How to Organize Your Living Room
A living room fits that description: it’s usually the room in the house where most activity happens, from watching TV to visiting with guests to playing with the kids. Because so much happens there, it is often the messiest room in the house—but because so many guests see it, it’s the room we want most organized. Here are some tips for keeping that central room in your home looking great while still being liveable.
Paper, magazines, books, and other clutter laying on coffee tables or other surfaces in the living room can make it look disorganized and messy. Use a simple upright magazine rack to store your favorite newspapers and magazines (until you’ve read them—then either throw them out or file them in a magazine file on a bookshelf for future reference).
If you have several books on the go at once, or frequent the library, consider using a small coffee table in the corner to hold books or reserving one shelf in your bookshelf for “in use” and library books. Keeping all your library materials in one spot makes it easier to return them before they are overdue.
Store the Toys
If you have children, then your living room likely has toys all over. Create a space where the toys can be easily stored when guests come or when your children aren’t playing. Furniture can also help provide storage solutions; coffee tables or footstools may have storage space inside that can hide toys.
Another possibility is to place a toy storage unit (with multiple bins) in the child’s room, and to allow only one bin of toys into the living room at a time. Before meals or bedtime or getting more toys, the child has to put all the toy back into the bin and return it to his or her room.
Sort and Donate
Once a year, it’s a good idea to browse through your book, CD, and DVD collection. Find a system for organizing that works for you, whether that’s by genre or alphabetical by author or another way. For example, I keep all my children’s DVDs on a low shelf where they can choose their own movies to watch, and other movies organized on another shelf into categories such as “action” or “romance.”
Tastes in books, music, and movies change over time. Or maybe you grabbed a movie because it was on sale, and you didn’t like it after you watched it. Set aside any books, CDs and DVDs that you no longer use (or don’t think you will in the near future) for donation or a garage sale.
Take a look around your living room and consider what needs to be here and what should be in another room in the house. Is everything that is in this room being used in this room or would it be better elsewhere? For example, if there are too many lamps in the room, perhaps one lamp could be moved to another room (or a thrift store). If you have a formal living room and a multi-use living room, consider what each room needs to hold. Or if you have a den or study space, perhaps more books should be moved there to keep the living room looking neater.
Once in a while, it can be fun to reorganize your living room or to rotate the pictures on the wall. If you are feeling bored with your current situation, work with your spouse or a friend to find a “new” living room in your existing space and with your existing furniture. Looking at living rooms online may inspire you with new ways of arranging furniture or with new storage solutions.
While you are organizing and rearranging, dust any shelves (especially those hard-to-reach areas that don’t get regularly cleaned), wash the walls, and wipe down any furniture that may have gotten finger prints or spills. Simply cleaning every surface perks up a room immediately. Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner or renting a steam cleaner and giving your carpets a good cleaning while you are sprucing up the living room. Once you are finished, relax and enjoy your hard work!
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