Great design is all about editing; getting rid of what doesn't work and keeping what does.

It's a question all of us face after holidays or even birthdays: "Where the heck do you put new stuff?"

After years of struggling with this issue, I've finally found the solution. And you can make room while doing something charitable for those less fortunate than you. The process is a fun and painless project for the whole family — and it will only take one hour.

Start by enticing your family. Explain to them that before new things enter the home, you have to make room for them.

Break your entire house down into two areas, personal and common spaces. Give each person a large shopping bag. Instruct them to go to their rooms and remove all the old, worn, unwanted items from their dressers and closets. They just have to remove enough items to stuff the bag completely full. Any items that are beyond being useful to others get pitched into a garbage bag.

Make it a game. Set the timer for 40 minutes for individual rooms, and instruct family members to ask themselves these questions regarding the things they have: Does it fit? Is it stained or torn? Do I ever wear or use it?

Next, turn your attention to the common areas. Each family member gets a cardboard box and an assignment, based on age, to tackle the clutter in playrooms, family rooms, coat closets and kitchen cabinets. Time to pitch all those plastic butter tubs and chipped glasses and plates. Recycle old magazines and newspapers.

Set the timer for 20 minutes, and let the editing begin.

The reward? Take a ride to a local charity or thrift store to deliver the shopping bags of reusable items, and then stop for pizza at a favorite restaurant. This will give you an opportunity to talk about how lucky your family is to have a home and gifts to share.