New Year Cleaning Challenge: Life in the Living Room

life in the living room

Day 16 of the New Year Cleaning Challenge

At the outset of Living Room Week, an important question arises. Who's living in your living room, and what do they do there?

Some homes feature a formal living room, used to receive guests and put up the Christmas tree-while the family's day-to-day life is lived down the hall in a den or family room. For these families, Living Room Week will be a straightforward process of cleaning walls, light fixtures, furniture and floors.

In other homes, the living room is the central stage for family life. It's where family members watch television, play video games, listen to music, do homework, browse the Internet, read, eat and even sleep! For these families, Living Room Week assignments touch on multiple activity centers, all overlapping in a single space.

And we're supposed to declutter, clean and organize them all this week? Help!

Today's Assignment
Identify Living Room Activity Centers

Trying to take on all of these special areas in a single week would be enough to overwhelm a professional cleaning crew!

Today, we're going to separate out any activity centers from the living room itself, and create a custom plan to tackle them one at a time, over the coming weeks. While we'll focus on walls, windows, furniture and floors during Living Room Week, we'll return to any activity centers during a later week on the Challenge.

To begin, sort out the activities that happen in your family's living room. Think back over the past week, and make a quick list of the activities that took place there. These could include items like:

  • Conversation and Visiting
  • Children's Play
  • Watching Television
  • Playing Video Games
  • Listening to Music
  • Using the Computer
  • Handling Paperwork or Bill-Paying
  • Eating Meals or Snacks
  • Doing Homework
  • Working on Crafts
  • Reading

Looking at the list, try to identify activity centers in your living room. An activity center is a dedicated space for a single activity, including equipment, furniture and supplies needed to carry it out.

If you watch television, DVDs and play video games, the area around the television--including the DVD player, game console, controllers, games and movies--makes up an "entertainment" activity center. Computer use, homework and bill-paying revolve around a computer activity center: the computer, desk space, paper files and supplies. If children store playthings in the living room, that storage space anchors a children's activity center.

Looking over your list, you may see one or more of these special areas. To make the Challenge fit your circumstances, assign each of these activity centers to the appropriate week of the Challenge. For example, note "organize children's living room storage" on your Kids' Room week checklist, and add "tackle entertainment center" to your list for Family Room Week.

Be on the lookout for any "open" weeks during the rest of the plan, and make use of them. If you don't have a guest room? Guest Room Week is a perfect time to play catch-up with the computer center in the living room. Make the plan your own!

By dividing the Living Room into activity centers, we'll avoid burn-out this week, while making sure that we take care of each activity center in turn during the remainder of the Challenge.

Ready? Let's divide and conquer to get organized for the new year!

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