Day 9: Dining Area
Sharing meals together is one of the most important things you can do for your family. Believe it or not, family dinners are more important than play, reading stories, or any other family events in young children’s vocabulary development. Furthermore, kids who eat more often with their parents are far more likely to earn all A’s and B’s in school, and far less likely to smoke, use drugs, become depressed, or develop eating disorders.
I don’t know about you, but for me those are some pretty compelling reasons to make sure that my family’s dining area is ready for, well, dining. The problem in this space, of course, is that dining tables are useful for so many other things, such as homework, playing bills, doing puzzles or craft projects, or holding all the paper clutter or other items we’re just not sure what to do with.
The key, then, to tackling this space, is to make sure that the table surface is kept clear but that there are nearby storage solutions for any other uses that the table may serve.
Objective: An open, comfortable, and inviting dining space for guests and family to gather, connect, relax, and eat together.
Assess the current situation: How is this room used right now? List all the purposes of this room. What are the biggest clutter struggles in this room? (Toys, clothing, paperwork, garbage, etc.?) How is the layout of the room working for you? What would you like to change?
1. Remove and put away any items that belong in other rooms. If necessary, use a basket to collect items, then distribute them to their proper homes.
2. Clear all flat surfaces—dining table, shelves, buffets. Collect all items (picture frames, candles, decorative knick knacks) in one area, such as the dining room table or kitchen counter. De-clutter remaining items.
Keep only the items that:
- Are currently useful
- Are in good working order
- You absolutely love and want to display
Do not keep items that:
- You don’t use
- You don’t like
- You feel obligated to keep because it was expensive
- You feel obligated to keep because it was a gift
- Are constantly in your way
3. Remove any furniture that is no longer working for your space, whether it is broken or damaged or simply not a good fit for the room. Either throw it away, donate it, or sell it on Craigslist or Facebook; then, if necessary, rearrange remaining furniture to make your layout more functional.
4. Create dedicated storage areas in this space that coincide with the way the space is used. Do you pay bills and sort paperwork at the table? Consider adding a pretty file cabinet that can hold all your necessary items for when you need them. Is this where your family does homework or crafts? Determine what items you need and create simple storage solutions that work.
1. Sophisticated Storage For Entertaining (BHG.com) 2. Ideas That Bring Everyone To The Table (Ikea.com) 3. Classic Comfort Cube Storage (ArchitectureArtDesigns.com) 4. Storage That Satisfies Your Cravings (Ikea.com) 5. Mix & Match Storage Style (RealSimple.com)