The Green Cure: Lightening Up The Living Room

The Green Cure: Lightening Up The Living Room

jennnc brought all her plants inside for the season and is looking for new places the put them - she's off to a great start with ideas from her style tray!

• Cure Clock: 3.5 weeks to go!
• Assignment: Read Week Four, pp. 129-153
  • Pare down your book and media collection.
  • Declutter your living room.
  • When shopping, focus on quality furniture that will last a long time.

• Members: 1,735

For many of us our living room is our foyer, dining room, office and even kitchen – with all that activity going on it can be really hard to keep things clean and clear of clutter. Full disclosure: my house has not always been clutter-free and pared-down, but after nearly a decade of moving every year I looked forward to the purging that came along packing up moving all my possessions to a new home. I started to really hold on to the idea that unless an item was something I really loved or had special meaning to me, it was not worth the effort of moving, keeping and finding room for it in my new place. Once I finally settled down a couple of years ago, my place was broken into – full on ransacked! Much of what my boyfriend and I had decided to keep was gone whether we liked it or not…

The best way to respond the situation was realize that everything stolen really was replaceable. The only things that we would've been distraught over losing apparently did not have the same value to the burglars. So we really could've kept on living perfectly fine without them, but of course that would be no fun. However, rather than replacing each thing that was taken, we decided to consolidate and prioritize.

Whoopsadaisy_anna's husband turned an old wardrobe into this lovely media center. There's no clutter and their art is displayed nicely above.

Pare down your book and media collection
The most prized possessions to the burglars were electronics – no surprise there. We decided, given the direction media is going, to forgo getting a DVD player and stereo (it almost seems quaint just typing that). We instead got an AppleTV, which when connected to our main computer, can completely replace both pieces of equipment. My boyfriend and I used to be big into buying and renting DVDs and I had always resisted buying digital music over CDs. However, after having my CDs stolen so many times, I decided it wasn't worth repurchasing them (mp3s can't be stolen) and storing them. Gone are the days of numerous pieces of equipment for entertainment and storage for CD and DVD collections. If you don't have an AppleTV (though I highly recommend getting one – you can also get rid of cable), you can do the same thing with an Apple Airport, receivers or some video game consoles. Once you've consolidated your music there are plenty of resources for donating, selling or sharing your collection: Helps You Borrow Things from Friends
Simple Green: Use the Library

If keeping your media collection physical rather than digital is important, than really make it yours – display it nicely and neatly and if you're tight on space than it should be your only collection displayed. If it's not important enough for that than reconsider whether it's worth keeping around. We've covered a number of great ways to display media:

22 New Uses for Old CDs
How To: Make CD Case Wall Art
Display Ideas For the Music Lover
Apartment Inspiration for Album Lovers
Inspiration: Record Album Storage
Check out ivy style33's super organized bookshelf! It has just the right genre mix, orientation and balance between books and decorative objects. Way to go!

Books, to me, are a whole different animal, but I know with the rise of the Kindle this will soon change. There are a lot of people need to keep their books for their monetary value, a sentimental reason, or because they love to read them multiple times. My boyfriend & I have tons of books – most of his are textbook and research oriented (as he is a perpetual student), while I'm more than happy to get rid off all that aren't of the coffee table variety. To keep the balance we have one bookcase in the living room that holds all of the coffee table and currently-being-read books. All others go into the office bookcase (which by the way is two stacked Ikea Expedits). Anything that doesn't have a spot should be reconsidered; if they important enough to you to keep, then find them a proper home so that they can be appreciated. Otherwise there are many ways to enjoy books without having to buy and keep them:

Look! Community Book Exchange
Tips: Detaching Yourself (Rationally) from Your Books
Simple Green: Share Your Books
Green Tip: Throw a Book Swap Party

Declutter the rest of your living room
Now that you've cleared out and organized your books and media, all that's left is organizing your decorative items and keeping your storage and display in check. The best way to do this is continue the process of only keeping what's nearest and dearest to you. The living room should be the heart of the house, not a place for clutter. This is where you'll be relaxing and gathering with friends, so you really want to best represent you.

Continue using the outbox for items that are questionable and use the recycling and trash bins for everything else that doesn't belong. Don't forget that the focus is a Green Cure: keep an eye on which items contribute to a healthy home and which don't. While you're reorganizing you're probably also moving around a lot of dust. As you go remember clean off every surface to remove dust and dirt (of course use a green cleaner!).

Plants are a great way to add a nice natural element to the home and, when chosen carefully, can actually purify the air. In my living room plants are just as important as art and are on display as such:

Hot Tip: The Best Plants for Indoor Air Quality
Ideas for Decorating with Plants
Adding Color with Plants

Storage, storage, storage. And by storage we mean multi-purpose functional furniture. This is the best way to keep clutter at bay because more functions a piece of furniture can provide, the less of it you'll need and the more space you'll save. My living room has a combination of about 80-percent concealed and 20-percent open storage.

Candi Mandi's is a rearranger extraordinaire. Her living room is always a great example of quality furniture and accessories that have been thrifted, handmade (some from reclaimed materials to boot), or bought from Etsy, eBay or Craigslist.

Durable and Protein Furniture
While we're on the topic of storage, be thoughtful with the quality of furniture you keep in your home. Before you start acquiring new furniture, reconsider what you already have in your home. A new coat of paint, a reupholster job, or even just a simple rearranging can make a huge of difference without having to get anything new.

It's true that higher quality furniture runs at a high price, but a great way to save money is to buy used. Almost all of the furniture in my apartment was either bought on Craigslist or at garage and yard sales. Not only are you saving furniture from going to the landfill, but there's a very good chance that what you're buying is a high quality, solid and classic piece. Buying high quality pieces is a smart investment, not only because they're long-lasting, but also because you'll be buying less and therefore wasting less.

If you're ready to buy a brand spanking new furniture, make sure it's either locally produced, made of environmentally friendly materials, or it's made of recycled or reclaimed materials. There are now so many resources available that make this a really easy and fun task. Etsy and the Apartment Therapy Marketplace are great places to start.

thefarmersdaughter got a great deal on that couch and has put her winter drapes up to keep the cold air out!

Lastly, because it's the Fall Cure, now is the time to weatherize your home if you live in the northern hemisphere. Seal up windows, hang heavier curtains, get your thermostat in check, and while you're sealing everything out make sure to change out your furnace filter to keep your indoor air clean.

What's your media collection vice? Music, movies, books or something else?

Week 4 - Intro
Week 3 - Tips & Tricks
Week 3 - Intro
Week 2.5 - Show & Tell
Week 2 - Intro
Week 1.5 - Tips & Tricks
Week 1 - Intro


Main Cure Page - Fall 2009
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