Today we are organizing the living room. If you’re just starting this free 30-day series, here’s the introduction, which also contains links to the previous missions to help you catch up.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Organize What’s Left
Clean the Space
Keep on Track
This mission is a bit different than organizing the family room, which we accomplished yesterday. Since this is a more formal, guest-oriented space, there are a few more steps to eliminate and prevent clutter.
If you don’t have a separate living room, take this opportunity to catch up on previous days’ missions or your laundry. Or, hey, just take a break — you’ve earned it!
Organizing Living Rooms
The Function of a Living Room
Family rooms are casual, comfortable places where a home’s occupants and their close friends gather to hang out, watch TV, and play. Depending on where you live, you may call that room a den, a rec room, or a lounge.
A living room, on the other hand, is typically reserved for entertaining more casual acquaintances, hosting cocktail parties, and displaying prized possessions.
Due to their function, most people seek to keep their formal living rooms free of clutter and company-ready all of the time. If you’ve got small kids or pets, that’s not an easy thing to do! So, let’s ROCK it.
Removing Clutter in the Living Room
Removing clutter in the living room works best if you focus on the room’s function. Remember, this is not a playroom or space for the kids to hang out — that’s what the family room is for. So, if an item isn’t there to make guests comfortable, help you entertain more easily, or showcase your home and family, then it doesn’t belong.
Get Rid of the Trash
“This isn’t a dumping ground,” you tell the kids. It’s time to get that point across. Grab a bag and pick up:
- Food wrappers
- Expired magazines and newspapers
- Empty boxes
- Anything broken.
Gather What Doesn’t Belong
The formal living room isn’t the place to stash that case of 30 toilet paper rolls you picked up at Sam’s Club. It’s also not the spot to stash laundry until you feel like folding.
- Move shoes, backpacks, and coats to the coat closet. (We organized this on Day Two, so there should be plenty of space.)
- Fold that laundry and put it away!
- Put into a box anything that belongs elsewhere in your home. We’ll deal with these things at the end of the mission.
Re-Home What You’ve Outgrown
- Decorating tastes and styles change over time. Just because you loved an object at one point doesn’t mean you’ve got to keep it in your formal living room forever.
- Give friends things they might like which no longer suit your tastes.
- Box up items that are in good condition which you are willing to give to charity. Move that box to the trunk of your car right away.
- If there are things you’re on the fence about, try moving them to your garage or shed for a month. If you don’t miss them in that time, take them to charity or move them to the curb where someone else can claim them.
Organizing Living Rooms
Organizing the living room is all about making the room a welcoming, uncluttered spot that shows off your home to its best advantage. In this room and the guest bathroom, we focus on making our homes useful and comfortable for others.
Fortunately, many of the tips below will also help you cleverly maximize storage without sacrificing style in the process.
Choose Furniture With Hidden Storage
Opt for coffee- and end tables with hidden storage and you’ll have room for coasters, beverage trays, and other entertainment-ware.
- A console table behind the sofa provides additional functional display space.
- A table with a built-in lamp and USB port is a stylish solution that cuts down on cords cluttering your living room.
- Gain additional seating with an upholstered storage ottoman that doubles as a coffee table.
Think Vertically to Find Space
- There’s no reason to let houseplants take over your end or coffee table. Mount ceiling hooks for hanging baskets, or tuck them into a room divider that holds plants.
- Floating shelves above sofas or other furniture can hold framed photos and other decorative objects, so they don’t clutter tabletops.
- A gallery wall lets you combine photos with small floating shelves to take advantage of wall space while staying on-trend.
- If you’re truly short on storage space, hide those spare rolls of toilet paper or other items under a console table behind your sofa. Only you will know they’re there.
Clean your formal living room on a weekly basis so it’s always company ready. If it’s been a while since you’ve given this room attention, and you’ve got the energy, this printable living room Spring Cleaning checklist is incredibly thorough.
Otherwise, do the following today:
- Dust the walls, windowsills, and shelves.
- Shake the curtains to dislodge dust.
- Fluff throw pillows and refold throw blankets.
- Wait 5 minutes for
dustto settle then wipe furniture with a damp microfiber cloth to collect debris.
- Polish picture frames and glass.
- Polish wood furniture.
- Remove greasy stains on upholstery with a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. (Spot test the fabric first!)
- Dust the baseboards.
- Sweep and mop the floor, or vacuum.
Keep it Clean
Keeping areas we’ve already ROCKed free of clutter and mess is an essential part of this series. You may be tired and ready to wrap it up for the day after organizing the living room, but this will only take another 10-15 minutes.
Don’t skip this step!
Entryway: Pick up anything that doesn’t belong. Throw away trash. Sweep or shake the mat outside so visitors aren’t tracking dirt through your house.
Coat closet: Is everything hung up properly? Pick up things that go elsewhere. Throw away trash.
Dining room: Grab anything that belongs somewhere else. Toss the trash. Wipe the tabletop.
Kitchen: Put things away. Grab anything that belongs somewhere else. Wipe the appliance fronts and countertops. (You don’t need to move anything — just wipe up spills.) Clean obvious messes on the floor. Empty the trash.
Family room: Throw away trash. Grab anything that belongs in a different room. Straighten throw pillows and blankets. Tidy the coffee and end tables. Wipe up crumbs or spills.
Remember, you’re resetting those spaces not re-cleaning them, so don’t get overwhelmed!
Put Everything Away
Once you’ve put away your cleaning supplies and taken the donation box to your car, put away the stuff you found that belongs in other rooms.
If that stuff was left out by your children, consider having them do chores kids can do or one-minute chores to earn their things back. They’ll learn to pick up after themselves faster if you don’t do the work for them!
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