Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Living Room Clear-Out

My living room is definitely the heart of our home. It is were we spend most of our time when we are at home - we are known to eat here, the kids often do their homework in here, and it really is my 'office', where I sit and do all of my writing. In fact, as I write this, our family just finished enjoying a pizza dinner after doing homework, and now both boys are busy playing video games - one on the Wii and the other on an iPad!

As a result, the place is often a major mess, thanks to all the clutter that seems to accumulate, especially on top of the coffee table. It only gets worse when I've finished folding laundry and I'm waiting for everyone to come and put their stuff away, as you can see in the picture below (Yup, this is a little embarrassing!)

The coffee table, with all its compartments, had become a mecca for dumping stuff that we tried to clear off the top, and, as you can see, was overstuffed with junk we really didn't need or want anymore.

One side....

And the other....

And the entertainment unit was no better. While I am always trying to keep the Wii and all its accessories corralled with the use of some old clementine crates, the kids are notorious for NOT putting away DVDs when they are done watching them.

As you can see, we were in need of some major work!

The job took me about three days to complete, but as you will see, it has been well worth the effort!

Firstly, right next to the mini entertainment center and TV, there stands a tall bookshelf, which was also in major need of a dusting and a clear-out. Old cards, old mail, books and user guides had regularly been shoved on top of the books, and really needed to be cleaned off. The books were replaced on the right shelves, and there was now even space for a few knick knacks and my hubby's birthday cards to be displayed!

The entertainment center also got a major clean-up, and even the wooden clementine crates got a make-over. I took some left over white spray paint and gave them all a good painting, so that they'd look a little more uniform on the shelves. The old magazines were removed and all the wayward DVDs were put back in their homes. DVDs borrowed from aunties, though, were allowed to stay, so that we knew where they were!

EVERYTHING came out of that coffee table. There had to have been 50 or so magazines shoved under there - the craft magazines are being relegated to my craft room, while all the others have been given to a friend who will use them for homeschooling projects. All the old bills were taken out and shredded, memorabilia items are being put in the appropriate storage containers, and anything that did not belong was put away.

I actually have SPACE to put stuff in there now! As you can see from one of the pictures, more spray-painted clementine crates have been used for holding items, and one shelf is completely dedicated to holding everyone's Quiet Time Diaries (those are Bible study books).

As I said before, my kids tend to do their homework in the living room, because its more comfortable after sitting at a desk all day, plus they can have mom cuddled up with them while they're doing it. Of course, some days, necessary items (like pencils!) would be hard to find, so I've set up a small homework center on one end of our curved sofa, where everything they need - pencils, glue sticks, pens, coloured pencils, sharpeners, rulers, etc. - are all in one spot. Also next to it all is a mini basket I've used to contain all the remote controls that inevitably disappear under tables and sofas.

At the other end of the sofa, the end table has been designated as a charging station for the iPads and my laptop, although I do hope to create a fancy one out of a wooden wine crate in the very near future (Someone keeps unplugging the phone to plug in an iPad!). All the extra cables have been stored in a cosmetic bag, and I even took an old pickle jar and decorated it with scrapbooking paper as a spare change jar, to save extra pennies (nickles, dimes, quarters and dollar coins, too!) for an upcoming family vacation!

I have to say, my husband was really impressed with this clear-out! I think it probably meant more to him than any of the others I've undertake in the last 4 weeks throughout the New Year's Organization Revolution, because this is such an important room in our house.

I don't feel like I'm quite done in here, though. Maybe, once I've finished with my other projects around the house, I'll be able to make some art to hang on the walls, and find some practical decor items for the top of the table, but for now, I'm very happy with the finished result!

It needs a little something, doesn't it!

Of course, part of the reason for cleaning up and clearing out our living room (besides the fact that it was REALLY needed!) was as a part of the New Year's Organizing Revolution challenge and contest being put on by several great blogs, including I'm An Organizing Junkie, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Clean Mama, Ask Anna, Organize & Decorate Everything, Organizing Homelife, and Organizing Made Fun. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to these ladies for putting this contest together, and for the challenge to get 2013 off to a good start!

Finally, I'm asking all my readers and friends to PLEASE vote for me in this last week of competition. I know this sounds crazy, but I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to come third this week! (I could really use a GC to 31 Gifts! LOL!). Thank you also to all of you have voted for me through the last several weeks, too. I've not won anything so far, but I have been in the top 10 the last 2 weeks!

So, if you'd like to vote for me, visit HERE. I'm listed as #30 - voting begins on Friday, January 25 at 6am PST (9am EST) and ends on Sunday, January 27 at 12pm PST (3pm EST). Once voting is live, a VOTE button will appear under my name. If it doesn't appear, then either voting has not started yet, or is over. If you can't find me, do a page search for "Sara Westhead - Living Room" (in Firefox on my Mac, I click COMMAND-F).



  1. Your husband is right - impressive! Are you thoroughly enjoying your newly cleaned out and organized space? You give us a great example of how to work with the way your family lives - that homework station is brilliant! I hope it continues to work for you.

  2. Great job Sara! I would love your table with all the storage underneath :) I love how you organized everything.