SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Special Report

July 23, 2012

As kids return to school, find ways to restore order at home

(Continued)

Family and Living Rooms

3) "As a mom of a college sophomore and a ninth grader, what I am looking forward to most is reclaiming the TV," says Wiener. She suggests organizing the video games and DVDs in baskets and on shelves or behind closed cabinets.

4) "Pillows and cut flowers are a decorator's secret weapons," Barnard says. "Any living, family or bedroom can be instantly made over with a quick swap out of pillow cases and botanicals in interesting containers. Look for decorative pillow covers with zippers so that your pillow inserts can be used again and again. For fall choose traditional autumnal hues reincarnated as fun and fresh, like tangerine and apple green instead of burnt orange and olive green. Switch your pillow covers to something new with each season. Try white and ice blue for winter and pink and sunshine yellow for spring."

Storage, Storage, Storage

5) Wondering what to do with all those toys scattered around the house? Barry Izsak, Certified Professional Organizer in Austin, Texas, has a great rule of thumb.

"The smaller the child, the larger the container needs to be," he says. "The best you can hope for from a 3 or 4 year old is to get the toys back in a large toy chest." When a toy has little pieces and parts, such as puzzles and Legos, Izsak suggests using clear zip-loc bags or other clear containers for storage instead of the original container.

Reining In The Outdoors

6) At the end of summer, your yard may look like Wiener's, full of baseballs, tennis balls and little footballs. Take a cue from her playbook and use a net bag. "Load 'em up, tie 'em up and into the garage they go," Wiener says. She also suggests parents consider investing in a mobile, plastic storage shed from Rubbermaid, "It's a great way to store croquette sets, sports gear and pool floats till next spring." Organizing strewn toys makes room for the other things outside, "Outdoor furniture that's been scattered to all four corners of the yard can now be re-assembled on the patio," Wiener says.

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