Jean Beatty Ask McEnearny July 2

With more time spent at home, you might have noticed some things that you like or don’t like about your home. With the summer months heating up, now is a great time to do some minimal decluttering to help open up your space and make your home feel more like a place of relaxation instead of stress.

First, try clearing off the counters in your home. Flat spaces tend to have the most clutter. Clear off everything possible except for one or two essential things. Clearing off your desk especially will help you to focus as you continue to work from home. The counters in the kitchen are another area to focus on. More counter space means more room to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals.

After you have cleared your counters, try organizing the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Keep spices and seasonings close to the stove so that they are within easy reach when you are cooking. Go through your pantry and refrigerator and remove all expired foods. Donate any non-expired food items that you no longer need to the local food pantry. When deciding what to keep or give away among your kitchen utensils and appliances, try putting everything into a cardboard box for a month and put a utensil back into the drawer only if you use it. Anything left in the box can also be donated.

Another good idea to revitalize your living space without renovating is to eliminate extra furniture. Too much furniture can be distracting and make rooms look much smaller. Keep your space open and inviting. You can try rearranging your furniture to see what works best in your space. Replacing throw pillows and floor rugs can bring new color into a room and make it feel more welcoming.

To keep clutter to a minimum, reduce paper trails in your home. Designate one area to place any papers, bills, etc. like an inbox tray to reduce the amount of excess spread out in your home. Periodically go through your papers, scanning anything important to your computer and shredding the rest. Nowadays many businesses have events where you can bring your sensitive documents to be shredded at no cost to you.

Your closet is another area in which you can reduce clutter. Creating a capsule wardrobe or a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces that you really love allows you to be creative in your wardrobe choices for the day. You can mix and match items that you already own to create new and unique statement outfits. You can also organize your closet with “the Hanger Test." This involves turning all of the clothes hanging in your closet so that the hangers face back-to-front for the next six months. If you wear an article of clothing, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct way. Any item not facing the correct way, you can consider getting rid of or donate. Websites like ThredUp and StitchFix will take your old clothing and give you credit to buy new pieces for your wardrobe.

Lastly, clear out your medicine cabinet. Toss any expired medication or things that you will never use again. Make sure to keep all of these items out of the reach of children.

If all of these items together seem overwhelming at the moment, download a 30-day declutter calendar. This will help you break down your to do list into more manageable chunks. Every day you focus on only one task. By the end of the month, you will have rejuvenated your living space and made your home a more enjoyable place to live in.

Jean Beatty is a licensed real estate agent in VA, MD, and DC with McEnearney Associates, Inc in McLean, VA. If you would like more information on selling or buying in today's complex market, contact Jean at 301-641-4149 or visit her website

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: or call 703.549.9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreMcEnearney

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