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Taming clutter

Tips for keeping the living room more presentable:

•If trash tends to accumulate in the family room, adding a wastebasket might cut down on clutter. If you know food will be thrown away here, get one with a lid and some deodorizing trash bags.

•Papers, books, brochures and magazines tend to accumulate on flat surfaces all around the house, and the family room is no different. Make a quick sweep of all flat surfaces by piling papers in a bin, then sorting and purging as necessary. Take a vow, and get your family to follow it, to put papers in files rather than on the coffee table.

•Until the world goes wireless, we’ll forever be stuck with tangled cables behind our entertainment centers. Fortunately, there are several options for taming cords in the family room. The most attractive is the slim Cableyoyo. It neatly coils up to 6 feet of cord and comes with an adhesive backing that will attach to nearly any surface.

A cable caddy usually sticks onto a desktop (or behind the TV console) and has a space for several cables to clamp into. Your cords will still dangle freely, however, so a cable zipper, which encloses all the cables in a tube, might be the best bet.

•If toys are taking over your family room, it’s time to put them in timeout. Unused corners of a family room transform into great play areas because the walls serve to block encroaching clutter.

•Coffee tables that look great but don’t have any storage for magazines, remote controls or even drink coasters are probably making life more difficult. If you don’t have the budget for a new one, consider adding low storage cubes, rolling baskets or bins to stick under the table.

•Media such as DVDs and CDs are staples of the family room. Take 30 minutes to begin sorting your entire collection, making two piles: one for keeping and one for selling back or donating.

– Caren Baginski, HGTV.com

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