I have to get better at doing before and after pictures. There are no before pictures in this posting. Sorry.
In preparation for new floors and painting this month, I began a thorough clean out of all areas. Decluttering of stuff has been a happy, positive activity for me. I always feel lighter and more content when I am reducing the "stuff-layer" of my life. Clear open spaces are less stressful. A related goal is to free up floor space by moving a few pieces of furniture out. We have too many road blocks for a person with visual limitations.
With home improvement contractors arriving in 2 weeks, the time is right to declutter.
I started with a small problem area of my kitchen.
Imagine a 3 foot high by 5 foot long shallow 3 shelf book case along this wall. It was filled with cookbooks and animal foods. The top held baskets of clutter-catchers. Try to imagine why someone who does not enjoy cooking would have 5 1/2 feet of cookbooks.
So I emptied the shelves of everything putting it on the table and dragged the bookcase to the basement. It will go to a new home or the dump - which ever comes first. Now I have this lovely clear floor space. And when the walls are painted, who knows what will hang on the walls. Maybe nothing.
Of course, now I had a table full of stuff. Hmm.... I gave half of the cookbooks to Good Will.
I then turned to the pantry. A "pantry purge" was in order. It is a small space, but once I cleared out the expired items, the duplicates and the stuff that I never use, 2 spaces were clear: the top shelf and the floor.
The top shelf now holds my essential cookbooks. (Still considering if they are all really "essential." I think not!) I hate the stacking of books on top of books. But the remaining books will need a more careful review before I get rid of any of them. The floor holds the animal foods (dog food and bird seed.)
Some canned and boxed foods are housed in our basement. I don't understand why 2 retired people like us need that many food items. But that is another problem for another time - food hoarding! I am sure that "hoarding" is not quite the right term, but my habit of buying extra of things that I find on sale is counter productive if the items expire and I throw them away.
In theory, I love the idea of a nice large pantry close to the cooking area, but the reality is that I don't preserve home grown foods and I have easy access to a grocery store. So the fact I even have a pantry is a luxury. When I was growing up, we didn't have a pantry - just found space in the limited cabinets to hold canned and packaged foods. I guess the expansion of large pantries and multiple kitchen cabinets is an extension of the growing sizes of houses in the 20th Century - and our habit of acquiring lots and lots of stuff.
I am very pleased with this one kitchen solution right now. My eat-in kitchen is fairly small and adding a bookcase years ago was a bad idea. It just ate up floor space and encouraged stuff gathering.
Of course the next step is to box all this up and move it to the basement - because the whole area will be painted - but that is 3 weeks off so I have time.