No two ways about it: If you have kids, you have clutter. Rainbow drawings and preschool papers arrive home daily. Life is a whirl of crayons, books, and toys. Teethers and shape-sorter parts seem to procreate between the sofa cushions. But you don't have to live with chaos until your kids head to college.
"There are ways to maintain order, encourage good habits in your children, and keep yourself sane," says Toni Ahlgren, the author of Organize Your Stuff the Lazy Way. Downsizing, using clever stuff holders, and creating simple organizing systems that everyone in the family can grasp will help you regain control over kid-clutter hot spots: the family room, the entryway, the kitchen, and the kids' bedrooms.