A Livable Living Room!

84470092Follow my eight simple steps to a cleaner, more organized living room/family room. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to reclaim one of the most-used rooms in your home.

1. Stop Wasting Time and Find a Wastebasket:
While wastebaskets are common necessities in the kitchen, bathroom and office, they are rarely seen in living rooms. Formerly the ugly duckling of home décor, aesthetically pleasing wastebaskets are now readily available in a variety of styles, materials and colors. Find a small trash receptacle that blends with your living room style and tuck it away under an end table. This easy, low-cost solution makes it easier for kids and grownups alike to put their fruit snack wrappers and miscellaneous small discards where they belong instead of on your beautiful coffee table.

2. If it’s Flat, Leave It at That:
Living rooms are home to a host of flat surfaces. Coffee tables, end tables, curio cabinets and entertainment centers are tempting places for piling up stuff. Stop clutter before it starts by creating designated places for common items. Baskets and organizers for mail, magazines, newspapers and homework assignments can reduce stress by keeping the room in order and making everything easier to find when you need it.

3. End Cord Confusion:
Stray cords can cause chaos in your living room. Few things are more aggravating (and unsafe!) than continually tripping over the cords running from your TV, computer, and gaming systems. Group related cords together with zip ties to prevent tangling and easily find which cord matches what. For devices with multiple cords, try colored electrical tape for easily distinguishing one group of cords from another.

4. Home Zoning:
Tired of tripping on toys or stepping on Legos in your bare feet? Try creating a play zone that houses your kids’ favorite toys in one area of your living room– as well as a “toy-free” zone for grownups. Choose a child-friendly trunk or bin that can hold their current favorites, store the rest and rotate the contents every week or so. Engage children in a simple pick-up game before bedtime, timed to the length of a short, familiar tune like singing their ABC’s.

5. Photos, Photos Everywhere:
Framed photos personalize a room and keep memories alive, but they can overtake your tabletop space quickly. Save surface space and dusting time by matting a selection of photos in one larger, wall mounted picture frame to create a stylish wall display. If you’re tech-savvy, check out digital picture frames. You can scan paper photos into your computer or upload images to a single, digital picture frame that can store and rotate thousands of photos in a personalized slideshow.

6. Sofa Secret:
The space behind your sofa can be used to store flat items that do not currently have a home in your living room. Framed artwork and photos, for example, will stay protected until you have time to hang them.

7. DVD Dilemma:
A living room that feels like your local Best Buy store is hard to relax in. Invest in a stylish entertainment center or, at least some CD/DVD towers to keep favorite videos and your husband’s old Rolling Stones CD’s off the floor and coffee table.

8. Collection Control:
I understand– you love your collectibles. But when they overrun your living room, it’s time to take control. Try rotating your collectibles so that you and your guests will always have something new to look at. When pieces are not being displayed, use rubber bins to keep them safe and out of the way. You’ll keep your living room looking fresh year round.

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