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Style Magazine

Cut the Clutter

Jul 30, 2013 03:15AM ● By Style

Photo courtesy of Brian Kellogg Photography

When you have a place for everything and your home is primed to effectively support common activities and tasks—from dealing with mail, bills and memorabilia, to gifting, cleaning and more—it’s as if a little weight is lifted from your shoulders.

Making small changes can create efficiency in your day-to-day activities and make your home a calm refuge.  

1. START WITH YOUR CLOSET. Once you have your clothes edited down to those you actually wear and love, it’s time to think about how to organize what’s left. Take a few tips from posh clothing boutiques: Put together a favorite outfit on a single hanger where you can easily grab it on a rushed morning. Consider keeping off-season clothes out of sight so there’s room to artfully display bags and shoes on shelves. You can even display favorite jewelry on stands or hand sculptures.

2. STORE MEDICINE IN A LABELED BOX. The medicine cabinet is actually one of the worst places to store medications; the warm, damp conditions can damage sensitive ingredients, and the bottles and tubes tend to clutter up what should ideally be a spot for getting ready. Instead, transfer medicines and first-aid supplies to labeled storage boxes with lids, and keep them on a high shelf in the kitchen or pantry. Sort them in a way that makes sense and label accordingly (Kids, First Aid, Cold & Flu).


Banquette seating with flip-top benches or a drawer-front is a great option for adding extra storage.

Photo courtesy of Photographerlink

3. BE PREPARED FOR BIRTHDAYS AND LAST-MINUTE EVENTS by keeping a yearly birthday calendar taped to the inside of a door, a basket filled with easy gifts bought in bulk (and an assortment of cards), as well as a few candles and banners for an instant party scene. Consider choosing a “signature” giftwrap and ribbon for your house and wrap all of your gifts with it, no matter the occasion. People will begin to expect it, and it will certainly save you the hassle of buying themed giftwrap for every holiday and occasion.

4. CREATE DOUBLE-DUTY STORAGE. Built-in storage tailored to your needs is a great organizational solution. Options include wall units, cabinets and seating. When planning for window seats and banquettes, specify a flip-top or drawer-front for extra dish, linen and seasonal storage.

5. KEEP A SECOND SET OF BASIC CLEANING SUPPLIES IN THE BATHROOM. It’s so much easier to tackle an undesirable chore like cleaning the bathroom when the supplies you need are at hand. Store a second set of bathroom-specific products and tools in the cabinet under the bathroom sink, or in a lidded basket on a shelf.

6. PRE-SORT YOUR INCOMING MAIL. Rather than putting it all in one big tray or pile, place magazines, catalogs and other things you’d like to peruse in a magazine file; bills to pay go in a bill basket; personal correspondence goes in a toast rack or on a pretty tray; notices for upcoming events and items to file can go in another magazine file or a folder.

7. USE PHOTOS AS LABELS. Try snapping a photo of the contents of a box before storing it in the garage or basement, and then use that photo to label the outside. A quick glance at the photo and you’ll instantly know what’s inside.

Kerrie Kelly, ASID, is an award-winning interior designer and author. Her design studio, Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, is located at 3252 J Street in Sacramento. Her work can be viewed at