By Lambeth Hochwald
Raise your hand if all of your closets are perfectly organized. Exactly! We all wish we could have closets that are perennially shipshape, especially when it's time to store the swimsuits and pull out the sweaters (or vice versa). But crazy busy lives are sometimes messy—particularly if simple systems aren't in place to help you get—and stay—organized. That's why we asked professional organization experts to help us sort out eight of the most common messes, starting with the pantry.
"I end up buying things at the supermarket that I already have because I can't find anything in my pantry."
Whether you keep non-perishable groceries in a real pantry, on a set of shelves, or in regular kitchen cupboards, they're likely to get "lost" if you don't have a simple system in place, says Jill Pollack, an organizational expert in Hartford, Connecticut, who has helped celebs Marcia Cross and Jennifer Tilley create order from chaos. That means no more mindless unloading of the pasta next to the plastic wrap. Instead, store groceries together by container type (boxes, jars, bags) or group them by category (snacks, breakfast, baking). Use baskets, Lazy Susans, or other storage devices that help you divide and conquer. Not only will it be easier to keep everything organized, "you'll know what you need to replenish at the supermarket," Pollack says.