I've been selling things with great success and the kitchen is looking much better for it. The hutch I hated is finally gone for good (donated) and I've been able to shove things around to make the room a little more functional while we're still in the process of improvements.
Saggy old hutch, covered in stuff. I used to have cook books on the somewhat-empty shelf, but pared down my collection and put them in a cabinet in preparation for giving this monstrosity the heave-ho. To the left of it lived our mini-fridge where we store beverages and a 12-bottle wine fridge. To the right of it lived our pile-o-tile and the dog's crate. These things together took up the entire 10.5' wall, pushing our kitchen table that much further out into the middle of the room and basically sucking up 30-ish square feet of our kitchen.
But alas, the hutch is gone :)
Clearly we still have the pile-o-tile, but that is being scheduled for install in the next few weeks so it's fine there for now. I haven't been able to bring myself to take the dog crate out either, mostly because he loves it and hangs out in there so much. I feel like it would be the equivalent of bulldozing his house. I don't want him to feel like I've totally eliminated a space for him in our house, but we really don't have another place on our main level to put his crate. He doesn't stay in it when we leave the house anymore, so it's just his little hangout. Anyway, I plan to move it, just not yet. As for the junk all over the table, it's mostly displaced items waiting to find their new home in the rearrangement of things and/or waiting to be sold/donated. That's just a detail that I don't have time to worry about right now.
My plan is to center the kitchen table on that newly-open wall with a bench along the wall instead of chairs (when the tile and dog crate are gone, it will fit nicely, it's only about half the length of the wall). I'd like to put a nice piece of art up above the table and then some open shelves on either side of that where I can put some books and other decorative/display items. This should make our kitchen look really huge (it is the entire back third of our house) and leave plenty of room for me to add a peninsula beside our dishwasher where our cabinets currently end. It's too close to our sliding door to leave an over-hang for bar stools, but having the extra counter and cabinet space will make it more than worthwhile. We decided not to do that right now because we're not doing our countertops right now, and we definitely want the peninsula in place at the time we install new counters.
Some of the other things we've recently bid
a fond farewell, adieu, good riddance to:
Football-shaped crock pot. A gift we never once used. $20
A set of 3 very pretty casserole dishes that took up TONS of cabinet space and again, we never used. $30
A spice rack full of spices I never used. I realized one day that all the spices I do use are in a cabinet, so why keep spices on the counter and in the cabinet?? Just get rid of the ones I don't use. $20
A non-working wine fridge. It stopped staying cold one day (a long time ago) and someone was willing to take it off our hands. Wohoo!
So the process continues, but we're moving right along. I'm really excited to be sending so much stuff out the door to folks who can actually use it. It's going to make spring cleaning so much more fun! There's just nothing easier to clean than a nice empty room :)