Staying organized is a lifelong pursuit, and therefore so is our search for the best organization tips. We may never conquer all of the messes all of the time, but we're sure going to try. Today, we're focused specifically on how to declutter the living room. So many things happen in this space, many of them completely unrelated: movie nights, cocktail parties, weekend naps, gabfests with friends, solo TV dinners, etc. Inevitably, with all of this random activity, the living room is constantly messy in one corner or another.
Disorder is a sign of a good time, and we'd be crazy to get rid of that. What we do want to do is reduce the amount of time it takes to get things back in order. The key is being prepared. When you decorate your living room with organization in mind, the messes become harder to make in the first place. And even when they do, they'll take mere seconds to tidy up. So, here are 16 living room organization tips we swear by:
1. One thing in, one thing out.
Though we can't name its exact origins, this piece of advice has stuck with us. If you're going to bring home that new vase, you need to get rid of something already in your living space to make room for it. (Perhaps that bizarre ceramic cat sculpture?)
2. Don't use just your walls and floors for storage.
Suspend a multi-level shelf from the ceiling, à la the rope one in this L.A. studio apartment, for your most prized collectibles.
3. Treat everyday stuff as art.
Your collection of hats (or brooms or woven straw bags, etc.) would take up waaaay too much space in an armoire or cabinet. Hang them like a gallery wall, as in designer Robert McKinley and wife Kate's beachy bungalow, to keep them out of the way—and to get rid of your need for "real" art.
4. Turn your book collection into makeshift furniture.
In Beni Rugs cofounders Robert Wright and Tiberio Lobo-Navia's Brooklyn loft , stacks of coffee table tomes act as side tables, a room divider, and everything in between.
5. Squeeze your desk into…a bookcase.
We're taking a cue from blogger Karst Rauhé, who removed a few shelves in his basic bookcase, then backed the empty space in corkboard to create the cutest mini standing desk in his Amsterdam studio apartment.
6. Use your nonworking fireplace to corral random bits and bobs.
Little tchotchkes all over the place can quickly read as clutter. Grouping them in an enclosed nook, like Hygge & West cofounder Christiana Coop did, ensures they get their due without overwhelming the room.
7. Invest in an ottoman that does double duty.
It should rest your tired feet and secretly store things. We're partial to this handsome hexagon number, this half-ottoman-half-bench, and this tufted classic.
8. Same goes for your coffee table.
You need a pop-up version like the one in Fort Standard founder Greg Buntain's Brooklyn apartment. On top of the awesome hidden storage space, his raises high enough that it can be used as a table for the TV dinners we all have every once in a while. West Elm sells something similar.
9. And your side tables.
Think of every single piece of furniture in your living room as a storage opportunity. Your side table should have a drawer, or a designated magazine holder, or at least a second shelf, for goodness sake.
10. And your sofa.
There are a handful of superhero sectionals out there (see: this Article sofa-bed) whose chaise longue portion magically lifts up to reveal an empty space for extra linens and whatever else needs a home. What you can't see won't hurt you!
11. Speaking of sofas, choose the biggest one that'll fit.
Designer Philippe Harden squeezed the largest sofa possible into his client's Paris living room, which not only provides a ton of seating but also limits the amount of clutter than can accumulate.
12. Conceal that tangle of TV wires.
Bundle them together to reduce the chaos, or go all out and hide them inside a wall—we cover eight different ways to get the cords under control here.
13. Dedicate a whole wall to shelving.
Line up a row of basic bookcases, trim them out with fancy molding, and paint everything a bold color, like designer Kyle Marshall did in his 700-square-foot home in New York City.. Voila, a whole wall of storage that also serves as a gorgeous focal point.
14. Baskets, baskets, and more baskets.
First of all, they can do so many things: Store blankets, collect reading material, hide toys, keep random tech paraphernalia in order, and even display plants. Second, they add rich texture without being attention hogs—take a look at social media strategist Alyssa Reeder's apartment/office to see what we mean.
15. Pare down your bar to what fits on a single tray.
We love how photographer Noe Dewitt grouped a select number of cocktail essentials neatly on top of a console in his NYC apartment.
16. Rent a storage unit.
When all else fails, just get the clutter out of your house. Have you heard of MakeSpace? The genius service will drop off packing supplies, then pick up your boxed stuff and put it in one of their storage facilities until you need it again.
Featured Image: Kirill Zakharov, Unsplash