The living room is the main hub of many homes. It’s where you connect and hang out, especially if you’re an apartment dweller without a separate dining area. So spend a day cleaning and organizing your living room. It won’t take long, it won’t cost much and you won't be sorry.
Your sofas, loveseats and easy chairs go through a lot. They literally hold your weight day in and day out while you relax and unwind. According to Better Homes and Gardens, upholstered furniture needs to be attended to because dirt can cause wear on your sofa. BHG recommends using a stiff bristle brush or the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to loosen dirt and ensure you get rid of all that grossness when you vacuum. Apply a fabric protector if your sofa’s not already coated with one to make your sofa more durable. Pressed for time? Real Simple has a fantastic tutorial for vacuuming, removing stains and deep-cleaning your upholstered furniture in 15 minutes or less. Make sure your sofa can handle the cleaning methods as outlined by both sites before getting started; otherwise, consult a professional.
As for leather, Better Homes and Gardens recommends you clean your sofa twice a year with a leather cleaner-conditioner such as saddle soap, provided you first check with your sofa’s manufacturer to see what works best. Unsure of what to do? Hire a pro.
Don’t forget about your entertainment system. First things first: you see that tangle of electrical cords? It’s ugly, and it’s unsafe. Someone could trip over that mess, and a frayed or damaged cord could cause a fire. Over at PC Magazine, contributing editor and organization guru Jill Duffy shares several ways to bundle and organize cords using inexpensive solutions like 3M Command hooks. Duffy also likes Cordies, a small tool that helps keep charger cords in check. She reminds readers to proceed with caution when working with cords and cables. “Any time you’re working with electrical power sources, keep an eye out for potential fire hazards. Make sure you’re never putting paper or other flammable materials close to an electrical outlet,” warns Duffy. “Be mindful of solutions that put cords under too much stress, which could cause them to break or fray (for example, don’t run cables under a carpet, and never wind or bend consumer cables repeatedly or too tightly).”
Real Simple’s picks for gadgets could also help you to organize cables and cords around your house. The ingenious Oxo Good Grips Cord and Cable Clip will help keep cords tidy and out of sight, while the Case Logic Cable Ties make color coding your cords a snap.
Ready to clean your fancy television? Step away from the paper towels, which could scratch the screen. Windex and other cleaners containing alcohol or ammonia are also a no-no. “Most modern HDTVs have special coatings on their surface that can be ruined by strong cleansers,” says tech writer Geoffrey Morrison in an article for CNET. Morrison recommends using a microfiber cloth, noting that some manufacturers include a cloth with your television. Morrison also provides manufacturer data in which companies such as LG, Samsung and Sony prohibit spraying any cleanser or water directly onto the television, since this could damage the device and cause fire or electric shock. He advises readers to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions before you begin, which is always a good idea.
Take the time to get your papers in order. HGTV recommends creating a filing system in your home with labeled folders. This will drastically reduce the amount of time you spend frantically pawing through mounds of paper looking “that one damn bill” you can never seem to find. (Not that I would know anything about that.)
HGTV also has practical ideas for managing magazine mess, suggesting that you artfully display the ones you plan to keep or use magazine holders. For example, I have a shelving system for magazines right where I keep my mail, with one place to put new magazines and another to file older ones I’m interested in keeping. I also have shelves dedicated to certain titles so that they are easily accessible. Not keen on saving yours? HGTV’s tip to have a magazine swap at work is a great way to share older magazines with others.
Get these areas in order, and bring new life to your living room!