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Dozen ways to cut clutter

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  • Take advantage of all your space by using hooks to hang items
  • A five-gallon plastic bucket with a hold-all sleeve becomes a portable tool center
  • A restaurant rack with clips can be used to hold your most important bits of paper
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Real Simple

(Real Simple) -- Get the house under control, whether you want to hide things quickly or sort them efficiently

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Sort belongings with a shoe organizer

Designed to hold six pairs of shoes, this folding cotton-canvas and wood frame organizer can be repurposed for sorting and distributing belongings by room or family member. The Shoe Bagger, $35, www.organizes-it.com.

Contain collectibles in a pie cabinet

Are beloved collectibles beginning to clutter your tabletops? Instead of using an expensive and cumbersome curio cabinet, display treasures or delicate glassware in a diner pie cabinet. It protects valuables from touchy-feely guests and eliminates frequent dusting. Display case by Carib, 10 by 14 by 10 inches, $130, Bowery Kitchen Supply, www.bowerykitchens.com.

Store rings on icing tips

Instead of hiding rings away in a drawer, stack them on icing tips purchased from a bakery-supply store. Put these next to the kitchen sink -- secured with reusable plastic adhesive to keep them steady -- to safeguard rings when washing, too. Cake icing tips, about $3 each, at houseware stores.

Keep papers accessible with memo holder

Originally made for keeping track of food orders in restaurants, this sleek stainless-steel and chrome rack will ensure that mail, messages, and shopping lists are not misplaced. Memo holder with spring clips, $46, the Museum of Useful Things, www.themut.com.

Store pens and pencils in a test-tube holder

Don't waste time delving into a drawer full of jumbled pens and pencils. A test-tube holder makes everything easy to retrieve. Aluminum pencil holder, $32, the Museum of Useful Things, www.themut.com.

Create your own desk organizer

Don't be limited by prefab desk organizers that don't have enough of the right-size compartments. Instead, use miniature loaf tins to design your own portable system. Loaf pans, $1 to $3 at baking-supply stores.

Hang gear to save garage space

Gain space in the garage or attic by slipping heavy-duty wire hooks over two-by-four cross beams. Use the hooks to suspend garden tools and other gear. Portable Utility Hooks, $3.25 each, www.gemplers.com.

Keep tools organized and portable

An ordinary five-gallon plastic bucket is transformed into a portable tool or garden center when it wears a heavy-duty fabric hold-all sleeve. With 38 exterior and 18 interior pockets, this apron lets you locate your most essential tools easily and carry them to job sites. Bucket Boss Tool Organizer, $25, Gempler's, 800-332-8473, or www.amazon.com.

Untangle garden hose with wall rack

If you keep tripping over the garden hose, get a wall-mounted rack to tame those unruly coils. By hanging your hose neatly, you'll also prevent kinks and holes from forming in the rubber or vinyl. Heavy-duty steel hose rack, $24.50, www.gemplers.com.

Bag dirty sports gear

Do as the pros do and deposit muddy soccer balls and sandy footballs into an equipment bag from a sports-supply catalog. This one has a full-length zipper and holds 12 volleyballs or eight basketballs. Just hose it down before storing the balls away for the next game. Mesh duffel in purple, $19, Palos Sports, www.palossports.com.

Clean up outdoor toys quickly

If your lawn is a hodgepodge of plastic toys and sports equipment, invest in industrial-style, easy-to-push trolleys and scoop everything up in one fell swoop. Two Bushel Wheeled Hamper, $118, www.themut.com. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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