How to tidy a family living room fast - transform your space from chaos to calm in record time

With these speedy tips, your family living room will be neat as a pin in no time

A white living room with a light grey corner sofa and fireplace matching the colour of the walls
(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

The reality of family living rooms is that they are often messy, no matter how hard we try to keep on top of tidying them. It's understandable that you don't want to spend a lot of time clearing up your living room when you know it's probably going to get messy again tomorrow. That's why it's handy to know how to tidy a family living room fast.

The key to organised family living room ideas is to keep on top of tidying the space as often as you can. Committing to a quick tidy up at the end of every day will prevent the descent into chaos, which ultimately requires more time to sort out. And just like you can learn how to declutter a house fast, you can learn how to tidy a family living room fast too. 

So you don't waste any time getting your family living room in ship shape, we've asked the experts to share all their top tips. Their advice will leave you with no excuses, and we're confident you're going to be extra motivated when you see how quickly you can transform how your living room looks.

From upping your living room storage ideas to motivational tactics, here's everything you need to know how to tidy a family living room fast.

1. Make a (quick) plan

When learning how to tidy a family living room fast, you might be tempted to jump straight in and start clearing things away left right and centre. However, this won't speed up the process, because chances are you're not going to organise the room in a way that sticks, meaning the need to tidy it is going to arise again very soon. 

'When decluttering a family room you should always start with an attack plan, noting which areas are the worst off and what cleaning equipment is needed,' says Scott Jones, Interior Design Expert, Fab Home Interiors. 'Then it's all about getting your head down and clearing up the top layers of mess.'

Note which areas seem to get the messiest, and any items that look out of place. These are the things that will make the biggest difference to how the room looks, so it makes sense to start with these areas first. 

Once you've got your plan in place, you won't need to do this step going forward, because next time you'll know the best place to start.

A white living room with a light grey corner sofa and fireplace matching the colour of the walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

2. Assess your storage solutions

The key to a tidy living room is having ample amount of storage space, especially if toys usually end up on the floor. Being able to put items away after they've been used will make a world of difference to how tidy the space feels. 

Assess your current storage solutions. If your living room often feels messy and chaotic, it may be time to invest in some new toy storage ideas. Baskets are a budget-friendly option, and they're great for quickly sweeping up toys that don't have a designated place.

'For toys, look for compact, stackable storage that you can either label or is transparent so you can see the contents,' says Simon Glanville, Managing Director, A Place for Everything. 'Elsewhere, multi-functional and versatile storage is a good option like side tables with storage so you can pop items away easily and quickly.' 

Furniture with built-in storage, like a coffee table or a sofa, is also a great option - a single-purpose seating solution is one of the sofa styles to avoid in a family living room.

Open shelving with labelled storage baskets and a child's bike leaned against it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

3. Declutter as you go

We can be put off decluttering a messy space because it can feel like a task that's going to take a considerable chunk of time. But, decluttering is an essential part of learning how to tidy a family living room fast, as it will help you keep on top of mess going forwards. 

'As you pick up toys, quickly sort them,' suggests Claire Law, Four Minute Books. 'Put away anything broken or no longer played with. Consider donating gently used toys to make space for new ones. It's an easy way to keep the toy collection under control without turning it into a massive project.'

Getting rid of toys and other unused items will quickly make the living room feel a lot tidier. Don't spend too long on this; assess quickly whether something is needed, and move on to the next item. You can use the ultimate decluttering checklist if you need a hand in speeding up the process.

A living room with a white metal bookshelf displaying photos and decor, along with wicker storage baskets with a wooden rocking chair next to it

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

4. Get everyone involved

'One of the best strategies for tidying the living room fast is to involve the whole family,' Claire says. 'Give everyone age-appropriate tasks: younger kids can pick up toys or put books away, while older ones can help with dusting or vacuuming.'

Getting the children involved in tidying the family living room will help speed the process up immeasurably. You can also use this as a springboard to encourage them to start tidying up after themselves in the future. Once they know that toys belong in a certain basket or area, you can tell them to put them here after playing with them. 

A living room with a white rocking chair and a blue shelving unit housing books and kids' toys

(Image credit: Future PLC)

5. Set a timer

A great hack when wanting to tidy any room quickly is to set a timer and clear the space as much as possible until it goes off. Racing against the clock can be really motivating, and will stop you procrastinating. It can also help the task feel more manageable when you know you're only spending a certain amount of time on it. 

You'll need to assess how much time you realistically need to get the living room tidy. Smaller living rooms can sometimes only need five minutes to look tip-top, but larger spaces will need longer. And it depends on how messy the space is to start with.

Setting a timer can also be helpful when the kids are involved. Reminding them of the ticking clock will motivate them to tidy things up faster; you can even say that whoever tidies up the most will be the winner.

These five steps for how to tidy a family living room fast will quickly transform your space from chaotic to calm. Sure, there may still be some deeper organising and cleaning required to get the space looking perfect, but these are some steps you can take to make the task feel more manageable when time is limited.

'A quick tidy-up won't be a deep clean, but it will make a big difference in how the space feels,' Claire Law summarises. 'Focus on progress, not perfection.' 

Storage essentials


How can I declutter my living room fast?

The first step to decluttering a living room fast is to remove anything that doesn't belong in the room. Cups, plates, cleaning supplies - any items that have made their way into the space, as they do, should be put back where they belong.

Next, start sorting items into piles. Keep, donate, recycle, sell - you might not need all four of these, but certainly it's a good idea to have a pile of things to keep, and a pile of things to get rid of. 

'While overflowing toy boxes might be a concern, noting which toys remain at the bottom of the chest each day gives you some idea of what toys can be thrown out or donated without much fuss,' says Interior Design Expert Scott Jones. 

Put the items that aren't staying to one side, and focus on finding a place for everything else. Prioritise practicality; if certain items are reached for everyday, they need to be kept somewhere that's easily accessible. Lesser used items can be put towards the back of storage units.

Now you know how to tidy a family living room fast, there's no reason not to blitz your space and enjoy how it feels afterwards. Happy tidying!

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.