This #ClutterFree Journey is really getting to be fun! I am starting to see my house the way that I want it to look. It really helps after removing all the clutter. I am starting to see the potential in our various rooms, to think about the things I would really like to do in those rooms. In short, it is giving purpose to my home again! And I love it!
Along the way I have been discovering the pit falls for clutter, the likely clutter places and I am addressing the specific places with specific solutions. This week, I worked on our living room.
As with a few of the other spaces I have worked on, I thought initially there wasn’t much clutter in our living room. We have been working on a remodel of this room for a LONG time (pictures coming soon, I promise!) and throughout the process, I have been removing things that simply do not belong and carefully placing things that do.
The living room is a unique spot for us because it is where the most items are “on display” in our home. We aren’t big knick-knack people. We don’t have a large collection of anything, save books. So our room doesn’t feel cluttered with little things. But part of our remodel involved adding shelves and we had to find a way to fill those shelves – so there are now a bunch of things on those shelves. And part of making it look put-together is curating this space so that it looks like a collection instead of clutter!
As I went back through our living room on our #ClutterFree journey, I discovered that instead of permanent clutter, we have daily clutter. We have a collection of clutter in our living room that springs up almost overnight. It takes very little time to remove these items, but the next day they seem to spring up again (almost without fail). And these items were all related to activities done in the living room almost daily.
So I came up with a set of items to remove from our living room to keep it clutter free. Since these items are connected to everyday activities, I know I will never be rid of the items themselves, but I can remind myself at the end of the day (or throughout the day) that they are items I don’t want in the room and remove them. I can choose to implement a 5 minute pick-up with our girls before bedtime and then do a 5 minute pick-up myself before heading to bed at night. That way, I get the peace that a clutter free living room brings while using my living room for what it was intended: LIVING!
Here is my list of things to nix in the living room to keep it clutter free.
If at all possible, have a separate space for kids toys. Or at the very least put them completely away in bins or storage containers at the end of the day. Our girls have a play area in our downstairs that neatly houses all of their toys, but often the toys can seep into the living room. And I try to allow for “LIVING” in our living room, but for the most part I ask them to keep their toys out of the living room. They know the parameters and are really good about cleaning up and keeping their toys in their designated area.
If your house is not large enough to have a separate toy area, putting all the toys away in bins or baskets will help to keep the chaos at bay and help you to feel more like it is your house, not just your kids’ house that they allow you to live in.
Empty glasses and cups
As much as I would love for there to be a rule in our house that no one eats in the living room, it is just not feasible with the way we live and the habits we have. We do ban our girls from eating in the living room. But we do eat and drink in there, ourselves, on a regular basis. Instead of fighting the battle for control of the activity we do, I can make sure I pick up after ourselves at the end of the day and pick up all the empty glasses, cups and food containers at the end of the day.
I do this when I am doing the dishes at the end of the day. I gather together all the used cups around the house (mainly in the living room) to rinse and put in the dishwasher. I also encourage our family to put their cups and plates in the sink when they are done with them throughout the day, so that it is easier for me to keep our living spaces clear.
Oh, the laundry battle! It will never be over (the alternative would be living in a nudist colony – no thanks!) and so we have to create lots of routines just to keep up with the piles and piles of laundry we have. And there is a really major temptation for me to bring our clean laundry into the living room to fold while I watch TV, but I have been rethinking my laundry routines lately. I have started folding my clean laundry in the laundry room next to the dryer (and I have even been trying to do it promptly!).
I have really enjoyed the freedom I have from collected laundry baskets in the living room. I used to get the pile of clean laundry put onto one of our chairs and forget about it before I got to fold it. Then I would continue doing laundry and bring another basket of laundry into the room to be folded and then another. The problem was I would leave the clean clothes, folded in their baskets in the laundry room. After they sat around for a few days, they became invisible (check out my thoughts on clutter fixtures here) to me until I would wake up one morning to be greeted with a room full of clutter. Even the things that are clean can create clutter!
I have a tendency to have a number of long term projects going at any given time. I work on them as I am able to get to them. Currently, I am working on getting a bunch of things ready to sell at a consignment sale and I am taking it a little bit at a time, working on it every evening. And I am working on this project in our living room.
As I work on this (and other projects), I have committed to myself to have a place to put away these projects outside the living room. I am keeping all the items in boxes in another room (the garage) and bringing each box in, one at a time as I need to work on the items inside. And I am choosing to put away everything when I am finished with the project for the day. This way I am still able to live in my living room, clutter free; and I am able to get the things I need to get done in an organized manner.
What are the things you would ban/have banned from your living room?