Part of my reason for doing 31 Days of Decluttering and Organizing this month was to get our homes in good or better shape for the upcoming holidays. An area you are likely to spend a lot of time in is your living area (maybe a family room, or bonus room). You might spend time here entertaining others, or just enjoying your decorations with your family. Either way I expect it will feel better with less clutter.
Let's look at all surfaces in the living area. Any tables, shelves, fire place mantel and hearth, the floor and even the seats of furniture. I think for us, the coffee table and end tables get the most use and are likely to hold the most clutter. It could be different for you.
Take each surface one at a time. And ask yourself some questions. Do the items you see belong in that spot? Do you have too many of a particular item there that you could get rid of? Is there another place to store the items I have here? Do you want that item there? Any obvious trash? (If so, throw it out first)
In my case, I really only prefer to see a lamp on the end table. Maybe a coaster for drinks. There will be times where I have my computer, some reading material, or a drink nearby. But at the end of the day those items get put away. Leaving just the lamp. It is perfectly fine if you like more on your end tables. Just question if what you have there is what you really want there. We often become busy or just don't see what is really on our surfaces. This is the time to take a look and make some decisions.
If you see piles of magazines, extra decor, children's toys, reading material, mail, unused electronics, unfinished craft project (that you are not currently working on)...get those items to other places. Magazines can be recycled, extra decor donated or put away in a closet or drawer, books to a bookshelf, toys to the child's room...in other words find where these items should reside besides your living surfaces. If you use the items daily...they can stay, but if they have just been tossed aside take care of them now. It will make decorating for the holiday's easier later.
One thing I noticed in our bonus room, was art that has yet to be hung. It's propped up against a wall and needs to be hung. I'm going to get that done this week! No excuses. If I don't take care of it, it will just keep sitting there. For us, I also noticed lots of throw blankets on our furniture. I took those and folded them up. I put a couple away in a closet. The other two are on an end table shelf. So nearby, but not cluttering the space.
If you have pets, make a plan for any toys they have in your home that you might see on the floor. We have two cats and they have play mice and other toys to bat around. I generally keep them in a basket, which they can access since it is at floor level. Once I notice more toys on the floor than the basket I do a quick pick up and get them back to the basket. If only I could train them to put them back in the basket when the are done.
What kinds of things do you LIKE to have on your living rooms surfaces? What did you find you were storing there that you could get moved?
Currently my camera has stopped working. It is a lot more work to take phone pictures and get them posted to the blog. Sorry for the lack of pictures for awhile. I'm working on getting it fixed.