Living room organization is a challenge. And to someone who has lived most of her adult life in one-room apartments, a separate room for “living” is sometimes a perplexing concept. What exactly do you do in it? Relax, entertain, play, eat, other? But not having a living room of my own hasn’t stopped me from organizing a few of them, and I can say that people who possess living rooms often get confused too.
And that confusing range of activities, all taking place in one room, can lead to a disorganized situation. Given how many things they’re used for, it’s no wonder living rooms often end up full of clutter. Here’s how to quickly organize this entire space in half an hour.
1. Remove Foreign Items
Walk around the room and locate anything that doesn’t belong there and is contributing to an obvious state of messiness. Return items that belong in another room to their storage spaces, then return living room items to their proper storage spaces. Pillows that have landed on the floor can go back on the couch, boots can go back by the front door or in the closet, and so on. Also, take this time to throw out those dying flowers in the vase on the mantel, or any other trash you find.
2. Create a Home for Lost Objects
If you come across something that belongs in the living room but has no proper place, create one.
So, if there are several remote controls scattered about the room, pick a convenient spot to gather them every time. The coffee table, the TV stand, it doesn’t matter exactly where, as long as the location works for you. What matters is from now on, the remotes will have a consistent home.
3. Declutter the "Disaster Zone"
Most rooms have a corner, or a piece of furniture, that functions as the designated disaster zone even when most of the room is pretty well organized.
If you have any major centers of clutter in your living room, like a certain end table that gets loaded up with random stray items, neaten it now. It will make the entire room look cleaner.
4. Get Nitpicky
A very simple step in the organization of any room that takes no money, no products, and almost no time, is to simply straighten everything out and line it up. This goes for smaller items like books on your bookshelf, knick-knacks over the fireplace, and blankets folded on top of a chest, as well as chairs and tables. When everything’s askew it can make a room look far messier than it actually is, and when your space looks out of control you can start to feel that way too. But though it might sound obvious, just quickly straightening everything from the pencils on your desk to the throw pillows on the sofa can make a major impact.
5. Think About Function
Is there anything about being in the room that always bugs you, any action that always feels inconvenient? For instance, maybe every time you sit in the living room and watch TV, you remember something you need to buy at the drugstore and have to go into the kitchen to write it on your shopping list or risk forgetting it forever. Fix this now by getting a pad and pen and placing them on the coffee table, within easy reach.
6. Make a Plan
If the problem is something you can’t fix now, make a note to fix it at another time. You might spot some issues like this while you’re organizing–maybe stacking up your magazines made you see that a magazine rack would be a convenient addition to the room. Or perhaps you realized that having a recycling bin for newspapers, or a basket for cat toys, would help keep your living room organized in the long term. Take a few minutes now to make future organizing plans.
7. Get Rid of Something
Now that you’ve faced–and improved–your living room, it’s a good moment to pick something (an old broken chair you’re never going to have time to repair? A throw rug that wasn’t your style in the first place?) and get rid of it. Let it go and free up some living room space.