Pockets of Sanity

BY CHUCK ROSS ON APRIL 20TH, 2017

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Cleaning out the bedroom brings a great feeling of relief – but making sure it stays that way means creating homes for the clutter that’s sure to return. Ensuring that there are places for those tools of daily living will help guarantee that those TV remotes, magazines, shoes and earrings won’t overwhelm the space once again.

“It’s really important to create homes for everything you use,” says Charlotte Steill, owner of Phoenix-based Simply Put Organizing and a guest consultant on HGTV’s “Mission: Organization.” “Once you have those homes created, it can take just five minutes to put everything away.”

And that kind of end-of-day clean-up is a critical element to include in any clutter-banning plan, experts say. Even the neatest among us can fall back on messy old habits, but dedicating 10 minutes a day to reorganizing will help keep chaos at bay. Training children to do the same thing in their own rooms could help ensure a clutter-free future for them – one their college roommates will appreciate.

Kirsten Kemp, a Santa Barbara-based real estate consultant and host of TLC’s house-flipping reality show, “Property Ladder,” calls these daily efforts, “a game the whole family can play.” And Steill says she’s put the habit into practice in her own household.

“I do it with my daughter,” Steill says. “My house looks like the Tasmanian devil hit it sometimes – I don’t think you can keep a model-home look if you’re actually living.”

Another strategy Steill recommends to others is to keep a basket handy for clothing and other items ready for donation to a charitable resale shop. Steill says she and her daughter drop used items off at their local Goodwill store twice a month.

“I live in a condo, so it’s really important” to clear no-longer-useful items out as quickly as possible, she says. “We’ve not once missed something we’ve given away.”

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