The Best Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks We Learned From Pro Organizer Nikki Boyd

Get your house all organized—and keep it that way—with these easy-to-follow tips.

For each area of the 2021 Real Simple Home, we paired an editor "client" with each home pro to identify the goals for the space. Home organizing expert Nikki Boyd and our digital deputy editor, Jennifer Davidson, are joining forces to design and organize the pantry and closets throughout the home. Although these finished spaces and the entire 2021 Real Simple Home won't be revealed until September 17, the pair is giving as a sneak peek at their upcoming organization plan. Use these storage ideas to wrangle your own clutter, then check back soon for the big reveal.

Meet the Dream Team:

Nikki Boyd
Courtesy of Nikki Boyd/Abby Murphy Photography

Nikki Boyd, Author of Beautifully Organized

We fell in love with her organized drawers (which she shared in the February 2021 issue), so we had to find out what smart strategies she'd suggest for the Real Simple Home.

Jennifer Davidson
Courtesy of Jen Davidson

Jennifer Davidson, Deputy Editor

Web wizard by day, supermom of twin teen boys by night, Jennifer would like to keep her home clean without constantly getting on someone's case.

The Goal

Jennifer wants a functional system that can be easily maintained by guests and family members (OK, mostly her sons).

The Challenge

It can be tough to find methods that work for each space and are fuss-free enough for every family member to stick to.

Kitchen Pantry
Courtesy of Nikki Boyd/Christopher Shane

The Design Plan

1. Create Zones

To keep a pantry or closet in tip-top shape, label shelves (rather than individual containers) so everyone knows where each bin, basket, or cookie box goes. In drawer-style freezers, "file" food in reusable bags or arrange items by category in separate bins.

2. Go Micro

Make sure game day doesn't kick off with a wild goose chase. Nikki suggests that sports fans (or athletes) devote a drawer or bin to all their gear—from jerseys to foam fingers.

3. Stay Close

Store items near where you use them. For example, keep all your clothing care and repair tools (like safety pins, stain sticks, and steamer) in your laundry room.

Shop The Inspiration

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

1. Invest in Transparent Bins

Decant packaged food into clear containers so you know when it's time to replenish. There's nothing worse than reaching into an empty snack box! ($20;

Stasher Reusable Silicone Sandwich Bag

2. Switch to More Sustainable Sandwich Bags

Stock up on resealable bags in various sizes that can be used to hold everything from trail mix to sandwiches. ($18;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

3. Corral the Chaos

Rather than let items float on the shelves, use sturdy storage bins to hold cereal boxes, cake mixes, and more. Bonus points for bins with stylish blue and white stripes. ($48;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

4. Order Adjustable Drawer Bins

To keep small items organized and easy to reach, invest in a set of shallow drawer bins. Depending upon where you use them, they can hold everything from twist ties and extra utensils in the pantry, to stain sticks in the linen closet. ($16;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

5. Install Shelf Labels

Attach pretty label holders to your shelves and swap out the tags as the stuff you store changes. ($6;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

6. Get the Best Boxes

Look for attractive storage boxes that come with labels already affixed. Those with lids will keep items dust-free. ($59;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

7. Repurpose Magazine Holders

This clear organizer can be used for more than magazines—let it stash appliance manuals or important documents on a closet shelf. ($34;

Closet and Pantry Tidying Tricks
Courtesy of Manufacturer

8. Declutter Your Jewelry

To keep your baubles sorted, add a specialized organizer to your closet shelf. The clear window on the lid makes it easy to spot the ring you're searching for. ($104;

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