Welcome to Fall Organization Week on One Good Thing By Jillee! All this week we will be sharing a room-by-room round-up of some of our favorite organizing tips and tricks for keeping your home running smoothly. Yesterday we tackled one of the most challenging rooms in the house….the kitchen (click here to read the post.) Today we focus on one of the rooms we spend the most time in…the family room. While we are focusing on organization, you will also find some cleaning, decorating, and overall home improvement ideas. We hope you will join us all week and, more importantly, that you will join in the conversation and share YOUR ideas as well! Everyone who leaves a comment this week will be automatically entered to win a special prize that will be announced at the end of this post! :-) So let’s get this organizing party started!
The family room is definitely the place my husband and I spend the most time. That means it tends to end up cluttered and messy, especially in the fall and winter when we can’t spend as much time outside. We usually eat dinner on the couch and then spend a couple of hours watching TV before bed. In the morning I find books, computers, dinner dishes, etc. strewn on the couch and coffee table, not to mention the dog toys and bones all over the floor from our boxer, Milo. We don’t have a lot of storage in our family room so I like to make the most of what we do have. The family room is the place I want to come at the end of a long day to relax and turn off my brain for a bit, so it’s important to me that it’s clean and comfortable. While I prepared this post I found some great ideas for accomplishing those goals that I either have, or plan to, implement in my home.
Take DVDs and video games out of the cases they came in and put them in a CD/DVD wallet.
For the past couple of years we’ve kept our DVDs and video games in these baskets on the bottom of our entertainment center. I loved them at first because they kept all of our movies out of sight. But the more movies and games we bought the more annoyed I got by this storage system. Everything was just thrown haphazardly into the baskets which made it difficult to ever find anything.
Enter the CD/DVD wallet. I picked up a few of these at Walmart and we were able to fit five baskets worth of movies and games into two baskets.
Now it’s much easier to find the right movie and we have more space to store other things. If you decide to implement this same storage system I recommend sorting through your games and movies. Get rid of ones that are scratched and donate ones that you don’t watch or play with anymore.
Store batteries in a tackle box or other plastic box with a lid.
Our XBOX controller and remotes always seem to need their batteries replaced. My husband has always just kept batteries in their original box in his game basket. But they always end up dumped out and down at the bottom of the basket. A tackle box would be great for separating different kinds of batteries but a small plastic box with a lid works well too.
Add a tray to your coffee table.
Decorative trays are great for corralling odds and ends that always end up piled on your coffee table. I found this turquoise one at West Elm. It’s usually filled with a few magazines and books and our various remotes and video game controllers.
Use a tray or baking sheet to create hidden storage under the couch.
I found this tip on Wayfair.com and thought it was so smart! Put supplies for small projects you may be working on on a tray or baking sheet and simply slide it under the couch. That way everything stays together in one place, it’s easily accessible, yet not cluttering up your coffee table.
Make some decorative storage boxes.
No need to limit the use of these kinds of boxes to the office! They would be perfect for holding remotes, toys, art supplies etc. that you want out of the way. These Kate Spade inspired ones are from Christine at First Home Love Life.
Throw out or donate old magazines.
If you’re a bit magazine obsessed like I am you probably have a big old basket or stack of them in your family room. Now is a great time to get rid of ones you’ll never look at again. Take note of the ones you rarely get around to reading and cancel those subscriptions.
Clean out the dog or cat toy basket.
My husband has an obsession with buying new toys for our boxer, Milo, every time he steps into Petco. A couple of weeks ago I realized how out of hand the toy situation had gotten. So we went through our basket of dog toys and got rid of ones that were falling apart or had become a choking hazard.
Add a trashcan to the family room.
I rarely see trashcans in family rooms and we’ve never had one either. That usually means that whatever trash we have in that room gets left there for a long time. Because it’s obviously too much trouble to walk all the way to the kitchen to throw it away ;-) I found this small one at Target that has a removable plastic liner that will make it easy to dump the trash in our bigger kitchen trashcan when it gets full.
Set-up a cubby system for your kids.
If you’re family room is close to the front door or if your kids tend to congregate in there for homework time you may want to set up a system like Jen from I Heart Organizing. I thought this was a fantastic idea for storing backpacks and school supplies right where you need them.
Work with clutter instead of fighting it.
Think about what really happens in your family room. Are you constantly bringing supplies for certain projects or toys into that room and then having to put them away when you’re done? Why not store those things in the family room instead? Try an ottoman that opens up for storage or cute baskets (the table pictured above is actually a DIY from Lisa at Recaptured Charm). You’re a lot more likely to keep organized if it’s easy to put things away. If you don’t have room for more storage in your family room, try a rolling cart that can be stored somewhere else and then brought into the family room when you need it. I actually have the blue Ikea one pictured above in my kitchen and I love it!
Never leave the room empty handed.
I’m terrible about this! I always get so overwhelmed cleaning up when I’ve left a room to get dirty for far too long. If I simply put away a couple of things every time I left the room it would be much easier to keep clean.
Clean behind the entertainment center and organize cords with zip ties.
We occasionally have to pull our entertainment center away from the wall when one of our electronic devices isn’t working correctly and needs to be unplugged. I’m always horrified at how dirty and messy it is back there but I’ve never taken the time to actually do anything about it. I still haven’t actually had time but I did start by pickup with these reusable flexible ties at Target. They’ll work great for organizing cords.
Clean the couches.
We have microfiber couches and a very slobbery Boxer. So my biggest cleaning dilemma is removing the slobber. My favorite trick is to spray a little bit of rubbing alcohol on the dried slobber and then rub it off with a damp sponge. Works like a charm! We also tend to eat most of our meals on our couches and crumbs and things inevitably get dropped between the cushions. Fall is a great time to finally pull off the cushions and vacuum up the crumbs!
Clean the ceiling fan.
This can be an awful job, but luckily Jillee has a great post on how to clean your ceiling fan in seconds!
Check your smoke alarm batteries.
If you have a smoke alarm in your in your family room take a minute to check the batteries and replace if necessary.
Change out burned out lightbulbs.
I say this mostly for those that have overhead lighting that’s a pain to change out. I’m always quick to change the bulb on a table lamp but pulling out a ladder to change overhead lights can be a pain. Take the time to do it now if you have any burned out bulbs. You’ll be happy you did!
Pick up a new cozy throw blanket.
There isn’t much I love more than curling up on the couch with a super soft blanket and a good book in the fall and winter. My absolute favorite blanket came from Costco but I see the really soft ones at TJ Maxx and Homegoods all the time for great prices. Keep blankets organized in a cute basket or hung on a decorative ladder.
Pick up a fall scented candle.
This one might sound silly but I just love to have candles going in the fall and winter! It makes the house feel so much more cozy. I especially love great fall scented candles like apple cider or pumpkin pie to help the house smell better when we’re stuck inside during a storm.
Spruce up your mantle with some inexpensive decorations.
You can find darling fall decorations at places like Dollar Tree, Homegoods, TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby, Joanne’s etc. Be sure to keep an eye out for coupons and sales at craft stores! I love the fun mantles pictured above from Jennifer at Dear Lillie, Christina at The Frugal Homemaker, and Country Living.
Organize and update bookcases.
Start by getting rid of things that really don’t need to be on your bookcases. We recently downsized our bookcases. We used to have some cheap black bookcases that actually held quite a lot. That also meant every book that came into the house got put on those bookcases. I wanted something a little more grownup so I got this cute yellow shelving unit from Target. It couldn’t hold nearly the amount of books as our old system so we had to get rid of quite a lot. But guess what? Half the books we had were ones we weren’t going to read again or old school books we had just never gotten rid of. So I took a big box of books to our local thrift store for someone else to read. It’s amazing how having less space can help keep you more organized. I still need to style our new shelves and I loved these 3 tips from Kathy at Up To Date Interiors.
Update and change out room accessories.
I tend to have major A.D.D. when it comes to decorating. I just get sick of things so quickly! Unfortunately constantly redecorating can be very pricey. So I’ve learned to update the accessories in a room when I get bored. Pillow covers, curtains, pictures, frames and knick-knacks are much cheaper than furniture. Here is a great tutorial for easy and inexpensive pillow covers from Courtenay at The Creek Line House. Or how about updating wall art? Pick up some frames at a thrift store and spray paint them to match your room. Print out pictures of your family or download a free printable. Type “printables” into Pinterest and you’ll find a ton of free ones! Or head over to Etsy where you can find many instant downloads for under $10. I also love this DIY clipboard art from Courtney at Crafts by Courtney. What a great way to display children’s art! My favorite free way to redecorate is to move things from room to room. Just shop your house! It’s a great way to freshen up a room without spending a dime.
How do YOU stay organized in the family room?