, Salem, MA

September 26, 2013

Column: Is clutter invading your dream home?

By Nancy Black
The Salem News

---- — When you first moved into your dream home, it was picture-perfect.

The reality is that as you live in a house, it no longer looks like the rooms you saw in a magazine that were taken for a photo shoot. There will be days when your things like mail, school papers, sunglasses and small toys pile up. It is the first sign of clutter invading your home.

This happens when the organizing products, and systems, you have are not compatible with your lifestyle or suited to the space you are using them in.

The top 10 problem zones I see are:

1. The entryway gets cluttered with jackets, shoes, laptop cases, tote bags and backpacks.

2. Your granite kitchen countertops get cluttered with mail, catalogs, school papers, earrings, small toys — you get the picture.

3. Home offices are not in a convenient area and accumulate clutter.

4. Closets become cluttered because built-in systems no longer meet their needs or things are not stored to use the space most efficiently.

5. No space to store hoses and accessories from the central vacuum system and other vacuums used to whisk away pet hair or crumbs. They often end up in coat closets.

6. Cluttered kitchen junk drawers.

7. Inadequate space to store pet food, toys and supplies.

8. Disorganized area for sports equipment.

9. Poor choice of organizing products to put toys away in play areas. For example, wooden puzzles stored on wire racks seldom have lost pieces.

10. Lack of planned storage for craft and hobby equipment and supplies. Check out for ideas.

Chances are you can identify with several of these cluttered zones.

Take the junk drawer, for example. Junk drawers contain unidentified objects like loose keys, and hidden treasures like gift certificates, that get lost in the clutter.

Organizing them is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Empty contents of the drawer onto the kitchen table.

2. Separate them into categories and toss anything you haven’t used in the past year.

3. Put items in drawer organizers, which can be purchased in Target, The Container Store or your local hardware store. Label each section using a printable label maker so there is no question about where people can find them, or more importantly, put them back in their designated space.

The most effective way to prevent clutter is to have organizing systems in each zone so that there are specific places for the things to be kept.

Nancy Black of Beverly is the owner of Organization Plus and creates organizing systems that are compatible with her clients’ lifestyles. She specializes in the “3 Hour Transformation” and “The A.R.T. of Planning Your Time.” Nancy can be reached at 978-922-6136 or For more information, visit her website at