Call it the lounge room or the living room, it's the centre of our lives away from work — and a major clutter magnet. Our series of room by room spring cleaning guides continues with some strategies to keep your lounge room under control.
Picture by Ashley Kyd
Find your purpose(s)
Picture by thenextweb
Yet again, we'll point to the basic principles of using the SPACE method to sort through what lives in your lounge room and come up with a practical, long-term way to keep it organised. These become particularly relevant with multi-purpose areas like lounges.
One of the challenges with lounge rooms (and entertaining areas generally) is that how people use them varies a lot, as does the amount of space available. If you live in a large house, you might have dedicated spaces for gaming, watching TV and entertaining guests; if you live in a unit, all that has to happen in one room. Either way, identifying what you actually do in a given space is important. If the reality is that you hardly ever fire your Xbox up, then keeping all your games nearby may not be the most effective use of the area you have. If you're constantly having friends over for drinks, keeping glasses in the lounge may make more sense than dashing to the kitchen for them.
Try keeping a diary of what you actually do in the lounge room to identify your main patterns. Make allowance for any existing issues — if you're not watching DVDs because it's too hard to get to the player behind a mound of assorted junk, then cleaning up might change your habits. But recognise that your enthusiasms probably will change over time, and you don't need to honour past habits if they're not habits any more.
Some specific strategies
- Cables are a major cause of lounge room clutter and nuisance, so check out our top 10 ways to get cables under control.
- Having a media centre PC cuts down on the number of different entertainment devices you need. Our guide will help you choose which platform is right for you. If you go the XBMC route (a favourite with Lifehacker), we've got a complete guide to setting it up.
- Once your media centre is set up, you'll want to rip DVDs (which then means you can stow them in the garage or elsewhere). Learn how to turn your PC into a DVD-ripping monster.
- Not everyone wants to go fully digital. If you still favour actual DVDs and CDs, check out our guide to getting your physical media organised.
- We already mentioned it in our home office guide, but our guide to digitising your life can also help you get paperwork, photographs and other ephemera out of your living areas
- In tight spaces, aim for multi-functional furniture. A coffee table with storage is more useful than one without. Wall-mounting your TV is sensible, but use the space underneath it for a cabinet or other storage.
- Even if you don't digitise them, keeping track of your movie collection is a sensible strategy
- You might also want to catalogue your games collection, which can be a useful way to think about rationalising it
- If your best music system is in the lounge, ceiling-mounted speakers save space and spread the music to other locations
- If you are keen to hang onto a large number of DVDs, consider storing them more compactly.
Got additional lounge room spring cleaning hints? Share them in the comments.