September 21, 2009 in Features

Corraling our lifestyle clutter

Donna Erickson
King Features photo

“Lego Experience Tour” trailer fascinates kids. More pressing for adults is how to organize the parts. King Features
(Full-size photo)

For the Legomaniac Scott boys and their friends, it was a dream come true when they woke up to the site of a gigantic Lego truck on the street in front of their house.

Ryan, the driver and team member of the “Lego Experience Tour,” had no idea how the truck with more than 200 Lego figures emblazoned on its exterior would capture the hearts of the kids when he passed by on the way to set up the exhibit at the Minnesota State Fair.

With three boys under age 8, the Scotts don’t actually buy Lego bricks by the truckload, but when Melissa invited me into her sons’ “Basement Lego Room” amid the excitement that morning, I was all smiles.

With Lego posters on walls, completed models on shelves and projects in process, it’s a dynamic gathering place for kids and their creativity.

“But we finally had to come to grips with the clutter,” said Melissa.

That’s when they decided to sort the zillions of Legos strewn around the house, organize them by color and subject and keep them in one room. See-through plastic bins now house the reds, the grays and the blues, while plastic tackle-box-style containers with dividers store ladders, shields, animals and people.

Melissa thinks outside the Lego box when it comes to other clever clutter busters. Namely keeping track of electronic gadgets, gizmos and cords that can strangle a family’s living space.

Cell phones, chargers, a camera and even a laptop land in a wide top drawer situated under a kitchen counter top.

When a gadget needs charging, it is plugged into a surge protector, which sits in the back of the drawer.

A 3-inch hole drilled through the back end of the drawer routes the power-strip cord to an outlet. Brilliant! No more messy cords and no more misplaced phones.

Here are more clutter busters:

•Arrange your child’s personal-care items such as hairbrush, barrettes and shampoo in portable plastic caddies or totes with handles. Paint names and decorate the outside. Store in bedrooms or under the bathroom sink.

•Set a basket at the base of the stairs as a collect-all of everyday stuff such as books, shoes and toys. With just a single trip up the stairs, items may be returned to their proper places.

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series. See more at

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