When you live in a small space, you know the struggle—sometimes it feels like every open surface accumulates clutter, and all it takes is one spot in your home to make the rest of it look like disaster struck.
Sure, the dishes or laundry piling up can feel like the worst thing in the world, but there's one thing in your home that, if you keep it clear and clean, can be the key to keeping your equilibrium: your coffee table.
This is definitely the case in my apartment—and I can't be alone in this—where my living room and kitchen coexist in one tiny rectangle of a room, so my coffee table also doubles as a dining table. Since the table is often in the middle of the room, when it's covered in clutter, the entire apartment feels like a mess. But, when it's clean? It's like a weight has been lifted.
The good news is, even though cleaning up your coffee table can make a world of difference, it only takes a few minutes. Seriously, grab some paper towels and cleaning spray and give yourself 5 minutes—your home will feel better by the end.
Step 1: Clear Off Dishes
If you, like me, also use your coffee table as a dining area, do yourself a huge favor and never leave dishes or wrappers on it after you're done eating. With even just a few things out of place—and right in front of you, at that—your home will feel a little more chaotic. So if you've got dishes on your table, clear them off first.
Step 2: Have (or Make) a Plan For Organizing
You should know what your coffee table is supposed to look like, so you can get it back into tip-top shape quickly and easily. Know what you plan to keep on your coffee table as far as decor and necessities go. That way, once you've cleared off any dishes or messes, you'll know what gets to stay and what needs to go back to its rightful place.
Step 3: Wipe Down the Surface
Does your table tend to get dirty quickly? Take a minute to gently wipe away any surface messes with a paper towel and cleaning spray or cleaning wipes, then put everything that's supposed to go on the table back where it belongs. For everything that doesn't belong on the table? Proceed to Step 4.
Step 4: Put Your Things Away
You cleared off the table to clean it, put back the coasters and magazines (and whatever else you choose to keep on your coffee table) and now you've got a pile of stuff left over that needs to go back to it's rightful place. Take a few minutes to put everything away at once, or, take a few things with you at a time every time you leave the room—whatever works for you. This is especially important if you have a coffee table with storage underneath—as tempting as it can be to shove random knickknacks under the table when you're short on time, let yourself be free of clutter so you don't have to deal with it later.
And For Good Measure...
Whether you live alone or with other people, create a household rule: Nothing that doesn't belong stays on the coffee table overnight. That means dishes go in the sink, mail gets sorted, keys and anything else that might get placed on the table get put in their proper place, and you can go to sleep and wake up to a clutter-free coffee table (and the rest of your home won't seem so disorganized!).