Remember, if you want to be organized and clutter-free, old things have to go Out when new things come In (unless you don't have enough for the basics).
I'm starting with the linen closet. So grab some boxes and let's get started. You're doing this with me, right?
It might amaze you to see how many duplicate linens you have. It surprised me, and I usually keep my belongings to a minimum. But, when I opened my linen closet, I had to ask myself, "How did I get so many "extras," and how many do I really need?"
For example, how many sets of sheets do I really need for 3 beds? I had 8 sets of sheets, plus 3 unmatched sheets. Two of those unmatched sheets were for a twin bed! We haven't had a twin bed in years.
I pared these down to 2 sets of sheets for each bed. One set for the bed, and one set for the laundry (this way you won't feel pressured to wash your sheets immediately).
I pulled the two oldest sets (they were pretty worn) and the unmatched pieces. These went into my sewing storage for future projects (I crochet rag rugs, and sheets make excellent material for this). This left me with 6 sets, just enough.
If you find that you don't have enough sheet sets, put them on your Christmas list. Maybe someone will give you a gift certificate and you can pick out the sheets that match your bedroom decor (you could drop a hint). (Overstock.com is the best place to buy quality sheets at a real discount.)
How about pillows? How many bed pillows do we need? Four pillows for each bed is too many if you ask me, but everyone wants four pillows on their bed, so 4 for each bed it will be. Eight pillows is what we needed, 11 pillows is what I had.
The extra 3 pillows went into the trash. (They were too lumpy to be used, even as pet beds.) Need pillows? Put them on the Christmas list.
I figured we needed 2 blankets and 2 comforters per bed. One light-weight blanket and comforter for summer, and a heavier weight blanket and comforter for winter. We had an extra comforter that I pulled. This went into sewing material storage. It will make a great window quilt.
Winter throws; I had 2. I am making the third as a Christmas gift. (shhhh don't tell.)
Now, how about towels? Two towels per person is enough. One towel in use; one towel for the laundry. Six towels is what I had. The old towels had already been delegated to wet dog duty.
I had 10 washcloths, and only needed 6 (2 per person, one set for the laundry and one set in use), so the older, thinner washcloths will be used as cleaning rags.
That's it for my linen closet (how did you do). I've pared down to basics, and cleared out space for Christmas gifts. Next, the kitchen cabinets.