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Make a Group Effort
Replace unruly piles—dog leashes, shopping bags, a cap collection—with multipurpose hanging systems that minimize hunting and maximize vertical space. Extra credit for one with Velcro tabs that grip oddly shaped items, such as water bottles and (come winter) earmuffs (try Jill Martin fabric hanging accessory holder, $33 for two, qvc.com).
Hats (and Gloves) Off
Assess accessories and give mateless gloves, that goofy panda hat, and other nonessentials the heave-ho. Stow the survivors in easy-to-grab soft bins organized by family member (try Binette poly-tweed storage bins, $22 each, initials-inc.com). Place the bins low for little ones (say, on top of shoe cubbies) and high for those who can reach.
Call for a Coat Check
It’s easy for unused outerwear to accumulate. But that’s a lot of square footage to surrender. Now is the season to pull what you haven’t worn in the last year and relegate it to the coat-drive bag. Transfer keepers to sturdy wooden hangers with rounded (not pointy) shoulders to preserve shape and drape. (We like Superior natural-wood hangers, $10 each, containerstore.com.)