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6 Strategies for Organizing Clutter

  • Ned Matura

    by Sara Ellington and Stephanie Triplett

    When you're a mom, you're waging a constant war against clutter -- it's one of the great mental challenges of motherhood. We become very close friends with the guy who mans the Goodwill truck.

    With all the bags and boxes we give him, you'd think there'd be nothing left in our homes. But the stuff multiplies faster than we can get rid of it!

    And the more stuff you have, the less time you have -- because then there's more to clean, and more to put away or look for when it's lost. So it makes sense to streamline wherever you can.

    Some moms thrive on order; for others, closets are used primarily for cramming things into just before people come over. No matter which type you are, we've gathered some great, realistic tips for getting your life more organized. Consider it our Mother's Day gift to you!

  • Strategy: show kids how to help

  • Give your children specific instructions: Just saying "Clean your room" is too vague for most of them, and it's also overwhelming. "Pick up all the blocks and put them in the block box" is a more useful thing to say. Break big jobs down into smaller ones.

  • Make sure there's enough storage space: If you're helping your child clean his room and get stuck trying to find a place for everything, you need to get rid of some stuff or get more storage, or both.

  • Maximize closet space by hanging shoe racks on the doors (which you can use for more than just shoes!). Add hooks for hats, belts, necklaces, tote bags, robes, and so on. If hangers and drawers are out of reach, keep a library stool in the room so kids can reach clothes, to make it easier for them to clean up or get dressed.

    Photo by Abigail Batchelder (CC Licensed)

  • Strategy: get crafty with artwork

    When your kids are in preschool and elementary school, it's important to find a place (other than the refrigerator) to display their prized scribbles and projects. Some ideas:

  • Mount clips on a wall near the kitchen, low enough for the kids to reach, where they can hang up the creations for everyone to see.

  • Put a magnetic board in their room, the playroom, or the kitchen so they can switch out the displays.

  • Hang a long ribbon or string along the wall with clothespins for attaching artwork -- this is an easy and inexpensive way to show off their masterpieces.

  • A more expensive solution: Buy frames with an opening on the back that makes it easy to slide artwork in and out for exhibiting various pieces.

    No matter which method works for you, be sure to rotate artwork so your display area doesn't get overloaded.

    Photo by ryan griffis (CC Licensed)