Keep the center of family life clear of an explosion of clutter.Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer
Divide and Conquer
Clutter is like chickenpox: It spreads from person to person with only casual contact. One person's ongoing craft project becomes authorization for the next guy to spread his stuff out, too. How to control family room clutter? With a family STOP clutter session. The communal nature of the room means that any clutter solution will require everyone's cooperation. By agreeing to divide and conquer, a STOP clutter session can attack problem areas simultaneously.
Tips to Organize Family Rooms
Try these tips to make the most of storage space in shared spaces and family rooms:
STOP Clutter in the Family Room
Gather your tools: timer, STOP declutter boxes (marked Put Away, Sell/Donate, and Storage), garbage bags for trash. Set the timer for 20 minutes. To make it easier to do a group declutter, double or triple the number of boxes used for Put Away. Limit the STOP clutter session to 20 minutes to shortcut the potential for argument.
Step 1: Sort
Start sorting. Assign each family member a small area to clear — a shelf, table or corner — and a tight timeline to declutter it to make the job specific and short. Key targets: the choked video storage rack, the stacks of old magazines, the scattering of toys all over the carpet. Give the kids a Put Away box for far-flung toys, the family crafter another box to collect his or her paints for return to the craft corner.
Step 2: Toss
Disagreement is a potential hazard when diving into a group STOP clutter session. Mom may be perfectly happy to send a stack of old motocross magazines to recycling, but a teenage son objects. Limit potential disagreements by assigning the interested parties — the motocross enthusiast himself — to sort and decide. A second tactic: Use black plastic garbage bags to collect trash. If the clutterers across the room can't see the contents, they're less likely to put up a fuss about the discards.
Step 3: Organize and Put Away
When the timer bell rings, toss the trash and return Put Away items to their homes in other rooms. Organize the remaining family-room residents — DVDs, videos and game equipment — into flat-bottomed open containers for easy access.
Excerpted from Houseworks, by Cynthia Townley Ewer
Text Copyright © 2006, 2010, Cynthia Townley Ewer, extracts from Houseworks, reproduced with permission from Dorling Kindersley Limited