How to Create an Art Gallery Wall in Your Home

Real photo of abstract paintings hanging on white wall above a gray sofa in a living room interior with big windows

Art lovers no longer have to leave home to appreciate fine art. Thanks to a growing trend, they can create the same experience on one of their own walls. Art gallery walls have become a great way to create a point of interest in your home while also showing off your great taste in art.

But putting together an art gallery wall is an art in itself. You can browse examples of other art gallery walls to get ideas and inspiration but in the end, you’ll want to make it your own. Here are some tips to help you create an art gallery wall in your own living space.

Go for Diversity

To make it clear your wall is designed to showcase a variety of artwork types, you should try to make your selections as diverse and eclectic as possible. This could be a combination of paintings you have in your collection already and items you source specifically for the wall. Do an inventory of the pieces you already have and begin a search for the perfect items to add to it. If you’re on a budget, there are choices you can make that won’t break the bank. Scour the Internet, as well as antique shops, flea markets, and thrift stores. You’ll be surprised at the great finds you’ll discover at these bargain-shopping opportunities. This budget-conscious decorator used pictures from a book for her gallery wall and was thrilled with the results.

Match Framing

Your art selections may be eclectic, but you can bring it all together by using consistent framing. Choose frames and mattes in identical colors and styles and match the surrounding décor. If your gallery wall is in a dedicated area of the house, this might not be as much of a challenge than if it lines a stairwell or hangs above your sofa. This will free you up to pick paintings in a wide variety of colors without worrying about adding to the noise with multiple frame colors and types.

Diagram It Out

One of the toughest parts of a gallery wall is laying it out so that it looks neat and orderly without appearing too uniform. As you add items to your collection, diagram out your plan for the wall. This will help you determine whether you need more landscape or portrait paintings, as well as whether you need artwork in a certain size. Once you have all of your artwork ready to go, set it all on the floor and move items around until you have the perfect placement. Measure the group and make sure it fits before you hammer in the first nail. This careful planning will save you the extra work of having to redo an entire section of paintings because you ran out of room.

With an art gallery wall, you no longer have to limit yourself to just a few pieces of artwork per room. You can display your personal taste while also creating a great talking point for your next party. Additionally, you’ll have the fun of shopping for the perfect item to complement your collection.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – It’s Winter Alright!

Wooden blocks and in snow with words Enjoy Winter

It’s bad enough that we hardly see the sun in Chicago during winter but to have a polar vortex take up residence and keep us indoors is another thing!  Who’s ready to get out of the house this weekend for some winter enjoyment?  After all, temps are expected to be in the double-digits!

Look who’s back for their 17th year and ready to feed our winter doldrums.  It’s Chicago Restaurant Week celebrating the city’s award-winning culinary scene now through February 4th with a wide range of options citywide.  This year’s participants of over 400 restaurants, which includes many of Chicago’s best restaurants as well as beloved neighborhood favorites, will be serving up special prix-fixe menus consisting of a brunch for $25, a lunch for $25, and/or a dinner for $42 or $59.  Start making reservations so you can enjoy those restaurants that are usually out of your price range!

One of the Old Town neighborhood’s gems will be celebrating their 24th anniversary this Saturday and Sunday at Adobo Grill located at 215 West North Avenue.  This beloved Mexican eatery will feature an exclusive, pre-fixe menu for $24 per person which includes an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert.  It’s the beloved choice of both locals and tourists!

Come join us at Chicago’s tastiest party this Saturday (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) at Moe’s Cantina (155 W. Kinzie St.) in the River North neighborhood for Stan’s Donut Fest.  In celebration of the chain’s 10th donut fest, attendees can indulge their sweet tooth with a sample of 12 different flavors of Stan’s sugary treats along with specialty cocktails, a live DJ, photo ops, giveaways, and more!

If you’re feeling really adventuresome, the Chicago Park District’s Polar Adventure Days runs through February 17th from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Big Marsh Park (11559 S. Stony Island Ave.) in the South Deering neighborhood.  This adventure features Siberian Husky teams sledding around the park, guided bird hikes, making a nature-inspired winter craft, and more as you journey through the park’s natural winter wonderland.  Plus, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or roasting marshmallows over a bonfire.  It’s a great, invigorating way to celebrate winter!

If you need to get the kids out of the house, the 6th annual Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is taking place now through January 28th at multiple locations throughout the city.  Spanning 11 days, this festival brings puppeteers from across the globe for 100+ puppet performances, events, symposiums, workshops, and more!

Or perhaps, the kids may enjoy a day of Disney magic at Disney on Ice Presents: Magic in the Stars this Saturday and Sunday at the Allstate Arena (6920 N. Mannheim Rd.) in Rosemont with timeless stories of Frozen, Aladdin, Toy Story, Encanto, and more all performed on ice by your child’s favorite characters.  In addition, you can purchase a character meet-and-greet that includes storytelling, crafting, interactive time, and photos with Elsa and Mirabel!

The Great American Dog Show is taking up residence this Saturday and Sunday at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center (1551 Thoreau Dr.) in Schaumburg.  This year’s show features premier show dogs competing for top prizes, demonstrations, a grooming show, a kid’s zone, expert advice providing educational programming, shopping galore at vendors offering pooch-friendly products, and more!  And brand new for 2024, is a special competition just for puppies!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Truly, A Park District for All Seasons

Young Asian woman practice downhill sliding snowboard on snow mountain at ski resort

Baby, it’s cold outside! But for those who love the great, snowy outdoors, the Chicago Park District has a long history of providing indoor and outdoor adventures for every preference, every season.

Are you a ‘snowbird’ who loves the great outdoors in January? Here’s your program: Chicago Park District is hosting Polar Adventure Days at Big Marsh Park, 11559 S. Stony Island Avenue On January 20 and February 17, from noon- 3pm, you can see Husky teams sled around the park, enjoy guided bird hikes, listen to live music, make a nature-inspired winter craft, and listen to stories around an outdoor bonfire with storyteller ‘Mama Edie’ while sipping hot cocoa. Polar Adventure Days is part of the ‘Night Out in the Parks’ initiative, which features more than 1,000 citywide cultural and arts activities in the parks throughout the year.

For more information, call (312) 742-PLAY (7529).

Other outdoor activities include skating at Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon at Grant Park, Ice Skating at Millennium Park hiking on trails, and other great opportunities to enjoy Chicago’s crisp weather this month. 

 For indoor types, there’s Aquatics Programs. Swimming is an important life skill, as well as a chance to get ready for beach season! The Chicago Park District offers an incentive: children and youth, ages 6-17, can take a 10-session introductory swim class for FREE!

As they sayontheir website, “Whether you are 16 months old or 90 years young, there is a Chicago Park District aquatics program for you.  Classes include Parent and Tot Swim; Tiny Tot Swim; Youth, Teen and Adult Learn to Swim; Swim Team; Water Polo; Aquatic Exercise and more!”

Wet hair not your thing? Is Olympic Gold Medalist Simone Biles a role model? How about gymnastics? he Chicago Park District’s gymnastic centers offer quality instruction for beginners to advanced competitors year-round, with excellent training facilities and instructors. Find your class by clicking here.

Chicago Park District also has Basketball, Softball Instruction, Acting, Archery, Arts and Crafts, and hundreds more to choose from. Winter classes meet from now to mid-March. A complete list is available by clicking here.  

Enjoy winter, everyone!

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Chicago Restaurant Week is here!

Michael Jordan's Steak House restaurant exterior logo sign on building in Downtown Chicago

This cold won’t last forever. And the 17th Annual Chicago Restaurant Week (well, actually two weeks!) can bring you out to explore over 400 unique participating Chicago area restaurants! 

From Friday, January 19 to Sunday, February 4, whether you’re in Lincolnwood, Pilsen, Hyde Park, or Uptown, there’s sure to be a restaurant nearby serving sumptuous mea

As Choose Chicago notes, participating restaurants represent 31 distinct Chicago neighborhoods along with 46 suburban restaurants.” Of the participants, 62 are women, minority and/or Black-owned enterprises. Diners can enjoy special prix-fixe menus for brunch ($25), lunch ($25), and/or dinner ($42 or $59).  

For example, Lincoln Park’s Tandoor Char House is serving a $42 vegetarian dinner, with your choice of samosas, tandoori paneer, chicken tikka masala, and aloo gobi, while Logan Square’s Saba Italian Bar + Kitchen is serving a hearty four-course dinner menu with options like seafood linguini, short rib, and penne vodka. They’re also serving brunch for $25.  Le Sud Mediterranean Kitchen in Roscoe Village is servin fresh French-Mediterranean creations, including Moroccan meatballs, chicken tagine, mussels provencal, and more. Wicker Park s Pan-Latin Amaru has a $42 dinner, with your choice of ceviche, potato and cod empanadas, Cuban oxtail stew, Adobo-rubbed strip steak, lion’s mane mushrooms with mole. CheSa’s Bistro & Bar in Avondale will be serving up gluten-free lobster etouffee, crispy skin salmon, fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, and more dishes with Creole flair for $59. As Choose Chicago notes, El Nuevo has been serving authentic Mexican fare in the Lakeview neighborhood for four decades. For a $25 brunch or $42 dinner, you can sample homemade masa cakes, carne asada with cinnamon yams, and jumbo shrimp in chipotle sauce. Mmmmm! 

Other restaurants participating in Chicago Restaurant Week include Lincoln Park’s Geja’s Café, whose fondue has earned a reputation as the “most romantic restaurant in Chicago.”Theyhave a $42 Dinner a $59 Dinner for diners to enjoy.EvenRiver North’s celebrity Gordon Ramsay Burger is preparinga$25 lunch. Waygu, everyone?

There are too many restaurants and combinations to list in our small space! But we can say this…IT’S ALL WORTH IT!! Take a minute to enjoy at deeply discounted prices 

For reservations and information, visit

Bon Appetit!

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Intermittent fasting

Close up view of alarm clock on a plate intermittent fasting diet concept

If one of your goals this year is to get healthier you might want to check out intermittent fasting. While the only studies of this have been done on mice, there does seem to be evidence that it can be beneficial for those needing to lose weight. Besides losing weight, many others claim it’s been beneficial for them healthwise too.

However, groups that should not fast are: athletes, adolescents, people over 65, or anyone with an eating disorder. Diabetics can fast safely but should only do so under a doctor’s supervision

There are 3 types of fasting which we’ll list below. Remember: the best one is the one you think you will stick with! 

The first and most restrictive fasting is alternate day fasting. Every other day, you refrain from consuming any calories. To do this you must stay well hydrated with water or caffeine free tea. 

Modified fasting is about consuming less food instead of none at all. Think about 25% of your normal intake. 500 calories of a normal 2000 calorie diet. You can schedule this like alternate day fasting, or try the more popular schedule of 5 days off then 2 days fasting.

 The easiest and least restrictive is time restricted eating. This puts your eating window at one 8-hour window per day. If you do the math, that’s 16 hours food free. This method is easier for those with families. It’s best to have your eating window earlier in the day, but do what works for you!

Red flags to watch out for when fasting:

Excessive weight loss, especially if you’re already at a healthy weight. 

Feeling light-headed or dizzy.

Feeling foggy or like you can’t think straight. 

These are all signs from your body telling you that you need to break your fast and eat. As long as you are paying attention to your body and successfully getting sufficient nutrients, fasting can be refreshing, safe and beneficial. So if you feel it’s for you, go for it!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Revamp Your Kitchen: 4 Easy Solutions to Update Outdated Cabinets

kitchen in newly constructed luxury home

Spend some time looking at homes and you’ll likely see a wide variety of cabinet styles out there. Kitchens have seen many trends since the 1920s, from the avocados and oranges of the mid-1900s to the stark white melamines of the 1980s. While these looks may have seemed innovative in their time, today they date a kitchen, lowering a home’s value and contrasting starkly with modern appliances and cookware.

The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to update your kitchen. Even small changes to your cabinetry can transform your space, giving you many years of enjoyment. Best of all, a kitchen remodeling project will likely make a big difference in the overall value of your home. Here are four things you can do without taking out a home remodeling loan.

Paint the Doors

A fresh coat or two of paint can do wonders for even the most dated cabinets. For best results, remove one of your cabinet drawers and take it to a local paint shop for advice. The paint type you choose will largely depend on the type of raw material you’re working with. You’ll need primer and either a water- or oil-based paint, as well as the tools you’ll need to remove cabinet doors, prop them up to paint and dry, and paint them effectively.

Change the Doors

A slightly more expensive option is to change the cabinet doors. You can try to match your existing cabinetry or paint everything to match. One refreshing change you can make to match current trends is to replace your old cabinets with those including glass. You’d be surprised how much glass cabinet doors can brighten up your décor. The only downside is that you’ll have to keep your cabinets clean and well organized, since the world will be able to see what’s behind the door.

Add Veneer

Veneering your cabinets can be time consuming but you can reface them easily with peel-and-stick veneer. It’s important to shop around for high-quality options, since peel-and-stick veneer has progressed significantly in recent years. Whether you choose peel-and-stick options or to apply the glue yourself, be sure you measure twice and cut once to avoid costly mistakes.

Replace with Shelving

Open shelving is popular in kitchens, especially when installed in combination with traditional cabinetry. Don’t feel that you have to keep all of your cabinets. Part of your remodeling project could include removing a section or two of your kitchen cabinets and replacing them with shelving. These shelves could be used to hold cookbooks, knickknacks or even dishes and cookware. With a little creativity, you can make your kitchen both functional and attractive.

If your kitchen is a reminder of a decorating era long past, it’s time to take a look around and see what you can do to update it. Even on a limited budget, you can improve your cabinets and boost the value of your home. Whether you plan to sell someday or enjoy your home for many years, the improvements will be well worth it.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Getting Through Another Chicago Winter!

Unhappy doodle boy in a warm jacket, scarf and coat walks through a blizzard and snowfall

Now that the Holiday Season is behind us, it’s time for Chicagoans to get through another Chicago winter by attending weekend winter events that have been planned for us!  Here’s what’s scheduled for this weekend.

Is one of your New Year’s goals to travel more?  Well, it just so happens that the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Hall F) located at 5555 North River Road in Rosemont will be hosting the 19th annual Chicago Travel & Adventure Show this weekend.  The event features four theaters on the show floor where you can learn the latest top travel tips, advice, and trends from travel experts across the globe at over 60 travel seminars; discover thousands of the newest vacation options from more than 250 of the top destinations, cruise lines, travel providers, and tour companies; and have access to major travel discounts, trip giveaways, and exclusive show-only deals.  Get ready to pack your bags and achieve your goal!

Is buying a boat one of your New Year’s goals?  Guess what?  The Discover® Boating Chicago Boat Show has sailed into McCormick Place South (2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop this weekend to welcome both boat enthusiasts and newcomers to discover why life is better on the water.  This gigantic expo features a wide selection of the latest power boats, yachts, pontoons and more; an abundance of must-see attractions; and fun features for all ages that includes a paddle sports pool at the Discover Boating Beach Club, a new Bumper Boats pool, and more.  Remember, it’s never too early to explore and plan your next boating adventure for the upcoming summer season!

As we await Opening Day of our baseball season at the Friendly Confines, which is still a few months away, this weekend brings us the 37th Cubs Convention to the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk (301 E. North Water St.) in the Streeterville neighborhood.  As usual, this convention brings together the fans, players, legends, and the front office for a day filled with festivities and special experiences.  Your unforgettable winter weekend event includes panel discussions, player meet and greets, autograph sessions, interactive exhibits, Cubs Authentics auctions, Cubs Bingo – a fan-favorite, and much more.  Plus, if you’re a season ticket holder, there’s more exclusive experiences for you!

Are you a fan of scavenger hunts?  It just so happens that Watson Adventures will be hosting its Twisted Science Scavenger Hunt this Saturday (2 p.m.-4 p.m.) at the Museum of Science & Industry (57th St. and Lake Shore Dr.) in the Hyde Park neighborhood.  All that’s required is for you to follow some clever clues and answer some tricky, humorous questions.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to win.  You just need a set of sharp eyes and great teamwork as you explore many of the museum’s crazy, amazing, and amusing sights and facts!  Please note that advance ticket purchase is required.

It’s time again for the 2nd annual NA Day this Saturday at the Loft on Lake (1366 W. Lake St.) in the West Loop.  You ask, “What is NA Day?”  It’s Chicago’s Non-Alcoholic tasting event!  There will be two sessions:  12 p.m.-2 p.m. or 3 p.m.-5 p.m.  This event is mirrored after a traditional craft beer fair or wine festival where a wide variety of non-alcoholic beers, wines, and spirits will be showcased by big-name brands such as Ritual Zero Proof, Liquid Death, and others.  You know, Non-Alcoholic drinks are quickly becoming the latest growing sector of the beverage industry!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Chicago Loop’s Medieval Torture Museum

Medieval torture chamber with stocks and trunk of the executioner

“Enter the minds of fanatics, madmen, and murderers, and discover the world’s most detailed collection of confinement and torture devices.”

Medieval Torture Museum website

If. You. Dare.

Now that we’re in the doldrums of winter, it’s time to shake up your life with new adventures, new resolutions, and most importantly, new experiences!

For a memorable January 2024, I can’t think of anything more interesting than learning about medieval torture. Especially when it comes complete with interactive exhibits, gory heads and twisted devices from many centuries ago. 


  • How to ride a ‘Wooden Horse?’
  • What country used a ‘Bloody Eagle’ as a means of execution?
  • What the ‘Cradle of Judah’ is?

You can find the answers, and so much more, at the bizarre, twisted, macabre, and delightfully informative Medieval Torture Museum. Located in a building connected to the Chicago Theater at 177 N. State Street, it’s the largest interactive museum of its kind in the U.S., and was inspired by museums in Europe that allow visitors to experience “the emotional side of the torture chamber,” according to a Chicago Readerprofile.

“Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”

The idea of creating a museum where visitors could feel the emotional side of the torture chamber, according to Wikipedia sources, was inspired by a visit to the torture museum in the Czech Republic, where “there was only old, dilapidated equipment that was exhibited behind glass.”

As the Chicago Loop Alliance notes, the Museum’s curators based their exhibits on historical documents and engravings. A team of scientists, historians, decorators and sculptors have worked on creating a unique collection consisting of several hundred pieces filling more than 6,000-square feet.

The first museum opened in St. Augustine, Florida in 2019. In the fall of 2021, Chicago became the second location for the Museum, having amassed an unprecedented collection of cruelty, re-creating the atmosphere that prevailed throughout most of the Middle Ages.

Kid n’ Play

While you can play the role of ‘executioners’ and ‘victims.’ sit in the ‘spiked chair of inquiries,’ pose in a “barrel for drunkards,” or weigh yourself on special scales.  There, you can determine if you too heavy to be deemed a witch!

You can also try on the aforementioned ’Spanish boot,’ stand in the pillory, and drown a witch in a barrel of water.

Fun, Medieval style! 

Not surprisingly, the Medieval Torture Museum has rules…. it’s not recommended for kids under 18 without an adult. Also, children under the age of 10 are admitted free of charge as long as they are accompanied by a dedicated adult (1 adult to 1 child). They are open Monday – Thursday, 10am-8pm, and Friday – Sunday, 10am-9pm. For tickets and more information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo in River North still delivers!

Traditional Mexican Woven Basket, Chili Peppers, Avocado and Traditional Traditional Rustic Clay Jarritos Jug on Mexican Floral Background

While many of Chef Rick Bayless contemporaries have ridden off into the sunset, the ‘Top Chef’ Master continues to turn out authentic, fresh, original Mexican cuisine, earning praise from Michelin, writing cookbooks, hosting TV shows with his daughter (PBS’s “Mexico, One Plate at a Time,’) and overseeing seven highly rated restaurants. 

It has to help that Bayless’ first two restaurants, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, stand side by side in River North. Less travel!

How it all began

Bayless started in 1987 with the casual Frontera Grill which earned James Beard Foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, in 2007, via their website.  The Michelin-starred Topolobampo served its first meals in 1991, and earned the Beard Foundation’s award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2017 — a unprecedented feat for side-by-side restaurants.  

Topolo, as it’s nicknamed, presents Mexican cuisine “through a contemporary, fine-dining lens, while bringing vibrant excitement and adventure that is sure to enchant even the most experienced culinary travelers.”

Topolobampo is run by Bayless’ veteran Chef de Cuisine Meagan O’Connor and Pastry Chef Jennifer Enyart, both of whom have accompanied Chef Rick Bayless throughout Mexico.

Today: A Six-Course Tasting Menu 

Right now, Topolobampo is featuring a six-course tasting menu. Start with Betabel, Jamón, Calamondin, which features Chef Meagan’s famous chewy beets, Gunthorp 3-year-aged ham, Jamaica-braised fennel, local jicama, calamondin-peanut dressing, and finger limes.

The tasting continues with Tetela, Mole Verde Oaxaqueño, which is crispy, two-tone triangular tetala (blue & white corn masa), Chiapas doble crema cheese filling, Oaxacan green mole (tomatillo, hoja santa, porcini broth), braised beauty heart radish, charred rooftop baby turnips, and Bayless garden herbs.

The third tasting course is Caldo de Mariscos Lujoso, which pairs smoked monkfish cheeks with razor clam, Louisiana lump crab, chayote, guajillo-tomato broth with epazote (Mexican tea.)

You may want to stop, but remember…they’ve been doing this over 30 years, and very successfully! Your fourth tasting course is Barbacoa de Borrego, a slow-cooked Gunthorp lamb barbacoa (red chile adobo, avocado leaf), grilled lamb loin, classic Oaxacan black beans with asiento (pig lard), and chile mixe salsa.

By the fifth course, you may be slowing down, but take time to savor Queso, Fruta & Buñuelo, a walnut-crusted, savory cheesecake (with Topolobampo’s exclusive Bola Roja aged goat cheese), braised quince, “ponche” gelatinas, and crispy buñuelo de viento with piloncillo drizzle.

And finally, as we always say when it’s warranted “Save room for dessert!” Chocolate, Mole Negro pairs Rompope mousse with cacao-espresso crumble, Mexican cacao nib ice cream, bittersweet chocolate pudding, and Oaxacan black mole. 

The experts speak 

Google reviews were mostly gushy.

“Exceptional. We attended Topolobambo for the first time for their Day of the Dead menu. From the service to the wine selection to the tasting menu, every aspect of the experience was phenomenal. We were thrilled to see Rick Bayless present and speaking with patrons. Some highlights for us were the Pipian and the (off menu surprise) machaca tacos. Highly recommended.”

Topolobampo is located at 445 N. Clark Street. On Wednesday and  Thursday, their first seating is at 6pm, and their final seating at 8:30pm. Fridays and Saturdays, his first seating at 5:30pm, and the final seating is at 9pm. For reservations, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – New Year-less stuff

Donating Decluttering And Cleaning Up Wardrobe Clothes

So many of us have decluttering as one of our main goals for the New Year. But it can be a daunting task. We want to start out and just get it all done now! You dive in headfirst and then get frustrated quickly. The problem is you don’t have a plan. You must decide your objectives and then make a schedule and a plan of action. 

First thing is to start small. Want to go through your closet? Get yourself 3 decent sized boxes. Designate one as discard, the next as keep, and the last as donate. Next give yourself a time limit. Start with 30 minutes. Anyone can work for 30 minutes, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can do in that short time. Start at one end and work your way through. Be ruthless, no more than 15 seconds to decide where something goes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, gone! This works for clothes in dressers as well. After your 30-minute timer goes off you are done for now. Keep going if you feel like it. Time another 15 minutes. 

The small start works great in the kitchen too. One drawer or a single cabinet at a time does not seem like such a large task. Use the same rule here. Haven’t used a utensil or a pot in a year? Discard or donate! Discriminate when donating. Nobody wants a scratched-up frying pan or chipped dishes. Only donate good usable items. The refrigerator is another big task. One day go through condiments and other things that live in the fridge. Check dates. Next time, pull out everything in the door. Wash all parts in dish soap, rinse and dry before putting back. Next time, the rest of the inside. Do the freezer next, rotating everything and discarding anything older than 6 months. 

Big places like basements and garages can be done the same way. Break down into small areas. Again, give yourself a time limit so you don’t get overwhelmed. These tasks can take several months to complete, that’s ok. It took years to accumulate this stuff so it’s going to take some time to get rid of it. Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago