Conquering Clutter: Getting Started

Battling clutter, particularly once it’s had a chance to build up, is a daunting task. But even a small dent in the accumulation can make a big difference. Here are a few suggestions from de-cluttering experts Don Aslett and Alice Fulton to start you on your way to a clutter-free home.


Condense your children’s clothes. Go through one drawer at a time and get rid of clothes your child never wears. Box up and label things you want to keep as hand-me-downs. Throw away clothing too worn to be useful, and offer wearable but unwanted items to charity or a consignment shop.


“Bundle” outfits in advance. Package an entire outfit – top, bottom, socks – and fold it together. Younger children won’t have to dig around for something to match, and older kids can dress themselves while avoiding the “color blind tourist” look.


Get it off the floor and box it up. Designate places for your children’s belongings ... off the floor. Low hooks for softball gloves, hats or jackets and a mesh net or lingerie bag on the shower bar for bath toys will do wonders. Also, put a “toy box” in each room in which your child has toys. You can use anything from a cardboard box to your great-grandmother’s cherry wood toy chest with hand-carved decorations. What matters is having an easy-to-reach place to put the toys.


Keep refrigerator art current. When your child brings you a new piece of artwork, put it up immediately, and throw out the piece it’s replacing. Real masterpieces, of course, should go into a memory box.