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5 ways to fight children's clutter

Even in the neatest of homes, kids' bedrooms are magnets for clutter. Parents battle the constant influx of stuff — everything from school art projects to gifts from grandparents, hand-me-downs from friends and fast-food plastic freebies. Here are five ideas for taming kids' clutter from interior designers Christina Murphy, Fawn Galli and Katie Stassi, all named to Domino magazine's "Ten Decorators on the Verge" list this year. Associated Press Think outside the drawer

Go tropical with a hammock, Murphy says. At the end of each day, stray toys on the floor can be gathered up and tossed on the hammock. Or drape fabric diagonally between two walls at one corner of the room, knotting the ends and securing them on hooks. Use it to pile up plush toys or other bulky — but light — things.

Another choice: large canvas tote bags. Keep one on a doorknob, filled with smaller toys. (When car trips come around, you can grab it to take with you.) Keep a second bag in the kitchen to collect toys that migrate there. Think transparent

Clear, stackable plastic bins are great for toys and clothing, Stassi says.

If you prefer bins that aren't transparent, Galli suggests labeling them with name and picture of contents. Eliminate the extras

Talk to your kids about the importance of donating outgrown or rarely used things. Or hold a yard sale and let the kids keep their profits.

Clutter can reach critical mass. Says Murphy: "Parents have to sometimes sneak stuff out if you can. . . . If they don't see it leave, they may never miss it."

Get furniture that does double duty

"A trunk at the foot of the bed is a great one," Murphy says, because it offers storage and seating. Kids can easily take objects out or help put them away. "You just need the rubber stoppers," she says, "so they don't slam their fingers." Also make sure the trunk doesn't lock.

Trunks, like toy boxes, are better for large items. If you fill them full of small toys, the kids will have to throw everything out of the trunk to find what they're looking for. Small items, like dolls and action figures, do better in open baskets or boxes.

5 ways to fight children's clutter 06/19/08 [Last modified: Sunday, June 22, 2008 10:38pm]

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