Creating a Life Free From Chaos

The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Decluttering and Cleaning the Living Room

The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Decluttering and Cleaning the Living Room

The living room (or in some cases, the family room) is where you entertain guests, relax after work, and hang out with your family. Since you use your living room for lots of different activities, it’s common to battle random clutter on a daily basis. It is, after all, called the “living” room for a reason. Thankfully, it’s also one of the easiest and quickest rooms to tidy.

Quick pick up

Grab a laundry basket, and 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 DVDs and an Xbox One disk, should be in the disk binders in the living room media cabinet
  • Dirty pair of abandoned boy socks, should be dropped in that kid’s laundry basket
  • 3 pairs of boy shoes, should be in their rooms in the closet
  • kids’ laptop, should be in the living room cabinet
  • 9 kids’ books, should be in the bookcase in the living room (or if being actively read, in the kid’s room)
  • 2 remote controls and 6 coasters, should be in the basket on the ottoman tray
  • Nintendo 3DS left out charging, along with a random phone charging cord. We’ve got four cats, so charging cords cannot be left out or they’ll end up as chew toys. We’ve got baskets for those.
  • Couch pillows all over the floor, should have been put back ON the couch after the fort came down
  • A telescope. Honestly, I have no idea why this has been sitting here (for a couple of months now!) Needs to be covered and put in the garage
  • A mass of school papers and school supplies brought home from locker clean-out. Useable school supplies should be in a bin in the office, and the papers need to be trashed or filed as appropriate

It appears that my boys are behind most of the “clutter” in the living room. Is anyone really surprised?

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.

Look at the space with fresh eyes

Now that the clutter is gone, it’s a good time to do one more thing. Look at your newly decluttered living room with fresh eyes, specifically seeing your decorations. Do you have a lot of knickknacks that need to be dusted? Old pictures that need to be updated? Extra furniture that doesn’t get used? Too many couch pillows (guilty as charged here). Consider removing some trinkets to give your living room a lighter, summer 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 Facebook. What little tweaks can you make to your living room to make it feel fresh and new?

Time to clean!

When cleaning the living room, start at the top and work your way down. Grab your dust wand or a microfiber dust rag and dust any photos or artwork that you have on the wall, then head over to the mantle if you have one. If it’s not too dusty, you can just sweep your dust wand around the items on the mantle. If it hasn’t seen a dust rag in a while, go ahead and take everything off the mantle and use some all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the mantle and each item as you place it back on the mantle. Do the same thing for any other flat surfaces in the living room. 

Use the dust wand to wipe off the TV and electronics — if you must use a little cleaner to get rid of fingerprints, spritz just a bit on a clean rag and wipe the fingerprints away.

Clear off the coffee table completely and clean it using either all-purpose cleaner or wood cleaner, depending on the material it’s made of. Your living room will automatically look cleaner if you can keep your coffee table clear, so try to find other homes for the items you may typically leave on the table. Our “coffee table” is an oversized ottoman, so I use a tray with a small basket on it to corral remote controls and coasters. Stack magazines and books on a shelf in an end table or a bookcase and roll throw blankets in a basket by the fireplace or use a blanket ladder to hang them neatly against a wall.

The vacuum: Your living room’s best friend

Once you’ve dusted and cleaned the flat surfaces, grab the vacuum, even if you don’t have carpet in the living room. Before hitting the floor, use the handheld attachment to clean off the couch and any chairs you have, making sure to get in the crevices and gaps between cushions. If you’ve got access to the space under the couch and chairs, use the handheld attachment to clean the dust bunnies from underneath. You can also use the handheld attachment and extender hose to vacuum off the window sills, corner cobwebs, and baseboards.

All that’s left is to vacuum the carpet thoroughly or use a dust mop if you don’t have carpeted floors. Mop if necessary.

Keeping it clean

Here are some quick tips for how to keep the living room guest-ready with very little effort throughout the week.

  • Each day, spend a few minutes putting away clutter, fold throw blankets, discard read magazines, toss trash, pick up dirty dishes, and put away DVDs.
  • Once a week or so, take a dust wand and go over artwork, decorations, and flat surfaces.
  • Use a lightly damp sponge to wipe pet fur off the sofa and chairs.
  • Once or twice a week (as needed), run the vacuum around and make use of that handheld attachment to get rid of cobwebs, stray popcorn kernels from movie night, pet fur, and tracked-in dirt.
  • Keep your end tables and coffee table clear of clutter, and once a week or so, wipe them off with wood cleaner or all-purpose cleaner to keep them shiny.
The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Decluttering and Cleaning the Living Room