Home Organization 101: Tackle These Three Zones to Impart Order

 basket of lemons on a shelf showing home organization
Photography by iStock.

Whether you’re a master of tidiness or prefer a more relaxed approach, there’s no denying that finally tackling home organization always feels good. If spring cleaning is on your to-do list, or you just need to declutter after a winter spent indoors, we checked in with organizational gurus Aubry Mayfield and Lauryl Pingel, for a few helpful tips. These BFFs turned owners of Stay Golden Organizing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, assure us that getting your house in order is within reach.

Start small. “Don’t try and organize your entire home all in one day. Start with the junk drawer, and that will get the ball rolling to organize the rest of your space,” Mayfield says. Taking your entire house apart is a sure fire way to scare yourself into stopping, so don’t shy away from taking a piecemeal approach. Even organizing one drawer can make a world of difference!

Identify the problem areas. Narrow down your three biggest problem areas where home organization could help and make a plan to conquer those spaces. Pingel and Mayfield suggest the most common areas that tend to get messy are the pantry, kitchen, and closets. Read on for their plan of attack:

  • The pantry. Because everyone in the family uses this space multiple times a day, Mayfield explains that getting it under control will change the flow of your day. The duo suggests starting off by completely emptying the pantry, checking expiration dates, and donating food that you know you won’t eat. Next, Pingel recommends making your pantry a food-only space, and not a catch-all for random items. To take your organization to the next level, measure your shelves and find baskets and bins that will accommodate your space. Finally, place similarly categorized items into each bin, labeling each, so everyone in your household know where things go. 
  • The kitchen. “Kitchens can be like a giant puzzle, so we encourage you to start small and go drawer by drawer, cabinet by cabinet, and declutter,” Pingle and Mayfiled say. Donate items you no longer use or have multiples of and create zones that make sense throughout the space. To keep your newly organized kitchen in check, assess the space every six months to see which items you no longer need or use.
  • Closets. Getting ready every day can be a frustrating process if your closet is a disorganized mess. Organizing your closet and dresser can make your mornings a breeze. “Just like the other spaces, start by pulling out clothing items that don’t fit, are damaged, or you simply aren’t confident wearing,” Pingel says. “We always follow the one-in, one-out method with closets. Anytime you go shopping and bring home a new clothing item, find one item you no longer want or need.” Start creating order by ditching mismatched hangers in favor of those that have a slim profile and grouping clothing by color. Utilize shelf space with labeled baskets for accessories or items you don’t hang.

Get your team on board. Whether it’s children, your partner, or roommates, it’s important to have the support of your cohabitants with home organization. Mayfield and Pingel suggest holding a family or house meeting to explain the new process and detail the benefits of organized spaces. “With children, it’s especially important to show them the labels of shared spaces and teach them the benefits of following the new system,” Mayfield adds. After organizing a pantry, much to their client’s delight, they always recommend giving a child the chore of putting away the groceries after a shopping trip. It becomes a game and a teaching moment. 

Call in the experts. Remember, the professionals are here for a reason. If organizing simply isn’t your thing, or an outside perspective is needed, experts like Pingel and Mayfield are more than happy to come to the rescue. Not only can they problem solve in a pinch, but they actually enjoy the process of bringing order to others. Let them handle the heavy lifting when you’re maxed out on sorting and labeling.

TSG Tip 472 from Aubry Mayfield and Lauryl Pingel, owners of Stay Golden Organizing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stay Golden Organizing appears in The Scout Guide Tulsa.
Need a home organizer in your area? Check out Scouted Home Organizers in West, Midwest, and the Southwest You Should Know About or Scouted Organizers in the Southeast You Should Know About.