The secret this professional home stager is willing to share.
By Keri Foy

Doesn’t it feel good to get back to the basics? To purge? To focus on streamlining your life, your calendar and your home?

When asked about living beautifully, Jill Gaynor, owner of Home Staging Specialists, could have ponied up design tips. She could have listed her favorite decor shops or shared her favorite tranquility-inducing wall paint colors.

But she didn’t. Her answer was short — live simply. “Less is more,” says Jill. Clutter and chaos in your home provide an inroad to bring clutter and chaos into your life.

Clearing out the clutter is the first step toward creating a living space that is organized and attractive.
Photos by Melissa Donald 

To really enjoy your home, it needs room to breath so edit what you already have. “If you can’t walk in your closet. If you can’t see the back wall of your basement storage. If you can’t pull your car into your two-car garage. If there’s something on every surface, such as your tables, counters and on top of your kitchen cabinets, you could probably use a good de-cluttering sweep,” says Jill.

To start your journey toward simplicity in the home, get into de-clutter and donate mode with these three culprits of clutter.

Jill has a piece of furniture inside her closet with several drawers which allows for more storage.

1. Your closet. Jill says give up on the idea of holding on to pants or tops of various sizes. Stick with the size you are now. “By the time I’m able to wear it, it’s going to be out of style,” says Jill who struggles with saying goodbye to shoes. Don’t think you’re alone if you seriously contemplate parting with a sweater from 2011.

2. Your pantry. If your pantry looks like your fueling the tour de France with all the carbs lining the shelves, you’ve got good company with Jill. Her college-age kids clutter her pantry with their food and she and her husband, now empty nesters, are left with less-than-healthy options. She finds a food pantry to donate it to. Also, she advises going through your spice rack and purging oils and spices that have expired.

3. Your junk drawer. “You’re just going to feel so much better once you clean it out,” says Jill. Amen to that.

Jill believes everything has a place that should prove useful. For example, when her father-in-law, who was an avid golfer, passed away, Jill encouraged her mother-in-law to adopt the mentality of “where can this be used.” They donated his golf gear to The First Tee of Louisville, an organization that brings an affordable junior golf program to youth and communities.

“If you’re not using it, think about where you could donate it so it could be put to use,” says Jill. “It’s not about throwing things away, it’s about where it can be used.