Keeping Your Family Room Tidy

The family room is typically the central multi-tasking zone of the home!  You can do everything in that space-- nap, entertain, work on homework, do crafts, eat, play, whatever!  So there's a lot of traffic and a lot of stuff and many people struggle with how to keep things organized.  It's even more difficult when the family room is the room that your front door opens into so it then becomes a catch-all area for the shoes and bags of the day.  Since, nobody wants to walk into an unorganized area, today I'm sharing some tips on how to keep your family room tidy!

Let's start with the front door.  If your home is set-up where the front door opens into the family room, the best way to avoid bags and coats draped over the sofa or sitting on the floor is by creating a catch-all space.  This can be as simple as hooks on the wall or a tray for shoes, but at least it keeps things convenient and provides a housing area all the stuff that doesn't belong in the family room.

Family room shabby chic

Let's face it, part of the way to keep your house clean is to train the people who live in it....and sometimes that can be difficult.  But if you have systems or areas put in place for storage, you're taking a step in the right direction.  One major way to help keep the family room tidy is by incorporating pieces with storage--storage ottomans, baskets, shelves, hooks, bins... Be honest with yourself about how your family makes use of the space, add a storage component for that area.

Family room

One of the quickest ways to clutter up a family room is with all of the media component that go into an entertainment center.  TV's, cable boxes, dvd players, game systems, game controllers, stereo systems, speakers...and whatever else you could possibly need!  All of these items are usually under the tv on a shelf, but if you can hide them somewhere else, it will instantly de-clutter your family room!  Consider an entertainment center with drawers or cabinets or even check into hiding them somewhere further away from the tv!  Whatever you have to do, make them disappear!

Family room

If you have kids, you know that the toys end up scattered all over the floor in the family room.  It's not your favorite thing but at least your child is entertained while you're in the kitchen trying to cook. Instead of trying to add additional storage in the family room for all of their toys, remember that they have a bedroom where toys can be stored.  Incorporate some sort of rolling storage that can easily be transferred from room to room so the toys can go back where they came from at the end of the day when play time is over!

Baby room

And finally, edit, edit, edit!  Get rid of the unnecessary items.  You don't need 5 years of magazines stored in your family room or 1000 movies on dvd cluttering up your entertainment center.  Even these little things contribute to the overall look and feel of the space and make it feel messy.  Don't be afraid to get rid of stuff, a clutter-free space = a clutter-free life!

Get Your House Ready for Back To School Time

It's August!  And, if you're living in Central Florida, you've probably been in school for at least a week now, maybe two.  For some of you, the routine is old hat--you know exactly what to do to have a home that's prepped for the hustle and bustle a new school year brings.  For other, this is a high-stress time!  Your child just moved from elementary to middle school and the amount of books and homework they're tracking has tripled!  It's hard enough for you to help them keep things straight, let alone make your home a well-organized area for housing all the school "stuff".  So today, I'm giving some tips for how to get your home's organization back to "school level" so that there's a place for everything and your child isn't the one who shows up to school without their Algebra book on the second week!

The first thing to decide when organizing for back-to-school is what do I need to have organized?  I think the top storage priorities for most mom's with kids are:

  • Backpacks and Lunchboxes
  • Shoes
  • Papers (signed notes and homework sheets)

If you have a mudroom or laundry room with the perfect area for your storage needs, utilize it!  The best thing for bags of any sort (lunch boxes or backpacks) is a hook system.  That way, they're visible when walking past that area so that they are less-likely to be forgotten.  Even if you don't have a mudroom, the best idea is to have a designated area (preferably near the door) where school stuff goes.  This area should include the following:

A place for bags.  As I mentioned earlier, hooks are the best option for this but large baskets could work as well.

A place for shoes.  Some schools require students to wear certain types of shoes, or maybe, as a parent, your child has special "school shoes" that are only worn to school.  It's reasons like these that make a "place for shoes" important--you don't want their shoes getting lost under the bed or in the closet and have to spend every morning frantically searching for footwear!  Some great ideas for shoe storage include shelving, drawers, or even just an area under a bench!

A place for papers.  Students are always bringing home papers.  Papers for parents to sign.  Papers that have instructions about school projects.  Papers with homework assignments or field trip information.  Have an "inbox" near the front door for your child so that all papers that need to have a parent signature are in one place and you're not getting a phone call from the receptionist desk at 9am saying that you need to run up to the school with that signed such-and-such that's due today.

Of course, the best way to implement these storage methods is by creating a one-stop area  where the backpack hooks, shoe storage, and paper inbox are all together.  This will streamline to getting-out-of-the-door process in the morning so that you're not worrying about one more piece of paper--a tardy slip!  Here are few ideas for how to make that look.

Office space and mud room
Mud room for back to school
Mud room and office space
Entry way and mud room
Storage in a kitchen
Storage for back to school
Stay organized for back to school
play room ideas
garage storage

Consolidated!  Clean! and Accessible!