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In-and-Out Organizing

Blueprint, July/August 2007

Keys and letters and loose change, oh my! The little odds and ends you unload as you enter the house can add up to a big mess. Conquer the clutter with these streamlined systems.

Solution No. 1: Modern Marvel
Vitra's iconic plastic organizer is the ultimate catchall. It's been tidying offices for decades but is tailor-made for foyers, too: The nooks and crannies will hold everything from gym locks to digicams.

Solution No. 2: Square It All Away
Which loose bits drive you to your wit's end? It varies by person, so we devised a customizable setup that works for someone with four sets of keys, five favorite gadgets, six magazine subscriptions -- or all three at once. A simple wire-screen panel holds smaller items, while a basket becomes your home's in/out box. The cubbyhole console keeps the larger stuff stowed -- at last, a proper place to stash your handbag!

Get the Screen Organizer How-To

Solution No. 3: Kitchen Caboodle
Don't be afraid to steal ideas from other rooms -- a sleek stainless pot rack relocated to the foyer proves adept at corralling clutter. The matching magnetic strip holds receipts and pretty postcards. Stacking bins can be labeled by family member or category (e.g., bills, catalogs).

Another idea: Ceramic tagines are great for couscous, but they're also an artful way to keep sundries contained and out of sight. This area is the first thing you see when you walk in the door, so make it beautiful.

More tips and tricks for outsmarting your stuff:

1. Place a pretty trash can near the door so you can toss junk mail as soon as you enter.

2. If space permits, use a desk in lieu of a console. The added surface area will come in handy for paying bills, and drawers can hide pens, maps, etc.

3. Convert shoe cubbies into mail cubbies like those found in old hotels.

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