Spring Cleaning Party: Deep Cleaning Your Living Room

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How did your clean sweep go yesterday? Are you ready to get down to the nitty gritty details and tackle your home room-by-room now? Don’t forget to take before/after shots of your living area today to share over at The Art of Simple!

When it comes to spring cleaning, I think our main living area/family room is the hardest room for me to tackle. It’s not that there’s much stuff to clean around, but the stuff that is there is the kind of stuff that simply takes more time to clean – electronics and all of their accompanying wires, dozens of books that probably should be pulled off the shelf so that the shelf can be dusted, a couch that provides shelter for all the dust bunnies in the room to scurry under.

Let’s look at some of the most common obstacles we face in deep cleaning our living rooms:

Toys

Our kids mostly play in the main area of our home because they’re still little, and sending them upstairs to play results in a big mess and more fighting between them. That said, we still don’t keep all of their toys in our living room because that would just invite a disaster every time they wanted to play!

Here are a few solutions for taming the toy clutter:

  • Establish a set area for toys in the family room. It could be a basket under the coffee table, a bottom shelf on the bookcase, a cabinet in the entertainment center, etc., or all three. The important part isn’t where this spot is, just that there is a designated spot.
  • Have clean up times as part of your daily routines. We clean up before lunch and before dinner, which means the mess never gets too out of hand. My girls definitely play better when there is less mess, so cleaning up twice a day has this added benefit as well.
  • Rotate toy sets to keep them fresh without having to keep all of the toys in your main living area. While we only keep a few toys downstairs, it doesn’t mean that those are the only toys they’re allowed to play with. I do, however, require them to clean up one set of toys and put it away before getting another one.

Organizing Your Media

Does your living room house a lot of CDs, DVDs, video games, etc.? How are they organized now?

To be honest, I think my method for organizing CDs, DVDs and video games is a little unorthodox, but I’m going to tell you about it anyway because it has made a huge difference in our ability to control clutter. You see, we’re huge music fans, and we have hundreds of CDs, none of which we want to part with. To save space, we use CD sleeves for all of our CDs. We have six of them now,  and these six CD sleeves can be stacked in the entertainment center in a relatively small amount of space, whereas the cases themselves would take up much, much more room.

What about the cases and inserts? To be honest, we simply trash them. We won’t be selling any of our CDs as collectors items, and if I want to know the words of a song, I can simply Google it, so there was no reason we felt that we needed to keep those cases. And believe me, the relief of not having to find places for all of those cases is well worth any slight inconvenience we might experience at some point because we don’t have those cases. These days, with the advent of MP3s, most music doesn’t even come with a case or insert, so they’re obviously not that important.

This might not be a solution for everyone, but it’s important to think outside-of-the-box (no pun intended!) when it comes to organizing your home to find a system that works for you.

Tomorrow, Tsh will be sharing more about her methods for organizing media as well!

Electronics and Their Wires

To be honest, I find that trying to “organize” the wires of our electronics continues to be an overwhelming task, and one that I can’t quite seem to master, no matter how many times I try. They always end up tangled and messy anyway!

Here are a few tips I plan to incorporate as I go through and attempt to clean them up one more time:

  • Use a label maker to label the plugs (by folding the label around the cord like a little flag) so that you know which plug goes to which electronic.
  • Wrap up any excess cord and tie it with a twisty tie to keep the loose wires from becoming entangled around each other.
  • Plug things into power strips in the same basic order they sit in the cabinet (or on your desk) to minimize how many times they have to crisscross each other.
  • Think about which items you are most likely to want to move, unplug, etc. (for example, we sometimes take our Wii with us when we travel), and keep that in mind when you plug them in.

Under the Couch

I don’t know about you all, but we lose more things under our couch than any other place in our house. It doesn’t matter how often we move and clean under it, each time reveals a treasure trove of toys and more.

My husband finally came up with a solution to at least cut down on this mess: a couch guard that slides under the couch. To make it, he simply took 2x4s and made a large U shape about the size of our couch, sliding the open side against the wall so that the U prevents anything from sliding too far under it. This makes it easier to clean up the toys that may slide under there and to vacuum the dust before it accumulates. It’s not a tight seal, so we do still occasionally need to pull out the couch and clean carefully under it, but it’s nothing like it was before.

What is the most overwhelming task in your living room? Can you think of an out-of-the-box solution that might make it easier to deal with on a regular basis?