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How To Organize Your Stuff, A Cheater's Guide

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    Photo: Courtesy of Ryland Peters and Small Photographed by Anna Williams

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    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."

    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.

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