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Divide and Conquer (or Organize and Stow)

Put only what you use back on the shelves. The rest needs to go.

Polka Dot/Thinkstock

When you were little, you got a big kick out of sticking a little round peg in the round hole, and a square peg . . . well, you remember, right? Well de-junking your family room is kinda like that. Corralling the DVDs and rounding up the magazines, and then, simply designating a spot for them will contain the chaos. If you haven't seen the top of your coffee table in months, give it a try.

While you're at it, get rid of anything you haven't revisited in a while. That means the back issues of "TV Guide" magazine, expired coupons, old newspapers (if anyone still subscribes to a daily newspaper) and that nest of repair projects piled next to your chair.

Oh, while you're rummaging around, you'll probably discover all kinds of things that don't belong in the family room at all: shoes, dirty socks, umbrellas, mittens, mugs, spoons, toys -- lots of toys -- and those huge down coats that never seem to fit in the closet (seriously, what's with that?). Deputize your brood and have them organize and stow their belongings -- before they become part of a lovely backyard bonfire.

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