UNITED STATES—Keeping things organized is no easy task, but I believe that organization prevents chaos. I would not quite consider myself a neat freak, but uniformity is important to me. The one thing that I cannot abide is a desk that is full of mess. Pens, papers, and any other important materials have to be organized. Having a clean work space is key, but a clean home is also important.

How many people have a drawer in the kitchen where all the mail is literally shoved into? Yep, so do I. Just tossing mail into a drawer without looking at it and keeping the important stuff away from the junk mail is crucial. Lately things have gotten slightly out of hand for me. I have tons of bills and junk mail that need to be shredded and tossed. I keep telling myself that I’m going to do it, but before you know it, I think about it and I become overwhelmed with the thought of how much time it will take.

Sometimes you just have to suffer the boredom and tediousness that comes with doing the same thing over and over and over again. It teaches a person discipline. If I learn my lesson the first time, I won’t allow my bills and junk mail to get out of hand. While organization with mail and bills help keep finances in place, you also have to think about all that unnecessary junk that you have in your home.

Cleaning out the closet, the pantry, the basement, the garage and attic are important parts of keeping your home inviting. Tackling things like coats, shoes and apparel is no easy task. We may have emotional ties to many of those items, but those emotional ties can continue to build and build until you have no more space.

For clothing that you can no longer wear, donate it to a local shelter or give the items to someone who might truly need it. If it’s something beyond repair, you have to toss it. Utilizing totes as crates for shoes is the perfect way to keep clutter from the closets and to also prevent those accidents where adults trip over the kids’ shoes.

When it comes to your closet, it’s all about ridding yourself of those items that haven’t been worn in weeks or months. If you haven’t worn an item in over a year, there is a good chance that you will not wear that item again, no matter how much you tell yourself otherwise. A clean bedroom translates to a clean closet, and the effect carries over into the pantry, as well as other rooms in the home.

The basement, the attic and garage can be challenging places, as they tend to house creepy crawlers that most of us would like to ignore. If you have old appliances, recycle them. If you have tools that are no longer working, get rid of them. If you have family mementos haphazardly taking up space, find a place where they can safely be stored. With the basement, remember that flooding is always a possibility. If that is the case, it would be wise to avoid storing valuable things in a place where a disaster can happen at any time.

What you discover by becoming savvy to the rules of organization is that it has an impact on your life. It can help decrease stress levels and alleviate that pressure of having to do something that has been years in the making. Organization is a team building exercise; it helps get the wheels moving in a direction to prevent clutter and hoarding, which has become a major problem for more Americans than we suspect.