5 Ways to Tidy Up Your Family Room for Good
UPDATED Original Post from 2/1/17
Although I live in a small home, I am fortunate enough to have dual living spaces. The more formal keeping room requires very little work to maintain. The other living space - our family room - is where we sorta let it all hang out. Living spaces that are used in THIS way are what we're tackling this week. Welcome to Week 6 of the Whole House Organization Challenge.
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One of the most efficient ways to get any high-traffic, tight space organized is through a system of built-ins. But that requires time, effort and money that might not be readily available to everyone. Our focus in this challenge is strictly on getting the family room clean and decluttered. We'll have plenty of time later for decor and DIY projects.
My own family room is undergoing some minor repairs. So to help us along in this week’s challenge, I’ve invited my blogging buddy Saher of HouseHausHome to share her tips for keeping the family room tidy. Saher has impeccable taste and can style a room with deft precision. As you view her photos, you will understand why I called upon her to help me with portion of the challenge.
Simple Family Room Organization Tips
I love that quote above from Saher’s husband because it reveals the key to maintaining orderliness. The answer to disorder is not to be perfect. Rather, making sure that no item in your home is “homeless” will help you to whip it back into shape quickly, when (not if) it does get a bit messy. Here are a few more of their helpful tips:
1. Store remote controls in a box and style around it. This will keep all your remotes accessible and neatly stored but also help keep them from being lost.
2. Toys (children or pets) should have a designated spot for toys. Use a large lidded basket or a basket hidden behind a sofa or end table to corral any toys. Make it a task to pick up the toys at the end of an evening.
3. Store blankets and throwson the arm or back of the sofa. It will not only look pretty, but will serve as an organized place to “store” the blanket. More than one blanket? Use a blanket ladder as a room accessory and neatly fold and display your collection.
4. Make keeping things clean easy for yourself. The goal of keeping things clean is very closely tied to organization. Be sure to add accessible coasters for your guests. Try a beautiful set of agate or marble coasters. Both are well priced and accessible at store such as HomeGoods and Target. Keep roller pads in a nearby drawer for quick touch ups in keeping your upholstery clean.
5. Double Duty Storage. Use a sideboard as a media cabinet or a storage ottoman/bench to rest your feet. Both will be functional but also provide extra storage to keep items that could create clutter.
Follow This Detailed Process for a More Tidy Family Room
Now that Saher has motivated us with her gorgeous photos, it’s time to get to work. Would you like to have a clutter-free family room in 4 days or less? Simply follow this process which I use, and you’ll get there in no time.
Purge the room of paper and random items, and separate into the following groups:
Items that belong in another room
Items to be donated or sold (CDs, DVDs, toys that are no longer used)
Items that have seen better days and need to be tossed.
If there are items that belong in another room, do they have a designated spot inside of that room? If not, chances are they will end up right back here. So instead of just shifting piles from one room to another, try to find where they should be best kept.
If possible, enlist the help of a loyal friend, or others in your home. When other family members participate in the cleanup process, they will be more likely to help maintain it, since they are now invested.
Day 2: Deep clean
Using your favorite cleaning solution, do the following:
Wipe down the tables, light fixtures, remote controls, light switches, television and electronic components
Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors – whichever is appropriate
Dust and hand wipe the light fixtures and switches. Blinds, curtains, and the windows should also be cleaned.
TIP #1: If electronic components are housed inside a unit, obviously the best way to clean them would be to disconnect each one. But if you're not up for the task, carefully slide them out of place, then use a good quality, long-handled duster to get behind them and into the crevices of the storage unit. I personally prefer to use Swiffer for this task.
TIP #2: Reign in the chaos behind the television and electronics with a simple cable management system . Click on any of the photos below to view affordable options for labeling and organizing your electronic cords.
Day 3: More Purging
Now that we've got the surfaces cleared and the deep cleaning is out of the way, it's time to put SOME of the items back. Ask yourself:
Is it necessary to keep all of those DVDs, VHS tapes, CD’s, records...8-tracks (just kidding)? Or, could these be sold or donated?
Do I need to keep ALL of these magazines, or are there just select pages out of each that I like? If the latter is true, tear out the desired pages and place them in a binder labeled "Ideas", "Art" or "Inspiration".
If they are not cherished items why not consider donating or selling them?
If there are VHS movies that you want to keep, why not consider converting these to CDs
TIP #3: Get items off of the floor with a wall mounted magazine rack. Some wall racks can even be used for children’s books. Or, use a magazine rack that doubles as a side table to save space. Remember, double duty is king!
TIP #4: Use large lidded baskets which can also double as a coffee/side table, to corral blankets, extra pillows, or toys. Below is 4-compartment storage ottoman that I use in my living space. It serves as a foot rest, buffet/tray table, and storage.
Day 4: Set boundaries
After all this work, the last thing you want, is to end up right back where you started. So take a moment and think about how you can avoid falling into the same pattern. Look around your family room and assign a designated place for:
Set up an incoming/outgoing mail station at the front or rear entryway
Keys can be hung in or near the mail station
Coats, backpacks and purses go in the foyer, entryway or mudroom
Bills go to the office or computer station
Toys can be stored in a lidded storage basket in front of, or behind the sofa
Place children's artwork in a binder or letter box, and revisit it from time to time to keep only the most cherished .
Labels serve as gentle reminders of where things should go. If you share a home with someone else, labeling where things go, becomes even more important.
Finally, iIf your living space is located quite a distance from other main rooms of the home, try using a stair basket to catch the items that belong in another room. Then at the end of the night, the basket can be picked up and items returned to their proper place. Again, enlist the help of family members to take turns, emptying the basket each night. Remember…it takes a village.