Family rooms…a lot of living goes on in these rooms. We watch TV, play games, hang out…these rooms have LOTS going on in them. And for those reasons, it’s especially important that we keep the family room tidy and organized.
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Now, I know you’ve already heard the advice that you need separate boxes for items you need to toss in the trash, items to donate, things to keep, and things that belong somewhere else and simply need to be relocated. And you can spend a couple of hours (or more depending on how out of control things have gotten) and just get that done.
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The basics of organizing any space
But if you’re not sure how this process works then here it is in a nutshell:
- Get your boxes, bins, or trash sacks and designate one for each of the four categories: trash, donate, keep, or relocate. I’ve used laundry baskets for the keep and relocate items and that has worked well because I can pick them up easily and take them to another area of the house.
- Pick a starting spot in the room and work your way around it. Clear off shelves and other horizontal surfaces (like table tops and the floor) and open drawers. For each item you see ask yourself if it’s trash (and if it is then toss it our right now!), whether it’s something that needs to be donated, or if it’s something you want to keep (and if so, WHERE does it need to “live”), or if it’s an item that belongs in another room of the house.
- Once items have been sorted through then take out the trash, put the donate items in the back of your car and schedule a time to actually take them to the donate center (or schedule a pick up if that service is available in your area). Then designate “homes” for the items that you’re keeping but that belong somewhere else, and put these, and the “relocate” items where they belong.
That’s it. Those are the basic steps to organize your family room…or any space, actually.
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Special considerations when organizing the family room
Activities involving the TV tend to take up a lot of space in our family rooms. Whether it’s movies or games, we can easily find ourselves overrun with media, cases, and remote controls. And if you’ve got physical copies of your movies or games, you’ve got a lot of money tied up in these materials and you don’t want them to get ruined.
So you need an organizing system that will keep them tidy and protect them from harm. But before you start organizing, ask yourself the tough questions. Determine what you really want to keep. What does your family enjoy – and use – most. Are there things that your family has outgrown or simply lost interest in?
Those things need to go. There’s no sense organizing things that you really need to get rid of. It’s a waste of time and money…and setting up a system for things that need to go also is a space waster.
As you’re sorting through movies and games, remember that you can either sell or donate these items. And for the ones you want to keep, perhaps a digital organizing or streaming service would be best.
- Since we still collect lots of movies on DVD, we use these kinds of storage notebooks. Getting rid of the cases saves us a ton of room!
- However, if you do want to keep cases (perhaps so that children can identify what they’re looking for) then these clear storage bags may be just what you need.
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Storage ideas for remote controls
Do you ever feel like you’re always hunting for the remote control? This isn’t uncommon because those controls are used by everyone in the house, they’re often put down wherever the last person to use it plopped down, and they’re seldom returned to any particular spot.
This can make keeping up with them a nightmare.
The trick to keeping up with the remote controls is to have a designated home for them that is easily accessed by everyone in the family. And of course, be sure that everyone is directly shown where this place is!
- This fabric caddy would be great either on the end of your couch…or perhaps hung over someone’s favorite chair.
- This wooden caddy can hold several remotes and other items as well. It looks nice enough to fit most decors.
- This clear acrylic caddy puts the spotlight on the remotes themselves. They’re definitely not hidden…which makes them easy to find, and therefore easy to return when they’re not in use.
- This rotating black organizer is discrete and will allow you to find the remote you’re looking for with a spin.
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Organizing games and puzzles
Games and puzzles are another challenge for the family room. If you’re sure you’ve got all the pieces for these items then you need a space to store them when they’re not in use.
If there is a shelf unit or cabinet in your family room then these are generally ideal spots for storing the games and puzzles.
But if you don’t have readily available storage then you’ve got to get creative.
So take a look around the room. Is there an unused armoire somewhere in the house that could be brought in to this room for additional storage? Is there storage space in any of the sofa tables? What about space under a couch? You might be able to fit a small plastic box (like an underbed box) that could slide in and out of the space like a drawer.
Or perhaps you might look at adding some sneaky storage space.
I once saw where a filing cabinet had been refinished so that it looked appropriate in the family room and the drawers were then used for space. Or perhaps an open table draped with fabric would be a good spot to store items where they’ll be concealed by the fabric.
The trick is looking at your space with new eyes to discover unused spaces that are just waiting for a purpose.
Don’t forget to clean while you’re organizing your family room
While you’re at it, don’t forget to clean, dust, vacuum, or wipe down items that collect dust and grime. It’s easy to overlook the light fixtures, lamp shades, switch plates, picture frames, and electronics.
Once these are cleaned you’ll be surprised at the difference you notice. The light will be brighter and the room will feel lighter. And to help you keep it this way, take out your planner or calendar and schedule a date to do these cleaning tasks again.
General tips to keep your family room tidy, clean, and organized
The big question is how do you KEEP it organized once you actually GOT it organized.
Yep, that is the hard part. Here are a few ideas:
- Be sure to keep a trash can in this room. Family members are more likely to clean up after themselves if it’s easy.
- Schedule regular cleaning and maintenance time in to your schedule.
- A nightly 10-minute tidy goes a long way to keeping the area picked up and presentable. Be sure that everyone pitches in – it’s not just mom’s job!
- A bin or basket kept in this area is great for tossing items that need to be taken to another part of the house.
- Incorporate storage furniture wherever possible.
Your family room is the center of a lot of activity. Make it an inviting place you – and other family members – will want to spend time in.
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