Day 4: Coffee Table {31 Days of Easy Decluttering} | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Day 4: Coffee Table {31 Days of Easy Decluttering}

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4: Coffee Table {31 Days of Easy Decluttering}

Day 4: Coffee Table {31 Days of Easy Decluttering} |

Welcome back to 31 Days of Easy Decluttering! Throughout this series I'm sharing easy decluttering projects that you can complete in 10-15 minutes.  If you do them, then by the end of the month you'll be enjoying a less cluttered home!

If you've missed any of the previous posts, there are links to them all at the end of this post.

Some days you may not need to spend much time on on the task, if you've already kept that space clutter free.  Or maybe you just need to take a quick sweep of the area to remove a few things.  If that's the case then you can take it easy for a day, or go back and finish another project in the series!

Today's Easy Decluttering Project

Today we're decluttering coffee tables.  AKA clutter magnets!  Remotes, magazines, mail, newspapers, pens, toys, books, tablets, and all sorts of other things are drawn to a flat surface like a coffee table.

I mean it's right there in the middle of your living room or family room... just waiting for stuff to be dumped on it, isn't it?!

But all that stuff on the table becomes visual clutter.  It's stressful.  And then things get buried under other things and you have to waste time searching for them.  Or bills are forgotten and you have to pay late fees.

If you don't have a coffee table, you probably have another surface in your living room or family room that is cluttered.  Maybe an end table, entertainment unit, mantle, or even the floor!

Check out this old picture.  Talk about your cluttered surfaces!

Oregon Live
This picture is from a great article called "A Table is not a Storage Device".  Great article!

It's so easy to use our tables to store stuff, sometimes without even intending to.  We see a flat surface and think it's a perfect spot to set something down... just for now.  Trouble is, we don't go back and do something with it later.  And once something is already on a flat surface, it's easier to put more on it.  And then more.  And soon you've got clutter.

Wouldn't you rather walk into your living room after a long day and be greeted by an empty table with just maybe a vase of flowers on it?  It just feels more relaxing to be able to place a cup of tea or a glass of wine on the table without having to clear a space first!

Agreed?!  Good!  Then let's put a stop to the coffee table clutter today!

Easy Decluttering Steps

Throughout the series, you'll follow these steps to complete each daily task.  {Don't forget to take before and after pictures to share too!}

Note: The main purpose of this series is to declutter so don't get overwhelmed doing too much cleaning.  Once your house is less cluttered it will be easier to clean so you can always come back and do it later!

Also, if you have the time, you can organize the space while you're doing this step, but don't get overwhelmed with too much organizing this month.  We're focused on decluttering!

Purging Tips for Your Coffee Table

Follow the steps listed above, and use these tips as you purge (step #5) your coffee table:

  • Throw out any garbage that was left on the table - things like granola bar wrappers and used tissues (if you've got kids you know it happens!)
  • Recycle all papers that you no longer need (newspapers, flyers, old mail, outdated school newsletters, etc.)
  • Relocate items that don't belong on your coffee table (toys, books, magazines, games, electronics, etc.)
  • Gather all your remotes and put them in a basket so you always know where they are and they aren't visual clutter on your table
  • If you have items you want to keep in the living/family room that don't have a designated place, then create one.  For example, put a basket under your coffee table or beside your sofa for magazines or current newspapers.  Make sure you tell your family members about the new homes you've established so they can help keep your table clutter free.

Now that you've decluttered your coffee table, the key is to keep it that way!  Make it part of your daily routine (or someone else in your family's daily routine!) to clear off anything that has been left on the table, so you never have more than a day's worth of items accumulating.  Change your mindset about flat surfaces.  Empty space is good!

My Coffee Table

Confession time.  I don't have this particular decluttering task mastered.  I love when my coffee table is clutter free. And I try to make that happen as often as possible. But we often have piles of things we need to follow-up on sitting on the table, as well as kids' stuff that they started using and left out to finish later.

It's gotten better now that I have better systems in place for dealing with paperwork in our house (see my command centre and office posts for more details on that).  But I really need to stay on top of this particular clutter magnet in my house :)

Here's what my coffee table looks like when it's clutter free.

Just a tissue box and a basket with remotes, pens, and notepads.  I've got baskets underneath the table to contain newspapers and flyers and a few books we're currently reading (they also hide clutter quickly when people are coming over!).

When our coffee table looks like this it makes me feel calm.  When it's covered in stuff, my stress level goes up proportionately.

So, I'm with you on this decluttering task.  And I'll stay on this one for the long haul.  Because I know the difference it makes to have that coffee table clutter free.  Now if I could just help my family see the value of a clear surface... :)

Pictures and Links to Inspire You

Here are a few clutter free coffee tables to inspire you to declutter yours!  They show the use of trays and baskets to contain items on or below the table for a visually appealing look.

This table has a tray on top with a few books and a candle.

The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking

Another simple looking table top with just a basket with books and flowers.  Love how peaceful it makes the room feel!  There's storage underneath too.

City Farmhouse

I love the stress-free feeling I get looking at these clutter-free tables.  I can picture myself relaxing in those living rooms.

Note:  I'm not saying you need to live in a picture perfect, magazine-page home.  But you don't want clutter to pile up on your table either.  Just find a balance you can live with :)

*Please pin from the original source if you choose to pin these pictures.  If you want to pin this post please use the button at the top.  

If You're On A Roll...

Check out my Living Room/Family Room Organizing Board

Follow From Overwhelmed To Organized's board Living Room / Family Room Organizing on Pinterest.

And just for some fun to finish off this post, here's a clip from Seinfeld that's been going through my head the whole time I've been writing this post about coffee tables.  Love that show :)

Good luck with today's decluttering project!  I'd love to hear how you did, so please leave a comment below, or on FacebookGoogle+, or Pinterest!

Don't forget to share your pictures in the Facebook post for today or use the hashtag #31DaysEasyDecluttering when you pin your pictures. I'll repin some of my favourites.  Plus don't forget I'll have a link party at the end of the series where you can share your photos too!

What do you keep on your coffee table?  Do you struggle with keeping your table clutter free as much as I do?  Any purging tips I missed for flat surfaces?

Happy organizing decluttering!

Here are all the posts in the series.

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!


  1. This is why I don't have a coffee table. It would get too cluttered. Now I do have kitchen counters (can't get rid of them) and that seems to be where my clutter likes to rest. I'm working on that though. It's a daily job, putting away everything that accumulates on any flat surface. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Good job recognizing where your clutter hotspots are Christa... and avoiding one! It's amazing how much of a difference daily decluttering makes for flat surfaces. Keep up the good effort!

  2. done! My coffee table and side tables are all clutter free and polished up!

  3. I totally agree with this post, decluttering can make you feel so much fresher and happier!

  4. Hi Hilda

    I used to have a coffee table but got rid of it because of clutter so everyone just uses the fireplace now. I cleared it yesterday of Hairbrushes, Hair Product, Money, Mail, Cats Toys, A Pair of Scissors, My Samsung Tablet, Etc. I am hoping to do Some Shoes Later Today, Failing That Tomorrow.

    Sarah x

    1. Good idea to get rid of a table if it collects too much clutter! And good job decluttering your fireplace. You're doing a great job Sarah!

  5. My house was a cluttered mess for over 1 year. I am finally out of my rut. My bedroom is clutter free. Wednesday my living room is officially clutter free. I do have magazines to go through an entertainment center, but no clutter on floor. I realized I do not need my "catch all coffee table". Instead, I'm going to buy a fold away coffee table! I'll bring it out if I have guest to put out drinks and treats. When done, wipe it down put it away.

  6. I remember when I had my first house and a 1 hour+ commute each way, everything I'd bring home would get stacked on the coffee table until I got around to dealing with it. One of the great things about working from home is that no longer happens!

    1. It's easy for it to become a dumping ground isn't it? I'm glad it's easier for you to keep it clutter-free now!

  7. What a great idea to make this a little project to focus on. Not too big to be intimidating, and so rewarding. I really enjoyed watching the Seinfeld clip because I also remember watching Regis & Kathie Lee back in those days. #doublenostalgia

    1. Thanks Seana! It makes such a big difference when the coffee table is decluttered. Glad you enjoyed the nostalgic clip... both favourite shows of mine back then too :)

  8. I can really to this and I have a huge round coffee table. As I was reading this I was thinking maybe I could slide a basket underneath for my papers and books. Always up for a challenge.

    1. I have found a basket really helped keep the surface of our table clear. Hope it helps you too!


I love hearing from my readers! This is a great place to ask questions, answer questions, and share your organizing tips. Thank you so much for commenting! I look forward to getting to know you better :)

{Note: if you're using Safari, I probably won't see your comment since Safari and Blogger aren't playing well together :( Please comment with a different browser so I don't miss it. Thanks!}