Usually, the living room is the first thing people see in your house, so this is why it’s important to keep it organized. This is the room where you can create a lasting first impression. However, organizing the living room can be a challenge because this room can have so many functions. It’s where your family gather, relax, take a nap, entertain guests, eat snacks, watch TV, play video games, sing karaoke, and possibly exercise and work at a desk. It’s also the room where you store your entertainment gadgets, CD/DVD collections, photo albums, newspaper and magazine subscriptions, mail, toys, exercise equipment artworks, family portraits and other knick-knacks for display.
Because a living room can serve so many functions, it’s no wonder it can end up full of clutter. To organize this important area, here are some helpful tips to follow:
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1. Remove items that do not belong in the living room
Walk around your living room and look into your cabinets and see if there’s anything that doesn’t belong there. Your kids may be placing the most random items inside your TV cabinet or console table drawer, so check them out. The most obvious areas are the tabletops – they can easily catch clutter, so make sure that the things placed there really belongs in the living room. Return the items that belong to another room to their storage areas or proper place. Throw out those dying flowers in the vase and discard any trash you find.
Decluttering your living room also involves cleaning, and you can learn more about it here.
2. Make a home for everything
Ideally, every item in your living room (or any part of the home) must have a place to be. This is to prevent clutter and avoid the time-consuming search for something. For instance, your books must stay in the bookshelf, your magazines may live under your coffee table, your remotes must be on a drawer in the TV cabinet, and your telephone must stay on one end table. It doesn’t matter exactly where, as long as the location of an object works for you. What matters is from now on, a specific object has a consistent home and you know exactly where to get it when you need it. Just make sure that after you use an item, you put it back to its “home.”
3. Keep a clutter catcher
For those that do not have the time to completely clear out living room clutter (or for items that you can’t decide just yet where to put it), you can designate a basket or bin that can keep all those “lost” items together. Invest in an attractive basket with lid like this beautiful rope storage basket that looks stylish and can hide any random stray items. If you have a corner or a piece of furniture that serves as a clutter zone, you can put the random stray items in the basket so that the specific spot can get finally organized. It will help make the entire room look cleaner. Then, when you have the time, you can decide where to place the items inside the basket, or what to throw out.
4. Don’t hesitate to get rid of stuff
It may sound like a no-brainer, but this is a surefire way to keep your living room clutter down. Get rid of the stuff you are not using anymore, like those old magazines, years-old paperwork, used candles, an old broken chair you’re never going to repair or a throw rug that isn’t your taste. Let them go by clearing it out or throwing it to the trash or donating it to someone. Be merciless if you really want to get rid of clutter. Let go of the things you are not using for a long time already, because most probably, you aren’t going to use them again.
5. Observe functionality
A piece of furniture placed in your living room must have a specific purpose why it is placed there. For instance, if you have a coffee table, you might need to reassess its functionality and organizational capacity. Do you end up putting a lot of items on top of it that you can’t use it anymore to place a cup of coffee? You may need to upgrade your coffee table (considering that the items on it are all important) and go for one with more storage underneath. If you don’t have a budget for a new one, consider adding storage cubbies, baskets or bins to place under the table. A fabric storage bin like this one is functional enough to contain your random items, while still looking sleek and fashionable.
6. Keep a waste basket
If trash tends to accumulate in the living room, it may be necessary to add a waste basket to cut down clutter. Find an attractive-looking wastebasket that doesn’t clash with your room’s décor. If you know food or food wrappers will be thrown away in here, pick one with a lid like this one.
7. Keep your tables clutter-free
Bills, papers, brochures, magazines and books tend to accumulate on flat surfaces like the desk, coffee table, end table, console tables or even at the top of any musical instrument like a piano. Make sure that every time you use a book or a magazine, put it back to where you got it, and tell your household members to do so. Also, allocate a drawer for files where all the papers must go. It can be anywhere you want. Make sure that you and your family will learn to put the papers in the file drawer rather than on the coffee table. Designate a few minutes a day or per week to clear off paper clutter and decide whether they need to be stored or thrown away.
To make the most out of your living room space, choose furniture with hidden storage. Multi-functional items like storage ottomans, couches with storage underneath the seat and coffee tables with hidden storage and a lift tabletop are great for stacking up your stuff out of plain sight and keep your living room clutter free.
9. Make your bookshelves multi-functional
Your living room bookshelf may still store more items – you just need to be strategic in using it. Before you fill it up with old books, first assess if you still want all those books displayed in there. Try getting rid of some old ones that ruin the look of your shelves and see if you can donate or sell, or store in your basement or garage. Then, integrate some decorative storage baskets into the mix like this woven seagrass basket set. They can store your letters, old mails, paperwork and other items while working as bookends and a decorative item in your living room that adds a much-needed touch of texture.
10. Organize the cords
Tangled cable wires behind (or even in front) of entertainment centers are unsightly and causes visual clutter. There are many ways to organize your cords, but one of the best bets is going for a cable sleeve with a zipper to enclose all your cables in a tube and then plug them into a multiple adaptor. This way, all your cables are in one place and it keeps them from being tangled.
11. Designate a play zone or a game area
If your kids’ toys are taking over the family area, it’s time to put them on a timeout. Transform an area in your living room into a play zone and teach your kids to play in that area. It may be a corner or a side of the living room or at the space on the back of the couch. These are good areas to place a children’s table or a small bookshelf for your children’s books. Add bins for toy storage for your child. You can also define the play zone with an area rug.
If you’ve got older kids and adults who like to play video games or board games together, it’s a good idea to designate a game area where all those gadgets and games are stored. Usually, they end up in the TV cabinet, but it can help if you designate a separate spot for them (especially if you have many). Doing this will help free up other places in the room for storage.
12. Sort your multimedia collection
Nowadays, people love to watch movies and listen to music via Internet streaming services or via downloaded files on a hard drive or computer – but if you still hold on to your CD/DVD player and your CD and DVD collection, make sure they are all sorted out. Take some time to go through all of them and sort them out. For instance, you can separate your music CDs from your movie DVDs. If you can dedicate a drawer or DVD/CD storage towers for them, that’s better. Giving them a separate storage will also make it easier for you to let them go once you decide to, because let’s face it – they are becoming obsolete.
If you no longer listen to the music CDs or don’t watch the DVDs anymore (and you don’t plan to), perhaps it’s time to let them go. If you’re feeling nostalgic about them and you see use for them in the future, you can store them in the garage or basement, so as to free up space in your living room for other items you actually use.