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Making Room

Short of renting out a storage facility, how can you cut down on clutter? If you want to get organized, you don’t necessarily have to dispose of cherished belongings. Instead, you may need to use your space more efficiently in order to keep clutter at bay. Here’s a look at five ways to minimize clutter.

Buy multi-function furniture
If you’re planning to invest in furniture in the near-term, seek pieces that incorporate storage elements. Benches for entryways may include shelves perfect for tucking away shoes, newspapers, and other items that tend to accumulate near the front door. In the living room or den, if you’re considering adding window seats look into designs with lift-up seats that disguise storage. In the kitchen, if you’re looking at a build-in seating space, check to see if your builder or seating model includes a storage component.

Delve into drywall
It may come as a surprise, but many homes can accommodate built-in shelving of various depths with minimal work. Most weekend do-it-yourselfers or a good handyman can help you cut into interior drywall or use unfinished spaces between wall studs to create a structure for shelving. Using this method can create shallow shelving in bathrooms to provide overflow space for a medicine chest or relieve the need for one. In a basement, space between vertical beams or studs can become the basis for a shelving unit, bookshelves, or more.

Maximize closet space
Take a good look at your closet and consider how well you’re using space. Multi-garment hangers can help save space, as can hanging shoe organizers and over-door hooks for items like coats, robes or tomorrow’s outfit. Such hangers include a pants hanger with room for more than one pair of pants or clip-based hangers strong enough hold multiple skirts or pairs of pants. For rough-and-tumble clothes—items worn for yard work, garage or household chores, or workouts—consider fitting them tightly into one drawer of your dresser since they’ll otherwise consume room needed for wrinkle-sensitive garments. Invest in a good dirty clothes basket or set of baskets that fits into your closet so it need not sit out in the room. Once a season, sort through clothes that aren’t appropriate for the current weather and move them out of your closet to a tucked-away space—a spare closet in the guest room, an under-bed box, a basement laundry room hanging rack—so that your existing closet contains only items you currently wear and isn’t overcrowded.

Create closet space in the bedroom or garage
Closets can exist anywhere—not just in your, well, closet. Just because you have a closet in your room doesn’t mean a tasteful armoire couldn’t fit into your decorating scheme. It’s easy to stash out-of-season or infrequent clothing or linens in plastic under-bed boxes sold at home stores and drug stores. Many bed frame sets also incorporate under-bed storage drawers which also help control clutter. Garages that attach to kitchens are great places for an overflow pantry—which can include formal cabinetry or utilitarian metal garage shelves to store bulky but non-fragile essentials like cleaning products, toilet tissue, paper towels, canned or jarred goods, pet food, and hardware items such as batteries and light bulbs which can hog the kitchen. For rarely-used items, it’s also possible to build storage into garage rafters above the garage door’s tracks.

Take it upstairs or downstairs—then call a charity for the rest
If you’ve got an attic or basement, chances are it houses many boxes never opened after you moved. Dedicate a weekend to reviewing these items and deciding if you really need them. Clothing and household items you don’t need can be donated to numerous charities, some of which will even come by your home for pick-up.