Downsizing Solutions (Part 2)

We started with removing photographs, framed prints and other odds and ends from our walls throughout the entire house.  After, spackling the holes and repainting the walls, we stepped back and were astounded at what a difference it made.  Everything looked so clean!  Then we sorted according to the “Keep”, “Donate”, “Throw out” method of downsizing.  That same day, we drove our items to GoodWill to donate and disposed of our unwanted items.  The photos and prints that  we decided to keep were put in a clear plastic container and labeled.  Although labeling helps, being able to see what is inside at a glance makes for easy retrieval once we move.


Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

Then we began to purge our first floor, beginning in the kitchen.  Again, we followed the “Keep”, “Donate”, and “Throw out” process.  We put all of our small appliances that we no longer used on our kitchen island and table along with duplicate utensils (- who needs 14 wooden spoons?), pots and pans, old drinking and cocktail glasses, coffee mugs, mismatched flatware, dozens of trivets, bread pans, cookie sheets… you’ve got the idea.


Moving onto the pantry, we basically gutted it.   Extracts that I hadn’t used since my class in cake making and decorating were tossed into the trash along with long expired spices and seasonings.  Anything that had not been opened and wouldn’t be consumed by us would go to the food pantry.


Our refrigerator, range, and microwave are only a year old.  So, just a quick swipe with stainless steel polish made them shine!  As we purged our kitchen cabinets and pantry, we cleaned our shelves and the inside of our drawers and then wiped down our cabinet faces, knobs and drawer pulls.  We then stepped back to see what we might have missed.  The magnets and photos stuck on the side of the refrigerator along with a calendar thumb tacked to the wall had to go!


Because some of our small appliances had been pricey at one time – like our juicer – we gave our daughter a 24 hour deadline to come over and take what she’d like. That week we headed to GoodWill and the food pantry to donate and move the items we use infrequently (turkey platter) to the “Keep” containers in the basement.

A Very Good Place to Start…

We took a break for a few days and began to tackle the mudroom/laundry room/ powder room area off of the kitchen.  We started with a closet that housed some of our jackets, boots, shoes, vacuums, cleaning supplies and buckets.   I had furniture polish stored in there from houses we sold long ago, silver polish that was hardened and cracked and shoe polish that hadn’t been used in years.  The powder room required very little decluttering as did the laundry area, but the oddball cotton ball and bobby pin were a distraction that potential buyers didn’t need.


We were ready to move on to the dining room to tackle the china cabinet and buffet.  We narrowed down our linens very quickly, keeping only a couple of table cloths with matching cloth napkins.  Old napkin rings, wax candles, and place card holders went into the donate pile.  The contents of the china cabinet was reduced to our wine glasses, a collection of Mackenzie-Childs enamelware and some special serving pieces.  At first, my anxiety level peaked at the thought of giving away my fine china and some sterling silver, and my mother’s small mismatched collection of bone china teacups I rarely used.  But once I put it into the donate pile, I forgot about any emotional attachment I had to those pieces.  Out of sight; out of mind!


Our living room and family room were pretty easy to declutter.  I have a habit of accumulating magazines and catalogs that I might look at when I got around to it.  They went right into the recycle bin and were not missed.  We donated nearly all of our books to the library.  Knick knacks that once adorned some window sills and shelving were donated.


We felt so “light”, so “unburdened” after having scoured the first floor.  We were ready for the next step.  Stay tuned for Part III.


For more information about de-cluttering, check out the following links!

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