Oh, you are going to want to do this after you read this post! I can’t tell you how much my ANXIETY has DECREASED in just one day! Oh, my!
This week school is out of session. That means all 3 kids are home which I am SO excited for! But, what I wasn’t excited for were two things: 1.) More people = more messes to be made in the house and 2.) I spend WAY too much time cleaning the house when everyone is in it because of the extra mess. This vacation, that was NOT happening! I decided this past weekend that I would get the living area clutter-free and ready to enjoy with the kids. This room is open to the kitchen and is where we spend most of our time playing games, reading and playing with the baby. It is also where I feed the baby and give her nebulizer treatments every 3 hours. I spend A LOT of time here. But, I just couldn’t stand looking at all of the knickknacks and “stuff” any more. It made me crazy!
It was time to say, “See ya!” to the chaos.
|Shelves in chaos...glad I have cupboards!|
I admit that being inside cleaning was one of the last things I wanted to do on this beautiful weekend. But, to me, it was worth it. The older two kiddos spent the day outside with daddy cleaning up the yard…and they actually got a bit of sunburn on the nose and cheeks! They had a great time and it gave me a chance to go to town on the living room…only stopping when baby needed me. Overall, it took about 4 hours not counting the stops. But OH, it is HEAVENLY now! J This morning, we went for a 2 ½ mile walk and when we came home, we got to plop in the living room with our fruit smoothies and just relax in our clutter-free room!
So, if the thought of spring cleaning the living area makes you cringe, just follow these steps. I am certain it will make things seem easier and less chaotic for you!
1. FUNCTION – You first need to think about what your living space must function as. To do this, just think about the activities you do in the room. Do you use it as a place to read, watch TV, play with kids, craft, etc? Living areas can be used in many different ways. Just make a mental list or write down what you do in the room.
2. AREAS – For each activity or function the room has, you will need to designate and “area” to do them in. For instance, if you knit, you will want to have a space designated for that with proper lighting and your tools easily accessible. They should not be scattered all over the room. Keep them in a bin or basket for you to stay organized and to put them away easily when you are finished. The same rule applies for toys, games, books, etc. Have one space for all “like” things related to your activities.
3. TRASH – When you have done the above, take a plastic shopping bag or something similar and collect all of the “trash” you find in your living space. This could be old juice box packets (just sayin’!), magazines, newspapers, leftover Cheerios, whatever! Trash the trash.
4. OTHER ROOMS - Now, take a box or laundry basket and collect all items that don’t belong in that room. Maybe your daughter loves to take off her socks when she gets home from school and you find a few under the couch. Or maybe you have random hockey pucks in the cushions of your couch. Take everything that belongs in other rooms and just put it in one box. Don’t put the items away in the other rooms yet, this will distract you from the task at hand.
5. DONATE/SELL – Now, remember in my post about XXXXXXXXXXXX, we talked about letting go of items? This is your time to shine! Check that post if you need a refresher, but if you don’t need it, GET RID OF IT! You will feel SOOOOO much better! I got rid of over half of the stuff on my built-in shelves! Aaaaahhhhh!
6. REASSESS – Now that you have cleared out lots of items, take a look around and see if the items left serve a purpose for the functions we talked about. Now, decorations are OK even if they don’t have an “active” purpose. But, make sure you LOVE them and that they bring you joy when you see them. After all, you will be dusting them and rearranging them for another year to come!
7. GROUPING – Now, we are going to remove all of the leftover items from their homes into a designated place nearby. It is time to group them together by purpose. For instance, all of the toys go together, books together, decorations, crafting, remotes, etc. Clean off all of the ones that are dusty before replacing them.
8. SURFACES – Make sure that all of your surfaces are cleared off. This includes the mantle, shelving, end tables, window sills, etc. Wipe each surface down with appropriate solution to clean them.
9. FLOW – Is it easy for you to see the television from each piece of furniture? Are your pieces easy to maneuver around? With the room empty, play with the layout of your furniture if you feel there is room for improvement.
10. WALLS/FLOORS – Now we get to clean off the walls and floors. Make sure you get in those areas that have been neglected! Look for those whispy cobwebs in the corners of the ceiling and for the dust bunnies under that heavy furniture! Clean everything thouroughly, don’t skimp out!
11. REPLACE – Now we get to place the items back into the room! Keep your groups together and in places that make sense for the corresponding activities.
12. CELEBRATE AND ENJOY your new space! J
Now, if you want to do a deeper clean, wash those drapes and clean the furniture. I will say that I did not have time to do this on that particular day. But I am SO going to do it when I get a chance. I didn’t want to take any time away from the task at hand!
Here are also a few tips that may help with spring cleaning your living area:
- - Do not leave more than one or two decorations on your end tables or coffee tables. You will not have room for your activities that you may need the space for if they are cluttered. AND, it will drive you crazy when you can’t find a place to set your morning coffee!
- -Keep your remote controls together. We have 3 that we use regularly. I got a crafty-organizer-box-thingy that I wasn’t using and put them inside. I was also able to put my hand sanitizer and room spray here…did I mention I also change her diapers in the living room?!
- -For most people, the TV is the focal point of the room. Make sure your focal point is clear of clutter…that’s the most important clutter-free part of the room, the one you stare at all of the time. Or maybe it’s the mantel of a fireplace. Keep it clear!
- -Check out your walls. Are there picture frames everywhere? Artwork scattered about? Consider hanging them all on one wall to showcase them. Filling up each space on your wall will distract the eye and make it float around the room, not really focusing on anything. This leads to instant anxiety. If you can’t group them all together, consider removing some or putting them in another room.
- -Make sure you clean out your hidden storage places as well! This includes ottomans, cupboards, drawers in the end tables. It all has to be sorted!
- -Make sure your furniture is functional. I started out with a black end table that had no storage. I switched it for a white one I had in my bedroom upstairs that served no purpose other than to collect dust. Now, it holds the remotes, diapers, wipes and baby butt cream!
- -Notice I got some self-adhesive cord clips to control the ugly black wires to the TV from the cable box and DVD/Blue Ray players. Yeah, they are still ugly, but at least they are running together instead of “hanging out” all over!
Well, do you want everyone out of the house so you can get organized? Oh, I can’t even tell you what a difference it makes. It’s crazy! I never really thought about how clutter made me anxious until this past year. I am SO glad you are all holding me accountable to doing the whole house! Oh, by the way, you all need to hold me accountable to doing the whole house! J
OK, get started and let me know how you are doing! Post photos on our Facebook page as well!
***Check out my other posts about spring cleaning and organizing if you haven’t already!