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Clutter-Clearing Tips from Organizing Experts

Clothes, shoes, papers, craft supplies; sorting out the mess never seems to end, say Family Circle staffers and members of our social network, Momster.com. Here, organizing experts tackle their problems and share their best tips for cutting clutter.

By Kimberly Fusaro

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Organized closet
Greg Scheidemann
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"My side of the closet is a wreck! There are shoes and handbags everywhere."
—Michele Hines

Get your most-worn pairs off the floor and into an over-the-door shoe organizer—a favorite versatile organizing tool of Stacey Platt, a professional organizer and the author of What's a Disorganized Person to Do? (Artisan). The least expensive solution for the rest is to keep them in their original boxes and either tape a photo to the outside or write a description on a label with a bold pen. Or store them in stackable cubbies on a shelf. Keep handbags in order with specially designed hooks (closetpursehanger.com) that can be arranged alongside your clothes or on a low-hanging rod, suggests Donna Smallin, author of A to Z Storage Solutions (Storey Publishing). Because your bags will hang in an evenly spaced row—not on an overstuffed rack—they won't get crushed. Alternatively, consider the Park-a-Purse (lillianvernon.com), which Platt adores. It has two rows of cubbyholes, each with enough room for one or two bags. Organize bags by color and style for easy selection.

"When friends visit, they often say, 'Your house is so clean,' but if they peeked inside one of my closets, they'd see the chaos!"
—mommykeen

Linen closets are prime candidates for avalanches created by too many stacks of sheets and towels. Limit yourself to two sets of sheets for each bed, urges Platt. (Store backups elsewhere.) As for towels: Keep three sets per family member, tops, in the closet. If the coat closet is your problem spot, keep its contents in active rotation. Hang only in-season coats on the rod. Put extras in large plastic bins on the top shelf, or move them into spare closets. Put gloves, hats, and a lint brush in an over-the-door shoe holder.

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