We’re sort of between seasons here. Just past Valentine’s, too early for Easter, not quite Spring cleaning season, or Spring planting…

What to do, what to do?

I haven’t organized anything in awhile, and it’s not like this house of mine couldn’t use some organization…

Given this:

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I’d say the dining room hasn’t been looked at in awhile.

I’ve compiled a list of things – probably not comprehensive – but everything I had to do to make my dining room more liveable, so I thought it might help you as well. There are loads of things that I looked at getting for my dining room, for example this Marble dining table set. But my husband unfortunately told me no because we already had a table we could use.

Organizing the dining room checklist

Unfortunately, part of organizing is cleaning. I wish it were more about baskets and bins – but if you have the kind of dust bunnies I do, then no amount of organization will look good without a thorough clean.

First up, a general declutter. We use our dining room for homework and eating and (far too often) as a landing spot for items as we come in the door.

Time to move out anything that doesn’t belong in the room. Put these items away, or you’ll just be shifting your clutter from one room to the next and you’ll be right back where you started in no time. These are Girl Guide cookies from last Spring’s campaign and a game we received at Christmas that I still haven’t gotten around to returning yet.

Time to do something with these?

I think so.

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Next pull everything out of your cabinets. Chances are, since you last cleaned it out, things have been shoved inside in a rush and are now in a bit of a mish-mash. Perhaps more items have been added – or, even if you are perfectly organized, you still run the risk that dirt and dust has snuck in.

Pull it all out and wipe out the insides.

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Now’s a great time to go through your stash and purge anything you haven’t used in the past year. I have some of our Grandmothers’ china and crystal in here that I’m not ready to part with just yet, but if I purge a couple of other things that don’t get used, I should still have room to keep them. It’s a balancing act really.

When you put your items back into your cabinets, keep like with like; Christmas items should be housed together for an easy grab when you need them. Allocate specific spots for your daily items like napkins and tablecloths so that they are readily available and therefore more likely to get used.

I don’t know that baskets or containers are really necessary here. While they look nice on display, too often (for me anyways) out-of-sight is out-of-mind. I forget what I have and the temptation to buy a replacement surfaces. Not worth it – save your money on the baskets and on the unnecessary purchases that might result.

All of your glassware will also need to come out and be washed/dusted as needed. Time to part with any with chips in them. I know it’s tough, but you know you never use them for fear of guests noticing – so why keep them around?

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Silver will need to be polished (easy technique here).

Once you have the inside of the cabinets cleaned and organized, move to the top of the room. Dust the corners for cobwebs. Clean the light fixtures and wipe down all the picture frames.

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Give the windows a wash and remove curtains/draperies and wash them (if applicable). If you’re doing the work anyways, you might as well wipe down your screens and remove any lingering dust from them as well.

The only plants I seem to have any luck with are artificial ones. If you have any of those, it’s time to decide whether they are worth keeping. Discolouration happens with sunlight and time, and even though you may have paid a bit for them – no one is being fooled by the blue-green leaves. If your plants (real or artificial) are just in need of a cleaning, then spritz them down with some water and gently wipe the leaves. There are cleaners and techniques out there if you really want to get fancy with your plants, but honestly, this works perfectly for me.

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Next up, baseboards. Yes, it sucks – but they do have to be cleaned sometime and you’ll be surprised at what a difference just removing dust and dirt will have on the brightness of the paint.

If you keep your liquor/bar in your dining room, then now’s the time to pare it down. Duplicate open bottles can be amalgamated into one. Bottles with just an ounce or so left are taking up more room and creating more clutter than that one shot is worth – let it go. Similarly, bottles you purchased to make a very specific cocktail, but haven’t used again since can be emptied and recycled. Multiple shot glasses, corkscrews etc can be corralled together and/or pared down to a more respectable reasonable number.

Now for the heavy lifting; yup, time to move that area rug and clean underneath. I was horrified surprised at the amount of dirt underneath the rug.

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Time to vacuum and wash the floors. If your area rug needs cleaning – now would be a great time to take it to the cleaners for a little TLC. Or, if the weather permits and your rug isn’t wool – you could try my washing technique.

Better right?

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By first appearance my dining room didn’t seem to be that bad. Everything was tucked away and save for a floor that needed washing, you really wouldn’t notice much dirt around… but once you take your room apart, bit by bit – you’ll find so much more than you thought.

I was able to purge a small kitchen garbage bag worth of items, as well as a million-and-one dust bunnies from every corner of the room.

Overall, I just feel able to breathe. It’s more than tidy – it’s organized and it’s clean.

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One down, I don’t even want to think about how many to go.

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