Organization Ideas

Conquer the clutter with these clever and creative ideas

Ultimate pantry organization

Stylish pantries are sweeping the internet and dominating design-inspiration sites like Houzz and Pinterest. According to a Houzz editor Victoria Harrison in the Daily Mail, “Kitchens and storage are both huge search terms on Houzz, and when you combine the two, you get the biggest kitchen trend of the moment — pantry cupboards.” The trend is being fueled by cooking buffs posting photos of their swoon-worthy pantries and their tips for storage and design. Whether it is converting a cupboard into a pantry, renovating to include a dedicated room or modifying an armoire, DIYers and designers have made pantries one of the top searches.

How to prepare and maintain the space so that you can fulfill all your baking potential.

Get on the right level 

Organize heavy items such as mixers on a shelf that’s just the right height for use so you don’t have to stretch up or bend down to access them. Lightweight grocery items like sugar and flour could be kept up high, and items you don’t use often (or food you want the kids to be able to grab themselves) can be kept lower down.

Clearly see everything 

Floor to ceiling open shelving is popular as it’s a practical way to store lots of items whilst also being an easy way to take stock of all supplies. The shallower the shelves, the less likely you are to lose things toward the back. Pale wood interiors are used in pantries on Houzz as they can help cut down on dark corners.

Group items together 

For bakers in a rush, a clever organization tip is to keep all ingredients and decorations together in a single basket to make them easy to grab and store.

Keep Em Separated

Becky Fazzini of Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana offers these tips for pantry organization.

Use canisters Inexpensive plastic clear containers are perfect for storage. Keep your flour, sugar, cereals, etc. in them. Not only does it keep them fresher, but you can easily find what you’re looking for and know when you are getting low. Be sure you label each container so you don’t use the wrong product by mistake.

Use separate shelves Keeping like items on separate shelves will help you find items easier and to take inventory. All of your canned goods on one shelf, baking products on another, etc.

Keep like items together Put all like items together. For example, on your canned goods shelf, put all your canned beans together, all your canned soups together, etc.

Rotate When you bring in new groceries, always rotate. Move the older items forward and place the new items in the back. This will help with throwing out expired products before you had the chance to use them.

CLEAN Energy • Getting organized has the ability to give you an energy boost, according to WebMD. If you’re feeling a slight slump in your day and can’t seem to shake it, try organizing the space around you.

Organize your home or office

January is the perfect time to clear out and rearrange

Story by Lisa D’Arienzo

Lisa D’Arienzo is a home organization consultant. She relocated to Hilton Head Island in March from Atlanta and lives in Port Royal Plantation with her husband. She started her home organization consulting business, Your Space Manager, to share her passion and talent for creating clutter-free, functional spaces and interior decorating. For more information, call 678-983-0153, email or find her on Facebook at

Organizing your home or office can be overwhelming. Many people put off tackling the clutter because they do not know where to start; for others, there is a fear of parting with items they are attached to or with which they feel a sentimental connection. There are strategies to overcome these hurdles and professionals who specialize in helping clients through the process. January is “Get Organized” month and it is the perfect time to reduce the clutter in your home spaces. You will minimize stress and achieve more efficient routines just by clearing out the excess and rearranging items in your spaces.

If you need more guidance, consulting with a Home Organizer may be a better way to help you get control of your chaos and clutter. A Home Organizer is a “coach” who will walk you through the process and transfer organizing skills to you. This is the key to maintaining your newly transformed spaces. Below are a few tips to get you on your way to clutter-free, stress-free spaces.

HAPPY PLACE • A study conducted from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found people with cluttered homes, or homes filled with unfinished projects, were more depressed, fatigued and had higher cortisol levels then their counterparts who described their homes as restful and restorative.

Tip 1: Tackle one space at a time

As with any task, dividing it into smaller steps makes it less daunting. Instead of looking around your kitchen and feeling completely overwhelmed, choose one focus area. For example, the pantry could be your starting point. Often, we keep dry goods well past expiration dates or boxes of almost empty cereal that are stale. The pantry, when organized efficiently, will provide quick access to your daily used items and great storage for those occasionally used ingredients. As you set your attention to this one space, it is important to keep in mind that other spaces may contain items that could be consolidated; that is, if you keep some spices in the pantry and others in a spice rack near your cooking area, you should plan to group the items together and ultimately achieve the most functional location.

Tip 2: Establish a staging area

Now that you have a target-space to begin the organization process, choose a staging area. This could be a counter, table, or even the floor. Use three sticky notes and write “Keep,” “Gone,” and “Relocate” on them. Place the sticky notes evenly spaced in your staging area. Start removing items from the target-space and place each in one of the three categories. Staying with the pantry example, you would put anything with an expired date in the “Gone” pile (you may even want to have a large trash bag handy); spices could go in the “Relocate” grouping; and, flour can stay in the “Keep” section. Repeat until you have touched every item in the target-space. This is a great way to discover duplicates and get random items in a more logical place.

Tip 3: Declutter

For many, decluttering is the most stressful step when trying to organize. Consulting with a Home Organizer eases this anxiety and often helps clients identify the source of the stress. If you decide to organize on your own, gather a few large boxes or bins and trash bags. Grab the sticky notes again and write “Donate” and “New Home.” The previously designated “Gone” pile should go immediately into a trash bag or the “Donate” box (Note: unopened, non-expired food items could be donated to a local food bank. If you are working in your kitchen drawers, surplus utensils could be donated.) Consider purging some of the “Relocate” grouping – for example, if you have several coffee mugs, remove any with chips or stains and keep only a matching set. Either donate the others or toss if they are damaged. Continue this cycle until every item in your sorting area is now reassigned to the large boxes, trash, or “Keep” area.

Tip 4: Group the “Keep” category

You are well on your way to a more efficient and better functioning space. Time to group similar “Keep” items and put them in the appropriate place. Using the pantry example, you would group all cereals, canned goods, bottled products (oils, vinegars, unopened salad dressings, etc.), and so on. Small clear containers, baskets, or bins are great during this phase to store packets, bags of beans, rice or lentils, protein bars, etc. (An over-the-door shoe holder works well for keeping small items contained and easily accessible!) Arrange your newly grouped items by frequency of use to save time and increase efficiency.

Tip 5: Label

The last step in the initial organization is to label. A Home Organizer will bring her label machine to provide a uniform look to the decluttered space. If you do not have one, consider purchasing or buy chalkboard-type stickers or file labels. The label system is essential in making sure everyone in your home knows where to return an item after use.

Pat yourself on the back and admire your accomplishment. You tackled a space and now have an organized functional pantry. Now you are ready to move to the next target area in your kitchen. Remember, you may still have a “Relocate” grouping from the pantry that needs a new home. Chances are these items belong in a cupboard, drawer, or counter.

Tip 6: Maintenance

One of the most important advantages to working with a Home Organizer is learning the skills to maintain the newly organized home spaces. She can set up systems specific to your needs. For instance, some clients prefer monthly checklists, while others need only calendar reminders. One strategy is to always use the something old, something new rule. If you bring home a new pair of shoes, donate an old pair. This prevents the clutter accumulation. Or, a calendar reminder every quarter will alert you to check expiration dates on pantry goods. Whatever the method, it is necessary to maintain the organized space in order to reduce clutter and stress while increasing efficiency.

Take advantage of Get Organized month, especially after acquiring more stuff during the holidays. Maybe you set a goal of one space per week or month, or perhaps you feel more comfortable consulting with a Home Organizer to guide you through the process. Either way, you will feel a sense of calm once you have decluttered and will have more free time because your spaces function better.

Bedroom organization ideas

Lost in the clutter of chaos that is your bedroom? Use these easy tips from local experts to organize and tidy up your space in no time.

Get a Murphy bed

Make the most of your space by adding a Murphy bed to your den or guest room. After your guests leave, simply push the bed back into the wall and enjoy your extra space!

— Bart Strong, Closets by Design


Get a docking drawer

People love the freedom and energy of an organized environment. Storing things properly is about creating a home for your things so that minimal effort is required to find them and put them away. As we are acquiring more devices to reduce the need for piles of paper and to up our game, we need them charged and hidden from sight.

Try a docking drawer in your closet, home office or pantry to keep them charged and concealed. Oh, and the shoes. Incorporate shoe storage in you closets along with shelves and hanging to reduce clutter and make an easy selection to perfect that outfit.

— Nancy Schmitz, Signature Cabinetry and Closets of the Low Country


3 hot design trends for 2019

[1] Rich jewel tones like emerald green and dark teal create drama against white architectural elements.

[2] Boldly patterned backsplashes, whether through the use of daring color or graphic tile, create excitement and functionality.

[3] Sustainable, handmade pieces and natural or reclaimed materials create grounding elements in a home.

— Melissa Mitag, J. Banks Design


Install some built-ins

Built-in cabinets and drawers in closets eliminate the need to buy a dresser or armoire, especially if you have a flat-screen TV that you can mount on the wall in your bedroom. This is such a space-saver. Organize your closet by type and then color. Casual clothing in one area; dresses in another; jackets and coats in a separate area. For accessory storage, pull-out baskets or tilt-out hampers are a great way to keep things hidden. Also, valet rods are fabulous. They can be tucked away and telescope out so you can hang your clothes on them for the next day.

— Dena Brown, Closets by Design

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