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Take control of the chaos of clutter

Associated Press

Associated Press

An entire organization industry has sprung up around managing household clutter, but we still don't appear to be winning the battle. Interior designers see clutter in nearly every home they visit, and they're often called upon to creatively eliminate it. According to designers Janine Carendi, Brian Patrick Flynn and Mallory Mathison (all named to Domino magazine's "Ten Decorators on the Verge" list this year), most homes have several major clutter spots in common. Fortunately, there are methods for taming the mess in each place. Associated Press

Main point of entry

Flynn advises placing a cabinet or table just inside the door where you enter the house, with a large bowl or basket on top, and dropping in keys, sunglasses and mail on arrival.

Mathison suggests keeping woven baskets with lids (perhaps one for each family member) under the entryway table. Stash clutter there upon arriving home, then retrieve it later. A chest of drawers also works at the entryway, she says. Put shoes in the bottom drawer, keys, cell phones and chargers in the top one.

Kitchen counters

The designers all suggest storing small, infrequently used appliances inside cabinets, rather than on counters.

Carendi suggests a big basket at one end of a counter. Throw in everything that finds its way into the kitchen, then once a week put away the contents.

Flynn recommends drawer inserts and organizers for any drawers where small things go. One can be designated for important things — bills, maybe? — that would have otherwise gathered on the counter.

Bedside table

At bedside, use small bowls and trays to tame clutter. Choose a silver mint julep cup or a small planter to corral your glasses, lip balm, TV remote.

Under the bedside table (or next to it, if your bedside surface is the top of a chest of drawers), use baskets to organize books, magazines and slippers.

Rethinking closets

Closets in guest rooms and babies' rooms, Flynn says, are often stuffed with rarely used items: holiday decorations, books. Take the closet doors off, he suggests, and add a modular wire shelving system, then "style it like it's a photo shoot," he says. "You stack three towels on top of each other, and then books on a shelf, drawers with smaller things, guest slippers. It looks so good. You've totally taken something that could have been major mental clutter and now it's something beautiful."

Take control of the chaos of clutter 06/09/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 1:48pm]

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