I can’t tell you how many times I have had to scramble and do a mediocre speed clean of my living room before company arrives. My kids tend to just leave their backpacks, shoes, socks, toys, etc. in a trail through the living room as soon as they walk in the door. When does it get cleaned? When I realize my book club ladies are five minutes away and I have a near panic attack and the room barely looks organized. Here are some tips I figured out along the way that have helped cut back on the whirlwind cleans and kept our living room looking put together…most of the time!
- Trash in the Trashcan
While wastebaskets are common necessities in the kitchen, bathroom and office, they are rarely seen in living rooms. I never even thought to buy one for the living room because I was worried it would smell and make the room look unpleasant. But after a trip to my neighborhood bargain home-goods store, there were plenty of aesthetically pleasing wastebaskets are now readily available in a variety of styles, materials and colors. Find a small trash bin 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 snack wrappers and miscellaneous small discards where they belong instead of on your coffee table or all over the floor like my kids love to do.
- Don’t let it pile up
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. I bought several cheap baskets and organizers for mail, magazines, newspapers and homework assignments to keep everything looking tidy. This also helps your kids remember where they put that “missing” homework assignment!
- 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. It’s super quick and easy to group related cords together with zip ties to prevent tangling and easily find which cord matches what. For those pesky devices with multiple cords, try colored electrical tape for easily distinguishing one group of cords from another and keep your husband from yelling out in frustration over the TV going out after a kid trips over the cord and rips it from the TV!
- Home Zoning
Have you ever stepped on a lego in your bare feet? Well I have, and I am telling you right now, that there are few things as painful as that! Keep your kids toys and miscellaneous items off the floor of the living room by creating a play zone. Here is where they should store their favorite toys in one area of your living room– as well as a “toy-free” zone for grownups. No more legos, phew! Choose a child-friendly trunk or bin that can hold their current favorites, store the rest and rotate the contents every few weeks or so as their preferences change. Engage children in a simple pick-up game before bedtime, timed to the length of a short, familiar tune like singing their ABC’s. This works while they are still young, and once they’re older they understand how to try and stay organized.
- Photos, Photos Everywhere
Framed photos personalize a room and give you a chance to show off your lovely family, but they can overtake your valuable tabletop space and your guests won’t have any room to put their wine glass down. Save surface space and dusting time by putting several photos together in one larger, wall mounted frame to create a stylish wall display. If you want to add a modern touch to your living room, look into a digital picture frame. I personally love mine! It was super easy to set up, 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 that is sure to captivate guests.
- DVD Dilemma
A living room that feels like your local Best Buy store is hard to relax in. My family loves watching movies and we have created quite the collection of DVDs that started to take over my entire TV stand. 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.