Flip through any design magazine and you'll notice the rooms are flawless. Remote controls, shampoo bottles and newspapers are nowhere to be seen. And generally, neither are people. While these houses might not appear lived in, it's really just creative clutter-solutions at work. And it is attainable -- you can achieve this look without throwing away all of life's "stuff" by effectively managing your belongings.
Where to start
Begin by taking photos of every room in your house. Resist the urge to straighten up beforehand. The first step to creating a home that always looks tidy is identifying the problem areas.
Study the photos with an objective eye. Is the entranceway littered with jackets, shoes and bags? Does the fridge boast ratty paperwork, coupons and magnets from your local real estate agent?
Once you've identified the problem areas, here are a few ideas to help you successfully manage your mess.
Behind closed doors
It wasn't until her kitchen was being overtaken by notes, bills, and postcards, that Gail White, an executive assistant in Calgary, finally discovered a way to control the clutter by utilizing an out-of-sight surface -- her pantry door.
"I did the garage sale circuit one Saturday and found a few cheap bulletin boards," she says. "I secured them to the inside of the pantry door, and pinned everything up in there. Everything is out of sight, and my kitchen seems much larger."
In other rooms, hang large hooks on the back of your closet doors for clothing, and small hooks on the back of the medicine-cabinet door for necklaces.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.