Q: Why is it that when a person moves into a house, it can’t ever stay as nice as the real estate photos that lured them in the first place? I’m so inspired by those beautiful photos of apartments and houses up for sale. There’s no clutter anywhere. How can I keep my place as neat?

A: We all deal with fighting clutter every time we walk through the door. How many times do you actually enter your own home empty-handed? We’ve got stuff from our own handbag, backpack, our keys and phone, not to mention the mail, groceries, or other treasures from the day. Then there’s whatever we need to shed to get comfortable, like our shoes, jacket, sunglasses, a leash for the dog. The clutter struggle is real!

As far as those nice new home photos, here is a little not-so-secret truth you probably know. Those houses are not like that all the time. They’re staged professionally to look as inviting as possible, to sell a desirable lifestyle. And these photos work incredibly well, even for the most savvy house buyers.

Take inspiration from those photos by using them to make a de-cluttering Vision Board of a more organized lifestyle for yourself.

Start by considering the path you take from the front door and prioritize the rooms you see daily. The entryway, or that end of the counter -- you know what I’m talking about – is a notorious collection area for both things we need every day and things we simply can’t decide what to do with. Get rid of or find a different place for the items you don’t use often. Then think about what kind of storage works best for you -- baskets, drawers or shelves? Maybe all you need is a bigger bowl for your keys.

Create new habits. Try very hard to handle items only once -- from the door to where they belong. Put away groceries and laundry immediately. File, shred or recycle the mail before you even set it down. Do dishes quickly after you eat, because dealing with dirty dishes is a very easy way to de-clutter your kitchen. And keep only the products you use in the bathroom. Toss out those samples and makeup in the wrong scent or color. Do you really need all those extra travel-size bottles and spare toothbrushes?

And keep those inspirational photos in a place you can see them every day. Compare to your home the kitchen and bathroom, and ask yourself: What is one item you can remove from each place?

Have a design dilemma? Jennifer Adams is an award-winning designer, TV personality and author of the books Love Coming Home: Transform Your Environment. Transform Your Life. and How High Can You Soar – 8 Powers to Lift You to Your Full Potential. Send your questions to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com or for more design ideas, visit Jennifer’s blog on her website at www.jenniferadams.com.