Two years ago my husband and I bought a coffee table after extensive searching. It had to be the perfect shade of stain, the right size, and have storage space in it. We found one that we loved that was an espresso color, had a piece of glass on top, a shelf inside, and even a storage drawer. We still love it, except now it has vanished. Not literally exactly. It is just hidden under a pile of junk. In a matter of a few hours, the table magically gets consumed by stuff. It is almost like there is an elf that runs in, dumps junk, runs away, and then laughs at us as we shove stuff around to find a place to rest a drink. That is why, starting today, I want to start a new plan of action for keeping our living room (and especially coffee table) clutter free.
Part one of my plan is to follow the rule of “never leave a room empty handed.” My mom tried to get me to follow this as a kid, but that didn’t last long. I am messy by nature, but I try desperately not to be. With this new rule, every single time you leave a room, you should pick something up and put it away. There is ALWAYS something to put away, so don’t kid yourself. In theory, this will help us to put stuff away in a timely fashion. Coffee mugs, candy wrappers, magazines, and just straight junk don’t need to find a permanent home on the coffee table. Starting today, those little pestering item will be put away the very next time somebody moves. You don’t have to take ALL the stuff with you at once, just one thing. That way you don’t feel like you are constantly cleaning even though you actually are.
Part two of my plan is to stop eating in the living room and go back to the kitchen table. We were doing so good with eating at the kitchen table and then I don’t know what happened. But because of this minor change, our coffee table now doubles as a condiments bar most nights of the week. I’m pretty sure that ketchup, salt, pepper, and extra napkins are chilling on the coffee table right now because of last night’s dinner. We manage to put the yucky dishes away, but nobody ever goes back for the other stuff.
The final phase of my plan is to not sort the mail on the coffee table. The mail should stay on the kitchen counter and then be put either in the recycling or in a permanent home. We both will go through the mail and make nice piles of organized mail and then leave the piles where they are. How dumb is that to have a giant pile of “trash” mail taking up good space on your coffee table leaving the place junky looking?
This weekend will be the true test of my plan. Doing something on a weeknight where we only spend a couple of hours downstairs isn’t hard to manage. It is the hour after hour of living in a space that is the true test of our clutter-busting rules. We have our organizational features, we just need to be sure we stay on top of them and use them. Once you let a place go, it seems so overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong though, our house doesn’t look like something from one of those hoarders shows where we have food, trash, and boxes sitting about—we just have irritating clutter. Follow me on Twitter (@LGJones523) for pictures and updates on our adventures in operation “clean coffee table.”