For most of us, the family room or living room needs to serve many different purposes: playroom for the kids, gaming room, study room, snack room, TV room, you get the picture!
My home has a living room and a separate playroom, so needless to say we try to keep the living room spotless and dedicated to board games, watching TV, with snack and drinks for the grownups and toys out-of-site in the playroom.
Here are some key points on getting it and keeping it organized:
1. Have a magazine rack or two if you have the space. One for you and one for your spouse. When the magazines are spilling out of the rack, it’s time to get rid of the old and put in the new
2. Resist the urge to leave the magazines out on the coffee table. Make room for a scented candle or decorative bowl of potpourri or space to put your feet up!
3. If you have a media cabinet with doors, store the games and joysticks (DVDs, game systems such as Wii, Nintendo, X-Box) inside the cabinet drawers. If not, find a decorative basket, box or tote to keep it all together and out of site.
4. Decorative pillows: Even though they look nice and comfy, pillows can look like clutter and often land on the floor and stay on the floor when people are using the couch. Choose the fewest number of pillows possible.
5. As tempting as it is to fill your entertainment center shelves with mementos, chances are you have too many. If they look totally outdated and do not blend with your décor, it’s time to purge. Less is more. Pick your favorite keepsakes, photos or trophies and place no more than two or three per shelf. Weed your photos and knick-knacks by putting them in a time capsule and digitally scanning the photographs for posterity. Shelf dusting just got easier J
6. If your home has a large number of family pictures, dedicate a wall, or a section of a wall to display them as a group in matching color frames. It brings coherence to the room and makes a nice conversation vignette.
7. Toy storage: If you have a small living room and one or more children, you may want to find a way to hide or organize toys and enlist the children to help. Make sure you have low storage such as bins, shelves or a cupboard or entertainment cabinet unit that younger children can reach. Teaching them early on to put their toys away will pay big dividends for everyone in the household.
8. Storing shoes: try to establish a space in the mud room, foyer closet, or garage. If that is not possible, hide them in a trunk or decorative box in the living room.
9. Incoming mail can be a real storage challenge. If you have a recycling station, try to position it so you toss junk mail before getting to the living room. Designating one place for mail will help you keep track of it. Use a decorative box or wicker basket on a desk or counter. If you have a home office or bill paying station with a letter opener and stamps, that might be the best place.
10. If you like to use your living room as a snack-eating area, make sure you use coasters under glasses and placemats on the coffee table for quick clean-up.
Less is more, if it doesn’t fit nicely in a place that’s out of sight, something needs to go. Organizing a living room only takes a few easy steps. Once organized, it might feel like a brand new room. You might even find enough space to rearrange your furniture. Oh wait, no, that’s for nesting mothers-to-be ;)