A Pro Organizer’s Brooklyn Apartment Has Impeccably Neat Closets and Cabinets

updated Jan 22, 2020
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Bedrooms
Square feet
900
Sq ft
900

Name: Claire DeBoer and Grant Ziolkowski
Location: South Slope — Brooklyn, NYC
Size: 900 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

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This house tour is the sixth in a handful of organizing experts’ homes we’ll be touring this month. January is a great time for a fresh start (speaking of which, have you joined our January Cure yet?) and seeing inside the homes of organizing expertsand reading their advicewill hopefully inspire your home in 2020.

Professional organizer Claire DeBoer, who offers organizing services under the moniker Home Decluttered, lives in an apartment in a building in Brooklyn that used to be the Ansonia clock factory. “I found some old photos of the building online that were fun to pore over,” she explains. “I was initially drawn to the history of the space, but the high ceilings and big windows clinched the deal. In combination with our minimalist style, the space can be echoey, but my husband who is a musician says he likes the acoustics.”

Credit: Erin Derby

The large, long living room is the heart of the couple’s home, and perfectly encapsulates her design style. Its simple forms, minimal decor, and neutral color palette not only creates a serene space, but also allows the apartment’s natural features to shine. “As a professional organizer, I think of the living room primarily as a place to relax and socialize and aim to create clear surfaces to display beloved objects,” Claire explains. “Aside from some easy storage such as bins, baskets, and bookshelves, I try not to store too much in the living room.”

Credit: Erin Derby

But though you’ll certainly find several different types of containers keeping Claire’s home neat and tidy, she stresses that “it’s not about the bins. The biggest thing people get wrong when it comes to getting organized is thinking that the solution is the right storage system or tool. A thorough decluttering (and regular editing and upkeep) is the key. Shop your home for baskets and supplies that you can use before going out to buy new gear.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Claire confesses that this is the first home she’s lived in that’s really felt “adult” to her, and the whole space exudes a simple, sweet elegance, and seems to be a space they enjoy sharing. “A goal of mine upon moving in, was to create a space to entertain more often,” she explains. “We’ve been making good on that goal by hosting lots of overnight guests and casual pasta dinners with friends.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Simple, Modern Traditional

Inspiration: Shaker style

Favorite Element: Our large dining room table and the fact that we have room for one. I like to set the table with linen napkins and light a candle even for casual weekday dinners. It creates a nice demarcation to signal the end of the work day.

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Challenge: The kitchen is super narrow and we both like to be in there talking as we make meals, which can feel cramped. I added a cork stool with a small footprint that helps and I try to keep the countertops clear and ready to use.

Proudest DIY: We installed a ceiling fan in the living room and switched out the ugly fixture in our bedroom.

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Indulgence: Linen things. I work part-time at Parachute Home, which feeds my linen desires.

Best Advice: Editing down your possessions will help define your style and create a space that you want to spend time in far more effectively than adding new things.

Resources:

Credit: Erin Derby

ENTRY

Credit: Erin Derby

LIVING/DINING ROOM

Credit: Erin Derby

KITCHEN

  • Sinnerlig Cork Stool — IKEA Ilse Crawford Collection discontinued, via Craigslist
Credit: Erin Derby

BEDROOM

  • Mid-Century 4 Drawer Dresser — West Elm​ via Craigslist
  • Hemnes Night Stands — IKEA​via Craigslist
  • Weston Table Lamps — Target
  • Arnav Bed Frame — ​Zinus
  • Linen Sheets — Parachute Home
  • Tourne Wool Blanket — Brook Farm General Store discontinued
  • Kilim Rug — Vintage
  • Bamboo Sinnerlig Pendant Lamp — IKEA ​via Craigslist
  • Agnes Martin Print — Guggenheim Store
  • Yellow MM 01 Print — ​By Garmi
Credit: Erin Derby

BATHROOM