This 10-Day Living Room Reset Will Fix All Your Visual Clutter Problems

published Jan 20, 2020
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The January Cure is a long-standing Apartment Therapy tradition, helping you clean and declutter your home for the year ahead. We tackle one assignment each weekday throughout the entire month. It’s not too late to sign up and join (it’s free!).

Clutter can mean different things to different people (at different times!). Sometimes clutter is a sweater that you haven’t worn in four years—that kind of clutter needs to be taken out of your home instead of taking up precious closet space.

But clutter can also be visual, like too many things on a crowded bookshelf. It’s not that those objects need to go—they just need to go somewhere else… at least if you want your space to feel more airy and calm.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Today’s assignment: Lighten up the living room with a room reset.

Give your living room (or family room, or bedroom—wherever you spend a lot of time) a reset by removing a few things for a while. We want to see what this room looks and feels like when we’re starting fresh.

Grab a big bag or box (this should be separate from your outbox), and walk around the room, clearing off decorations and other objects from your surfaces and placing them inside. 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. Things like coffee table books, candles, picture frames—those can all go in the box. 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. If you’re a maximalist, you don’t have to remove everything from the space, but try to adhere to the goal of giving yourself a bit of a blank slate to live with for a little while.

Take that living room reset box and move it to a temporary storage spot where you can easily retrieve your things later, after giving them a break.

The things you’re picking up and stashing are going to be things you use and love, but that collectively take up space in the room and in your view. We’re going to give all of them a new home, temporarily, while we reassess the space for ourselves. So 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 about 10 days.

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.

Credit: Zoe Burnett

It’s not too late! Here are a few ways to participate in the Cure:

The Cure doesn’t just happen in January. If you want to take your efforts to the next level, any time of year, pick up a copy of Apartment Therapy: The Eight-Step Home Cure book.

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