One of the trickiest things about organizing our living rooms is that, well… we tend to do lots of living there.  It’s a space that is used for multiple purposes: watching Sunday football, doing homework, even doubling as a home office, at times.  No wonder it’s a magnet for disorganization and clutter. Our lives are messy and while we’re busy making them, we like to spread that mess around!   If you read last week’s “kitchen organization” post, you also know that our living rooms are considered the heart of our homes, so it’s doubly important to our mental and spiritual well-being that we organize the room for maximum efficiency while maintaining a pleasing motif or style that reflects who we are.  It’s a tall order, but one that my friend, Lisa from Puka organizing, tackles with pleasure.

If space allows, arrange furniture to delineate activities used for specific areas.  A love seat and club chairs arranged around a wall-mounted television in a corner or niche creates a cozy viewing area and media area.  Use large rugs, sofas and chairs with an oversized coffee table to create a sitting area and homework headquarters.  I love coffee tables that double as storage units (either under the table with baskets or lift-tops) because they help keep flat surfaces clutter free.

Shelves (and how you use them) can make or break the organizational systems in our living rooms. They’re great for storing oft used items and can be changed easily and often to meet evolving needs of our busy lives. They add visual interest to living room décor. However, they can also become a catchall for knick-knacks and actually increase the cluttered look and feel of the room.  A good rule of thumb is to organize shelves by theme and add only one or two keepsakes, collectibles or frames per shelf.  Use small bowls or containers to gather and contain loose items.  

The two most common eyesores I see and try to repair in new clients' living rooms are out of control cords and picture frame frenzies. Purchase a cable caddy or cable zipper which encloses cables in a tube and eliminates tangled, dusty cords from view. It’s the quickest and easiest organizational fix you’ll ever make!  Take control of lots of small picture frames by displaying them in new ways with photo albums or stylish collage frames.  Consider painting frames a uniform color and use vertical surfaces and cool layouts to display photographsin an artistic fashion.  Pinterest is chalk-full of frame layout ideas. 

Next week, I’ll devote an entire post to organizing the home office, but if your living room doubles as an at-home work space, you’ll needto invest in a storage system that lets you stow files, office supplies and laptops efficiently.  I’ve seen fabric covered storage benches used beautifully for this purpose.  Stored behind a sofa or used as a table, they are large enough to hold file boxes and supplies while providing protection for expensive devices and can be centrally located to the action of the room.