7 Secrets for a Less-Messy Living Room

Living rooms come in all shapes and sizes, and unfortunately, the smaller the apartment, the harder it can be to keep yours organized. Throw in a busy work schedule and a somewhat active social life and suddenly a tiny living room can turn into a cluttered disaster zone, especially when you don’t have a lot of extra room for storage.

But fret not my busy, unorganized friends; we’re here to help. It turns out that even the messiest of people can keep their living rooms clean and under control, it just takes a little strategizing. To prove our point, we rounded up some foolproof ideas for scoring a less-messy living room at home. From hidden storage spaces to multi-functional furnishings, here are seven secrets that’ll help keep your living room neat and tidy—or at least a little more manageable.

1. Keep a BIG clutter catcher in the living room

Okay, we know this one might sees a little counter-productive, but for those of us who just can’t seem to make any time to clear out living room clutter, a large catchall bin or storage basket can work wonders for staying organized. Invest in an attractive oversized number, like this colorful basket from Design Within Reach, and tuck away in a corner to throw books, magazines, and other living room items when not in use.

2. Work a coffee-table-clearing moment into your day

Whether it’s before you leave for work in the morning or the last thing you do before you fall asleep, designating a few minutes of your day to quickly clear off your coffee table will help keep your living room clutter under control while offering up some spare room to set down your morning coffee.

3. Find ways to integrate closed storage

The only thing better than a stylish piece of living room furniture is one with hidden storage space. Multi-functional furnishings such as storage ottomans, sofas with seat storage, and even coffee tables with secret storage compartments are great for stashing stuff in a pinch and keeping your living room organized (even when you aren’t).

4. Style your coffee table with storage

Ask any self-proclaimed “organized person” and they’ll tell you the secret to a clutter-free coffee table is styling it with accessories that have hidden storage compartments. Instead of using the surface of your coffee tables to stack your stuff in plain sight, employ a handful of small, lidded vessels—like these sleek marble storage boxes from CB2—to corral all your tiny living room knick knacks.

5. Make your bookcase multi-functional

Believe it or not, your bulky living room bookcase is ripe with storage opportunity—it just takes a little scheming. Before you fill up all your bookshelves with boring old books, integrate a few storage baskets or bins into the mix—they work wonderfully as unexpected bookends—to forge some unexpected storage room for stashing bits and baubles.

6. Vertical Storage FTW

When all else fails, you can always count on a few wall-mounted shelves and baskets to score some extra living room storage space to help stay organized. Install a few floating shelves (or even a full-blown floating cabinet) for loads of extra storage room without taking up an inch of precious floor space.

7. Purge

It might seem like a no-brainer, but one surefire way to keep your living room clutter down is to get rid of the stuff you’re not using, as often as possible. Do yourself (and your messy living room) a favor and devote a few minutes of your week to clearing out unnecessary clutter—a.k.a. old magazines, used candles, and obsolete paperwork—and you’ll be well on your way to a tidy living room in no time.

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