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.
This mission is a bit different than organizing the family room, which we accomplished yesterday. There are a few more steps to tackle clutter and clean this more formal, guest-oriented space.
Every day’s mission has four parts to it:
Keep It Clean
Organizing the Living Room – Day 7
Today we are ROCKing the formal living room. If you don’t have one, take this opportunity to catch up on previous days’ missions or your laundry. Or, hey, just take a break — you’ve earned it!
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 more formal occasions like entertaining special guests, 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.
Gather Your Supplies
- Trash bags
- Boxes for items you’ll donate
Removing clutter in the formal 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.
Start by throwing away visible trash, food wrappers, expired magazines, and anything broken.
Gather what doesn’t belong in this room like toys, shoes, backpacks, coats. Put into a box anything that should be elsewhere in your home. (We’ll deal with these things at the end of the mission.)
Rehome 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. Put things you want to use elsewhere in one box, and things you want to give away in another. Move the latter box to the trunk of your car now.
Organizing the living room is different
For this one room, we’re focusing on what will make 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.
A place to set things within reach will make guests more comfortable. Put a coffee table roughly 18 inches from the front of your sofa at a height within 1-2 inches of the sofa’s seat. Opt for tables with hidden storage and you’ll have storage for extra coasters, beverage trays, and other entertainment-ware.
Adequate, not overpowering, lighting makes a room more inviting and comfortable. A table with a built-in lamp and USB port is a stylish solution that also offers storage.
Extra throw blankets and pillows soften a room’s look, giving it the hygge vibe that’s so popular right now. If you’d rather not keep them on the sofa (because your pets or kids might mess them up), stash them an upholstered storage ottoman that doubles as extra seating. Or top the ottoman with a large serving tray and it makes a wonderful coffee table.
Keep tabletops mostly clear so guests don’t have to search for a place to set their beverage or phone. You want to keep coasters on the table, obviously, but limit other decorative objects to keep your coffee and end tables functional. (Display family photos and knickknacks on mantles, shelves, the piano top, or walls instead.)
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.
- 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 table: Grab anything that belongs somewhere else. Toss the trash. Wipe the tabletop.
Kitchen cupboards and counters: Put things away. Grab anything that belongs somewhere else. Wipe the countertops. (You don’t need to move anything — just wipe up spills.)
The rest of the kitchen: Wipe appliance handles and spills on the stovetop. Empty the trashcan. Sweep up any spills. (I use this electric sweeper for small messes or my cordless vacuum for bigger ones.)
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 let yourself 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!
See You Tomorrow
onsider yourself invited to join our Do Home Better group on Facebook where we exchange cleaning and organizing tips and cheer each other on through the missions in this series!