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RISMEDIA, June 5, 2010—(MCT)—Peter Walsh has you all figured out. You bought the melon baller because it was on sale and you like melon. You’ve held on to that 3-year-old magazine because you will make the recipe on Page 127. Some night. And those new black pumps do not look exactly like your four other pairs.

You’ve got yourself some clutter, my friend. And Walsh, best-selling author, host of TLC’s “Clean Sweep” and Oprah Winfrey’s go-to organizational expert, wants you to clear it out. Now. “Later is the best friend of clutter,” he says. “Clutter is really just decisions delayed.”

Walsh offers the following tips for homeowners to tackle the five most common clutter zones.

That kitchen drawer
Take the pizza rolling, slicing thing and all those other items you bought for less than $5.99 that you just knew you’d always use and put them in a cardboard box. Whenever you use one of the items, put it back in the drawer. At the end of the month—with the exception of the turkey baster—you need to ask yourself if you will ever use whatever is left in the box.

The bedroom closet
We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time, which means the vast majority of your closet is filled with—you guessed it, clutter. Walsh suggests the ‘reverse clothes hanger trick.’ Take everything on a clothes hanger and turn it around back-to-front. For the next three to six months, every time you wear something, hang it back the correct way after you wash it. Whatever is still hanging back-to-front, ask yourself if you will ever really wear the item. The reverse clothes hanger trick is an efficient, non-traumatic way to see what you wear and what you don’t.

Your shoes
To understand how many shoes you have, you have to release them from captivity. Find the largest room or hallway in your house and line them up. Every pair of shoes you have. Then sort the shoes by type—running shoes, sensible pumps, sandals and so on. Then give yourself a ratio such as 10-to-1 (for every 10 you keep, get rid of one pair), 5-to-1 if you’re or even 3-to-1 if you’re a true pioneer.

The car
Get in the habit that whenever you gas up the car, in those two minutes you declutter and throw out any trash. In addition, get milk crate-size containers, and put them in the way back. Whenever the kids bring something into the car—sports gear, book bags, etc.—it goes in their crate. Be sure to use the crates whenever you go shopping too. When you arrive home, make sure nobody leaves the car empty-handed—everyone has to carry their crate into the house.

The garage
Divide your garage into clear zones: one area for gardening equipment, one area for holiday decorations, one area for luggage and one area for tools. Establishing zones is a functional way of keeping the place organized and the volume of stuff in control.

(c) 2010, Chicago Tribune.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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