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.

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Modern White Living Room Design by Jennifer Jones

1. Welcome the Wastebasket

If trash tends to accumulate in the family room, adding a wastebasket might cut down on clutter. Few family rooms actually have a wastebasket in them; they're not attractive and they can smell. Counteract this by choosing a can that fits your room's decor. If you know food will be thrown away here, get one with a lid and some deodorizing trash bags.

2. Keep Flat Surfaces Clutter-free

Papers, books, brochures and magazines tend to accumulate on flat surfaces all around the house, and the family room is no different. "You need a household information center, and the family room may be where that happens," says Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out. In fact, the family room is often more cluttered because it's a central gathering place in the house. A two drawer lateral file is Morgenstern's ideal recommendation - on average she says that's really how much paper it takes to run a home. If you don't have the floor space, a stackable file cart will do.

Make a quick sweep of all flat surfaces by piling papers in a bin, then sorting and purging as necessary. Take a vow, and get your family to follow it, to put papers in files rather than on the coffee table.

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