This Professional Organizer’s Philosophy on Tidying AND Home Are Refreshingly Realistic

published Jan 27, 2022

This Professional Organizer’s Philosophy on Tidying AND Home Are Refreshingly Realistic

published Jan 27, 2022
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1800
Sq ft
1800
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Name: Nonnahs Driskill, husband Jeff, two high school kids, and Marvin, a blue heeler they adopted during the pandemic.
Location: Long Beach, California
Size: 1800 square feet
Type of Home: Single family home
Years lived in: 5.5 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.

​Nonnahs Driskill, founding organizer at Get Organized Already! loves so many things about this home, she calls it her Barbie Dream House. “My husband, Jeff, grew up in this house and my kids and I learned to love it as grandma’s house,” Nonnahs writes. “When Jeff’s mom passed away we couldn’t bring ourselves to sell it — even with the Laura Ashley style wallpaper from the ’80s and the broken, antique stove — we couldn’t imagine not keeping this wonderful house in our family. So, we did some real estate shuffling and moved in ourselves. We kept everything we loved: the natural light and the deck especially; and updated the rest. Now everything is the way we designed it, which most people never get to experience. It’s a dream!”

Credit: Kai Byrd

And as a professional organizer, she has a refreshing philosophy when it comes to tidying one’s home, especially when there’s more than one person sharing the same living space. Her home is definitely organized, but not every square inch is perfect all of the time and not everyone’s areas are all organized the same, and that’s intentional. “People have different strengths and weaknesses and that absolutely includes being organized, clean, or tidy. When you see a house that looks very tidy, understand there is at least one person constantly hustling to keep it that way. And when your own house is a mess, give yourself a break because that means you are spending time doing things you enjoy more than organizing,” she explains below. “Our family members have individual standards of cleanliness ranging from extremely tidy to creative collector. It’s more important for us to get along than for the house to look a certain way.”

Credit: Kai Byrd

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Comfortable and organized. Our family members have individual standards of cleanliness ranging from extremely tidy to creative collector. It’s more important for us to get along than for the house to look a certain way. 

Inspiration: A bit industrial with natural materials like wood, brick, glass, and wrought iron. I love deep, bright colors. I love classic pieces from any era, and lots of plants. Does it sparkle? Is it well-made? I’ll try it. 

Credit: Kai Byrd

Favorite Element: Our gold ceiling! I mean, have you seen it? I had an art student from CSULB design and apply the gold leaf. 

Biggest Challenge: Our kitchen is wonderful, but only comfortable for one chef at a time. With four grown people, it gets a little crowded. I installed a row of drawers on the outside edge of each peninsula to spread out the kitchen traffic a little bit. 

Credit: Kai Byrd

Proudest DIY: Jeff designed and built the entryway chandelier with little bottles and left-over materials from our remodel. 

The rare times when I cook and serve a homemade meal which includes more than two things is my proudest DIY. Ha!

Credit: Kai Byrd

Biggest Indulgence: My most frivolous indulgence was refurbishing the antique chair I use at my desk. We found the chair in tatters in the garage. 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We have no door in our bedroom suite between our bathroom and bedroom. This surprises everyone and annoys realtors, but I like open spaces. 

Credit: Kai Byrd

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Original artwork by local, female artists: Patrice Monteiro, Mikie Bair, Abira Ali, and Lois Keller

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Oh honey, that would take too long! I have written 100 blog posts full of organizing tips and ideas. 

Credit: Kai Byrd

But seriously, one important thing I’ve learned from helping others organize for eleven years is this: People have different strengths and weaknesses and that absolutely includes being organized, clean, or tidy. When you see a house that looks very tidy, understand there is at least one person constantly hustling to keep it that way. And when your own house is a mess, give yourself a break because that means you are spending time doing things you enjoy more than organizing. Good for you! 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Decorate and organize your home for yourself (and your family), no one else. If you don’t want to ninja fold your underwear and t shirts, don’t! And if you don’t like white and gray decor? Please, get something colorful… with glitter! 

Resources

Credit: Kai Byrd

PAINT & COLORS

  • White — Dunn Edwards “Cool December” DEW383
  • Primary bathroom accent wall — Dunn Edwards “Black” DEA187
  • Front door — Dunn Edwards “Royal Robe” DE5972
  • Portrait wall/Entryway — Dunn Edwards “Charmed Green” DEA129
  • Living room ceiling — Ralph Lauren gold regent metallics
Credit: Kai Byrd

ENTRY

  • Pencil sketches of parent and child — Mikie Bair
Credit: Kai Byrd

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Kai Byrd

DINING ROOM

Credit: Kai Byrd

KITCHEN

Credit: Kai Byrd

BEDROOM

Credit: Kai Byrd

BATHROOM

Credit: Kai Byrd

SECOND BATHROOM

  • City park painting — “Bob Baker Day!” by Lois Keller
  • Child painting — “Tickled Pink” by Mikie Bair

Thanks Nonnahs!

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