So far in 2018, you may find yourself feeling bogged down with a lot of 'stuff.'

The clutter may be consuming your drawers, basement, or taking up an entire room.

No matter how much we know we need to tidy up, it can be tough to get started.

Many people have that one catch-all space that just makes them cringe. For Macon designer and "Pet Nanny" Betsy Ballard, it’s her office closet.

“It’s become the place where you open the door and throw everything in and hope it shuts,” says Ballard.

Among all the books and holiday decorations, she decided this year to make a change.

As is often the case with any cleaning job, though, it can be easy to get distracted and leave the job unfinished.

That's why Ballard enlisted the help of Debbie Johnson, a professional organizer with Clearing the Way.

“The main thing is you get overwhelmed. You don’t know where to start,” says Johnson.

Ballard was more prepared to tackle this tidy-up, as this is her second organizing venture with Johnson.

This time last year, she was barely able to find an outfit in her bedroom closet. Now, everything is stored neatly in boxes and folded on shelves.

Transformation of closet clutter

She was even able to fit a vanity inside to give her a more functional space.

Johnson has some tips on how you can accomplish your organizational goals.

1. Give it a time frame. “Put on some good music, she says. "Set a timer for 15 minutes.”

2. Minimize the time spent reminiscing. Johnson often sees childhood art projects or costumes consuming large amounts of space. “Take a picture of it," she suggests. "Shutterfly makes books. You could take those pictures and make a book of all the things, and you’ve still got the memory.”

3. Make the best use of the space you have with bins or hangers. “If you can utilize your walls to put something up here [like] to hang your necklaces so they don’t get all tangled in a drawer, it makes perfect sense.” She says you don't need to buy expensive organizers. Regular hangers can be used for more than clothes, including belts, neckties, or purses.

If you’re struggling with what to keep and what to get rid of, Johnson suggests turning your hangers in the opposite direction. By the end of the season, whatever is still facing the other way is something you clearly don’t wear very much, and you can part with it.

Professional organizer says hangers can be used for more than clothes. You can use them to neatly hang purses, belts, neckties, or necklaces. 

All it takes is small steps to tackle a big job, even if you need a push to get there.

Here are photos from that office closet now. Using clear plastic bins and storage containers, Ballard and Johnson were able to group items together and sort them for easy access. With more space, they could move in a file cabinet. Quite the transformation!

If you missed any of the other days in our Staying on Track series, you can view them below:

Staying on Track: Getting Fit

Staying on Track: Setting diet and workout goals

Staying on Track: Living life to the fullest

Staying on Track: Spending less, saving more