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How to Declutter and Revamp Your Living Room in Just an Afternoon

If the start of a new year brings about a desire for organized space, you’re most definitely not alone. Now that holiday decorations are packed away and school is back in session, it’s a great time to focus on corralling all of the clutter that’s piled up in the living room, in particular. After all, this space is the first room that you see walking through the front door, and it shouldn't give you any sense of unrest.

While tackling your living space may seem like a daunting task, note this endeavor can be tackled in a couple of hours. There are simple steps that you can take in an afternoon that will vastly edit your space and bring you a tidy look; keep reading for my top tips.


Gather and Discard Unnecessary Papers

The critical first step..... getting rid of clutter. If you still have holiday cards on display, it’s time to take them down. If you wish to save any greetings that have extra sentimental value, they can be placed in a pretty decorative box with other mementos. But remove from the living room any generic cards—as well as magazines that you don’t plan to re-read, catalogs, junk mail. Take five minutes to go through the magazine pile up and say goodbye to anything that is simply taking up space.

Give Your Shelves a Once-Over

If your living room features open shelving this a great opportunity to review them for styling work. In under an hour, you could review the shelves with the mantra of Love, Like, or Recycle. Follow Michelle Kondo, if it doesn't spark joy or remotely even stir you somehow, time to pitch it or pass it on. Group together smaller items to be located to a basket, container or box if they are on display in open shelving. This will give a tidy appearance to everything. Group items on open shelving in group of 3, as this always gives an organized and pleasing look.

Make a Giveaway Pile

As you’re going through the process of clearing off your coffee table and shelves, take time to also set aside anything you see that you feel no longer contributes to the space or serves a purpose in your home. Apply the same Kondo rule mentioned above to the overall room- if the item isn't offering anything to the space and not conjuring some kind of joy, then move it to the "giveaway pile". If you've amassed some new furnishings, pillows or accessories over the holidays, feel free to follow the direction of many organizers in the "one in, one out" rule. That is, one item is removed from space for any new item that's introduced.

Make a “To-Find” List

As you declutter and get rid of things, you may find you need some organizational items to keep your living room looking tidy. With the goal of gathering smaller items in a larger container, box, basket. Maybe you could use a woven basket to stash tech accessories on your open shelving. A tray on your coffee table or ottoman can be the star of the show by corralling all the small things you need within reach. It gives those small items a permanent home so you can find them always, while giving a very tidy look. I like the concept of a “to-find” list, though, rather than a 'To Buy' list, as sometimes you don’t need to actually purchase anything at all. "Shop" in the other rooms of your home, and you might find the perfect solution by repurposing something you already have. BONUS: you didn't have to spend money of something new and the newly purposed item has meaning again.

Make a General To-Do List

Once your living room is free of clutter, you’ll be able to focus in on anything else you may need to do to make it feel more elevated and complete. Perhaps that means hanging a few new frames on the walls, replacing a dated light fixture, or adding some fresh patterned pillows. Make a list of upgrades you have in mind and work toward them over the next few weeks one by one. A list will hold you accountable to the tasks at hand and ensure you don’t forget about any great ideas.


Now that you’ve completed these five steps, don’t you feel better already? You should be proud of this time you spent, creating a clean slate in the most commonly used room of the house. Talk about an afternoon well spent!

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