We have lived in our house for six years now. During that time, we’ve gone from one child to three, plus a dog. We’ve got more stuff than we know what to do with. We bring it in and we just don’t move it out. Oh, how we long to live clutter-free!

Someday I’ll miss the noise, the mess and the chaos. In the meantime, I strive for balance and seek guidance in managing the mess.

Enter Peggy Kinsey, owner of My Time is Your Time. She assures me it’s possible to conquer the clutter without moving out of your house and starting from scratch (which I often propose to my husband). Start with these ideas to find your balance:

1. What’s your vision for the area you want to organize? Will that junk room become a welcoming guest retreat? Do you want to rediscover your kitchen countertops? Perhaps you want a manageable playroom.

2. When you’re deciding what goes and what stays, ask yourself: “Do I Like It, Love It, Need It, Want It?” Is “It” adding anything positive to your life? Did you even remember you had “It?”

 

3. Generally, things fall into three categories: Keep It, Donate It, Trash It. Donate as much as possible to local charities.

4. A simple rule for those “Keep It” items: “Like Items Together.” It doesn’t matter what area you’re organizing, the rule applies.

5. Don’t spend a lot of money on the latest organizing products. “Too many clients start the process purchasing containers and bins and never use them because they never complete the organizing project. Any container will work while sorting and tossing,” Kinsey says.

6. If you start to feel overwhelmed, don’t get discouraged. Remember you didn’t become disorganized overnight and you won’t become organized in a few hours. Instead of looking at the project as a whole, break it down into more manageable steps. If you are organizing your kitchen, focus on the pantry by getting rid of items that are expired and grouping “like items together.”

Don’t wait to get started. Pick a room and just do it. When you’ve worked hard at organizing something, you’ll want to keep it that way. It can also save time and money, because you won’t buy things you already have but are unable to find.

Kinsey adds, “less stress and frustration makes more time for doing the things you love with the people you love. Isn’t that what life is really about?” Yes it is.

About the author: Simri Davis lives in McKinney with her husband and three young children.