Image: Luc Melanson

Marie Kondo is definitely onto something. According to a study conducted by UCLA’s Center on Everyday Lives of Families (CELF), messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Fortunately, unlike other stressors, clutter is one of the easiest to fix. Getting your home or workplace in check is just a click away, thanks to several local experts. 

Sisters Ann Martin and Kris Hanaman at Get Organized (G|O) (435.655.1687, getorganizedpc.com) suggest asking three simple questions when going through the purging process: Do you use it? Do you love it? Do you need it?

“For most people, the challenge is not knowing what to do with something, but you don’t want to get rid of it. So you toss it in a drawer or closet or garage, and next thing you know, you have this accumulation of things,” says Hanaman. “But once you click into that [question] mode, the process goes quickly.”

For those items you’re unwilling to part with, Hanaman and Martin employ a technique they call “the stewpot.” Stewpot items are put into clear containers and stored where easily seen. If items aren’t used within six months, you have your answer: It’s time for the stewpot to go.

“The biggest misconception is that a professional organizer will make you get rid of your things,” says Michelle Powell of Spruce Organizing (435.602.9269, spruceorganizing.com). “The trick is not only to put stuff away, but also to have the space to put it away.”

And for that ever-growing collection of mountain-life gear, Lorin Paley at Real Adventures Design (970.367.7504, realadventuredesign.com) creates racks for bikes, skis, boots, helmets, gloves, and more. With a nod to sustainability—she uses aspen wood from nearby deadfall areas, for one thing—her system gives all those playthings a place. “Think of the flow of the space, how you’re going to move through it, and which part of your gear you’re going to grab first,” Paley advises.

The key is making organization a part of your routine, says Spruce’s Powell. “Like anything, it’s a time factor, and you have to schedule it—put it on your calendar. Organizing can seem painful and overwhelming, but once you do it, it’s incredibly liberating.” 

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