To get a better grip on your home -- and your life -- pay extra attention to the kitchen and the living room. Last week, I wrote about the kitchen.
Likewise, a well-organized living room or the family den is also important to fulfilling other goals, such as quality family time and frugal entertainment. Here are some tips from Robertson, who is also president of the National Association of Professional Organizers:
• Create a few basic rules, especially for a living room. It's important to maintain order because the proliferation of high-tech toys can turn a living room into chaos. Keep your system for maintaining living areas simple. Make sure everyone buys into the plan and complies with the rules for storing games, gadgets and reading materials.
• Study the furniture in your living room or den and evaluate how the room fills your family's needs. If the room is used as a library, evaluate the adequacy of lights and bookshelves. Is the room primarily a place for home entertainment? Then arrange the furniture and accessories to accommodate that purpose. Seating areas should be comfortable and adequate for family and guests.
• Give gadgets a home. DVDs, video game accessories and other trinkets should be tucked away when not used. Robertson recommends storing television remotes and other hand-held devices in an attractive basket. This eliminates the frustration sparked by missing remotes and game controls.
• Supply baskets, bins or other attractive containers for storing newspapers and magazines. Establish a family policy for recycling periodicals. Robertson suggests a one-week curfew for newspapers.