Day two is part one of the living room, or wherever the central area is in your home. Some of you may have more than one space, which is why it’s helpful to take two days to really get this space decluttered, cleaned, and organized.

Before I get to my before and after photos, I wanted to discuss a topic several of you mentioned in yesterday’s comments – the issue of things getting messy again soon after cleaning.

If there’s children in the home, this is an inevitable problem. And well, if there’s more than one adult in the home, chances are high the place would get disheveled eventually.

Quite honestly, I don’t have solutions for this problem, because the problem is, we live with imperfect people. Some personalities and temperaments endure disorganization more than others. And certain ages tolerate – even enjoy – messes more than others.

This is okay. Life goes on.  We clean our homes because it’s sanitary, because it’s enjoyable to live in a clean space, and because when our haven is organized and neat, we’re able to focus on the things that really matter to us – like relationships.

So we continue to clean, sometimes the same surface several times a day. And it’s easy to get discouraged by this. I know I do sometimes.

But the goal with this Spring Cleaning Party is not perfection. It’s cleaning. It’s finding a home for those things that previously were homeless (yet still taking up residence on the kitchen counter).  It’s taking the time to get those cobwebs out of the corners, to get the fingerprints off the windows.

And the most important goal to spring cleaning in ten days?

Decluttering. Getting rid of stuff. Saying goodbye to those things that are clogging your living spaces, and therefore causing visual stress.

When you have only what you need or love, it’s so much easier to clean – cleaning those surfaces several times a day isn’t as big a deal, because there’s not much stuff to begin with.

I encourage you to focus on getting rid of stuff. Make a hard-and-fast decision to kick out those things you don’t need or love. It sounds painful, but once you get into it, it’s cathartic, refreshing, and even fun.

I’ll continue to answer questions as I’m able, so keep them coming! In the meantime, here are some of my photos of our living room.  We have one larger room that serves as our living room, dining room, and library.  I admit that it wasn’t too messy to begin with – just your basic laundry waiting to be folded and my husband’s work stuff after his arrival home.

before:after:
living room before 01living room after 01
before:after:
living room before 02living room after 03

dining table after (there really wasn’t a “before” shot):
dining room after

Since the publication of the e-book, we’ve moved all the family’s books into this one corner, creating a family reading nook. The kids’ books are on the right-hand shelf; the grown-up books are on the left. The basket on the floor (currently serving as the doll’s crib) is where books go that need to be reshelved. This was our solution to a rather – ahem – particular mama who likes books in the right place. To me, it’s important to find the books when you have this many – especially children’s books. So until our young kiddos learn how to alphabetize, I’d rather do it myself.

books after 03

Tomorrow, for day two of the living room, I’ll share some of my solutions for decorating, organizing media, and keeping it easy to maintain. We’re in the process of redecorating the living room (which is why there’s still a mismatched rug on the floor and an empty wall above the couch), so this is on the forefront of my mind.

Mandi at Organizing Your Way has already provided some helpful tips for organizing the living room.  Head over there to gather more spring cleaning ammo for your arsenal.

So my question today is:

How easy or challenging it is for you to keep only those things that are either useful or beautiful to your family?

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