This Professional Organizer Conquers Clutter with Minimalism, Sustainability, and DIYs

published Jan 13, 2021

This Professional Organizer Conquers Clutter with Minimalism, Sustainability, and DIYs

published Jan 13, 2021
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Name: Katrina, husband Brian, and two pitbulls. One is a micro pitbull named Mac and we got our sweet pit mix Huggs from the pound.
Location: Rancho Cordova, California
Size: 1,780 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

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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.

Katrina is the owner of home organizing company Badass Homelife, which actually started out as a blog in 2016 after Katrina moved to the U.S. (she was born and raised in the Philippines, and is a licensed interior designer there) and was waiting for her work permit. A big believer in minimalism and sustainability, she incorporated her design and organization philosophies in to the California home she shares with her husband and their two dogs.

“I find that having less stuff truly makes life just work simpler and easier and more fulfilling and I use the same outlook when it comes to decorating and styling my home,” Katrina explains. “The most important thing that I can say about my home is that every space has a function and a purpose and when it comes to decorative pieces and art, my husband and I would most likely choose something that would humor us, or it has something to do with a movie, video game, musicians or shows we’ve watched and appreciate.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I’m not really sure how to quantify it but I’d say it’s a mix of nerdy eclectic and minimalist. Nerdy eclectic for me means we nerd out on a bunch of random stuff. We watch a lot of shows and movies and listen to a lot of music (even more during 2020) and I love finding good fan art for these things. I also used to like to thrift shop so there’s just really random finds that I end up displaying and falling in love with. I consider myself a minimalist because other than the few decorative pieces we have around the house, everything is being used purposely and intently. I try to keep surfaces clear and clean so that we avoid getting into the habit of cluttering it.

Inspiration: I’m sure this will come as a surprise for him but I once worked for an Interior Designer named Bam Basbas and he was my favorite professor in college turned into boss way back when I still lived in my home country, the Philippines. You see, he taught me how to be unapologetic when it comes to style. He instilled in me the importance of upcycling and finding different unique ways to decorate and to think out of the box. Another inspiration for me is not necessarily a person but a philosophy, and it’s “Less is More.” I find that having less stuff truly makes life just work simpler and easier and more fulfilling and I use the same outlook when it comes to decorating and styling my home.

Proudest DIY: My proudest moment is finally having the courage to hold a circular saw and build my own wood pantry shelves from scratch. They used to be wire shelving when we bought the house and I’ve always wanted to renovate them but just never thought I had it in me to touch a power tool. But as soon as I got started, it felt natural and I built my pantry shelving on my own. From sourcing, doing the build plans, cutting, drilling, and painting. I refer to it as a “less waste” pantry because I try my best to buy in bulk and items that are not in plastic packaging, hence the mason jars full of what you can essentially find in the bulk buy items at your local grocery store.

What items, hacks, or tricks do professional organizers use in living rooms, specifically? One of my favorite hacks is double functioning items. For example, a couch can just be a couch, but some couches come with storage, so I would be more likely to suggest the one with storage for clients who are lacking space for storage. Another one would be sourcing coffee tables that act as storage spaces as well. There are different styles of coffee tables that come with drawers, a space for storage bins, etc. These are perfect for those who really want to maximize their furniture and space. In the living room it’s always better to keep it clear and not have any decor on top. For me, that act signals to your brain that clutter or items should not remain on the coffee table, instead using it as a surface to put down things like laptops, plates, or glasses (basically items that are mobile).

What are things you should never keep on your kitchen counter? What about in your entryway? I noticed that people tend to open their mail here so it usually is also the biggest clutter maker. If this is you, I would suggest to get a bin sorting system that can be hanging on the wall so that mail, including catalogs, has a space designated for it. As for entryway, it’s okay to keep items here for as long as you have a specific storage system for it. For example, if shoes were to be left by the entryway, it’s better to have a low shoe rack so the shoes has a home and they’re contained ALSO this will help with the amount of shoes allowed in the area and it’ll keep all housemates in check with shoes they keep there.

What are your organizing routines before you go to bed? Do you have any organizing routines that you do right in the morning? I use a bullet journal and my Google calendar to stay on top of my stuff so before I head to bed, I scan through what I have to do the next day and make sure I have everything ready for each activity or at least I’m aware of what I need to do. This helps me feel in control of the next day and helps me sleep better at night. As for the morning, my typical routine goes like: my husband and I spend at least 20 minutes just hanging out in the morning; we get out of bed around 7:30 a.m., feed the dogs, let them out, I make myself a cup of coffee, and around 8:30 a.m. my dog Mac will not stop bugging me to water our vegetable garden (it’s the cutest thing in the world, he will whine and whimper if I don’t go out with him) then from there my work day starts!



  • Clare Paint — Blackish Trim paint (paint)
  • Behr Paint — Rustic Taupe (paint)


  • DIY-ed a wall coat hanger from old fence pieces





  • Bed frame  — Wayfair (bed frame)
  • Nightstands — Upcycled from Goodwill


Thanks Katrina!

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

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly gave the wrong resource for the sofa. We’ve updated it to be correct.