Dear Claudia: Every room in my house seems to be an area for clutter. Please share some organizing secrets!

Answer: To enhance tidiness of your house, start by keeping small areas under control. This is ultimately a domino effect that eventually affects each room. It takes some planning for each space, to be mindful of the smallest habits and for all the family to collaborate and commit.

It’s how the little things are handled and creating new habits. The rooms that can be a problem: 1. Closets. Make sure you got rid of the things you do not need and have a designate area for what you keep. 2. Bedrooms. Keep the bedside table, drawers and side chair out of clutter. 3. Entry. Have a place designated for your stuff only if you are going to need it the next day, otherwise put it away on the main closet. 4. Bathrooms. Keep vanity clutter-free; if you want to keep the products you use easy to reach keep them in a basket, for example. 5. Kitchen. One of the rooms where we spend a lot of time and everyone seems to gather even when we have company. Start by organizing the pantry, the cabinets and making sure the counter tops are clear of clutter by putting things away in their designated are, use containers and levels for example.

A simple rule I follow to keep clutter away from my home, and it actually saves me money, is to not buy excess stuff. If you do not need it or have a place to put it in your house, do not buy it! Most likely it will start to create clutter.

Lastly, start every day by making small changes and committing to improve an area of your house at a time.

Dear Claudia: I have four kids under the age of 10 and I am always picking up after them. My question is how can I create a system that will make it easy for them to put things away in their bedrooms and playroom to keep them organized?

Answer: It is necessary to create an organizing system for kids, to help them organize their things in the rooms and playrooms. It’s great to start at an early age; hopefully they will create life-long habits. I believe in keeping it simple, each kid should have just enough things and a designated place to put them away.

To start organizing their bedrooms consider what clothes, shoes, toys and things they like the most and try to get rid of what is extra. Organize their closet where they can easily reach to put their things away. Make it fun by leveling their cubbies or drawers, if appropriate. Use a toy box for younger kids. In the playroom, same thing, get rid of toys they don’t want.

If necessary, buy a cabinet that will help you organize, designate a space for everything and leveling it. I suggest having your kids cooperate to put it together, make it fun for them even by deciding what color the walls should be, new furniture, seating area and/or maybe new lighting.

Your kids can help you decide where each toy should go and to make levels if needed. Have your kids collaborate in making a list of rules to follow to keep their room clean. Getting rid of clutter and unnecessary stuff makes it easier to keep organized!

Finally, I recommend every few months going though the kids’ stuff to make sure you are getting rid of the excess stuff. I have my kids donate their items to charity; they look forward every time to donating it.

• Claudia Dabdoub is a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills and owner of D’amore Interior Design Studio. To ask a question for an upcoming column, reach her at (480) 751-9938 or www.damoreidsinc.com.

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