This Clutter Free 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 pitfalls 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 the other spaces I have worked on, I initially thought there wasn’t much clutter in our living room. We have been working on a remodel of this room for a LONG time. (Check out the finished results here.) Throughout the process, I have been removing things that simply do not belong and carefully placing back the things that do.
Thoughts on Our Living Room & Clutter
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. Our room doesn’t feel cluttered with little things. Part of our remodel involved adding shelves. We had to find a way to fill those shelves. Now there are a bunch of things on those shelves. Making our living room look put-together means curating this space so that it looks like a collection instead of clutter!
As I went back through our living room on our Clutter Free 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. Sadly, the next day they seem to spring up again (almost without fail). And these items are 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 they are items I don’t want in the room. I can choose to implement a 5 minute pick-up with our kids 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 kids have a play area downstairs which neatly houses all of their toys. But often the toys can seep into the living room. I try to allow for “LIVING” in our living room; but 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, try putting all the toys away. A collection of bins or baskets will help to keep the chaos at bay. It may help you to feel more like it is your house – not just your kids’ house that they allow you to live in.
Empty glasses & cups
I would love for there to be a rule in our house that no one eats in the living room. But it is just not feasible with the way we live and the habits we have. We do ban our kids from eating in the living room except for very special occasions. 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. I walk around to pick up all the empty glasses, cups and food containers at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, I do a sweep of the living room. 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 throughout the day. This helps me at the end of the day 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! Thus we have to create lots of routines just to keep up with the piles and piles of laundry we have. 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. The most revolutionary change in my laundry routine is folding my clean laundry in the laundry room (promptly!).
The freedom I have from collected laundry baskets in the living room is nice! I used to get the pile of clean laundry put onto one of our chairs and forget about it. Then I would continue doing laundry. Another basket of laundry to be folded would soon join it. 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.) Eventually, I 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 learning Latin and teaching myself to play the piano. Last week, I finally moved the keyboard my husband gave me for Christmas out of the living room and into our bedroom. It had only been there for a few months, but already it was beginning to look like it belonged. It didn’t. There was no space for it in our living room.
As I work on these projects, I have committed to have a place to put away these projects outside the living room. 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?