Common living spaces in a home can be the toughest to keep tidy, especially when family members have varying standards for what ‘tidy’ really means. Consistently tidy living spaces have three golden rules:
- Everything has a place (preferably out of sight) where it belongs.
- That place always has sufficient space to easily accommodate all the things that belong there.
- Whenever a storage space becomes overfilled—to a point where it’s difficult to find a specific thing that lives there—the space gets purged.
If clutter is the norm in your family living spaces—or if you find living or family rooms rapidly descending back into chaos shortly after you tidy up—it’s a sure sign that you need more, better types of storage solutions integrated into your living and family room décor. Here are a few PRO ideas based on the types of items that most typically clutter up family living spaces:
Shoes. For shoes and boots, think mats, racks, or cubbies that allow footwear to be easily kept in matched pairs and found quickly when needed.
Bags, jackets. A plentiful supply of sturdy, decorative wall hooks will go a long way to organizing all the handbags, backpacks, jackets, scarves, hats, and other outerwear that people tend to shed automatically when they enter your living spaces.
Personal accessories/small devices. Well-placed baskets, bowls, wooden boxes, or other decorative items can double as receptacles for small personal items—such as sunglasses, keys, mobile devices, etc.—that people typically carry into living spaces and for the small items that live there such as TV clickers, device chargers, and what not.
Media (books, magazines, newspapers, mail, CDs, DVDs, video games, etc.). The best way to cut media clutter from family living spaces is to go all digital. But, not everyone is ready or willing to make the all-digital leap. If that is the case in your home, think shelves, cabinets, or specialized furniture that allows collectible media to be organized—say, alphabetically—for easy retrieval of specific items or displayed aesthetically: by color, size, and other visual features. Where CDs, DVDs, and games are concerned, consider solutions such as multi-sleeved holders that take up far less space than the original, bulky packaging. For recyclable/disposable media, keep an attractive receptacle near to hand and empty often!
Blanket throws/pillows. It’s always great to have comfort items near to hand for movie nights or naps. When you can’t work these directly into your décor, consider coffee or end tables with built-in storage or even a bureau for fast stowing and retrieval.
Toys. Playthings for children and pets might be the toughest things to keep tidy as the beings who play with them tend to be scatterers by nature. Paying particular attention to Rule No. 3 above—even just temporarily removing some toys from circulation—is the real key to minimizing chaos in this area.
Stuff that doesn’t belong. Lived-in family spaces often accumulate items, such as dirty dishes, discarded socks, sweatshirts, and other clothing that belong elsewhere in the home. A well-placed bin or basket designated for collecting and transporting such wayward items is both a great way to keep a family living space tidy and to efficiently re-distribute the items to their proper places in the home.