Living With Style: An Organized Home

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Nov 18, 2017 

Recently we decided to invest in new interiors to organize our home’s guest room and office closets, which has gotten me to go through these spaces and to think a lot about organizing one’s life.  I figure I am not the only one who ponders how to simplify and enhance my home with ways to live a more organized life.

With that goal in mind, I’ve given some thought to what we’ve done in the past to work organization into our design plans for clients, as well as a few new ideas I’m thinking of incorporating for my own home this next year:

Kitchen & Pantry

Kitchen & Pantry In Living With Style
Keep kitchen items near the areas you most need them for quick and easy access.—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte
Pantry Doors, Living With Syle
Let pantry doors do double duty as a place for lists and love notes.—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

When organizing this space that most of us use at least twice a day, make sure to think about how you optimally need the space to flow.  You don’t want to run back and forth in the room getting all of the things you need to prepare a meal. 

Keep the items you need at the stove near the stove.  Plates and cups are best stored near the fridge so they are easy to access when we are pulling out the milk or salad.  Simple and easy access is best!

Make sure every item has a planned home.  Use drawer dividers and individual trays.  Dividers above the fridge are great for cutting boards, cookie sheets and serving trays to be able to store them vertically instead of stacked on one another.  This makes for easy breezy access.

Let pantry doors do double duty by using cork board or chalk board paint on the inside surface.  Perfect for leaving messages and grocery lists.  Key hooks here are another great idea because they are visually tucked away, but easy to access.


Organizing Your Closet, Living With Style

Install closet systems that are flexible and can easily be changed out for long or short hanging.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

One of my favorite improvements to my own closet this year was the purchase of jewelry organizers to hang on the doors that open into my closet.  There is now easy access to jewelry that I’d forgotten I had because it was lost in the jewelry drawer of the past! 

I’ve also added hooks to divide all my scarves for easier viewing and to highlight my favorite bags.

One of the main things when designing a closet for optimal storage is flexibility.  It’s best to install a system that can be adjusted even by the season.  For instance, you may need more height in the summer if you wear mostly dresses during this season.  But if you wear skirts and sweaters in the winter, you may want to adjust the space to have two rods to maximize hanging space accordingly.

Use those high up shelves for out of season clothes and invest in containers to protect them in the off season.  The amount of space this frees up to make it possible to see and sort thru current season’s clothing is fabulous!

It’s an often heard fact that we tend to wear 20% of our clothes and most of the rest could certainly be purged.  There are so many great places to donate good clothes – for instance which provides clothes to women who are interviewing for work, but don’t have the budget to go out and purchase brand new clothes for the interviewing process.

Use matching hangers.  I didn’t think this would make such a big difference, but it really does! I just simplified down to the clear ones that often come with purchase. It really does make the whole space look so much tidier!

The Home Office

Organizing Your Home Office, Living With Style

Keep your work area clear by going vertical with office storage.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte
Office Organization With Shelving, Living With Style

Shelves above or behind a desk can hold binders, books and office supplies to keep your work surface clutter free.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Two wonderful things have happened to reduce the space necessary now to have a well-functioning office – Computers have become much more compact in scale and now with Cloud technology, less “stuff” needs to be saved in large quantities of home files.

For storage space that you do need (especially if you still like to collect printed books, as I do, consider going vertical.  Vertical space frees up valuable floor space.  Shelves above or behind a desk can hold binders, books and office supplies, while keeping your work surface more free of clutter.

If you are using decorative boxes or baskets on the shelves to keep office supplies or to archive important paper or photos, make sure to label the front with an easy reference of what’s inside.  This can be done very attractively and there are certainly a lot of great boxes out there for organizing these days. is one of my favorite places to pick up organizational items such as boxes colored in a way that beautifully enhances the space.


And if you are looking for inserts to organize your office’s closets, The Elfa system at the container store is great for its flexibility.  I just had it installed in my home office closet to allow me to store more of my seasonal décor in there, so I won’t need to always crawl up into the attic.

And, of course, I am using colored containers to easily spot what containers are storing which season’s goodies.  Black plastic containers store Halloween, Christmas is in red, and so on.

The Garage

Keeping Time With An Hour Glass, Living With Style

Consider getting an hour glass to use to measure time you set aside for organizing.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Well, this is currently the least organized space in our own home but the intention is good to get this ship shape this year!

We are deciding what items will need to be accessible at all times and what items can be located up higher in longer term storage.

There are so many great storage shelving units available these days.  Some of my favorites are deep shelves that can be located up high enough to not impact car space, but still easy enough to access with a step ladder.  This is especially great for items you might bring down just once a year — like holiday décor.

Separating things into “zones” is also an especially great idea in the garage!  Tools, sports equipment, garden supplies…  They can each have their own room within a room, when possible.

Invest in containers of the same color for each of these zones.  For instance, all of the garden supplies could be in green containers, while the tools are housed in blue.  And don't forget to label;  What a great invention the P-Touch has been!

Lastly – a random, but fabulous, idea from one of our clients.  She purchased a 15 minute sand hourglass and has been using it each evening as a timer for her organizing, going thru one shelf or drawer before the blue sand settles into the bottom of the glass each evening.  I love this idea!  When she is done with her organizing, it’ll be a lovely accessory to keep on her shelf.

I wish you and I both great success in our organizing endeavors!  Here’s to simplicity, less clutter and more beauty that inspires!

Sasha Witte can be reached at Sasha Witte Design or (562) 434-8824.

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