Decluttering the Family Room

Keep the center of family life clear of an explosion of clutter.

From: DK Books - Houseworks

Store Items in Proper Place In Family Room

Store Items in Proper Place In Family Room

Photo by: DK - House Works ©2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - House Works, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Divide and Conquer

Clutter is like chickenpox: It spreads from person to person with only casual contact. One person's ongoing craft project becomes authorization for the next guy to spread his stuff out, too. How to control family room clutter? With a family STOP clutter session. The communal nature of the room means that any clutter solution will require everyone's cooperation. By agreeing to divide and conquer, a STOP clutter session can attack problem areas simultaneously.

Tips to Organize Family Rooms

Try these tips to make the most of storage space in shared spaces and family rooms:

  • Contain clutter. Practice containment policies to keep clutter under control. Store the week's newspapers in a low-sided metal tray; a knitting project in a wicker basket.
  • Practice "cart and carry." Establish a policy that, while family members are welcome to do homework, work on crafts or play with toys in the family room, their supplies must be carted and carried. Plastic laundry baskets, shopping bags or flat-bottomed dishpans can be used to bring out the playthings and collect them at the close of the evening, for return to the bedroom.
  • Sweep it clean! Take time during the day for a "sweep." During a pause in a television program, announce that it's time for a sweep and ask all family members to pick up out-of-place items and put them away. Quick! The show will be back on the air in just minutes!

STOP Clutter in the Family Room

Gather your tools: timer, STOP declutter boxes (marked Put Away, Sell/Donate, and Storage), garbage bags for trash. Set the timer for 20 minutes. To make it easier to do a group declutter, double or triple the number of boxes used for Put Away. Limit the STOP clutter session to 20 minutes to shortcut the potential for argument.

Step 1: Sort. Start sorting. Assign each family member a small area to clear - a shelf, table or corner - and a tight timeline to declutter it to make the job specific and short. Key targets: the choked video storage rack, the stacks of old magazines, the scattering of toys all over the carpet. Give the kids a Put Away box for far-flung toys, the family crafter another box to collect his or her paints for return to the craft corner.

Step 2: Toss. Disagreement is a potential hazard when diving into a group STOP clutter session. Mom may be perfectly happy to send a stack of old motocross magazines to recycling, but a teenage son objects. Limit potential disagreements by assigning the interested parties - the motocross enthusiast himself - to sort and decide. A second tactic: Use black plastic garbage bags to collect trash. If the clutterers across the room can't see the contents, they're less likely to put up a fuss about the discards.

Step 3: Organize and Put Away. When the timer bell rings, toss the trash and return Put Away items to their homes in other rooms. Organize the remaining family-room residents - DVDs, videos and game equipment - into flat-bottomed open containers for easy access.

Next Up

Decluttering Kids' Rooms

Try these strategies to calm clutter and bring order to kids' rooms.

Keep or Toss: 4 Questions to Help You Declutter Your Living Space

Before you shop for your living room remodel, determine what stays and what's headed to the curb.

Tips for Maintaining an Organized Living Room

These simple tips for organizing your main gathering space will put the family back in your family room.

Decluttering the Kitchen

Free up your counters, cupboards and shelves from clutter with these easy-to-follow tips and rules for decluttering the kitchen.

Decluttering the Bathroom

Keep your bathroom clutter under control by sorting, tossing and organizing toiletries.

Decluttering the Refrigerator

Conquer unused leftovers and overstocked food items to start tackling your refrigrator cluttter.

Declutter the Freezer

Keep your frozen assets in order by following these cleaning and storage tips.

Raising Clutter-Free Kids

It's never too early to start teaching the ABCs of tidiness. While you may find it easier (and faster) to organize for them, it will save you time and headaches to pass the clean baton.

Tips to Declutter and Organize Before a Kitchen Remodel

An organization expert provides tips for getting your kitchen in order before your remodel begins.

Decluttering the Closet

Stacked, packed and bulging, the clothes closet looms. When it takes too long to dress for a special occasion — or to find jeans and a T-shirt — it's time to stop closet clutter. Find out how to get your closet in order.

Stories We're Following

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.