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No More Clutter!

A Happy Homecoming

When you're dashing through the door with your child, backpack, papers, diaper bag, mail, and dog in tow, how can you not leave rubble in your wake? To keep her entryway from resembling an obstacle course, Jan Yager, Ph.D., author of Creative Time Management for the New Millennium and a mother of two in Stamford, CT, instituted a rule: "I make sure that backpacks and jackets are hung up the minute we walk in the door," she says. A basic approach can really make a difference. Likewise, make your coming-home station simple  -- it should be functional, not fancy.

Try shaker-style wall pegs or a simple COATRACK for quick, organized unloading. (You may also want to hang coat hooks at kids' eye level.)

Take off shoes at the door; they'll be easy to find the next morning, and your floors will stay cleaner. Stash them in a LARGE BASKET, open bin, or a cedar or laminate shoe rack. Or hang a SHOE BAG inside a hall closet, for hats, scarves, and mittens, as well as shoes.

Mount a rack to corral often-misplaced house and car keys in one easily visible spot.

Set out a large basket or two near the door for sorting mail, newspapers, and school papers and art projects. At day's end, empty the baskets: Sign permission slips or report cards, and pop these, along with anything your children have to bring to school, directly into their backpacks. Jot down dates to remember in your appointment book, or on a KITCHEN WALL CALENDAR or a message board; toss extraneous papers.

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