In a busy household it’s easy for mail, toys, laundry, and just about everything else to stack up in piles on the countertops, tables, floor, and any other nook and cranny that can be found. Whenever something comes into your house, designate a “home” for it. Pens go in the desk drawer, toys go in the basket in the corner, mail gets sorted and either put in a file to be paid or trashed.
If it’s clear where everything belongs, and everyone in the house is expected to put things in those places, then you’ll have less clutter overall. It’s also a good idea to keep as much as possible behind closed doors. Get a laundry bin with a lid to it, use solid cabinet doors to hide pantry items, and lots of baskets around the house will help corral magazines, toys, and other odds and ends. Even if the cabinets and baskets are a mess on the inside, as long as they look nice from the outside, you’ll have everyone fooled.