Organizing your living room is one of the trickier rooms in your home. You can’t shut the door when company comes over like your bedroom. You can’t hide all the papers in a drawer like in your office (I'm sure you don’t do this by the way). If you are utilizing your home correctly, you really live in your living room… which makes for a somewhat messy environment sometimes. So let’s abandon the notion of having a magazine ready room, and figure out how to really live in it, yet make it guest worthy.
Quick Pick Up
Don't start by thinking you need to organize. Simply gather up all of the things that really belong in another room and put them back in their proper homes. For this to work, you must actually put the things where they belong, not stash everything in a closet! I either grab and go or use my laundry basket to do this when the pile has really gotten big. Keep up this habit daily and deep clean ups will be much easier.
Wear Your Guest Glasses
Pretend you are a guest and really look around at your space with an appraising eye. Make a list of the things that need to be fixed (clean stained couch cushions, touch up wood with a furniture marker) and schedule it on your calendar to get it done or just do it now. If you have trouble seeing these little things, get done on the ground at kid height and check out your space. It's like a whole new world down there.
What Room Is This?
Keep only the things in this room that you actually DO in this room. Meaning if you read magazines here on the couch, move all the magazines (from the dining room table and kitchen counter) here and create a true home for them. Here. If you play video games with the kids here, designate a box or cabinet for them permanently and embrace the space. Clear out the clutter (empty game boxes you can throw out, cables for old systems you no longer need), label your cabinet, and give everything a home.
Speaking Of Electronics…
Straighten out all of the electronic cords for your TVs, lamps, DVD players and the like. Label the ones behind the entertainment center especially so you can pull out particular ones with ease. Use Velcro or even twist ties to wrap up extra cords that pool on the floor or tie several together to make one visible cord that hangs together.
Toys In The Living Room?
If children live in your home, toys in the living room are probably inevitable. But you can “disguise” them by housing groups of cars, action figures, or blocks in matching colored bins. Toys can easily hide but also be cleaned up super quickly when company is coming. Label them with words and pictures of each toy type and remember you can always put the bins in backwards for a truly formal night when no toys are allowed. Or invest in an ottoman that has hidden storage inside to keep the big toys or even extra pillows or blankets in the winter.
So take some time in the next week to do a quick appraisal of your living room. If you can get the basic organizing done now, it’ll take you much less time each night to do a quick clean up before you head to bed. Then, when company comes a calling unexpectedly, you know exactly what goes where and are never caught off guard again.