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
"With all my magazines, there's no room for a cup of joe on my coffee table!" —Kate Doherty, Family Circle Senior Associate Editor
Stack current issues on top of your table in a tray. Store last month's in a bin next to the sofa or in magazine boxes on a bookshelf, says Smallin. Recycle anything older. If you're saving an entire issue for one article, tear it out and place it in a folder. Or if you're keeping a pile of back issues for inspiration (say, you're remodeling the kitchen), tear out relevant articles and put in a document box or a pretty binder (russellandhazel.com).
"Help! I'm drowning in paper!" —maeuser
Put a recycling bin in the closet near your front door so you can toss junk mail before it piles up. To cut back drastically on the amount of junk mail you receive, Platt suggests registering with CatalogChoice.org, DoNotMail.org, and precycle.tonic.com. Then request online billing for all of your accounts—credit cards, mortgage, utilities—and pay your bills over the Internet. Not only will you get less in the mail, you'll also save on stamps. Next, toss paper copies of anything you can find online, such as old bank statements, and bookmark the e-versions in a Schedules folder on your computer. Many companies (KitchenAid, Whirlpool, Kenmore, Frigidaire) now offer downloadable owner's manuals for major appliances online. Store scans of documents you do need to keep—a copy of the past seven years' taxes, birth and marriage certificates, insurance policies—on your computer. Keep the originals in a safe-deposit box or a fireproof safe.
Stockholm magazine files, $10 each, containerstore.com