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How To Declutter Your Living Room {15 Minute Mission}

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Today's mission is to declutter your living room. In fact, we've been working on our living room all week long so far, and will continue for the rest of the week.

Organizing Living Room & Family Room Challenge
This mission is designed to be done in conjunction with the Organizing Living Room & Family Room Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

Steps For Decluttering Your Living Room

To begin, look around the room and see what is obviously trash and throw it away (or recycle where appropriate). I suggest a systematic approach starting in one corner and working to your right, or to your left, whichever you choose, but just slowly moving through the room dealing with items as you come across them.

Next, look through the room again, systematically again, but look for items which you know are clutter and do not want in your home anymore. Don't overthink it, we're just dealing with really obvious stuff now. Place these items in your clutter donation container or otherwise get rid of them.

How to declutter your living room or family room 15 minutes at a time {one of the Declutter 365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101} #DeclutterLivingRoom #DeclutterFamilyRoom #Declutter365use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
Both of those passes through should have been relatively quick, and now look again and see what items are in this room that you want to keep, but don't belong in that room but somewhere else in the house. This can include things that just need to be tidied up, like your child's shoes they left in there, or things that have started to take up permanent residence in the living room but you realize are just in the way and should be elsewhere instead.

Take the time to remove these things from the room and place them where they go.

Finally, you've got to look at what is left in the room. Does it all fit, or does the space feel cramped still? If there is still too much stuff for the space available now is when you'll have to make some harder decisions. What stays and what goes?

You can get even more instructions for how to declutter here.

I suggest reading this week's challenge article about organizing the living room (linked to above) to think about what zones or activities you want to have occur in your living room before you do this step. It will give you clarity for how you want to use the space, and that will help you make better decisions about the objects left in the room.

Depending on how cluttered your living room is, this may take you quite a few 15 minute sessions. But that is why we've really devoted a whole week to this room (and the family room)!

What If You Don't Have A Living Room?

I combined the organizational challenge of the family and living rooms together because many people don't have both rooms (although if you do, you'll just need to devote some time to both rooms). In addition, some people have instead what they call a "den." There's probably even more names for this type of room.

Whatever you call it, the place in your home that you and your family gather together to hang out, watch TV, read, relax, and/or to entertain guests, is the area we're focused on right now for decluttering!

Below I've shown you one reader's transformed living room to get you inspired to tackle your own.

Photo courtesy of Wonderlane

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Before & After Photos From Readers Who Have Done This Mission

Here are photos from readers who've done this mission, and sent in both before and after photos.

How to declutter your family room, including lots of before and after photos from readers who've already done this #Declutter365 mission {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

These before and after photos were sent in by Adrianne, who said, "Decluttered our family room today!! We moved all toys except for the train table and two games to the playroom and kid rooms.

Before and after when decluttering living room {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

These photos above were sent in by another reader, Jamie. She described the after photo as, "Still really cluttered... But livable."

I think that's the key. It isn't perfect, but it is better, and it made life easier when even some of the clutter was removed, so great job Jamie!

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After Photos When Family & Living Rooms Decluttered

Lots of people have worked on this mission and sent in their photos of what they've accomplished. Here's some more to show you.

Results when you declutter your living room or family room, which is a livable space that you can relax in without all the clutter {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

The photos above were sent in by a reader, Julie. She said, "Just finished decluttering my living room!!"

It looks great Julie! Congrats on your hard work!

After photo from a reader, Janice, who decluttered her living room as part of the #Declutter365 missions {on Home Storage Solutions 101}

In addition, here's a photo from a reader, Janice, who also worked on this mission. She said, "I did some decluttering/rearranging in the living room. The plant stand that I've never liked went to the curb and was gone in an hour. In its place is my grandma's sewing machine, which has been hidden behind a new chair. Exercise equipment is now upstairs (to be decluttered/organized later). Two plants are gone. Shoe bin is tucked where the exercise stuff used to be. And I finally ditched an ugly cheap fake Tiffany lamp that someone gave me years ago, and also a burgundy lamp that never was my style in the first place."

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Inspiration To Help You Get Rid Of Living Room Clutter

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So now you know how to declutter your living room, but you still need the motivation to get it done.

Well, here's some inspiring photos from a reader, Magic, who worked on hers and just look at the transformation.

She explained, "Put your house on the market like I recently did. LOL! It was a real motivator to finally get my home in order. We almost don't want to move."

Before and after of major living room declutter sessions {featured on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Obviously decluttering this room didn't just take 15 minutes for Magic, but that's OK! All those 15 minute sessions really do add up as you can see from the dramatic difference of the before and after.

And don't you owe it to yourself to live in a clutter free environment? Like she said, after they got out all the clutter it made the house feel so much better they almost didn't want to move! Your home can look like that too. It really can, with just 15 minutes at a time!

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

One thing you'll find is that even after clearing the clutter from your family room, living room or den, that clutter and mess will re-accumulate, as people live in this space. To keep the area looking nice, combine this decluttering mission with a good daily tidy up routine in this room, to keep it looking good from now on.

You can find out more about this daily routine here:

How and why to adopt a daily tidy up routine

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Go From How To Declutter Living Room To Home Page

Comments for Inspiration To Help You Get Rid Of Living Room Clutter

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by: Joyce

I live in a boarding house room, interim until I get my own (very small, by choice) apartment, and I absolutely HAVE TO declutter on a weekly basis, or I'd soon be drowning in stuff. I'm an artist, and have lots of supplies around, so everything has to be in clear bins for now, or I wouldn't be able to work on anything.

This is an excellent article, and I wish my siblings and I had known how to declutter after our parents died nine years ago (just 13 days apart); their house and barn were so filled with junk, clutter, downright trash and unnecessary things, it took seven adults to get it cleaned up and ready for the estate sale, and then another two weeks after the sale to fully empty both buildings to be torn down. It was awful! Not our parents, they were wonderful people; the decluttering was awful.

Lots of clutter
by: Anonymous

What about if you have lots of stuff to sort, doesn't belong? Even my bookcase is cluttered, even little piles of stuff on floor... Boxes.. Would I start with clearing the floor? It's terribly overwhelming at this point.

To collect obvious garbage, how far do you go with it, shelves, cupboards, drawers..?

response re lots of clutter question from Anon
by: Taylor

I definitely understand how overwhelming looking at a cluttered room can be. It makes it difficult to get even get started. That's why I've developed the Declutter 365 missions here on the site, where we take it 15 minutes at a time, and focus on one small area at a time. If doing the whole living room is overwhelming, then break it down further. Focus on a bookshelf, or small section of the floor, perhaps in a corner, etc. so that slowly, over time, it gets better.

I encourage you to go to the link I've provided, which is a round up page of all the different missions, and choose just one small task that can help you. Or you can follow along with the monthly declutter calendars if you want someone else to tell you what order to tackle the clutter in!

I feel like a hamster in a wheel
by: Anonymous VC

Hi Taylor - fabulous advice so far. Here is my particular "problem". I find that for me, the only way i can de-clutter is to take "everything" that is in the room and put it in a box or large tupperware tub. Then, I try to "go thru" the resulting boxes. When I am ready to "go through" the boxes, I will take all items out of the box and place them, say, on the dining room table. Well - it never fails. I think I have enough time, something happens (always) and the items end up sitting on my dining room table, yet again, until I once again get my "box" out and stuff things away. How do I break the cycle. I sometimes never get more than 20 minutes at a time to "complete" a task - and one of the other problems is that I don't have "a place for everything" Most things simply do not have a "home".

Relief I am not the only one
by: Anonymous

Thank you for posting this. My living room ( family and TV rooms) have ended up exactly like the picture you posted, and a lot of my problem is exactly as the woman's post of putting things in a container to sort later and end up making it worse by using dining room tables. I just call mine "catch-all" boxes. I have a big organized mess!

Box decluttering
by: Rachel

I have been using the "throw it all in a box and go through it" method to great advantage in recent weeks. The trick, though? Deal with each thing as it comes out of the box. Don't spread it out. I have tons of kids stuff in a very small space (two adults plus three kids between six and eight years old in a 1400 sq ft home), so I started by making bins for obvious things: Legos, building blocks, etc., then taking each thing out of a box and sorting it as it comes out. Don't have a bin for markers? Get a ziplock bag, check to make sure the marker works, and toss if it doesn't or put it in the bag. Everything goes somewhere—even if it's into another box called "no idea what to do with that one yet." The benefit here is that I can stack the boxes where they belong if I'm not done when my time runs out, and come back to it later without it taking over the house.

One month, period!
by: Jean Gray

Place undecided items in the give away box with a note of the date. In one month decide its fate, period.

Box Method
by: Riva Sue

I read a couple of comments here that say they "box" stuff & go through one box at a time later.

I like this idea, but have you guys done the "like items with like items" before putting into those boxes?

It may be a little more work up front, but make going through those boxes later easier as you will be making simular decisions all at once.

Plus you may box fewer items if you see that you are boxing 20 pairs of scissors.

If you box up 2 boxes of just paperwork, you will know that is an office declutter project instead of living room project, etc. So can move those boxes to that area of the house.

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Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to get rid of clutter.

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Join the Home Storage Solutions 101 newsletter, and get as your free gift the 2024 Declutter 365 Calendar (a $20 value) from me, Taylor, your decluttering and organizing guide.

When you work through the Declutter 365 missions, and accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenges, you'll be able to declutter your home one mission at a time, organize what's left, and learn the skills, habits and routines to maintain your space from now on.

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