Professional home stager offers tips for keeping house organized


Special to the Recorder

The holidays are over, kids are back to school, your northern house guests have returned to the snow, but your home is a mess!

You said, “It’s a new year, and I’m getting organized!” You have no idea, however, where to begin. Organization. To some it’s a four-letter word. To others it’s as relaxing as a day at the beach! Joking aside, there’s one truth to living an organized life: an effortless daily routine. If you place your phone, purse, wallet, grocery list, etc. in a designated spot, you will always know where it is. Always.

Being a home stager, I like to see every item, in every room, in its place, all the time. But let’s get real, that’s impossible. You can, however, make a family effort to try! Ask yourself, “I feel organized when?” Then develop a system for maintaining that one goal, and do it every day for a week. Do this for all areas in your home in need of organization.

Take a picture of an area, or room, which needs some TLC, then analyze the picture. Look for cluttered areas, or out-of-place items, such as magazines, multiple remotes, kids’ toys, etc. If you see stacked magazines, or papers, get the recycle bin and toss them. Were you saving that magazine for an article, or recipe? Take a picture with your smart phone, then toss the paper (now you’ll have the recipe next time you’re at the store). Invest in a large, decorative, wicker basket, then ask the kids to place their toys in there.

Tidy up a closet by first determining the items you don’t need. No longer have a twin sized bed? Then, you probably don’t need twin sized sheets. Ask yourself, “Have I used this item in the last year?” If the answer is no, then consider donating, selling or tossing the item. Stack same-sized towels and sheets together, then place items facing the same way. This makes the closet appear tidy. It’s a little work, but well worth the effort.

The kitchen counter seems to be a catch all for everything under the sun. The importance of adopting a system for consolidating these items is vital for everyone’s sanity. Start with purse, keys and phone. Find a central location to house these items, so they’re out of your way, yet easily accessible. Next, invest in a file system that works for you. Folders, baskets and stackable trays are great organization tools, and there are so many decorative choices which look nice on a counter or shelf. Accordion files are great for storing kids’ artwork separated by year, by child; but only keep the most special pieces – for example, the hand/footprints or stories they’ve written. Go through your mail near the recycle bin and immediately toss the junk, then file the important mail accordingly. Put bills in a “To Pay” file, weekly ads/restaurant coupons in a shopping file, etc., but remember to purge these files often.

Lastly, I feel most organized when I know what’s for dinner every night. So, I create a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu for the coming week. I keep an ongoing grocery list in my kitchen and add things as needed. Finally, I add the necessary items from my weekly menu to my list, go shopping and rest easy knowing that I know “What’s for dinner?” every time I’m asked.

Stephanie Augusta is the owner of Ponte Vedra Staging, a company that helps homeowners prepare their homes for sale in a competitive real estate market. She can be reached at (904) 400-3356 or via email at