Couch Clutter, Take Four

Blankets are a common culprit for couch mess. Blankets on the couch drive me nuts, probably because every member of my family (except me) makes this particular mess all the time. My solution has been to buy a lidded laundry basket and place it in an unobtrusive spot against the wall in the living room. When not in use, blankets get crammed into that laundry basket, folded or not. The key here is to put the laundry basket in such a convenient spot that blankets can be put away the moment people get up from the couch and chairs. And a lid is very important, otherwise it still looks messy.

Click here to see an example of a laundry basket that's inexpensive but attractive.
Wicker Corner Laundry Basket

If this idea works for you, you may want to look into a fancier, more permanent model such as the one you see by clicking here.
Cappuccino Finish Laundry Basket

Come back soon as we wrap up the cluttered couch issue once and for all.

More on the Problem Couch

Once again we look at the issue submitted by joyannasmom.

If there are books all over your couch…good for you! At least you're reading. But if you've got book clutter, you need to ask yourself where these books belong and why they're not getting put back. It may be that you need a small bookshelf in the room where the couch is. Or maybe there is a bookshelf but it's so overloaded that you don't use it like you should--or it's up too high or down too low and therefore inconvenient. Again, because your goal is to engineer cleaning convenience, you need to examine what's causing this problem and fix it once and for all.

In my house, whenever I notice book clutter in a room where I don't have or want a bookshelf, I'll create a "temporary book storage" area, such as a wicker basket that sits on the floor next to the couch. I won't want that basket there forever, but it's a great temporary solution. You may also want to look at putting some "hidden" storage places into the room, such as a storage ottoman. Click here for an example. The only problem with a hidden storage space is that you might forget the stuff is there. So if that sounds like something you might do, better to keep things neatly corralled—and in plain sight.

Check back soon for more help with a messy couch!


The Problem Couch

Back to joyannasmom and her messy sectional, where she frequently tosses her jacket.

Jackets should always go on a convenient coat rack or hook—not on the nearest chair! You've got three choices, really, on how to do this. Click on each type, below, to see an example or to purchase:
standing coat rack
mounted coat rack
over-the-door coat rack

There's no need to spend a lot of money, though there are some nice-looking ones out there if you're willing to pay the price. If none of the above types fill the bill, head to the nearest dime store and buy a nice-sized coat hook for just a few dollars. Install it in a convenient place—and then force yourself to use it until it becomes a habit.

Come back soon as we keep working through this mess!


Another Problem Area

A while ago, I asked for descriptions of some of the biggest problem areas in your homes. Today we'll talk about one of these, which was submitted by joyannasmom.

Where: living room couch (sectional)
What: clean clothes, jackets, books, blanket, diaper bag, my purse, crayon box
Why: I know I need another bookshelf -- one for my kids' books; clothes we set there to sort through "later"; I do not have a set spot for my purse or keys.

Yikes! If you don't have a set spot for your purse or keys, you've got bigger problems than a messy couch. Right now, before you do anything else, take a walk around your house and select a logical, convenient, and easy-to-reach storage spot for your keys. This should be somewhere very near the door you most often use to go in and out. You can use a basket or cup or hook, but whatever you do, don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. (None of those fancy cabinets where you open a little door and then hang your keys on a tiny hook inside. One you've shut the door again, you've had to do three separate actions, and that takes too much effort.) I toss my keys into a small basket that sits on top of a cabinet beside the door.

Once you have designated a "key spot", stick with it! It won't take long to become a habit, and eventually you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.

Next, find a place for your purse. I don't want mine stored quite so close to the door, so it goes behind a specific chair in a nearby room. You might use a cabinet or other small space; the key is to make your "purse place" convenient but also fairly out of sight, for security reasons.

Once you have a designated purse place, stick with it! Again, you'll easily develop this habit, and in the long run you'll be very glad that you did.

Hopefully, you found help with the clean laundry problem from previous posts. We'll look at more of your mess the next time.