We’ve just recently started a 30 Day Clear the Clutter Challenge! It’s been really good for me — and I’m already feeling like a weight has been lifted. I promise to post some pictures tomorrow!!
Today, Elaine from Simplify at Home shares some great tips to organize your family/living areas! If you’re like me, you may need it broken down so you can get started! I found this very helpful — and hope you will, too!
The rules for organizing are always: Simplify before you organize!
1) So today, before we begin to organize our family room, let’s get everything out of the room that doesn’t belong in the family room. You know what I am talking about, the children’s toys that really belong in their bedrooms, the dishes from the mid-day snack, the scrap booking supplies from yesterday’s ½ finished project. You get the picture…
2) The easiest way I’ve found to clear the family room is to grab a laundry basket and begin picking up all the extraneous items and place them in the basket. Don’t try to put them away right now. We will save that for a future block of time. Or better yet, save that for the children’s chore time in a little while!
3) Once all the items that do not belong in the room are out of the room, take an honest appraisal of the space and ask yourself some helpful questions:
- What functions does this area serve?
- Is this the main “meeting” place for your family?
- Do you watch television and store your DVD’s here?
- Do you read in this room and need to store your books and magazines here?
- Do your children play in this room?
- Is this where you entertain your friends when they visit?
4) Once you have determined the main functions of the room go back through the family room and remove any items that do not serve the main functions. (Remember you will find a new home for them at a later date. Do not get distracted by this now!)
5) Break down your family room into zones. Each zone will have a purpose and the items specific to the function of that zone will be grouped together.
Tip of Organizing: Keep like things together for a cohesive final picture.
6) For example, put your children’s toys and games in one area of the room. You may want to store them under a coffee table with baskets. This makes clean up easier.
Movies go into one zone. You may want to buy DVD zipper cases or decorative boxes that can be either displayed on bookcases or in cabinets (if available).
Books should go into one zone. When possible, built-in bookshelves are ideal for this area. If that is not a possibility, stack larger books in a pedestal to form a make-shift “end table” next to a chair. Or purchase large baskets to hold books in a decorative fashion instead of having them strewn around the room.
7) Other Organizing Ideas:
- Chose an ottoman with a lid for storing blankets or extra throw pillows.
- Decorative trunks or large baskets are great storage items for toys.
- Decorative suitcases, stacked, make an optional end table and can 2nd as storage.
8 ) Once the like-items in the family room are grouped together, focus on cleaning off the furniture and main visual areas in the room.
9) Clear off the coffee tables and end tables. Do not leave more than a few books or magazines, coasters and maybe a decoration on the tables. My favorite simple decoration is one fresh flower in a small vase.
10) Clear off the mantel if you have one. This is probably a focal point of the room so just replace a few of your favorite items. We have a few black and white family photos on our mantel. The black and white color scheme is easy on the eye.
11) And finally unclutter your walls. Again, less is more. Chose a few of your favorite prints or family photos and remove the rest.
12) The final way to simplify the visual effect in your family room is to simplify by paring down your furniture. “Less” can be “more” when it comes to furnishings. Ask yourself if you really need every piece of furniture that is the room, and remember flat surfaces will attract clutter!
Go for simplicity. According to 30 Days to a Simpler Life, all you really need in your living room is a comfortable couch, a foot-and-food friendly coffee table, a comfortable reading chair, good lighting and one large plant!
Admittedly this challenge may have taken a bit longer than 20 minutes depending on the state of your family room when you started! But if you are like me, the finished product sure feels good! Now it’s time to sit back, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and relax in your peaceful, simplified family room.
Elaine blogs at Simplify at Home where she shares simplifying, organizing and economizing tips and features the “20 Minute Challenge” which breaks down daily chores into doable 20 Minute Blocks of Time. She is a mom of four girls (soon to be five), and married to the man of her dreams for 24 years! She just recently began blogging, so head over and give her a warm welcome to the blogging world!