Photo: David TsayBy Meredith Bryan
Peter Walsh, de-clutterer extraordinaire shares the genius rules that will make your spring cleaning easier than ever.
1. Make Your Rooms Multitask
In a small house, each room can serve more than one purpose, says Walsh. Take his guest room/TV room/office. The couch-a pullout that's perfect for guests-faces a flat-screen TV that Walsh and Greenblatt watch alone on quieter evenings.
To create a cozy home office, Walsh removed the closet doors, installed a desk and shelving, and added venetian blinds from Ikea that he can pull down to hide the workspace when visitors arrive.
Even Walsh's furniture serves more than one function: This ottoman, a handy footrest and coffee table, moonlights as storage for Walsh and Greenblatt's DVD collection, leaving the room's media console clutter-free.
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Photo: David Tsay2. Focus Your Fridge
Walsh uses clear plastic trays (Fridge Binz; Organize.com) to separate cheese from condiments from baking supplies. When he's grilling outside, he simply grabs the entire condiments tray (ditto the cheese tray, which he and Greenblatt sample most evenings). Bonus: No need to scrub dried maple syrup from the far corners of his fridge.
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Photo: David Tsay3. Use Easy Counter Canisters
To keep the dried lentils, beans, quinoa, flour, and other ingredients he uses for healthy summer meals readily available, Walsh stores them in a set of stainless steel canisters (Organize.com). This way he always knows what he has-and friends can easily pitch in with the cooking.
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Photo: David Tsay4. Rethink Your Linen Closet
Warning: Your mind might be blown by Walsh's brilliantly simple linen system. To store his uniform white sheets, he folds fitted sheet, top sheet, and extra pillowcases inside a pillowcase of the same set. Needless to say, he never has to ransack his closet for an elusive match.
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Photo: David Tsay5. De-Junk Your Junk Drawer
Instead of being jammed in a kitchen drawer, household necessities like rubber bands, pencils, and glue are stacked in clear, labeled boxes of varying sizes (Zak! Designs canisters; Organize.com) inside a cabinet. This makes things easy for Walsh-and his houseguests-to find.
Walsh's clear containers make it easy to see what needs replacing. Even better, their labels discourage the stashing of miscellany. "They don't allow you to overload your junk drawer with junk," he explains.
Photo: David Tsay6. Establish a Free-Money Box
Inspired by the sheer dollar amount of unused gift cards and rebates he finds stashed in others' homes, Walsh corralled his various coupons, gift certificates, free gym passes, and vouchers into this brightly colored box (Bigso storage box; Organize.com), which he riffles through for relevant bargains each time he goes shopping.
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Photo: David Tsay7. Standardize Your Food Storage
To avoid accumulating a drawerful of mismatched plastic containers in ten colors, Walsh uses just one brand of food storage container so lids will always fit (OXO LockTop set; Organize.com). He stacks just a few sizes in a cabinet for easy access. "Most people only really use three or four of these containers anyway," says Walsh. "There's no need to keep hundreds."
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