Room organization: Tackling the main rooms

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As winter thaws, the evidence of the season spent in hibernation may be apparent in the lack of organization taking over each room in your home. Also referred to as: What clutter, What a mess, How can you find anything in here?! To get ready for spring initiate some spring cleaning and organization! In this first installment we’ll tackle the main rooms; think living rooms, sitting rooms or family rooms.

Organizing the Main Rooms of your House

Where to Start

If you’re standing in the middle of the room with an overwhelmed feeling coming over you, that’s good, you’re at the starting line. Now, to ease that feeling take a look around and try to think optimistically. Look for the good in the room. Things you need to keep, items that are used on a regular basis and how you’d like to be utilizing the room. Visualize what you enjoy using the room for most.

Make a mess to fix a mess

Time to start collecting items for three piles: things to keep, things to store and things to purge. Go through every item, even those on bookcases or storage cabinets. It’s possible you may find seasonal items left over from the holidays that need to be put back with their collection. You might even find your daughter’s missing sock from when she was crawling. Don’t forget to look under furniture and cushions, too! Let “It’s gotta get worse before it gets better” be your mantra.

Of your three piles, first start with the items to store. Return toys to the proper kids’ room, get a box for the miscellaneous items. As you put these items away, just remember you will be coming through the other rooms of the house organizing so if you’re worried about a mess building up in another room or area, no worries, you’re going to get there, but first the main rooms!

Next let’s address the items you want to keep. Maybe there are a few items in your pile that you’re keeping not because you love them, but because someone gave them to you and you feel obligated to keep them out? Think odd vase from your mother-in-law. Here’s how to address those items. If you do not love the item and are keeping it out of mere obligation, is there a way to repurpose the item? Can you take the vase and turn it into something you love using colored rocks, flowers, paint, etc.? If so, keep the item out and let your creativity flow! If no, maybe set aside the item and make it a point to get it out a few times during the year. Maybe your husband brings you flowers for Mother’s Day, make it a point to use the vase you set aside from your mother-in-law.

Finally, the purge pile. Collect this pile and donate it to the local Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, hold over for a garage sale, or let your friends look through the items. This pile, though, is leaving your house!

Room Arrangement

For this step you’re going to arrange the furniture and major pieces. (Enlisting some extra muscle might be a good plan). The best way to do this is to determine the best walking path for the room, for example, if you have an entryway or a pathway to another room. Keep that path open and free of furniture. Next consider the best view of the room, for example you don’t want to set up the main seating where it faces away from a picture window or unique structure in the room. Also, if this room has a TV, you want to ensure all seats in the room can easily see the TV. If using any rugs, coffee tables, house plants, statues, etc., those are considered filler items. After your main pieces are set, use those items to complete the look.

At this time if you are interested in moving any of your wall art, do so! Do not let what you have placed on the wall inhibit how you sit the main pieces, feel free to move and experiment with your pictures and art. Before you start hanging these items, arrange them on the floor to see how items will look together. (Tip: Trace the shape and size of hanging pieces onto paper, using painter’s tape, you can easily arrange and re-arrange to your satisfaction – with the added bonus of no unnecessary holes).

Organizing the small stuff

As seen in SFM's March '17 issue: DIY: Ombre Jute Rope Basket. photo by Jessica Robbins
As seen in SFM’s March ’17 issue: DIY: Ombre Jute Rope Basket. photo by Jessica Robbins

Now that you have the room set, the items you have left will complete the room. If you have a stack of board games the family enjoys using in this room for game night, place them on a shelf, in a crate or in a cabinet so they will be easy to get out. If you have a collection of blankets to use for movie night, keep them close on the back of the sofa or chair or find a crate to store them in (like this fun DIY basket found in SFM’s March 2017 issue). The main goal is to find a place for all the items that get used on a regular basis. That way they are handy, yet are stored when not in use to help de-clutter the room. Maybe it’s time to finally purchase that cube shelf you’ve been eyeballing.

Seasonal Changes

Don’t be afraid to dress the room to match the season. For example, as spring gets closer, incorporate more flowers. By creating small little changes throughout the year in a room, it’s an opportunity for you to refresh, de-clutter, and organize. You’ll also enjoy spending time in these main rooms!