This week, I’d love to chat a little bit about the living room, dining room and other communal spaces. I’ve mentioned before that we live in a lovely small older home … this means that our “dining room”, “office” and “living room” are all basically one room divided into three. Living in a smaller home has definitely made me realize that every inch counts!
The challenge with communal spaces is just that: they are communal. We have so many bodies coming in and out of these spaces that it is easy for them to become cluttered and frustrating.
The media center seems to always been an area in homes that is prone to excess. We recently had my partner go through all of his media and only pick out the dvd’s that he LOVES. The rest we got rid of or moved to digital. He sold his old gaming consoles that we hadn’t used in two years. We pushed aside all of the junk we never engaged with and replaced it with a small stack of games that we actually do play.
We found little footstools (that double as seats) and triple as storage! The lids come off and inside we put our throw blankets that we love to use when we are on the couch or having a movie night. They are no longer piled up on the side of the table or hidden back behind the couch - they have a space to be!
On our shelves, we have the bottom two sets for our kiddos toys. They have two baskets on each shelf and can keep whatever they want in there! But once those baskets are full, they have to put the rest of their items back in their room. When we lived in a home with stairs, we put baskets on the stairs - one for each kid - and they had to fill them up and take them to their room at the end of the day.
We also decided back on our 4th kid that we wanted to keep the living room an adult room … so we don’t keep kid toys in there over night. We do a sweep of the room before bedtime (even my toddler helps!) and we put his toys either in the “office” area on the self or back in his room. This way, at the end of the day, we can sit down and feel like human beings without toys all over the place. It’s been a peaceful switch!!
Lastly, a sure way I found to keep my desk free of extra clutter was to devote an entire shelf to my current school books, currently reading books and an “inbox” basket for items I needed to take care of. Just having the space on the self helped open up my desk and make it feel more serene when I sit down to work.
What is something you do in the communal spaces that helps keep it simplified and serene?!