"STYLE Savvy: Winning At Whac-a-Mole" by Lisa Hess (CatholicMom.com) Via Pixabay (2015), CC0 Public Domain.

Most of the time, I'm okay with the fact that organizing is a process.

Other times, I become frustrated and feel as though I'll never be finished. There will always be some task, some pile or some list lying in wait. These are the days that for every item that has a home, four others pop up, waiting to be put "where they belong" -- wherever that is.

It's like playing Whac-a-Mole.

The ebb and flow of items into (and, one hopes, out of) our homes makes this process inevitable. Ideally, the addition and the subtraction occur simultaneously, but often, in the rush of excitement over something new -- or, perhaps, just in a rush in general -- we're reluctant to get rid of something old.

Sometimes it's easy. When we get a new refrigerator or a new sofa, the old one goes out, even before the new one comes in, creating space and making the whole change worthwhile.

But with smaller things, things like clothing, notebooks and pots and pans, we sometimes keep the old one around even after we've found its replacement -- you know, "just in case"-- a habit that only prolongs the process and contributes to the feeling that this game of getting organized is one that never ends.

Certain styles are more prone to this than others. I love stuff folks are notorious for attaching sentimental value to things the rest of us can discard with relative ease, and I know I put it somewhere and cram and jam organizers can stash things away so well they don't realize they have duplicates in the first place. I love to be busy people may have less trouble with the inclination to discard than finding the time to actually do it, while drop and run organizers and those with an I need to see it style may find the need to thin the always-in-view piles more obvious.

[tweet "Finding balance between keeping and tossing is key to the #organizing process. By @L2Hess"]

No matter your style, finding the balance between buying and selling, keeping and tossing and replacing and removing is a key part of the organizing process. The simplest way to keep this particular machine oiled is to get into the habit of making an even exchange -- when something new comes in, something old goes out. Ideally, the items take up approximately the same amount of space (no fair bringing in a sofa and tossing out a pair of pants), but they don't have to be identical.

While this won't change the fact that organizing is an ongoing process, it will accomplish two other things: it'll keep things under control in a small way, and it will give you practice for getting rid of things in a big way.

And, as a payoff, you might even get a peek at the most valuable of all organizational real estate.

Empty space.

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess