Organizing @ Home #05 The Living Room

Organizing @ Home the Living Room[image [image src=”” align=”right” border=”none” link=”” alt=”” title=”” lightbox=”false” ]

Part One

Today’s Focus:

– Getting Ready
– Assess & Reflect
– Sort & Purge
– Today’ Assignment

Get Ready

Organizing is not just physically taxing, it’s hard work for your brain.  I always am sure to stay hydrated during an organizing session so I can function optimally, so I’m suggesting you do the same. When I am working on a project at home and I remember to put on music, it always it’s much ore fun and enjoyable! I say “remember” beause sometimes I just plain forget! So this is YOUR reminder to put on some music!! It’s totally OK to have some fun while you are working! (I won’t tell anyone!)

I know for me, my best time to work is first thing in the morning, right after having coffee. Coffee is my friend. ♥ Your best time of day might not necessarily be the time you have available to work on this project. I find that when circumstances aren’t ideal, I might fuss about it a little but it isn’t long until I come to acceptance. I just accept my circumstance and move on. (There is a whole big long story about how I got to that way of thinking but I’ll save that for another time 😉 ) Once I am able to move on I can get stuff done. I might only have 30 minutes to work on a project, and so that’s all I get. I make the best of those 30 minutes.

Throughout this ecourse my goal is to help you know “what’s my next step” so that if you are unable to work for 2 hours at a time, you will still know what you are doing next. Your attitude will go a LOONNGG way towards your productivity and being able to pick up where you left off.

[blockquote sub_text=”Talk to yourself as you would a friend and avoid any negative self-talk. Say a prayer asking for help and guidance!”]  Remember to be kind to yourself.  [/blockquote]

Get Set

Grab a trash can and some boxes…. what!! all out of boxes? Some good box replacements are paper bags and trash bags. I use white kitchen trash bags for donate and black trash bags for trash, that way I won’t get the bags mixed up. Plastic grocery store plastic bags are good in a pinch, but only in a pinch. In general I do not like grocery store plastic bags – however I am a fan of grocery store bags you purchase. Those are a good replacement too.

The goal is to clear out the living room by sorting and purging then organizing everything into place thus creating a living room that functions as you need it to.

[blockquote sub_text=”Wondering, what you are going to do with all this stuff? RELAX – the answer will come.“]Feeling anxious? [/blockquote]


The living room can accumulate a variety of random things.
Your living room might have:
– baskets of laundry – folded or unfolded
– blankets
– magazines
– papers / mail (it’s everywhere!)
– video game components / games
– bags of mystery items (it’s everywhere too!)
– toys
– other random things (car parts, musical instruments, volunteering supplies just to name a few random items I have seen)

Asses & Reflect

While standing or sitting in your living room, pull out your notebook and living room worksheet and go through the Reflective Questions to get you thinking:

– Is there anything that can go in another room?
– Which room or rooms?
– If there is laundry piled on the couch, what’s happening in the laundry room?
– Does the laundry room need a makeover?
– Or a different laundry system?
– If things made it past the entry and then landed in the living room, what kinds of things are they?
– Why do they end up here?
– Are there unfinished projects in this space?
– How many?
– Does someone have a habit of starting, but not finishing projects?
– If there are blankets to use while watching TV, how are they stored?
– Is there an alternate place/way to store them?
– If you have toys or video games, do you have a place to store them when it’s time to clean up?
– Is that currently working?
– If not, why not?
– How many magazine subscriptions do you have?
– If you are saving them because you haven’t had time to read them yet, is it possible you have too many subscriptions and can you cancel some?
– If this is where your paper and mail ends up, review our eBook about paper and mail management.

Use these questions to get your brain clicking and allow other reflective questions of your own to surface. If you want to delve deeper, take time to really think about why you have what you have, and why things are the way they are. Use your journal to help reveal more insight. Just start writing and see what comes out!
The best path to real and lasting change is through awareness.
(And purging. And compartmentalizing.)

Sort & Purge

The process is the same no matter what the area, so grab your supplies and start.
– As you know, my favorite place to begin is with the trash because it’s the easiest thing to identify.
– As you are searching for trash, you’ll find other things which you’ll need to decide if it’s worth keeping, and if so is it something you want to keep in the living room. Chances are it belongs in another room, so have a tray earmarked for Keep/AWAY. It’s the living room, a lot tends to wander in there that is abandoned at bedtime, so you might need more than one box! 😉 If you have kids, you might even need one for each kid and pne for the playroom. What size box to use for what? It doesn’t matter, just pick one and go. If you need to switch boxes out later you can.

After you have sorted and purged everything in the living room you can move on to the next step. If this is it for you today, it’s a good idea to deliver those boxes to the other parts of the house. You don’t have to put everything away – it’s ok just to set the box in that room – especially if you are going to work on that room later on (after you’ve finished the living room of course). Deliver the Keep/AWAY boxes and any donations can go to the car so you can get them out of the house and ideally to a donation center asap! If there are items that need to be returned to a friend, schedule the time to drop them at the doorstep. If you are giving them away to someone,  give her a deadline for picking them up.

The end goal today is to have a de-cluttered space by removing what doesn’t belong in order to make way for what does. You will have clarity as you begin the next step if these other things are cleared away.

[pullquote_right sub_text=”pullquote_right”] “it’s OK to set and achieve your own goals and ask others to help and respect that” [/pullquote_right]

Sometimes there are others around us who aren’t in any hurry to collect their stuff.  I’ve seen all kinds of reasons as to why you “have to” keep other peoples’ things. I know the answer isn’t always simple or clear cut. Do your best to make progress and remember it’s OK to set and achieve your own goals and ask others to help and respect that.

How Long Will It Take?

Progress always depends on your ability to make decisions.
An average living room takes 1-2 hours to complete if you put your game face on and start prepared.

[blockquote sub_text=”Be ready to make decisions. Channel your inner decision-maker”] Indecision is your enemy. [/blockquote]

Today’s Assignment

– Use your journal and the living room worksheet to record the answers to the Reflective Questions.
– Sort and purge to clear out the clutter.
– Take your donations to the donation center.
– Contact friends with a deadline to pick their things up.
– Consider if additional furniture or organizing supplies are needed and if they are take measurements of your room and the available space for the new piece of furniture and take a photo of your notes for later when you are shopping. See my video on How to Measure a Room for guidance.
– Use the Action Plan Worksheet to get even more focused.


Part Two

Today we will discuss:

– Storage ideas
– How to Use the Organizing Supplies
– The Result

Living Room part 2  is about organizing. Hopefully you moved out what doesn’t belong in the living room and are left with only what you want and need. So,what’s missing? Your homework was to give some though as to what kind of additional storage or organizational supplies you might need.

Below are a  few ideas that have worked in the past. Perhaps they will spark an idea in you.

Storage Ideas

You might need:

– toy storage
– a reliable place to put blankets
– magazine holders to contain your favorite magazines
– decorative baskets to hold video game controllers

If you want your living room to look like a living room and not a toy store, then storage needs to be for adults and not kids. Many parents buy kid-looking toy storage and then are disappointed when their living space looks like a bad cartoon.

Here are a few suggestions:
Oversized ottomans with removable lids available in variety of attractive possibilities.
– Avoid small footstool sized ottomans, they are very limiting. If you purchase a very large ottoman, compartmentalize and categorize – especially if there are small and large items to be stored.
– Great for storing toys, blankets or pillows
– Doubles as a coffee table

Adult shelving
– I use IKEA furniture a lot because it is reasonably priced and readily available here in Houston. The Kallax is a popular choice because of it’s modern look and functionality.
– Coffee table or side tables, with storage space
– Floating shelves are functional and decorative – they can hold storage bins or boxes and can perform the same tasks as a bookcase. (see bookshelves)

Toy Storage
– Scale back the toys to be stored in the living room and rotate toys out from what is stored in the child’s bedroom or playroom.
– Limit toys to what can comfortably fit in the storage you have.

These suggestions aren’t just for people with kids!

Decorative Containers
– Normally for a kids space (playroom, bedroom) I encourage clear containers to hold toys, but in the living room, it’s the opposite. To keep your living room looking adult, choose tasteful opaque containers.
– Video game controllers just look sloppy with cords squiggling everywhere! These are perfect in a decorative basket. Gamers are not going to forget where their controllers are and will go through the extra effort of finding it. The trick will be to train them to clean up after themselves. (Good Luck!)
– When using opaque containers or baskets, be sure to only put things in them that you will remember are there and make sense in that space. It’s no use to you if it’s out of sight – out of mind.

[blockquote sub_text=”Don’t overstuff baskets. Leave enough room to make retrieving and putting away items easier. “]Is the basket too small or is there too much stuff? [/blockquote]

Furniture Placement
Furniture doesn’t have to always line the walls. Couches can float in the middle of a room to create a space for hidden storage behind them. Behind this couch are two handsome bins for toy storage. The couch used to be against the wall but by floating the couch we were able to add storage  and make it easily accessible to the kids.

[image src=”” align=”left” border=”image_border” link=”” alt=”” title=”” lightbox=”false” ][image src=”” align=”left” border=”image_border” link=”” alt=”” title=”” lightbox=”false” ]

[blockquote sub_text=”Search from your phone using your favorite online retailers, Google images or Pinterest. Take screenshots of things you like, then when you are out shopping those images can be easily pulled up for reference!”] Searching for new furniture?  [/blockquote]

For some reason bookshelves are an overlooked commodity. Bookshelves aren’t just for books. They can hold baskets, magazine holders, neatly folded blankets,decorative items, knick knacks, decorative storage boxes (which opens up all kinds of possibilities of what the booksehlf can hold), and of course, books!

Where to purchase a bookshelf is really all up to your preference and style. There are furniture stores all over town. When considering what size and shape take into consideration A) what would look the best  B)what your needs are. For me, the way things look in my living room are more important because I know I can make whatever I have fulfill my needs (most of the time). In my living room for example, I have limited wall space and my couch floats in the center of the room. If I were to add a tall bookcase, there’s only one place where it would go, similar to the bookcase showing in this photo – it could only go in that location. However, a lower bookcase offers me a wider array of options – at least in my living room.

Invite a friend over to brainstorm with and see what a fresh pair of eyes will do to help breathe new life into your living room arragnement.


–  One key to organizing is to try different arrangements for the best solution. Test out, rearrange, set it up again and interact with it on the spot.
– Ask yourself: “Is this easy enough that I, or someone else, will follow through?”
– Continue trying different solutions until the right solution appears (did you check in with your higher power before beginning today?).
– Stay the course; keep only what is essential to the space.
– Group like items, containerize and compartmentalize!
– Have measurements of the available space on your phone when you go shopping.

If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, reach out on Facebook or join us on our bi-weekly ZOOM video conference calls! Join the Clutter to Clarity Club here!

Until next time…


[horizontal_tab] [menu_tab text=”Member Portal” link=”” active=”true”] [/horizontal_tab] [horizontal_tab] [menu_tab text=”01 the Basics” link=”” active=”true”] [menu_tab text=”02 the Process” link=””] [menu_tab text=”03 Supplies” link=””] [menu_tab text=”04 the Entry” link=”” ] [menu_tab text=”05 the Living Room” link=”” active=”true”] [menu_tab text=”06 Kitchen Supplies” link=””] [menu_tab text=”07 the Pantry” link=””] [menu_tab text=”08 Lower Cabinets” link=”” ] [menu_tab text=”09 Upper Cabinets” link=”” active=”true”] [/horizontal_tab]

[horizontal_tab] [menu_tab text=”10 Drawers and Counters” link=””] [menu_tab text=”11 the Dining Room” link=””] [menu_tab text=”12 the Guest Room” link=”” ] [menu_tab text=”13 the Master Bathroom” link=”” active=”true”] [menu_tab text=”14 the Master Bedroom” link=””] [menu_tab text=”15 the Master Closet” link=””] [menu_tab text=”16 Maintenance” link=””] [/horizontal_tab]