10 Things You Should Take Off Your Coffee Table to Declutter

A coffee table seems like the best place for things like drink coasters and remotes, but there's a good reason why you should keep this surface decluttered.

By Deirdre Mundorf | Published Jan 28, 2022 5:48 PM

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If you’re like many, what started out as the coffee table in your living room may have turned into a cluttered, catch-all mess. You tidy it up one day only to find that chaotic piles of papers, remotes, and tech gear have accumulated again a few days later. If looking at your coffee table leaves you feeling stressed and wondering what you can do to keep it decluttered, it’s time for a change. Prioritizing what to keep on your coffee table and what to store elsewhere helps create a living space you can enjoy.

1. Remotes

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A coffee table may seem like the most logical location to place your remote controls if it’s in the same room as your TV. However, remotes can take up a lot of space when they’re all laid out. This is especially true if you have multiple remotes for TVs, cable and satellite boxes, surround sound systems, and smart home devices. Instead, consider using a MaxGear Remote Control Holder or a similar remote caddy to more effectively organize these electronic essentials.

RELATED: The Best Coffee Tables for Your Living Space

2. Trays and Baskets

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In theory, a tray or basket can be used as a nice decorative piece on a table. However, the reality is that these containers often end up full of stuff, which only increases the amount of visual clutter on the coffee table.

3. Coasters

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Using a coaster to protect your coffee table from glasses and cups is important. However, you don’t need to leave coasters on the table when they aren’t in use. The best solution is to store coasters in a nearby drawer or on a shelf and bring them out only when they are needed.

4. Magazines and Books

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Yes, we know they’re called coffee table books, but feel free to banish books—along with magazines and newspapers—from your coffee table. A pile of books or magazines can take up a disproportionate amount of space and make the table’s surface look very cramped. If you plan to sit on the couch to read, grab the book or magazine you want, and then return it to its proper place.

5. Mail and Packages

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Avoid opening mail and packages on your coffee table to prevent clutter from accumulating. Leaving these items strewn about on the coffee table can make a space look disheveled. Try to sort through mail and open packages as soon as you bring them inside your home, rather than leaving them on the coffee table to deal with later.

RELATED: 16 Designs for a Low-Cost DIY Coffee Table

6. Toys

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If you have children, discourage them from leaving their toys on the coffee table. Toys can be bulky and don’t stack neatly, so even just a few can leave a surface looking messy. If you need a space in your living room where your children can store their toys, consider introducing a covered bin like the Sorbus Toy Chest.

7. Technology

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Tablets, laptops, video game controllers, and other pieces of technology also shouldn’t be stored on the coffee table. Although these items are commonly used on the couch, make sure they get stored somewhere else when not in use. Not only will this decrease clutter, but it will also make it less likely for a device to be damaged by accidental spills or drops.

8. Plants

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Houseplants improve the air quality in a home while also adding some color and cheer. However, a coffee table is not the best place to place flowers or plants. Vases and flower pots can be fairly large and consume a lot of valuable coffee table space, and they also run the risk of damaging a table’s surface should any water leak or spill.

9. Decorations

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Removing decorations, especially smaller trinkets and tchotchkes, from your coffee table is another option to consider when decluttering. Placing these decorations on shelves or other surfaces in the room will ensure the coffee table remains a usable space while still keeping your decorations on display.

10. Waste

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Last but certainly not least, keep your coffee table free of trash. Food wrappers, receipts, tissues, and any other waste on a coffee table doesn’t just make it seem cluttered—it makes it look dirty. Keep the coffee table clean by making a habit of removing and disposing of any garbage anytime you get up from the couch.