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We dream of a home like those saved in our ideabooks, but let’s face it: Unless your name is Carol Brady and you have a live-in Alice, these standards can be impossible to live up to. What if I told you that you could have a home where everything appeared organized and pulled together at a moment’s notice — and that maintaining it wouldn’t require a dedicated support staff or feel like a second job? Are you in? Here are six tips to help you master the art of creative camouflage.
1. Add stylish storage in the entry. The foyer is your welcome home — and your opportunity to create a pleasing entry for visitors. Make this area work for you by outfitting it with pieces that function as storage while adding to the overall aesthetic.
A chest of drawers is an excellent place to temporarily stash loose items when you want to declutter quickly. Socks, Fido’s chew toys and Power Rangers can all be quickly dumped here in a beautiful piece that holds your secrets with grace.
If you are a shoes-off household but don’t like the look of a pile of tennies and Crocs by the door, consider a chest of drawers or a cabinet in the entry as a clever and unexpected place to store shoe overflow.
This Chinese-inspired commode is a statement piece that sets the tone for the rest of the home. Whether an antique-style cabinet or a flea market find, a piece that reflects your personality is always a good fit for the foyer. The furniture can serve double duty by bringing the beauty while hiding the beast!
2. Consider the well-placed basket. If you have kids, pets, a messy spouse or roommate — or you’re not so tidy yourself — baskets can be good friends. Place them strategically around your home for quick places to dump anything covering the floor, sofa or tabletop. Your pass through any clutter zone can be quick with a well-placed basket.
Important note: OK, so it’s bound to happen — your secret weapon, whether it’s a basket or a cabinet, is overflowing, and your powers as the clutter master are crippled. Before this happens, be sure to keep your tools sharpened and ready for war. Take two minutes a day to purge your dumped items and keep your clutter contained. A basket is only as good as the available space inside, so keep it clear, and you’ll always be ready to mask life’s little messes.
Baskets with lids double as end tables and provide a quick storage solution while adding interest to this fun great room.
3. Bring in an armoire for larger items. An armoire stationed in your family room, kitchen or even foyer can house more than books and china. Use that massive cabinet you inherited for larger items that may require a quick disappearing act. You know, things like the 36 rolls of paper towels you purchased in bulk, the bulky blankets or the neon-orange toys larger than the child they’re designed for.
4. Choose an ottoman with storage. Available in just about any style imaginable, storage ottomans are masters of camouflage that make cleanup in a clutch a breeze.
A cluster of smaller storage ottomans used as a coffee table organizes your chaos. Designate an ottoman for toys, blankets, magazines and anything else currently living on the floor. When it comes to cleanup, you can tackle one ottoman at a time or, better yet, assign an ottoman to each of your clutter contributors to clear out weekly.
If ottomans aren’t your thing, you can find these clever storage solutions in coffee tables too.
5. Pack it up. In the game of creative camouflage, all areas should offer a quick solution for concealing clutter. Put a couple of vintage suitcases beside a chair as an end table to store your collection of board games or whatever unsightly things attempt to take over your space.
6. Unfold a screen. This decorative, free-standing folding panel can be utilized in any space large or small to offer artistic camouflage for treadmills, sports equipment or simply storage overflow.
What do you do with the bike or double-wide stroller that kills your vibe as soon as you hit the door? These monstrous necessities are destined to hang out by the nearest exit, and unless you’re fortunate to have an easily accessible outdoor storage space, this is your reality: “Welcome to my home; please excuse the …” But you can hide it and add a little art to the entry in the form of a stylish screen.
Screens are available in a wide range of sizes and materials, making it easy to find the perfect option to mask whatever is occupying the corner of the living room.
Stored in a closet, this quick fix can pop into any space when needed. Like magic, the mountain of unfolded laundry, kids’ toys or your latest work in progress will disappear.