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Decluttering 101 A Great Way to Kick Off the New Year! Part 2 of 2

Last week I posted the first of two blog posts on decluttering - a long one since there are so many helpful tips to consider and since a lot of us can put them to work in virtually every room of the house. This week I'm circling around to the kitchen, which tends to be a favorite room and one of the most important selling points for a house or condo.

Help everyones favorite room meet its potential.

Unfortunately kitchens in those "model homes" can set up an unrealistic expectation of immaculate and perennially clear countertops, where people either dont really cook or somehow manage to look like theyve been thrust into one of those marvelous Ina Garten videos (where the salt and pepper always come from those cute little bowls instead of those tawdry shakers).

In reality most kitchens inevitably become cluttered, with toasters, coffee makers, and yesterdays mail spread out on the counters and crowded cabinets and pantries that fill you with a sense of mild chaos as you try to pull meals together in a hurry.

While you might not be able to get rid of the countertop appliances, you should empty your cabinets and your pantry closet and, first, get rid of anything past-due, and second, figure out how to group them by item so pasta and grains, snacks, sweets, canned vegetables, cereal and so forth are easily identified. 

Another tip put the things you enjoy every day (e.g.: cereal, teas, and those cookies) within easy reach and the seasonal stuff you rarely use (e.g.: those holiday baking items) tucked away.

You can also save and organize space by getting rid of cleaning products that do the same thing and limiting yourself to the essentials so youre cutting down on clutter under your sink. 

Bring order to that medicine cabinet

You should take the same approach to organizing your bathroom, which probably already has limited storage. Start by taking everything out of your medicine cabinet and other cabinets and tossing everything thats expired or that you just dont use. Then put the daily items like toothpaste and shaving crme at your fingertips while moving Band-aids and other occasional use items out of the way. 

Pretend youre moving into your dream house (a realtors favorite, for obvious reasons)

After looking at the rest of that model home you might be inspired to raise the level of your decorating. That probably means getting rid of furniture, artwork and other items you no longer care for. So as you move through all of your rooms, identify the items that you can get rid of. Even better, consider keeping only the things you really would put in that picture-perfect place youre going to buy one day.

Remember, your stuff really is someone elses treasure!

Taking stuff away doesnt mean throwing it away. This is something Id love to stress over and over during the decluttering process. One of our favorite ways to donate is through the Buy Nothing project, which is active in the U.S. and 43 other countries as a way to encourage people to buy less and give away what they no longer want. You can learn about the organization on Facebook at and give stuff away through the local group.

The Cape region also has several organizations that will either donate used items or sell them for greatly reduced costs. One of our favorites is Beebe Hospitals Treasure Chest, located at the Midway Shopping Center (which is temporarily closed due to Covid but certain to re-open soon).

We also like Goodwill, which has a location at 28595 East Dupont Blvd. in Millsboro, and the American Veterans Thrift Store, The Shepherds Office in Georgetown, and Habitat for Humanitys Restore.

Start over with smart storage.

In addition to deciding what to get rid of, you also need to think of ways to store keys, shoes and coats and other items so you always know where to find them, and keep other items out of sight. 

You can start by locating at catch-all station near the door where you most often enter or leave your home. It can be wall-mounted hooks for your car keys, hats, scarves and coats or a side table for your sunglasses or purse so you get into the habit of leaving them there or picking them up from there without much thought. 

Amanda Davis, a professional organizer at The Home Revival likes over the door pocket shoe organizers for storing all kinds of toys and other items within closets. Others like acrylic storage bins that can be used in basements, pantries and laundry rooms because theyre translucent, which makes it easy to find what youre looking for. 

If youre short of closet space or just want to be more design-savvy think about decorative baskets or small furniture-style cabinets that look nice while hiding important items. 

Purge, then splurge.

One important tip: Dont go shopping for these storage bins, baskets or other storage solutions until youve decided what youre getting rid of. You want to make sure you buy exactly what you need and nothing more to hide or camouflage the things you want to keep. In other words, purge then splurge on storage solutions that enhance the look and value of your house or condo.

On that final note, if youre lucky enough to be moving into a new home, with new furniture to beautify and simplify your space, think about items that have significant built-in storage. That could be sofas, beds and coffee tables with drawers underneath. It could also mean working with a qualifiedand respected company to design lots of built in storage in your closets an equally smart move for making your life easier and packing in more resale value for your home.

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