stunning fresh living room with neutral decor

I come from a family of forgetters. Birthdays, pints of milk, reasons to be in a room – you name it, my family has forgotten it.

To combat this, each one has come up with their own method of making sure they remember things. Whether it’s handwritten notes stuck to the hallway mirror, library books sat slumped in front of the front door, or shirts with missing buttons left draped across the dining room table.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all pretty foolproof ways of remembering all the little things that you’ve got left on your to-do list. But they don’t exactly make for a tidy home.

And in fact, as time goes by, doing this can often leave you with endless piles of stuff that don’t remind you of anything except how much stuff you have.

I can definitely say, however, that there were quite a few benefits to be had hailing from such a forgetful family.

Growing up, I started making my bedroom an oasis of calm. A clutter-free space where I could get away from the piles of washing, old newspapers and broken car parts.

I learnt how to be organised, keep things tidy and still remember to get all my jobs done.

And even though, there are a few family traits that have stuck with me (my handbag is still a flurry of old lists and too many pens), I’m almost certainly the most clutter-free when it comes to living spaces.

So, what’s the secret?

How to de-clutter your living room

1) Storage is everything

There’s no getting away from it, having a clutter-free home requires regular maintenance. That’s frequent tidying and sorting. But, little and often means you get to avoid those yearly sort outs that involve the whole family wading through drawers and cupboards for what seems like a lifetime. And when your home is almost tidy, giving it a quick sort to keep everything in check just becomes part of your day.

And that’s where having dedicated storage for your things comes in. It allows you to keep things in order as well as tidy all your little essentials away out of view, so your surfaces stay clear.

Cube furniture is great for helping you stay organised as well as keep things out of view, and you can colour code the fabric boxes to suit your style.

Storage trunks are also perfect for keeping your living room clutter-free. Keep all your books, magazines, remotes and DVDs tucked away. Pop the lid on and you have an extra seat. And if you have children, these benches are also a great place for any toys that get lift in the living room after bedtime.

2) Keep on top of your to do list

Rather than having lots of little visual reminders dotted around the home to help you remember what needs doing, have one, up-to-date list that’s somewhere easy to find. Whiteboards are great for this and having one in your kitchen is even better as it’s something you’ll see every day.

By getting used to working from a list, you’ll start to reduce the number of piles you have around the home.

You’ll also get that fantastic sense of satisfaction from being able to cross things off as you get each thing done.

Try to give yourself deadlines for doing things by so that the list doesn’t just keep growing. And when you spot something new that needs sorting out, add it to the list.

lots of wall storage and cupboards in a neutral colour

3) Shelf help

If you’re looking for extra storage space, but have run out of living room space, shelves can be great for giving you a few extra places to put things.

Floating shelves are easy to put up and ideal for books, DVDs as well as ornaments.

And with a dedicated space for your little extras, you’ll be able to keep the main surfaces clear for a space that’s relaxed and clutter-free.

4) Cut down on ornaments

Don’t get me wrong, I love a scatter cushion. But if it’s got to the point where your living room is filled with a multitude of pillows, all different sizes, shapes, colours and textures, they can easily start to make the place look cluttered.

Ornaments can also start to build up which not only makes your living room a nightmare to dust, but they can start to make the place feel cluttered.

Keep an eye on how many souvenirs and vases you have dotted around your living room and keep photo frames to a minimum or hang them up instead.

5) Children’s toys

When you have children, it’s so easy to let the living room turn into a playroom. Shelves get filled up with toys and books. And the sofa gets piled up with dolls and blankets.

To prevent the toys from taking over, make sure you schedule in a daily tidy-up session before your children head off to bed. Ensure everything has a home - either tucked away or away from the living room, so that once they’ve gone to bed, you have your own sanctuary to relax in.

Follow these five steps to help you enjoy a clutter-free living room that’s a relaxing space for you and all the family.

For more ideas and inspiration, head over to our Instagram and Facebook pages @HartleysDirect.