Knickknacks, tchotchkes, trinkets, oh my! With all the stuff we bring into our home, it can be quite frightening to consider taming this “beast of  bits and pieces”. Still, it is possible to get a hold of your things and make room for what is really important:  you.

The theme of this de-cluttering issue is this:  “Allow you and your guests to see YOU through the clutter.”  In other words, pair down your collectibles, your photographs, and even your furniture to open the space and to allow the eye to focus on what you want most to present…you!

Here’s what you do:

1. 15 Minute Timer-set your timer for 15 minutes…it’ll not only motivate you to get started, it’ll motivate you to keep moving through the clutter.  Remember, if you don’t complete the entire de-clutter, schedule another 15 minute session tomorrow or for the weekend.  A little de-cluttering each day goes a long way.

2.  Create Groupings-place like collectables such as vases, glass animals, sports memorabilia, plates, etc. in “groupings” of 3-5 items.  In other words, choose your most favorite pieces and group them together on shelving, bookcases, a “gallery wall”, China cabinets, or the hearth.  If you can’t bring yourself to pack away your remaining 189 glass elephants, create another grouping or two, or consider buying a cabinet to house and showcase them.  This will allow you and your guests to view your collectibles as art.  Use an editing eye!

3. Pair Down Furniture-okay, you’ve got a sectional, two armchairs, a coffee table, two end tables, a regular sitting chair, book case and entertainment cabinet…where’s the floor? Take a “new look” at your space and see if you really need all that furniture.  Can you break up that sectional and place a piece in the basement or office?  Do you really need two arm chairs?  Can you replace the coffee table with an ottoman and use that for extra seating?  Be creative and give yourself more room to roam!

4.  Photo Gallery Wall-that trip to Hawaii, your graduation pictures, friends, relatives, your kids-wow!  We have so many memories and think cramming them all on every wall or on every shelf will remind us of those good times.  Probably not.  Why?  Because there’s so much to look at, our eye just can’t take it all in.  The solution:  create a photo gallery wall organized and easy to view.  See my previous blog on “Organizing Picture Walls” for how-to details.

Gallery wall

Gallery wall. source:

5.  Edit Your Books-though I love being a bookworm, I don’t want to end up being a pack-rat.  Spring-time is a great time to go through and edit, or eliminate those books collecting dust or that have little to no value to you any more.  The local library, high school, or Salvation Army welcomes books and can put them to good use.

6. Storage boxes/baskets-these are great for all those “things” that continue to “stack up” or get strewn about in your living room space.  Try the following:

a.  newspapers/magazines-keep two baskets under/near the coffee table: 1. for magazines/newspapers you are currently reading, and 2. for magazines/newspapers you wish to recycle.

b.  kid’s clothes-my mom used to keep a basket for my brother’s and I on the lower steps of our staircase (or you can place it near the hallway leading to the bedrooms) with our names labeled on each.  Here, she would place the shoes, jackets, socks, books, etc., that we would drop on the floor or sofa after school.  She also put our laundry here so we knew to take them into our rooms and put them away.

c. toys-a big covered box or basket is great for toys.  My friend had a very successful 30 second game every night before bed called “Tidy up the Toys”.  He would start the clock and see if the kids could put all their toys in the basket in 30 seconds…worked like a charm!

d. remote controls-small baskets are great for those roaming remotes…keep them near the sofa on a side or coffee table.

7.  Entertainment Cabinet-they’re back! Whether it houses your monster 65″ Samsung flat screen HD TV, or that Bose surround sound system, an entertainment cabinet also neatly conceals all those unsightly wires, cables, and equipment, not to mention your cd and dvd collections.  With just one unit, you can keep all your electronic clutter under total control.  Try Habitat for Humanity ReStores, Target, or IKEA for one that suits your style.

Clutter in a home is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be uncontrollable.  Try these tips in your next “15 minute de-clutter” session…and find YOU in the process!

Now It’s Your Turn!

What de-cluttering tips do you have for your living room to show off YOU?

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