For the aesthetes among us, the journey of organizing doesn't begin and end with an approved checklist of what to get rid of. It's more than a mindful or tactile task; if you're a lover of design, organizing a home is organically something visual.
That notion is mostly ignored in the modern decluttering book canon — for example, there are zero photographs in "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" — and we're not the only ones who noticed.
"Amid all the advice about paring down to the essentials, no one was addressing how to arrange your things in a way that's not only practical but beautiful," said Julie Carlson, the founder and editor-in-chief of Remodelista. So Julie and Margot Guralnick, Architecture and Interiors Editor for Remodelista, took matters into their own hands.
Today the co-authors are releasing "Remodelista: The Organized Home," a decluttering tome that supports the beauty of organization, helping readers to understand that order can be artful. The book goes room by room through every space in the house, breaking down not only what to toss and keep, but also how to make your home efficient without sacrificing style.
Available Now: Remodelista: The Organized Home: Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House, $16 on Amazon
No tip or method in the book is left un-illustrated. When Julie and Margot recommend a tension rod to store pot lids in a drawer, you get to see exactly how it looks and works in a space. Ditto for putting your toilet brush in an enamel pitcher or hiding your remotes with a throw blanket—two of my favorite "you gotta see it to believe it" moments from the book.
And then there's the expert advice peppered throughout. Julie and Margot undoubtedly know their stuff, but they also called on a bevy of experts, from the seasoned (a Martha Stewart Living alum teaches you to "think like a stylist" and a food photographer reveals the art of a beautiful fridge) to the unexpected, like a boat builder who shares how to maximize every inch of a small space and a kindergarten teacher who schools us on learning to put our things away.
We had a quick Q&A with Julie over email to learn more about the book — and got a few extra tips on organizing with style.
What's the edge of approaching home organizing with a design lens on?
We believe in living with things that are both useful and beautiful, to paraphrase British arts and crafts domestic sage William Morris. For instance, your kitchen countertops don't have to be completely free of clutter; create a still life next to your sink with wooden scrub brushes, a natural sponge, decanted dish soap, all neatly corralled on a tray.
What's your favorite tip from the book?
We're all big fans of the Shaker peg rail at Remodelista; I recently lined my entryway in peg rails and it's solved all my organization woes; it's where we hang our coats, our keys, and our bags the minute we walk in the door. No more searching for essentials the next morning.
Do you have a personal organizing mantra?
Yes; it's the lead quote in our book: "For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned"—Ben Franklin
The book makes a point to encourage readers to ditch the use of plastic for organizing. What's some good information for someone who is stuck in the plastic life, but wants to change?
When you're shopping around for organizational tools, stick to products made from glass, metal, wicker, canvas, and other natural materials. Avoid the urge to stock up on Tupperware and plastic storage bins. For instance, in the kitchen, buy essentials in bulk at the grocery store and use Weck jars or Ball mason jars to store them. Reader tip: in Remodelista: The Organized Home we include our top 75 storage essentials, all made from natural materials.
The insider trade secrets are one of my favorite parts of the book. Who surprised you with the absolute best advice?
We gathered so many great tips from our organizational experts from other fields; it might sound obvious to some people, but for me a lightbulb moment was when Sam Hamilton, the owner of San Francisco kitchen emporium March (one of our favorite shops anywhere), showed us how to "think like a merchandiser" when arranging items in your kitchen cabinets. "The items that are visible are the ones you'll use, just as with the retail mantra 'What you see is what sells,'" she says. "So in your cabinets, line your goods up front and make use of risers in the back. You don't want shelves that are cluttered with more two rows of cans. Anything deeper and things get lost in the void."
Available now: Remodelista: The Organized Home: Simple, Stylish Storage Ideas for All Over the House, $16 on Amazon