This Pro Organizer’s Home Has Inspiringly Clutter-Free Cabinets, Closets, and Storage Spots

published Jan 25, 2022
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Home Type
Bedrooms
Square feet
2600
Sq ft
2600

Name: Janelle Williams, husband Darrell Williams, and three children ages 19, 16, and 11
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Size: 2600 square feet
Type of Home: Single Family House
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

Starting the year off by touring the homes (and drawers, pantries, closets, and more behind-the-scenes spots) of professional organizers, small space dwellers, and other design experts has become a tradition on Apartment Therapy. After all, how your home functions is just as important as how it looks, and I personally never tire of seeing how the pros organize their spaces. You can find great home tours and even greater organizing advice from this year’s fresh crop of inspiration (and catch up on last year’s tours) all on this one page: Professional Organizer Home Advice.

Professional organizer Janelle Williams, who owns Organized by JWC, says that although they didn’t get everything on their wish list when she and her husband purchased this home five years ago, the huge deck and screened-in patio were big bonuses for their family. “The indoor/outdoor living was a huge upgrade for us,” she writes. “We also love the abundance of natural light; it makes our home so warm and inviting. Though our home is relatively newer, it needed some work to modernize it. From the weird color carpets, gaudy fixtures, and bold paint choices, we’ve spent the past five years updating our home to suit our lifestyle.”

For Janelle and her family, there’s something to love about this home, no matter the season. “We love to spend our time curled up on the sofa, in front of the fireplace in our family room — especially in the fall and winter time — watching TV or a movie, playing games, or just spending time together as a family lounging,” she writes. “In the spring and summer, we like to take advantage of the warmer weather and sit outside on the deck. We have beautiful, mature trees in our backyard, which create a peaceful and serene atmosphere for lounging and some bird watching from our deck.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would describe my style as contemporary, with some mix of modern. I love neutral colors with clean lines, and blue and grays are my absolute favorite hues. I do try to pop some color here and there but our home is mostly monochromatic.

Favorite Element: My favorite thing about our home is all the natural light. I absolutely love coming downstairs and being greeted by light from every area of our home. Even on days when it is dreary, it still feels bright in our home.

Biggest Challenge: I would say our biggest challenge was the layout of the basement and also not having a guest bedroom. Trying to fit play, exercise, and lounge area in an L-shaped basement was challenging. However, with some space planning and key furniture pieces we were able to accomplish most of that. Since we don’t have a dedicated guest room we often use my oldest son’s room as the guest bedroom. He usually hangs out in our younger sons’ room or the basement when we have guests.

Proudest DIY: We are not your typical DIYers but my husband did refinish our deck and also put together a home gym in our garage. It’s funny because our 19-year-old probably uses it more than my husband does and he is away at school.

Biggest Indulgence: We are not really big indulgers but I guess switching out our floors to wood would be our biggest expense so far. Our family room had original wood floors, so we decided to switch out the carpet in the dining room as well as the tile in our kitchen for wood floors. It really helped to elevate our space, as well as add value to our home.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? During the pandemic, even though we have a designated study, I did have to get creative about designating a work space for myself for zoom calls and presentations because my children were utilizing that space. Since our main bedroom is pretty spacious, I just used one area to create a mini office space for my zoom calls. I already had a chair plus some artwork on the wall, so I decided to add a desk and a bookcase where I could store any material I needed. Although the kids have returned to the school building and the study area is now free, I still use this nook quite frequently for work.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: My favorite small space maximizing tip is to use furniture and storage pieces that serve several functions as well as gender neutral pieces so they last for a lifetime, not just a season. For example, we use the ottoman in our study for seating but we also use it to store documents (that may not fit in a file cabinet) and the kids’ instruments.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? The best decorating advice that I’ve implemented is the “think in 3s” rule. When styling a flat surface or a specific area, stick to three pieces, three types or clusters of 3s for balance and to keep the area clutter free. So for example with my sofa(s) we use clusters of three pillows on either side, which still allows enough space to sit. When we decorate our bookcases, we place things in bunches or groups of 3s on each shelf. To be honest, most people probably already follow this rule without even realizing it.

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

  • Dining Room, Study, Powder Room, Basement — Sherwin Williams “Light French Gray”
  • Kitchen, Family Room — Sherwin Williams “Pure White”

STUDY/OFFICE

  • White Desk — IKEA   
  • Bookcase— Target
  • Chair — Homegoods
  • Ottoman — Homegoods

FAMILY ROOM

  • Anastassiya Sofa — Wayfair 
  • Bookcases — Wayfair
  • Coffee Table — Wayfair 
  • Table Lamps — Target
  • Tommy Hilfiger Console — Homesense (no longer available)

DINING ROOM

  • Table — JC Penny (no longer available)
  • Light Fixture — IKEA
  • Chairs — Office Depot, Homegoods (no longer available)

KITCHEN

  • Light Fixture — IKEA (no longer available)

BEDROOM

  • Turbo Swirl Fan — Westinghouse
  • Bed — IKEA
  • Picture — Homegoods (no longer available)
  • Cube Organizer — Target

BEDROOM OFFICE

  • Laptop Desk Wood — Target
  • Iron Ladder Bookcase — Wayfair
  • Chair — ​Homegoods  (no longer available)

BATHROOM

Thanks, Janelle!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.