This Reset Is the First Step to a Better, Lighter, Less Cluttered Living Room

published Jan 10, 2019
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(Image credit: Minette Hand)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The January Cure is all about refreshing and organizing your home for 2019. We tackle one assignment each weekday throughout the entire month. It’s not too late to sign up, and you can visit the Cure page to catch up with the assignments so far.

There are a few different kinds of clutter. There’s the familiar “useless” type of clutter that immediately springs to mind: clothes we don’t wear, tools we can’t use, papers we don’t need. But there’s also visual clutter: things that are useful, and perhaps even necessary for daily life, but whose presence en masse tends to make a room feel heavy.

Since clutter itself can vary, it makes sense that the best way to battle each kind of clutter must be different, too. Useless clutter gets removed from your home, but visual clutter… it just needs to be relocated. Today, we’re going to kick off an exercise that helps us learn how to deal with the latter.

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

Today’s Assignment: Refresh your living room.

Give your living room (or family room, wherever you spend a lot of time) a reset by removing a few things for a while.

Grab a big bag or box and walk around the living room, removing some of the decorative accessories from the surfaces and placing them in the bag. Pretend you are putting your home on the market for sale and have been asked to strip out anything super personal or “lived in” looking. So pack up the coffee table books, candles, and objets d’art. Cut back on the framed photos. If you’re a tchotchke lover, remove a few and leave just a single favorite. Streamline the bar cart, move the magazines, pull a few pillows, fold up the throw. We’re going to give all of them a new home, temporarily, while we reassess the space for ourselves.

The things you’re picking up and stashing shouldn’t be the useless type of clutter (although if you come across any of that, feel free to handle it, too), but instead more of the visual clutter. They’re going to be things you use or love, but that collectively take up space in the room and in your view.

Ultimately, depending on your affinity for maximalism, you should aim to remove three to 15 things from the space.

Take your living room reset bag and move it to a temporary storage spot where you can easily retrieve your things later, after giving them a break. (Not the outbox—that’s a different thing.)

It’s OK (good, even!) if the room feels a bit bare to you right now. If you consult the Cure calendar, you’ll see that we’ll only be leaving our rooms in this reset state for three weeks. I’ll let you know when it’s time to build the room back up with your favorite things. For now, just live with your newly naked space.

But before you go, tell us: What’s your first impression of your new, lighter living room?

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Download the printable PDF calendar: January Cure 2019

Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure