Day 6: Living Room
Welcome to Day 6 of Organizing Your Entire Home in 20 days! For Day 6 we are going to be focusing on the living room!
The living room is the gathering place for the family and many memories are made here. On the downside of that though, it’s where a lot of messes happen and clutter’s favorite place to take up residence.
Many people try to procrastinate cleaning this area because they feel that it will just go back to being cluttered, but if you establish an "organizational foundation", you'll be much better equipped to keep the space tidy!
Since a living room has a lot of different areas in them, we’re going to focus on four main zones.
The four zones we’re going to focus on is the sitting areas (couches, recliners), flat surfaces (coffee tables, side tables), entertainment area (entertainment center, collection of DVDs/movies, gaming devices and disks, board games), and study space (bookshelf, desk, computer surface).
By focusing on 4 main areas, it will help today’s process be less overwhelming. If your living room has more than those spaces, include those areas while you are decluttering today but still continue to think of the spaces as different zones so it doesn't become too much.
The first step in the organizing process is to pull everything out of the space. This may seem like an overwhelming thing to do, but no worries, trust the process and you will love the end result!
Focusing on one of the main zones at a time, put all of the items that you are pulling out into the center of the living room.
Starting with the sitting areas, pull everything out that is on or around those surfaces.
Then move on to the flat surfaces, taking any items that are on or around them and placing them into the center of the room as well.
Keep going with the entertainment area, bring out every single item that is in that space (even the big items!) and add those items into your collection in the center of the room.
Lastly, do the same with the study area, pulling all of the items in or around that space and place them in the center of the room with all of the other items.
By pulling out all of the items that occupy the space, you will be able to see what items truly belong there and what items need to find a spot elsewhere in your house.
**If you don't have these four areas, you can also start in one corner of the living room and work your way around the edges and through the entire space!
Once you have pulled everything out of the four main areas in the living room, categorize all of the items into groups together and throw away any trash that you see along the way.
Group all of the movies together, the books together, remotes together, decorations together, and so on until everything is in a group with other like items.
Grouping together like items will help you make decisions about what you want to keep, donate, or trash.
Once you have categorized everything, its time to make the decisions on whether you want to keep, donate or trash the items.
Items you want to keep should be things that serve your family a purpose and you definitely will be using in the future.
These are things like memorable keepsakes, current decorations, up to date electronic items, office supplies that your family is using, and any books that your family will still read.
Items that need to be donated are things that are still in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for your family.
These are things like old decorations, items that you have an excess of, and outdated items like movies, books, or gaming devices that your family no longer uses.
Items that are trash are things that don’t serve your family any further purpose and wouldn’t serve anyone else purpose either.
These are going to be things like remotes that don’t have a host, a broken toy, a stack of old newspapers, burned out candles, or any other item that you were holding onto that wouldn't serve anyone a purpose.
If you are having difficulty deciding on what items should be kept or donated, ask yourself questions such as, when was the last time someone in my family used this item? Does this item still serve its original purpose for me? How many of this one item do I have and is more than one really necessary? Would someone else better benefit from having this item than I would?
By asking yourself these questions about items you aren’t sure of, you are opening your mind and being honest with yourself about the needs of your family. Any items that you keep but you don’t need will continue to add to the clutter around your house for no reason.
When you give away these items, you are not only clearing the mess from your house, you are also allowing someone else to use the items that may need them more than you.
After you have made decisions about all of the items, its time to clean the living room!
Start by dusting the highest surfaces in the room, wipe/dust down all other flat surfaces, and sweep/vacuum the floor. Wipe inside any cabinets or drawers as well. Then, wash any rugs and throw blankets that are in the room.
Use disinfectant spray or wipes to sanitize commonly touched surfaces like remotes, light switches, toys and sitting surfaces. Finish up by spraying the room with a fresh air spray or lighting a candle so the room smells as fresh as it looks!
Once the living room is clean, it’s time to start putting the items that you are keeping back into their places.
Again, we're going to focus on one of the main zones at a time.
Starting with the sitting areas, let’s set those spaces back up. Plump any decorative pillows, fold and display any throw blankets, and gather up small items (remotes, drink coaster, candle, etc.) and place them in a cute decorative tray.
By having any decorations or items that you use frequently contained in a decorative tray, you are still able to easily access the items but they also look tidy and clutter-free. Check out these cute trays from Target to get this effortlessly cute look.
Finish putting together the sitting area by gathering any excess throw blankets and pillows and place them in a decorative basket like these from Target.
Then move on to the flat surfaces. Place the items that need to be on any coffee table or side tables in the same fashion that you displayed items in the sitting space. Containment is your best friend!
Once you are satisfied with the flat surfaces, move onto the entertainment section in your living room. In the same way that you contained the items in the other areas of your living room, the same applies for this area as well.
Separate all of the miscellaneous items that belong in this area (cords, gaming remotes, other small items that you would have laying around in the living room) and put them in corresponding bins. I love using Y bins for this specific purpose!
Finish up by straightening up the study area. Put any books, magazines or office supplies back in their spots in bins like you did for the entertainment area.
Remember, you're not just putting things back "in a neat way," you're building a lasting organizational system so take some time to find what works best for you!
Using bins or small organizers will continue to keep this space clutter free and easy to put things back into their "homes" after use.
Don’t forget to label any bin that you use!
For any items that were in your living room at the start of the process and were not put back away in the last step, now is the time to put those leftover items away.
This could be any item that doesn’t belong in your living room like kids toys, clothing, or any other item that had just got thrown down and left there.
Just like you did on Day 4, pinpoint where most of the clutter is coming from and take actions to prevent it from continuing to happen over and over again.
If you want to keep your living room from looking like the children's play area, the best thing to do it not allow for toys to be in there to begin with. If that's not possible, then set rules on how many toys each child can have in the living room at a time.
Make it a priority every night to spend a few minutes to pickup any toys that are still in there. And the same goes for you! Set rules for yourself on how long your stuff can sit in the living room before you have to take care of it.
Your living room should be a place to sit down and relax with your family.
If you don’t feel that way when you sit with your family, try these tips and if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, please reach out to the Clutterless Home Solutions Team for help.
Clutterless Home Solutions