Is Your Home Relaxing?

Your home should be a place where you can relax. But traffic jams and piles of stuff can actually keep you perpetually aggravated. Here's help for the most common stress spots.
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Clutter Patrol

The Dump at the Door

Cubbies and hooks near
the entryway help
contain clutter.

Problem: Areas just inside front and back doors easily become congested with stacks of mail, magazines, book bags, shoes, purses, and keys. Dumped items don't get put away, and you always seem to be looking for them when you're in a rush.

Solution: Create an adult and kid organizational center near the door you use most.

  • For adults, mount hooks to hang keys, glasses, purses, and gym bags.

  • Open mail immediately upon walking in and file into two wall-mounted mail holders, one for "bills" and the other "to file." Just below the mail holders, have a trash can or recycling bin for junk mail and extraneous envelopes.

  • For kids, designate hooks for coats and bags. Have a freestanding shelf with bins and trays for their winter wear, shoes, and school papers.

  • A long storage bench could hold sports equipment.

Grand Central Bathroom

Problem: Family members are always waiting outside the bathroom door. The counter is a mess of toiletries and hair appliances. The floor is scattered with wet towels and dirty clothes. The bathroom always requires a major pick-up before guests arrive.

Solutions: Put hampers in each bedroom to catch towels and clothes. And move as many activities as possible out of the bathroom:

  • Set up a vanity area in each bedroom, so makeup and hair can be done there and related products stored there.

  • Install a linen closet outside the bathroom so people don't need to enter the bathroom to get towels or medicines.

  • If you don't have one, consider adding a small powder room near the front entrance -- this will decrease traffic in the main bathroom and keep guests out of private areas.

Tripping Over Toys

Problem: Children's playthings are scattered throughout the house. Either the house is always messy, or you feel like you're spending all your time picking up. However, you don't want to limit them to playing in their rooms.

Solutions: First, do a toy purge at least once every six months, carting off toys that have been outgrown or that no longer attract your child's interest.

  • Donate the toys, or pack them up for the basement if younger kids are coming along.

  • When kids receive presents at birthdays and holidays, get rid of the same number of toys that are coming in.

Second, instead of trying to put toys away in kids' rooms every night, store them near where they are most often used. Designate a drawer or container, such as a big basket, in every room to catch toys during a quick clean-up.

  • If kids do art at the kitchen table, set aside one kitchen drawer for art supplies.

  • If kids play with race cars in the family room, hide the cars away in a storage ottoman.

Continued on page 2:  Home Layout Problems


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