Messy living room

Photo: Saverio Truglia

5 of 6
Clear Your Surfaces
In the living room toys, DVDs, and issues of Architectural Digest proliferate unchecked. "Where does it all belong?" asks Walsh, bewildered by the lack of storage. He produces a clear acrylic rack for Tobin's magazines. Then he instructs her to keep only three back issues of any title.

"But—" protests Tobin, reaching for a 2007 issue of Elegant Homes.

"Your house will never look like that," says Walsh. "Nor should it. What's important is that your space works for your family."

On to the toys. Walsh tells Tobin to be ruthless. "Back in the day, you got a stick and you were happy!" he trills, tossing dolls and beeping trains toward several canvas folding bins he's provided; whatever doesn't fit has to go. "Without exception, when you throw away 90 percent of the toys you think your kids need, they come into the room and start dancing." This inspires Tobin to part with a few plastic teacups.