Family room decluttering habits to steal from pro organizers


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Nov 18, 2023

Family room decluttering habits to steal from pro organizers

Conquer clutter and make it easier to maintain a stylish and functional family

Conquer clutter and make it easier to maintain a stylish and functional family room with these five habits

Family rooms are seriously hardworking, and they're also prone to clutter. This is because the design of the space, and the storage solutions, have to keep pace with the everyday demands of the entire household.

As a more informal living room, the family room doubles up as a space for play and a relaxed lounge area to unwind in come evening. Regular decluttering will go a long way in maintaining a space that's visually pleasing and functional for everyone.

Here, we've listed the family room decluttering habits to steal from professional organizers – if you want a streamlined space to gather together.

The family room takes on a myriad of guises: entertaining spaces, multi-media hubs, and some, also double up as dining rooms and at-home offices, so it is important they stay tidy and clutter-free.

These are the very best decluttering tips to make your space feel neat, tidy, and organized, but still cozy, smart, and stylish.

'Get a decorative box or basket to corral all the remote controls, making them easy to find,' suggests decluttering expert Judy Granlee-Gates. Make sure you choose aesthetically pleasing baskets, available at The Citizenry, which will bring shape, pattern, and texture, all while concealing remote controls and any other cables and tech that have a habit of overtaking our living rooms (or simply end up shoved in a junk drawer).

Jamie Hord from Horderly says it's all about consistency. He argues that a five-minute cleaning blitz each evening will keep your family room's clutter under control. 'If the living room is where you like to relax at night, check in with it before sitting down,' he begins. 'It's going to be hard to relax when you're surrounded by clutter.'

Put any toys away – if you're struggling to contain toys, take inspiration from our list of toy storage ideas. Jamie encourages you to do this with the kids before they go to bed. Once the toys are out of the way, Jamie suggests creating a more adult atmosphere by fluffing and neatening pillows and blankets and tidying up anything else on the coffee table.

Jamie is the co-founder of Horderly, a professional organizing company that brings order to countless homes and offices, from the most cluttered New York City apartments to some of the largest homes nationwide. The team's goal is to make their clients’ lives clutter-free, streamlined, and more functional.

Decluttering expert and author of Bigger Living Smaller Space, Judy Granlee-Gates makes the point that you can't have a tidy family room without hard-working furniture. 'Toys, books, and more can clutter up your family room quickly. Storage furniture helps solve this,' she says.

'Coffee tables or storage ottomans give you lots of space to put things where they belong,' she says. Alternatively, a bouclé storage bench, at Crate & Barrel will look stylish and is incredibly practical, providing extra seating space and somewhere to hide things away when play time's over.

If the layout of your family room allows, use a deep storage ottoman, at Crate & Barrel which functions as seating, a footrest when snuggling on the couch to watch a movie, or as a coffee table with the addition of a tray. This kind of item really earns its place because there's plenty of space inside.

'In your family room, prioritize surfaces by keeping them clear of clutter,' says Olivia Parks, a professional organizer from New Orleans. 'You'd be surprised how put-together your home will look if your counters are clutter-free!'

'Consider using storage baskets and containers to organize items like toys, books, and remote controls, and create a designated spot for electronics to prevent tangled cords and chargers,' she adds.

Everyone needs to be involved in family room decluttering, and the storage solutions you choose can make this easier. Storage furniture such as a Kallax unit at IKEA filled with baskets means toys and other items are stored out of sight. 'Use bins in all the cubbies or leave some for books or larger toys,' suggests Judy Granlee-Gates. 'The nice part is the kids can pull the bin out and play then load it all back up.'

Her top tip for parents of small children is to label them with both the word and an image so they know what goes in the bin even before they can read.

Rushing through the process won't give you the best results, but a little and often approach will mean decluttering never takes all day. Regular audits and clear-outs will reduce the number of toys and other items that accumulate in the family room. Decluttering toys isn't always easy, but making it into a game or 'who can tidy away the toys fastest' will make the most of children's competitive spirit.

Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. She has been in the world of digital journalism for six years, having previously worked as Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team two years ago, working across a range of homes brands. Millie formerly worked as Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles that help and inspire people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces. Millie has a degree in French and Italian and lives in North London.

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