|Some homes have a “great room” and no living room, others have a “family room” and a living room. No matter what you call it or how many of these rooms you have, organization is necessary to make it a welcoming haven for your family.
Walk in to this room as a visitor would. Notice the small details that you’ve overlooked in daily living. Do you see clutter? Your guests do, too. To make this room inviting, we’re going to reduce the number of *things* in this room and make it more homey.
1. What did you see in terms of clutter? Magazines and newspapers all over? Toys? Shoes lying around? Start with several laundry baskets (empty, please!) and put things that don’t belong in this room in the baskets. The idea is to send things to different areas of the house in these baskets and make your de-cluttering that much easier. Throw away the newspapers and old magazines. If you’re just not going to have time to read them, get rid of them. Why have them hanging around making you feel guilty? Put toys in the basket that will get them to their owners’ rooms. Shoes should be kept in the room where their wearer lives. Now that you’ve done that (and delivered the baskets to the appropriate locations), go back and look at this room as a visitor sees it. Better? If not, keep going in small stages and steps.
2. If you look at your furniture, do you see fingerprints and dust deep enough to write a ransom note in? Do you even see the top of your furniture? If you can’t answer the latter question, don’t worry about the former one. Take care of the flat surfaces first—we call this The Law of Flat Surfaces. This Law is defined by the idea that flat surfaces collect papers, no matter what the surface is: tabletops, armoires, desks, or floors. If you start with clean flat surfaces, you’ll be more likely to keep them clear—a little every day. Once your flat surfaces are clear, give them a once-over with a furniture polish (if appropriate) or glass cleaner (if appropriate). Run the vacuum—don’t worry about getting the edges and moving furniture—just vacuum the places you can get easily. Chances are if you can’t reach the areas easily, no one has been able to deposit large amounts of dirt or tracks back there, either.
3. Can you see your TV through the dust and fingerprints? If not, give it a once-over with the rag and some glass cleaner. Same with your stereo cabinet.
4. Now look up. Do you see cobwebs in the corners? Not a huge deal—grab a feather duster and knock ‘em down. That’s that!
You’ve tackled your family room and/or living room—congratulations! Keep moving along, taking baby steps every day. Soon, your home will exude the warmth and hospitality you want.
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