft store to label the battery size on each compartment of the box.

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Cup 'Em

Cup of batteries

Give old and mismatched cups new purpose as containers for batteries. Attach size labels to cup handles and sort them accordingly. Keep the cups on a small tray in your storage cupboard or pantry.

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Make Coin-Purse Containers

Coin purse battery storage

Electronics eat batteries for lunch so have a supply of those most frequently used battery sizes, AA and AAA, in handy pouches near media storage. Use coin purses, with size labels attached, to keep them sorted.

Next up: Mail

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Set Up a Mail Station

Set Up a Mail Station

Manage your mail with a desktop organizer that you keep on a table or cabinet near the front door. Label slots for incoming or outgoing mail, with separate spaces for magazines and catalogues. Include a roll or book of stamps along with a pair of scissors, box cutter, and letter opener. Keep a supply of shipping labels and stationery stocked in the organizer with pens and pencils in a cup nearby.

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Recycle Those Paint Cans

Recycle Those Paint Cans

Create a spot to drop incoming and outgoing mail with this clever project. Remove the handles of paint cans and paint the buckets to match your room. Add words using stickers from the scrapbooking store, and then reattach the handles. Set the cans near the front door or at a kitchen workstation.

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Decorate a Pretty Mail Bin


Use pretty patterned bins for storing mail. The large size of the bin also allows you to sort the mail using folders or dividers for such things as outgoing mail, bills, cards, catalogues, etc. Label containers with fun letter magnets, or make your own using a button-making kit.

Next up: Shoes

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Store in Plain Sight

Shoe rack

An old crate turns a pile of shoes into an organized work of art. Even the kids will get a kick out of making sure their favorite

sneakers are part of the display. To protect the piece from wet shoes, coat the cubbies with weather-resistant varnish. Old metal grates, attached to the wall above the shoe cubby with screws, offer another alternative for holding incoming and outgoing mail, while a key box made from an old drawer hangs nearby.

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Shelf Your Shoes

Shoe rack

At the back door, an antique shoe rack maintains order by ensuring ready access to footwear. An absorbent patterned rug

hides messy footprints and warms stockinged feet. Place a chair or bench next to the rack to make removing or putting on shoes a bit easier and more comfortable.

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Create Cubbies in a Bench

Make a shoe cubby and bench in one piece with a tall storage unit turned on its side and attached to a set of locking casters. Stitch up a pretty cushion and add some patterned pillows for comfort and visual appeal. Hang hooks on the wall above to hold jackets, hats, and bags.

Next up: Junk drawers

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Tame the Junk Drawer

Junk Drawer Strategy

We've all got that one drawer that acts as the designated junk drop where random bits, such as rubber bands, pens, and matchbooks, go. And it's rare for that drawer to be anything but a jumble. Bring a little order to the chaos with a divided tray. Insert the tray into the emptied drawer and sort like materials into each space. Instant order!

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Re-Use Egg Cartons

Egg Carton Storage

Control clutter in a junk drawer with these low-cost storage solutions. Paint an egg carton, and then stash small items in the cups and larger items on the other side. Use colorful silicone cupcake liners for other loose goods.

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Make Your Own Drawer Dividers

metal drawer organizers for office supplies

Quarter-inch-deep baking pans make perfect dividers for shallow drawers. Stow extra supplies in one, mailing necessities in another, and junk drawer essentials—lint brush, lip balm, and sewing kit—in the last.

Next up: Toiletries

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Hang It Up

Hang It Up

Tired of a vanity or sink top cluttered with toiletries? Create a sleek vanity in a snap to keep all your daily needs in a central spot. Brush a wooden plank with white milk paint; when dry, install it above the bathroom sink. Glue a frameless mirror to the center and surround it with shiny new catchalls, such as a metal spackle pan screwed in place, wire baskets hung from cup hooks, a large hook, and broom clips for toothbrushes.

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Roll Out the Storage

Roll Out the Storage

Place your toiletries, cosmetics, or nail care items in a pail to quickly tote where you need them. Hang the pail on the wall near the sink with a plant hanger or place it under the sink if you have a vanity. Keep that under-vanity space organized, too, with a slide-out drawer that uses the entire depth of the cabinet.

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Roll It Out


If your bathroom is short on surface space for your toiletries, employ a small rolling cart that can be placed near the sink or rolled to the tub when needed. If that's not practical, go vertical with storage. This narrow ladder-style shelf is just the thing to hold toiletries and fresh towels in a small space where even a conventional towel bar might not fit.

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