Organizing the Living Room Using the Zone Plan

Spring is in the air… or should be soon. Spring is when I want to open the windows and doors and let the sun pour in. The first thing you see when you come into my home is the living room. For that reason, I organize and clean my living room in March.

Using the zone plan, the first step is to develop a vision. I start my day in the living room with my coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, my husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches some news on TV. Together we connect in this room to plan our day, the week, and our future. We entertain family and friends here and welcome people from out front door. My vision is that this room is welcoming and nurturing. I want everyone who enters to feel like they can exhale and enjoy their time here.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a gathering place. Because I want this area to feel uncluttered I need to have a plan for handling the paper. Every morning, before I sit down, I make a sweep of the room and put away any papers that were left out the night before. Yesterday’s newspaper goes into the recycling bin. Magazines go into a basket until the next one comes in and then the old one is recycled. We also have a tray to act as a landing pad for that one book we might be reading or any brochures we are studying.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are stored in the living room. During this month I sort the entire collection. We cull out the ones we are ready to donate or pass on to a friend. I use a container system to manage our supply. We can keep as many DVDs or CDs as will easily fit into our containers. If they don’t all fit with some room to spare, then we agree on what ones can go to a new home.

While I am organizing this space, I give it a good clean and change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl and winter candle. In their place, I have fresh flowers and a pastel candle.

When this zone is complete at the end of the month, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing and Cleaning the Living Room for Spring

Spring is in the air! I love this time of year. In spring I want my home to feel fresh and sparkly. I want the sunlight to stream in. The living room is the first thing you see when you enter my home.  For that reason, I choose this area to organize in the month of March in my Zone Plan program.

The first step is to review your vision for the living room. I start my day here with coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, my husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches some news on TV. Together we often connect in this room to plan our day, the week, and the future. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle together. Sometimes we watch TV or a movie. We often eat our supper in the living room. We entertain family and friends here and welcome people from out front door. Therefore, I want this room to feel welcoming and nurturing. I want everyone who comes into this area to feel like they can exhale and enjoy their time here.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a gathering place. To keep the area feeling uncluttered, I have a plan for that paper. Every morning before I sit down I make a sweep and put away any papers that we left out the night before. My rule for newspapers and magazines is when a new one comes in, the old one goes out. We get quite a few magazines so I have a basket to hold them. If there is an article that I want to read when the new magazine comes in, I’ll leave that magazine out on the coffee table and read it within the next few days. We also have a tray for a landing pad for that one book we might be reading there or any brochures we are studying.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are usually found in the living room. During this month I sort the entire collection. We cull out the ones we are ready to donate or pass on to a friend. I use a container system to manage our supply. We keep as many DVDs or CDs as will easily fit into our containers. If they don’t all fit in with some room to spare, then some must find new homes elsewhere.

While I am organizing this space I give it a good deep clean and change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl and winter candle. In their place I have fresh spring flowers and a pastel candle.

When the zone is complete, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Lighten Up for Spring


Spring is around the corner! This is the time we want our home to feel fresh and ready to let the sun light shine in. The living room is usually the first thing you see when you walk into your home. That is why I chose the living room to organize and clean during the month of March in my Zone Plan program.

My first step in working with this zone is to review my vision for the living room. I like to start my day here with coffee and the newspaper. Later in the day, My husband sits in his chair with coffee and the paper and maybe watches the news on TV. Together we often connect in this room and plan our day, week, and the future. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle. On a more passive note, we often listen to music or perhaps watch a DVD or television. if we are having a light meal, we may eat here. We entertain family and guests in our living room and welcome people from our front door. I want to feel relaxed in this room and ready for guests at any time.

Papers, books, brochures, and magazines can accumulate here as we relax and read/discuss the literature. It is a central gathering place for family and friends. Look around your area. What has accumulated? Make a plan for that paper that is going to end up here. My rule for newspapers is when a new one comes in the old one leaves. Magazines have a basket to hold them – but again, every month a new one comes in so keep those magazines circulating. When a new one comes in, out with the old. If you have an article that you have not yet read but want to read, leave this one magazine out on the coffee table and read it in the next few days. Have a landing place for that one book you are now reading in the living room and a tray or landing pad for any brochures you are checking out. When finished with book or brochure, recycle or put them away.

Multimedia like DVDs and CDs are usually found in the living room. Take time to sort the entire collections. Cull out the ones you are ready to donate or pass along to a friend. I use the container system for our DVDs and CDs. I have allotted containers that fit into our entertainment center. We can keep as many as will easily fit into those containers. As I usually only do this task once a year, it is important to leave a little extra room for new ones coming in or make it a rule that when a new one does come in, an old one goes.

This month I change out accessories to match the season. Gone is the nut bowl, the poinsettia, and the winter candle. In their place I have fresh spring flowers and a pastel candle. I clean and polish as I declutter each area.

When the zone is complete, I celebrate by having a nice glass of wine, a lit candle, and some down time with my hubby.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Living Room for Spring

I follow a zone plan for my home. My home is divided into 10 zones and every month (except July and December) I tackle one of these zones.

March is the month that I organize my living room zone. Spring is around the corner and I want my living room fresh and ready.

The first step in organizing the room is to review my vision for this zone. As this is a shared room it also needs to have a shared vision with my husband, Rob. At times we both use this room singly. I start my day here with coffee and the paper. Later when I am in my office, Rob often sits in his chair with coffee and paper. Together we often connect in this room. We plan our day, week, and future here. For entertainment we work on the daily jumble and crossword puzzle. On a more passive note we often listen to music or perhaps watch a DVD or television. If we are having a light meal, we will often eat here. We entertain family and guests in our living room. We welcome people from our front door.

We want this room to be welcoming and warm. We want this room to be relaxing but yet have positive energy. We want to feel comfortable, secure, and happy in this room. We want our friends to feel comfortable enough to kick off their shoes and stay awhile.

After revising my vision, I scan the room to see if the space is living up to that vision. We have soft comfortable seating and warm accents. Are there things in the room we no longer need or love? This past year we obtained some new CDs and DVDs We need to pare down our collection and pass on those that we have enjoyed but will not likely play often. This makes space for new opportunities. I will make certain that our magazine basket only holds current issues. The accessories and candles will reflect the season. Gone is the nut bowl and poinsettia plant and out are the pastel candles and spring flowers. We will also purge the clothes closet of any extra outerwear or anything we no longer enjoy.

As I go through every zone, I clean and polish as well. By the end of the month, the room will look and feel bright and ready for spring. I will celebrate with fresh flowers, a lit candle, and a nice glass of wine with Rob.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Living Room Zone

This is the month I organize my living room zone. Spring is around the corner and I want my living room fresh and ready. The first thing I do is review my vision for this room. What do we do here? How do we want to feel when we are in this room?

This year things have changed. It is no longer just my vision to consider but a shared vision with my husband, Rob. I start off my day in this room with my coffee and newspaper. Rob and I often end our day on the couch talking, listening to music, or watching TV. This is a good place to sit and look out the window at the birds, squirrel antics, and the passing parade of life. If we are having a light meal, we will often eat here. We entertain our friends in this room. We want this room to be relaxing yet with some visual stimulation, cozy and casual, warm and inviting.

When I organize a zone, I look for any clutter that may have accumulated. Are things placed in this room in an organized and functional manner? Are there things in the room that we no longer need or love? We will pare down our collection of CDs and DVDs. I will evaluate the items I use for entertaining and see if I still feel the need for all of them. We will purge the coat closet of any extra outerwear or anything we no longer enjoy.

As I go through every zone, I clean and polish as well.

By the end of the month, the room will  look and feel bright and ready for spring. I will celebrate with fresh flowers, a candle, and a nice glass of wine with Rob.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Lighten Up the Living Room Zone

If you are following my zone plan, March is the month I organize my living room/dining room area.Spring comes during this month and I like to have my living room fresh and ready for spring.

My vision for this room has not changed in the past few years. I still use this space to entertain, eat, read, listen to music, and work on some projects that require spreading out. I want this area to feel inviting, comfortable, and embracing both to myself and to my friends who visit. I want to be able to exhale when I walk in my front door. I want friends to kick off their shoes and stay a while.

Every time I go through a zone, I find things that I no longer need or love. This year I am getting rid of items I used to use for entertaining. I still love to entertain, but I am not likely to do formal entertaining anymore. So, some linens, almost all silver and silver-plate, and some special china that have been stored in my credenza will be given away. I continue to pare down my collections of CDs and I am not keeping any records or cassettes. My closet will lose a couple of jackets that I rarely wear. A few more books will be given away.

During the spring, I change out some accessories for the season. The wooden nut bowl and some winter looking candles will be exchanged for items with a lighter feel.

As I go through every zone, I clean and polish as well.

By the end of the month, the room will look and feel bright and ready for spring. I will put fresh flowers on the table and have friends over for a spring meal to celebrate finishing this zone.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Lighten the Living Room

If you are following my zone plan for organizing your house, this is the month for your living room/ dining area. It will be great to have this area refreshed and organized in time for spring.

I always start the process by reviewing my vision for the area I am tackling. Has anything changed with my vision since I last worked here?

For my living room I still entertain, eat, read, listen to music, and work on some projects. Nothing major has changed in my vision since last year.

I want this room to feel inviting, comfortable, and unwinding to my friends who visit as well as when I am alone. I want the room to be embracing. I want to be able to exhale when I walk through the front door. I want my guests to put their feet up and their drinks down and relax and stay awhile.When I sit on my sofa, I want to see things that make me smile and happy to be here.

As I work through the different zones in this room, I will continually find those things that I no longer love or that no longer support my vision.

I will go through the closet, getting rid of a jacket here, a hat there, an extra umbrella. In the credenza that holds supplies for my parties and entertaining, I will toss out some candles I no longer want, a set of paper napkins that I don’t need, some old Easter grass. My entertainment center will be purged of music CDs that are not played anymore.

Winter looking accessories like the nut bowl will be changed out for something lighter. The books on the bookcase will get the “once over” to see if they are still used or loved. Maybe I can open up more space for a new art object.

By the end of the month when I finish this zone, I will celebrate! I will have some friends over for dinner and set a beautiful table with spring flowers.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Living Room Zone

If you are following the zone plan, this is a good month to organize your living room. I always start out by reviewing my vision for the zone. Has anything changed since the last time I worked in this room? This past year I have done some minor work in this area to lighten it up and make it more interesting. The activities that I pursue in this room, however, are the same. I still entertain, eat, read, listen to music, and work on projects in this room.
I want this room to feel inviting and comfortable both to me and my friends. I want my area to feel open yet cozy. I want people to come into this room and be able to exhale.
Whenever I work in a zone, I always try to purge some items that are no longer necessary or do not add to my pleasure in this room. I divide my room into four sections and do one section a week. As this room has four walls, I use a wall to define the section.
Items that might be let go of in this zone could be coats/sweaters I no longer use or love that are hanging in the closet . I might purge some of my CDs or books. This time I have let go of a large coffee table and an end table. I have a credenza that holds supplies for parties and entertaining. I can usually toss some items like old napkins or candles from this piece of furniture.
At the end of the month, when I finish this zone, I will celebrate. A good way to do this is to bring in some cut flowers and have some friends over.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Livingroom Closet revisited

Last weekend I reworked my living room closet. It was a very low budget rework. I took everything out of my closet and sorted like with like. I knew I wanted my closet to look neat and I wanted to be able to find and get to items easily.
I have a large full grab-and-go bag and a backpack for geocauching in the closet. The grab-and-go bag had been on a nail and the backpack was usually sitting on the floor. I also had an old handbag that was holding a GPS system and a walking pole I use when geocauching. I wanted these items to hang and be easy to reach.
I looked at Home Depot for hanging rack systems. The closet ones all seemed too flimsy for the heavy, bulky items that I wanted to hang. My eye was caught by a hanging system meant to go in a garden area to hold shovels and other tools. “Why not?” I thought.
It works perfectly. You can see it on the right of the picture.
I also wanted to make the shelf look more attractive and be able to find and reach my most used items easily. I bought 3 baskets at Home Depot. Two are on the shelf and one on the floor to replace the ratty box the cats like to hide in. I sorted and put the items in the baskets on the shelf with the two most used items (my dance shoes and my purse) on the top of each basket. I just need to reach up and grab those items. Both baskets have labels on them. I made the labels from old name holders from conferences. I had 3 bags I use for overnight visits or for carry on. I put 2 bags inside the third one and they are on the shelf on the left. I have some nice paper bags with handles beside them. I use those for items I want to send home with friends.
My wrapping paper remains in the closet but I took the cover off so that the bags could hang above it easily. My yoga mat is behind the paper but easy to reach.
I have been using the system for the last 5 days and it seems to work very well.
I would love to hear about any innovative ways you have set up your closets.

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Clean out your closet week

The third week in March is “Clean out your closet” week. (The first week in March was National Procrastination week- but I put off too long to talk about that.)
Since this month, my zone is the living room I am going to clean out my living room coat closet. One of the things that bugs me the most is the way the shelf looks. I also don’t like the way my overnight/carry on bags are stored or the backpack on the floor. The box on the floor does not look great either but that is the box the cats retreat to when they want to hide or sulk so it will have to stay. I would like my closet to look neat and well…..organized. I want to feel that all items are at my fingertips and not crowded.
My closet is used to store outerwear– coats, sweaters, hats, scarves, gloves; emergency equipment- a flashlight and my grab and go bag; geocaching materials – the backpack, the walking stick, and GPS; keys- for neighbors and for locked windows; bags- both the 2 good cloth ones I use for travel, a net one for sending items home with friends, and some good paper bags with handles; the cat hiding box; and wrapping paper/ribbon.. I feel that all of these items make sense in this closet and will stay.
Saturday, I plan to take all the items out of the closet, sort like items with like items, and wash the interior of the closet. I plan to look for containers for some of the items on the shelf and perhaps a hook for the backpack. I plan to complete this small project in one day.
As with any organizing project- I have gone through my motivation, my vision, my brainstorm list, my end goal, and the implementation steps. My maintenance on this closet is yearly- when I do my living room zone.
What closet will you tackle this week?

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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