Amy Clark

Organizing the Living Room

The living room is probably one of the places that you spend the most amount of your time. Our living room is a place for us to watch television, a place that we eat on occasion, and a playroom. I am sure that many of you make this room into a multifunctional one. With all of these uses for the room you will find how easy it is to accumulate clutter. I hope that this section will help to minimize this.

If you are in a pinch though with company on the way, have a laundry basket handy. Take all of the clutter and drop it in there, hiding this discreetly, until the guest’s leave. Don’t let this sit in a closet too long though. Once your guest’s have gone make sure that you put the belongings where they need to go. Hopefully, after reading this section, you will have nothing to even put in that laundry basket. Of course, that is wishful thinking, right?

  • Sort through all of your magazines, books, and newspapers that you have lying around in this room. Make sure that you dispose of the newspapers that aren’t current and if you have read the magazines, recycle those as well. One great place to take them is to the library or trade them with a friend who has a different subscription.

    If there are particular articles in them that you want to keep then tear them out. Take all of these articles and put them in an alphabetized expandable file. You can use “G” for gardening, “C” for cooking, and “B” for baby and so on. This will help reduce a lot of the clutter in your room. It will also make finding those special articles easier because you will know right where to look.

    If you have books that you no longer read you can also trade these with a friend, put them in a box marked “garage sale”, or ask your library if they have any programs where you can donate them for the organization. If all else fails, you can always take them to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. The idea is to rid yourself of clutter, not to accumulate more, so make sure you don’t stop and look while you are dropping them off.Take a look at your counter space. If you see items on it that you do not use often, relocate them to a different area in your kitchen or basement. This will free up some very valuable countertop space.

  • Buy baskets to sit underneath taller tables that you can put the magazines you do keep in them. This way they look a lot nicer then cluttering your coffee table with them and they are still easily accessible.
  • Take a look at your coffee table. Has this become the catch-all for all of your bills and papers? It is time to clear this table off so it can be used for what it is purposed. Make sure that you put all your bills into a basket designated for bills. Organize these by the ones that need to be paid the soonest on top and work your way back through the pile. Now take these upstairs and pay them- even if the due date is a long way off. In the corner where the stamp would be located, write the date for when the bill needs to be sent off and then set them all in your calendar station where you should have a slot for your bills to go. That takes care of a task that is completely unrelated to your living room, but might save you a bundle in late fees. Get rid of old advertisements and papers that are unnecessary clutter. If there are papers that you do need to save make sure you file them in your filing box/cabinet in the appropriate folder. Now that this table is clear, dust it off and make sure it stays clear.
  • Organize your movies and music. If you have a large music or movie collection this can be a little tedious. I have an enormous music collection and I kept them in compact disc organizers and got rid of the jewel cases for these discs. This eliminated a lot of clutter for us because the case is really what takes up the most space. If you have the time and patience you can alphabetize them and if you don’t simply group your music or movies into different genres. For movies, for example, you could have drama, horror, comedy, western, or children’s. With music you could have rock/alternative, classical, rap/hip hop, Broadway, and Movie Music. Whatever makes it easier for you to locate your movie/music should be the alternative you choose. If you find blank videos, tapes, or compact discs that don’t have a label on them, play them to figure out what they are. Once you have discovered this, clearly label them and that will solve another mystery in your house.
  • If you have a game or puzzle collection make sure that all the pieces are in the boxes. There is no point in keeping a puzzle or game if they have important pieces missing. This will reduce some of the clutter.
  • If your children have toys that are in your living room, get a storage box to put them in. I prefer the kind that are NOT clear because I can throw everything in there and not have to look at when it is put away. If your child is anything like mine they have lots of toys that have separate little pieces in them. Get small organizers that are clear with easily removable lids on them to put each item with all its pieces in it. You can give your child these one at a time and put each of them away when they are done with them eliminating the search for the missing pieces and all of the clutter at the bottom of the toy box.
  • There is no need to have every single item and doodad out on display on your tables. Pick a few well chosen items and put the rest of the stuff into storage. You can alternate them and eliminate a cluttered situation. It will also bring attention to the things that you do have on display.
  • If you have a lot of picture frames that are cluttering up your tables there are a couple of ways you can reduce this:

    They have lots of neat flip books that you can purchase that you could set all of the pictures in reducing the need for sixteen frames. You can also buy the small metal picture displayers that have clips to hold them where you could fan out several pictures for viewing.

    Purchase a photo box and put all of your pictures in there. If you have a particular photo you would like to share, you can just get out your photo box and share them that way rather then taking up your valuable space.

    Relocate them. Spread the pictures out into several rooms- use ledges, the bathroom, bedrooms, and kitchen for other areas to put them in. Many families display their picture collection in their hallway. By hanging them on the walls you reduce a lot of clutter.

Every living room is different for each person as well as what the room might function as. Try to look at your room with a friend or family member and ask them what they see in the room that needs organizing. Plan your attack based on their observations and look to books and friends for advice. The idea is to make this room livable and not a room that you dread spending time in.

More ideas for organizing:

www.ineedmoretime.com
www.organizedhome.com

www.flylady.com

Places to look for kitchen organizers:

www.organizes-it.com
www.kitchensource.com
www.organize-everything.com

Recommended Reading:

Home Comforts : The Art and Science of Keeping House
by Cherly Mendelson, Harry Bates
To me, this truly is the Bible for all the folk’s out there who aspire to be more organized.

Organizing from the Inside Out
by Julie Morgenstern
This woman has been featured on Oprah as a goddess for home organization. Reading her book will help you discover what type of organizer you are and how to tackle your trouble spots. Be amazed at the fantastic advice she offers.

Organizing for Dummies
by Eileen Roth and Elizabeth Miles
The title says it all. It is for those of us who are just starting on the road to organization.

Published June 24, 2004 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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