How To Organize Your Stuff, A Cheater's Guide

Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small Photographed by Anna Williams
What's that? You've got clutter? And, you don't know what to do with it? Well, contrary to popular belief, it doesn't all have to go. Some of it could function as decor, if you're smart about it.
By "smart about it," we mean: Take a few cues from the sneakiest interiors geniuses we know. We're talking about prop stylists, the magicians who swoop in, fairy dust in hand, and turn a random grouping of clutter curiosities they've found on the street, bought at the flea, or just have laying around their apartments into an enchanting "moment."
Advertisement
It's this secret sauce that makes magazine spreads and catalog pages come to life — and makes us regular folks aspire to live in vignettes.
In The Stuff of Life, author and prop stylist Hilary Robertson gives us 200 pages of real-life setups that have that beautiful, random feel we all try to accomplish with our own things. Fortunately, Roberson has more to offer than just pretty pictures. She's here to explain the importance of proportion, color (or lack thereof), and shapes; and let us in on the most surprising secrets of her process.
So, maybe you don't have to be quite as ruthless in your next decluttering spree...
The Stuff of Life, by Hilary Robertson, $35, available at Ryland Peters and Small.
1 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
Spotlight Your Collections
Cluster a few of your interesting belongings that are similar in shape on a small surface, like a side table. Hang a large pendant right above and you've just created a photo-shoot worthy still life.
Advertisement
2 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
Think All Around the Table
A table just begs to be a clutter trap. But, if you think of it as a stage and arrange a few large decorative pieces on top of it, neatly stack books below it, and hang a striking image of one object behind it, it will all come together as a vignette.
3 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
Frame Your Inspiration
Inspiration walls and mood boards have been done to death. One way to make your motivations more visually interesting is to frame them! Because of the tightly hung wall of squares and rectangles, even the computer monitor fits right in and looks inspiring.
4 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
All Black (& White) Everything
Contrast is a foolproof way to make an interior statement. If you don't have all-white vessels and a black wall at home, try all red things in front of a white wall.
5 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
Give New Life To Your Mantle
A mirror on a mantle will instantly open up a space. Casually layer smaller pedestal mirrors, unframed art, and objets in front of it to DIY a mantlescape.
6 of 6
Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small/by Anna Williams
Repurpose Serving Pieces
Using a cake stand as a surface for jewelry and perfume bottles is brilliant and beautiful. Plus, it keeps the clutter off the dresser top.
Advertisement