Staying organized: Expert advice from a professional organizer

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, we spend a year of our lives searching for lost items like keys, cell phones, sunglasses or remotes. However, much of that time can be put to good use by simply becoming more organized.

A bright, cheerful playroom full of toys, dolls and books is a popular room at Misty Albright’s home. Albright has four kids who use the room all the time. Albright says the entertainment needs to be paired with organization.

“We just wanted one central place for the kids to play in, so it obviously has the most stuff in it and, obviously, it’s the first thing you see when you walk in our house. I want, when people come over, I want them to feel like our home is welcoming, but I also don’t want them to be hit by crazy,” Albright said.

Albright’s problem is one many people can relate to. “We have too much stuff,” she said.

The Albrights also have too few places to put their belongings. That is why WATE 6 On Your Side brought in professional organizer Chris McKenry, who’s been helping people arrange their homes for 15 years.

“Being organized is not about perfection. It’s about making life simple for you and your family,” McKenry said.

McKenry follows the same simple steps to tackle clutter in any room. The first step tends to be the most difficult.

“The toughest thing is… letting go,” McKenry said.

Gallery: Well-Kept Spaces

McKenry said to make sure you go through every item by taking it all out of a space, sorting through it, then putting it back.

“You can look and say, ‘I know I’ve gotten rid of the things I’m not wearing.’ But if you don’t look at every piece and see the stuff that’s hiding behind the hangers or hiding inside the container, you’re not going to be fully allowed to edit. So, let go of what you no longer love or use or want and that will give you room to work with,” he said.

Another great tip is to keep all similar items in one spot.

“Sorting things by items I think is going to be huge. I definitely want to implement that. That way when [the kids] are looking for a particular item they don’t have to dump out every single bin in the toy room to find it,” Albright said.

From decluttering the kitchen, the garage or pantry, McKenry said color-coding works in any room. Buying inexpensive boxes and shelves helps organize and spruce up a space.

“Just like in the old movie ‘The Sixth Sense,’ instead of seeing dead people I like to look around and see dead space. So, I see a lot of space here that we can probably claim,” McKenry said.

When it seems like you’re done, the mindset must continue.

“If you don’t maintain it, life’s going to keep coming at you,” McKenry said.

For many, organizing seems like a daunting task, but any family can tidy up their space by taking it one step at a time.

“I think it’s definitely something that we can do and incorporate without spending any money, which is perfect for us,” Albright said.

According to McKenry, becoming more organized will make life for Albright and her family easier in the long run. McKenry also said it’s important for families to get kids involved in organizing at a young age by teaching them to put items back in color-coded or labeled boxes.

If you’d like McKenry to come to your home to help organize it, you can reach out to him and visit his website.

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