• If trash tends to accumulate in the family room, adding a wastebasket might cut down on clutter. If you know food will be thrown away here, get one with a lid and some deodorizing trash bags.
• Papers, books, brochures and magazines tend to accumulate on flat surfaces all around the house, and the family room is no different. Make a quick sweep of all flat surfaces by piling papers in a bin, then sorting and purging as necessary. Take a vow, and get your family to follow it, to put papers in files rather than on the coffee table.
• Until the world goes wireless, we’ll forever be stuck with tangled cables behind our entertainment centers. Fortunately, there are several options for taming cords in the family room. The most attractive is the slim Cableyoyo. It neatly coils up to 6 feet of cord and comes with an adhesive backing that sticks onto nearly any surface. A cable caddy usually sticks onto a desktop (or behind the TV console) and has a space for several cables to clamp into. Your cords will still dangle freely, however, so a cable zipper, which encloses all the cables in a tube, might be the best bet.
• Coffee tables that look great but don’t have any storage for magazines, remote controls or even drink coasters make life more difficult. If you don’t have the budget for a new one, consider adding low storage cubes, rolling baskets or bins to stick under the table.
• Multimedia like DVDs, videotapes and CDs are staples of the family room. Take 30 minutes to begin sorting your entire collection, making two piles: one for keeping and one for selling or donating.
• Make your medicine cabinet a repository of things you need and use regularly, which means chucking any outdated medicines and relocating excess to another location. Keep like items in their own labeled storage bins underneath the sink or in the linen closet. When you need to use something, slide the whole container out for easy access.
• Gels, sprays, curlers, combs and hair dryers take up a lot of space in the bathroom. For quick organization, buy a plastic tub for under the sink and load it up with your supplies. When you fix your hair, the whole tub can be taken out and put away without creating a mess.
• If your towel rack isn’t big enough to hang the family’s towels, add hooks to the bathroom walls or door.
• An expandable cosmetic-drawer organizer fits in a shallow drawer and takes the place of bulky cosmetic bags. Various compartments will organize lipstick, blush and eye shadow so you never have to root around to find what you’re looking for.
• Over-the-toilet bath furniture is a great place to put extra toilet paper, toiletries and even towels. Consider a unit with cabinets or closed shelving.
• If you have a lot of counter space, and don’t mind leaving things out in the open, invest in some stylish apothecary jars to hold necessities. Cotton swabs, soap and bath salts look great in clear glass containers.
Caren Baginski, Home & Garden Television