Get on top of everyday mess and create a functional living area that’s also a restful space to relax and entertain in
Professional Organiser in Yorkshire and a member of APDO (Association of Professional… More
As one of the key communal areas in a home, living rooms can end up being a space used for everything – from eating breakfast in the morning and doing homework after school to relaxing at the end of the day and entertaining family and friends at weekends. As a consequence, they accumulate all sorts of paraphernalia that can hinder our use and enjoyment of them. Stepping back to re-evaluate rooms we’re very familiar with can be hard, but these easy-to-follow tips should help you to declutter your space to create a calmer, zen-like living-room experience.
Programme a single remote
Remote controls seem to multiply and then disappear with alarming regularity. While some households opt for a ‘remote basket’ to keep them all stashed together in one place, another good option is a universal remote. By programming a single remote to control all your devices, you’ll never need to hunt for the ‘right’ one again. This can even be done with a free app on your smartphone and then everyone has their own universal remote – which in turn can be rung the next time it’s misplaced!
Organise your fireside accessories
The trend for cosy log burners continues unabated and with it comes all the paraphernalia associated with making a fire. In the summer months, it makes sense to store away tools, logs and kindling – you could even fill the hearth with candles or fairy lights for a seasonal alternative. However, come autumn, having a smart basket for some of your logs and kindling will help keep the space tidy, so choose one to best suit the style of your living room.
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Curate your cushions
The humble cushion can divide opinion – too many or too few? If you have lots of cushions that have accumulated over time, then a cushion cull may well be needed to restore order. Spend a little time considering the purpose of your cushions: are they decorative or practical, for use on the sofa or the floor, for people or pets, washable for everyday use or dry-clean for occasional use only? This can be the starting point of your edit.
If you find any you don’t want but that aren’t in great condition, they can be donated to your local RSPCA for use as pet beds. Covers or cushions still in good condition can be given to your local charity shop.
Manage your magazines
Maybe the issue of magazine storage is slowly fading as we go digital, but there is still something satisfying about settling down with a cup of coffee and an inspiring mag. If you hold onto magazines planning to clip and store articles for future reference, start doing it now. If after a few weeks it still hasn’t become routine, be realistic that it’s probably never going to happen.
Ditch any magazines older than a year and review any subscriptions you have to determine whether you’re getting value from them. If you’ve accumulated a stack of unopened issues, unsubscribe for a few months and see if you really do miss it – if you do, you can always sign up again.
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Tuck away games consoles
Small and large gadgets are another common multiplier: we buy new ones but often don’t get rid of the old ones, even if they don’t work, and this can lead to electronic chaos. Get rid of anything that is broken and encourage family members to sell old gadgets to contribute towards the purchase of any new ones – but act fast. If you leave it too long, the old version will quickly become obsolete and no longer be saleable.
Some discreet storage to house all the remaining gadgets can help keep them safe, clean and away from prying eyes.
Release your ornaments
It’s easy to collect trinkets from our travels or gifts from friends and well-meaning family. And certainly many will be beautiful and appreciated. However, as tastes, fashion and requirements change, our ornaments remain the same and often become sentimental items we find difficult to let go of. This can be because we feel guilty about getting rid of them, but it’s worth remembering that your memory and the love shared is not bound up in the object.
If it helps to discard only one object at a time (maybe once a week or month) rather than sorting through a whole collection in one go, try that. As you’re thinking about what to keep and what to pass on for others to enjoy, consider the time it takes to keep them clean, the worry spent wondering if a child or pet will break them and the space they occupy. Think about what benefits letting go will bring you, and keep reminding yourself of those perks as you choose to release each item from your home.
Rotate and donate toys
Children love toys and a toy collection can grow at an alarming rate, especially with kids of different ages in the same home.
For younger children, a toy rotation system (when you store some of the toys away for a month at a time and then swap them around) can work well. A more limited collection will help prevent little ones from becoming overwhelmed with choice and help them stay more focused during playtime. Even at a young age you can start to introduce the concept of ‘one in one out’ when considering a new toy purchase: encourage your youngsters to think about any toys they have outgrown that they can then donate to the local charity shop. This way, other children can continue to love and enjoy them.
Designate a bits and bobs space
Every home has an assortment of odd things that don’t quite fall into one clear category. This is where the bits and bobs drawer comes into play. Everything should have a home and this is the home of those odd widgets, tools and useful things. Add drawer dividers to instil a little bit of order, otherwise you won’t find what you’re looking for when you do need it. And be ruthless – only store things you know you actually need, and be sure to have a clear-out if the contents start to overflow!
Opt for an office hideaway
Whether you work from home or just need a little space for dealing with personal admin, then a desk in a cupboard might be the perfect solution for tucking away your computer, papers and files. By building in a pull-out desk, for instance, and being able to close it off behind some doors means you can quickly go from work mode to rest, without having to tidy things away every day – a much better solution than working from your dining table.
Minimise pet paraphernalia
Pets can often end up with more toys and blankets than children! While you may enjoy buying new things for your cat, dog or hamster to play with, try to only hang onto a few things at any one time, and store them in a neat box or basket. Studies have shown that just as children can become overwhelmed by too many playthings, pets will also take more care of a single favourite ball, seeking it out each time it gets stuck behind the sofa…
What tips do you have for keeping a living room tidy? Share your ideas in the Comments section.