We've all got 'em. Whether it's Dwell, Architectural Digest or This Old House, there is some publication out there with the home of your dreams. And in those pictures it's pristine - tidy, gleaming, with fresh flowers in every room. Dreamy. But seriously, only in your dreams is your house going to look like that for more than about seven minutes.

Having the home you want has as much to do with setting realistic goals as with painting, reupholstering or digging a fire pit. If you're feeling overwhelmed with clutter and disorganization, I encourage you to think about what you'd like to experience in the house you live in right now. A house that holds your current furniture, your muddy dog, your rambunctious children, your messy partner, your mismatched dinnerware, your dog-eared paperbacks. 

When we're feeling unhappy with our current reality, it's tempting to envision a brand new reality. But you're far more likely to reach your goals if they are, well, achievable. I ask my clients to answer three questions before we start to work together.

  • What’s the biggest challenge you face in feeling happy in your home?

  • On a scale from 1-10, how important is it to you to overcome that challenge?

  • How would solving this problem impact your life?

When you are clear about what is causing you distress, you can tackle that problem. You may even solve it! I myself have been guilty of thinking that I'd rather burn my house down than clean and reorganize it. But actually clearing out the clutter and tightening up the organization has been a much better solution.

Once you've gotten your home into a condition that no longer causes you stress, you will have a lot more energy for upgrading and redecorating. I'm not saying that you won't continue to drool over those glossy magazines, but wouldn't it be nicer to do that from a place of liking you home than of hating it?