Spring Cleaning

By Kimberly Isburg

We’ve all seen living rooms so packed with toys and books that they look as if the adults fled for higher ground. It’s no secret that kids require an enormous amount of entertainment, which can lead to piles of games and other gear that overtake family spaces.

A disorganized, cluttered living area is often a source of stress for parents and children. “If one person—say, mom—is stressed because of disorder, it is difficult to create the calm and centered environment that most of us [conjure up] when we think of home,” says Luci Gutman, professional organizer for What’s Organized? in Northbrook, Ill.

An organized, functional and stylish room where children can color at their crafts table in the corner while mom and dad relax on the couch doesn’t have to remain only a dream. With the help and advice of organization mavens (and mothers), we have compiled a few steps to help you keep your family spaces under control.

Define the space

To make any space functional, you must first know how you intend to use it. “Define the activities that will take place in the room, making certain to include favorite toys, comfortable blankets and good lighting,” says Nancy Heller, professional organizer and founder of Goodbye Clutter in New York City. Will it be used for reading, board games, arts and crafts, watching TV? Or all of the above? Once you know how you will use the space, you can start organizing it for those tasks.