De-Clutter Your Life

LifeStyle YOU presenter Sarah Wilson speaks to Oprah's de-clutter expert, Peter Walsh, about how to get your life, mind and surroundings in order so you have more time to achieve your goals and relax.

Peter has some great tips for storing clutter in small apartments including:

- Assess the way you keep your stuff. Can you find the things you need when you need them? Do items emerge from storage in good shape? What are your biggest storage issues? Once you clearly identify specific problems, you’re on your way to finding solutions.

- Strive for simplicity with the storage systems you create. Store things as close as possible to where you use them—if you use them frequently.

- Turn closets into allies instead of a no-man’s land that things never return from. Add closet organisers to increase capacity while decreasing chaos. Get comfortable with culling and regularly pare down belongings so it’s easier to find a place for everything.

- Take advantage of the profusion of new containers available both online and in brick-and-mortar stores.

- Browse for storage solutions and continually ask yourself “What else could I store in that?” The hanging shoe holder’s pockets could hold a collection of small stuffed animals; the plastic sweater box could store craft supplies; and the acid-free cardboard box designed to protect artwork could preserve vintage linens.

- Label what you can’t see. If you don’t want to use clear plastic boxes to store your shoes, at least label the ends so you aren’t on a hunt for your sandals when the plane to Hawaii leaves in a few hours. Be specific with your labels. Scrawling “books” on a cardboard carton is not enough. “Cookbooks” is better; “Cookbooks: Italian” will make finding a particular volume easy.

- Decide not to hide. A collection displayed is a collection that doesn’t need storage space. Don’t reserve wall space just for paintings, photos or a grouping of china plates. If your purses are fabulous, hang them from pegs on the dressing room wall. If you’ve saved wine corks from every special vintage you ever tasted, pile them in a shallow wooden bowl or in a tall cylindrical glass vase.

- Steal ideas from the pros. Retail stores, hotels and restaurants pay designers and stylists to devise innovative and attractive storage solutions. Whether it’s wineglasses hung from wooden racks over a bar or a hairdryer stored in a muslin bag and hung from a hook on a hotel sink, clever ideas await your copying.

- Keep a storage journal. Whether it’s a section or your household organizer or a file on your computer, a list of what storage pieces you need to shop for and what new ideas you’d like to try is a valuable aid to staying organized. It should contain brief notes as to where infrequently used items are stored. A year later you might have forgotten you stowed that turkey platter under the guest room bed.

For more information from Peter visit

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