|Sometimes our “family” room holds more stuff than family: remote controls, videos, CDs, books, newspapers, games, hobbies, slippers, blankets, stuffed animals, coffee cups, and whatever else everyone in my family happened to be holding in their hands when they walked into the room. Aarrgh!
I am glad my family has a hangout, and I wouldn’t even want to change their habits of using it (much). I think the techniques we use to organize and simplify whatever room we’re talking about could fit the people who live there. Perfect people don’t live here. We do!
Spring cleaning is also a good time to donate books, magazines, videos, and anything else your family may have outgrown or replaced during winter and the holidays. Keep in mind the famous “one in, one out” rule: If you received a new book, maybe it is time to pass on an old one…
When we’re talking about furniture, I like enclosed entertainment centers and barrister-style bookcases—because I don’t have to look at all the little stuff or dust the open shelves all the time either. Wicker baskets are great too. They can hold anything from slippers or blankets to books, magazines, or craft projects.
Larger boxed games and puzzles can be problematic because of their size, but they can also be stored near where they are used! Try a large wicker or plastic laundry basket, or use the space underneath a couch or loveseat, or add some shelving to a nearby closet or base cabinet to store them.
In addition to baskets, I sometimes use nice large canvas bags to hold library books or a temporary project that I want to keep in the room. A sturdy canvas bag is multi-purpose because I can just grab it when it is time to take our library books back, and it looks better to have our library books in a bag next to the end table instead of piled on top of the table. I even choose bags in colors that match the rooms they live in.
Another trick is to spend five minutes straightening up the family room every night for a week. You will be surprised by the improvement. Set a kitchen timer. Don’t skip a night, but also don’t let five minutes expand into thirty–then you know you’ve stayed up too late and you won’t be inclined to clean up before bedtime again. It is amazing what can be done in five minutes per night. Try it before you laugh!
I like to nest in sometimes during evenings or weekends. It is a joy to burrow into the family room with my family for an evening or a Sunday afternoon. Purge the excess clutter, make homes for things your family enjoys using there, and maintain the room to make it a comfortable habitat for everyone.
Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life (O Books, 2010), a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips that readers can pick and choose from to fit their personal style and needs.
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