Creating a Life Free From Chaos

Is Your Living Room Full of Junk? 8 Weeks at Home Series

Welcome back for week 2 of the 8 Weeks at Home Series! We’re spending eight weeks decluttering, simplifying and cleaning up room by room in preparation for summer. Last week, we started our series by decluttering the bathroom and then cleaning it. Now that we’ve gotten into the groove with the smallest room in the house, we’re moving on to the Living Room. This is the room we’re most likely to take an unexpected guest who comes for a visit, and it’s the spot we probably like best for cuddling up with our kids or our significant other to watch TV or read after a long day. Let’s make it functional and look nice, shall we?

In this series, I’ll do two posts per week for each room. In the first post, we’ll talk about decluttering and simplifying. In the second post, we’ll clean it all up and get it looking nice and shiny. While you’re working in each space, keep some paper and a pen handy and make note of any repairs that need to be made, any supplies that need to be restocked, or any decorating changes you’d like to make. As you decide to get rid of stuff, remove it from the space right away and get it out of the house ASAP so that it doesn’t worm its way back into the space. Take out bags of trash and recycling daily so they don’t pile up in your workspace.


Let’s Declutter the Living Room!

Grab a laundry basket, and let’s start by gathering up all the items that should not be in the living room. We can then use the basket to go room to room, dropping off items back where they belong. Let me give you some examples of stuff I picked up in my living room, as well as where they should go.

  • 2 little boy jackets, should hang on the boy-height coat rack by the stairs
  • dirty pair of abandoned boy socks, should be dropped in the laundry room bin
  • 5 pairs of boy shoes, should be on the shoe rack by the stairs or in their rooms
  • soccer cleats, shin guards and dirty soccer socks, should be in their soccer baskets (cleats and shin guards) and laundry room bin (socks)
  • kids’ laptop, should be in the playroom computer armoire
  • 8 DVDs outside of their cases, should be put in their cases and in the drawers in the TV console
  • 12 kids’ books, should be in the bookcase in the playroom
  • 3 remote controls and 6 coasters, should be in the basket on the side table
  • couch pillows all over the floor, should be put back ON the couch after the fort came down

Hmm… my kids are the reason my living room is a cluttered mess! Oh wait, here’s a few things my husband and I left out…

  • empty tote bag from a work meeting, should be back upstairs in my room (but at least it’s empty!)
  • wadded up quilt, should have been folded and put away in the side table cabinet after use
  • 2 books and 3 magazines, books should be on the side table shelf and the magazines, having already been read, need to be recycled
  • a large measuring stick and leftover foam board from a school project, my husband needs to put away the measuring stick back in the garage and I need to put away that foam board in my home office for future projects

So why did I walk you through all that? Partially so you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at when you go into the war zone with your basket. It can be overwhelming seeing piles of clutter and not knowing where to start. Breaking it down into bullet points in your mind can help you sort through the stuff faster. I also wanted you to see that each item that’s “junk” in your living room DOES have a place to go somewhere else. If you’re at a loss for where that place is, it’s wise to reconsider whether you want the item in your house at all.

That’s your task: take your basket, grab up all that junk, and redistribute the stuff back to their appropriate homes. If it’s your kids’ stuff laying around, hand them the basket and supervise while THEY grab their junk and take it back where it belongs. As always, trash and recycling go straight to the bins, and if you happen to find used dishes in the living room, take those back to the kitchen to be washed.

Now that the clutter is gone, I want you to do one final thing. Look at your newly decluttered living room with fresh eyes, specifically seeing your decorations. Do you have a lot of chotskies that need to be dusted? Old pictures that need to be updated? Extra furniture that doesn’t get used? Consider removing some trinkets to give your living room a lighter, spring look (and save yourself some dusting). Make a note to update old photos, replace artwork you don’t like, or freshen up your sofa with new pillow covers. Maybe sell that unused extra chair on Craigslist. What little tweaks can you make to your living room to make it feel fresh and new?

Next time: We’re going to clean the living room and get it guest-drop-in ready. Now that the clutter is gone, it won’t take long at all!

Looking for the rest of the 8 Weeks at Home series? Post links will be added here as they’re published!

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