This article gives steps to organize your living room (family room). If you don’t have a foyer, your living room is the first space your guests are going to see. Hence as with the foyer, this is your first chance to make a good impression (First impression is the best impression). So it makes sense to keep it organized and clutter free.
Please read my article on tips before you organize your living room. As with organizing any room, have realistic goals. Make sure you split tasks into small chunks, so you can complete them in a reasonable amount of time and make progress. To do this, set time limits. Do what you can in 1 or 2 hour maximum. Set this as your goal. After finishing one task, you might be tempted to continue but proceed only if you have time left in your 1 or 2 hour time limit. If not, wait for the next day or weekend, otherwise you will be exhausted. Also periodically look at what you have accomplished and enjoy it. That will inspire and motivate you.
Your first task should be clearing items in open areas as explained in the article Home Organization Tips (when you begin). Separate them into five categories as explained. Next go through the remaining items in the room and put them in appropriate boxes. Once this is complete, you have a “clean slate” to start to organize your living room.
Let us take a look at the furniture for living room. If you don’t have a family room, the living room is your main living area. This is where most of the “living” happens. Then this space should have comfortable seating for the family plus guests.
Furniture for this room depends on the size of the room and your needs. Essentials for this room consist of sofa, love-seat, chair(s), coffee table, end table(s), lamp(s), and TV console or entertainment center. If you are limited in space and need more storage consider double duty furniture like a storage ottoman that can be used as a coffee table. Furniture arrangement plays an important role when you organize your living room. So arrange them in such a way that the room feels open and you and your guests don’t have to navigate between pieces of furniture to find seating.
Keep the TV against a wall to hide all the wires and cables. Also neatly arrange all media equipment like DVR/Tivo, DVD player etc. on the appropriate shelves on the console or entertainment center so that all the cables and wires are hidden from view.
If your TV console or entertainment center has storage area like drawers or shelves, store CDs, DVDs etc. there. Arrange them in alphabetical order by artist or title or by theme (like action, comedy, drama, horror, musical, science fiction etc.). Keep collections of movies together (example: Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings). If you have shelf storage, put them in boxes and label the boxes like "Action", or “A-C” etc., before putting on the shelf. This will make it easier to get to the ones in the back. You don’t have to take out all CDs or DVDs in the front, just the box in the front. You can also stack these boxes to utilize the height of the shelf.
If your TV console does not have additional storage space for CDs, DVDs etc. consider a CD Wallet or a CD/DVD binder. They come in a variety of sizes (like 24, 112, 352 Disc etc.), costs under $25 and are available at supermarkets. These are very economical, holds a lot of CDs and DVDs, take very little space and can be kept on a shelf under the coffee table or end table. Organize your living room on a budget! You can then store the empty CD/DVD cases in a storage area like the basement, utility room or attic. You can reuse shipping boxes for this purpose.
If you would like to keep them in their original boxes, consider either a free standing or wall mount media cabinet or a book shelf. They are more expensive and free standing ones take up valuable floor space.
If your coffee table has storage underneath or if you are using an ottoman with storage as a coffee table, you can keep your camera, camcorder, toys, video game controller(s) etc. there. If you have kids, having the camera and camcorder in close proximity will help if you want to capture precious moments as it happens since most of the living happens in this room. If the coffee table does not have a shelf, store these baskets or totes on the floor underneath the coffee table. If the coffee table top is glass, consider boxes or totes with lids. You can decorate the lid tops with photos of family, landscapes etc.using double sided tape. You can also change these photos from time to time if you like. Organize your living room and show off your masterpieces!
Keep camera along with all of its accessories like charger, cables etc. in a decorative basket or tote. Do the same with the camcorder. This will be of great help when packing these items for vacation. You don’t have to go in search of the charger or other accessories and waste time, since you only need to look in one place. Also you won’t forget to take the charger, memory cards etc., which could either render the devices useless or result in unplanned and unnecessary expense. The idea is to spent less time searching and more time enjoying. Keep that in mind when you organize your living room!
Use the table top for the days’ newspaper, current magazines or the book(s) you are currently reading by stacking them neatly. Also keep a small tray on top for remotes and eye glasses. Keeping these in the center will leave enough space around the sides for you to put your feet up. While you organize your living room, remember that the space must be comfortable and relaxing.
Use the end table top(s) for lamp(s) and family photos.
If you need some discrete toy storage in the living room, put them in decorative baskets or totes and keep them on the shelves of the end tables or on the floor underneath the end tables, if your end table(s) doesn’t have a shelf. For toy storage, you can also use storage cubes that could double as extra seating.
If you don’t need toy storage, you can store photo albums, blankets, CDs, DVDs etc. in baskets or totes underneath or on the shelves of the end tables and inside the storage cubes.
Recycle the newspaper at the end of the day. Move book(s) and magazines from the coffee table as soon as you are done reading or weekly or monthly to the appropriate magazine files and onto the designated book shelves. More on organizing magazines can be found in the article for home office organization.
If you have a bay window with a sofa or love seat in front of it, use the space between them to hide toys by putting them in pop up hampers or hamper totes. These hampers or totes are tall and have handles for easy handling. Use every available space you can, especially if the room is small, when you organize your living room.
If you have separate family room other than the living room, you could still use the storage areas in the living room (especially if they are next to or close to each other). If you use the living room as a formal space, choose storage bins that are decorative and discrete enough. This does not mean that they need to be expensive.
If you have a fireplace in your living room/family room with built-in bookshelves, you can store books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, photo albums, decorative accessories, binders (explained in the home office article) etc. on it. Assign shelves for each category like books, magazines, photo albums, binders etc. Arrange books by theme, and photo albums and binders by year on the shelves. If you have closed storage at the bottom of the bookshelf, store binders, receipt magazines (also explained in the home office article) etc. there. Keep magazines in a magazine file for a cleaner look. When storing CDs and DVDs on book shelves, put them in boxes or totes. This way you can utilize the full depth of the shelf and also the height by stacking these boxes. This will also make it easier to get to the ones in the back.
If you don’t have built-in book shelves, you can put stand alone ones if you have the space.
Useful Tips when you organize your living room:
Once you organize your living room it will be an inviting, comfortable and relaxing space. This is the place where memories are created - memories of a life time. It is worth keeping it organized and tidy. Remember, organizing once is not enough, you need to maintain it - at least weekly.
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