This is a big one for our house, as I’m sure it is for most people. Our living room is our workout room, our entryway, our media room, a hallway, and a living room. There is a lot of stuff in this room and even more stuff flutters down out of little hands and lives here. Everywhere.
Our living room furniture is workable; our sofa is horrible. But, it is what we are working with here.
Before this 30 day focus, I have really started cracking down on the entryway. I’m tired of leaping shoes and boots and coats and mittens only to find I still can’t open the door because of one stray toy or snack cup forgotten on the rug. That being said, with all the things coming in and out through this space, stuff gets deposited.
I needed a plan and some perspective. My goal was to spend no more than 30 minutes per day working in the room, other than general tidying up with or without the kids (see more on kids + chores later this month).
Day 1: Getting real
I wanted to start by seeing the room as a visitor might – this is the first thing people see (well, aside from the dried mud on the outside of the door) when they come in. Um, it looks horrible. And this is one of our “better” rooms. Looking at the photos I almost can’t believe it. This is how we live. I suppose the first step is getting out of denial or you know, opening your eyes.
After I swallowed this, I decided to start as FlyLady would – decluttering. This first day got busy so I was mostly trying to focus on the hallway while making dinner and then I spent another few minutes working in the entry after the kids went to bed. Not dramatic changes but something happened. Decluttering was going to take me more time than I expected.
Day 2: Clean up, pick up, put away
After the shock and awe campaign of Day 1, I realized I was going to need to take it a bit slower – my original schedule was going to send me into a bawling heap on the crumb-encrusted floor. So I tried to break the room up into Zones I can manage. Today’s focus was the bookshelf and surrounding areas. I had loads of stuff heaped up on top of the books and stuff laying in front. I still have to get to the top but I did work my way over to the entry and clear some clutter there. A few more tweaks and things are actually looking better.
Day 3 & 4: A lull
My son took over the entire living room with legos for 2 – 3 days and then a lot of, well life happened, so it was hard to get a lot done. (Read, I didn’t really do anything).
Day 5: First things first
My next plan of attack was simply to deal with the entry way. I’ve become rather obsessed with regular tidying of the entry way and the kids and I have been pretty good about restoring fire access to the entry before they go to bed every night. With about 15 – 20 minutes of dedicated work I whipped this area back into shape. No, it isn’t ready for a magazine spread (SO. MANY. LEAVES) but it is functional and possibly even not horrible.
Day 7: In conclusion
I was out of town day 6, so Day 7 was my last living room day. Despite another lego takeover, I powered through. I adjusted the bent curtain rods, retaped the window insulator film and powered through with some last tidying and stuff clearing. I didn’t get the floor vacuumed (ugh) due to prementioned lego takeover, but I think, our living room is passable.
What did I learn this week? Well first, with so many people and so many things going in and out of one compact and well-used space, it requires a lot of attention to spiff it up. Or regular maintenance. I hope to spend at least 5 minutes every day working on this room to fight back the jungle that threatens to take it over. A little bit of magic sure makes it seem so much better.
I also learned that it is a lot of other people’s stuff in our living room. I’ve grown so used to living with 90% of the toys out of the way that I started to not even see the other 10%. And I really didn’t get bothered when 20% was around. It wasn’t I dug everything out (and took these horrible pictures) that I saw what that 10% really looked like. Terrible. Maybe we’ll get it to 5% with a bit of determination.
I’m pretty happy with how this went. It isn’t perfect but it was free. (I’m still contemplating the clearly broken cabinet door in the hallway). I’m going to call this a (minor) victory. Onward!