Conquering Clutter & Designing Livable Spaces with Shira Gill Home
Shira Gill Home is a boutique lifestyle brand with a “less is more” philosophy that offers on-site, full service home organization and styling as well as online resources and inspiration to help you design a clutter-free life. Shira believes that in order to create the home you want, you must start by eliminating what you don’t want. Whether you want to reclaim your cluttered closets or reorganize your entire home, Shira will help you transform your living spaces and simplify your life, one project at a time.
Shira’s efforts are exceptionally helpful for interior designers who take on new projects. Shira is the master at creating a new slate for designers, clearing the way so a designer can walk into the space and get started right away, rather than navigating the chaos. Here, Shira shares with us her go-to products for keeping organized, common problem-areas in a home, and key ways to control family clutter.
Shira – how did you get where you are today?
I am a bit of an accidental entrepreneur. After years of working in event planning and in the entertainment industry, my husband and I moved from LA back to our native Bay Area (I’m from San Francisco) to start a family. I had my daughter, Chloe, soon after, and knew I didn’t want to go back to such a frenetic work schedule. At the time I was involved in several new moms’ groups and we took turns hosting get-togethers. I noticed that most of the women were overwhelmed by clutter and disorder in their homes, and realized that I could help them.
At the encouragement of my girlfriends, I put the word out that I was available for home makeover sessions, and suddenly my business was born! The business grew quickly through word of mouth, and expanded over the following years into a full-time career dedicated to helping busy families de-clutter and streamline their living spaces. I have also become known for my signature closet makeover package which helps busy women edit, organize, and style their entire wardrobe in a single day. My favorite!
Currently I divide my time between working one-on-one with clients in their homes, and leading my newly launched group program. I’m so excited about the program because I can serve a broader audience, and start to grow a community where people can share their challenges and successes.
In your opinion, how does conquering clutter restore your energy, reduce stress, and maximize productivity in a space?
Simply put, clutter holds people back in all aspects of their lives. It is draining to be surrounded by physical clutter and stressful to have to navigate through piles of stuff to find what you need each day. After I help clients de-clutter and organize their living and working spaces, they have so much energy freed up to focus on the things they deeply care about: They can host and entertain with pride, tackle work projects and pay bills more efficiently, and feel pride in their surroundings instead of frustration and shame.
“After I help clients de-clutter and organize their living and working spaces, they have so much energy freed up to focus on the things they deeply care about.”
What are your go-to products for keeping spaces organized?
There is no magical product, but hooks and bins are pretty high on my list of organizing essentials. I use hooks in almost every project – perfect for hanging robes, handbags, jewelry and towels. Open bins and baskets are ideal for storing toys, mementos, linens and magazines.
There is beauty in utilitarian products so I try to get rid of packaging whenever possible. Using glass jars for Q-tips, metal canisters for markers, and wooden bowls for hair ties help to maximize space and elevate every day objects.
Based on your experience, what do space owners tend to collect/have a hard time getting rid of?
Most people tend to hang onto gifts from friends and family as well as items that they invested a lot of money in. There is this “sunken cost syndrome” I try to free my clients from. To me it doesn’t make sense to keep something you don’t like or use just because your Aunt Bertha gave it to you or you blew a lot of money on it!
Which rooms tend to be the “problem spaces” in homes (the rooms that get the most cluttered)?
A home’s entry area is generally the first space I tackle with clients because it’s the first impression of the home and tends to be a magnet for clutter. I also see a lot of clutter on kitchen counters, playrooms and stuffed into closets.
How can families realistically apply a minimalist design concept to the home?
The idea of minimalism is having what you need and eliminating the excess. Creating a vision of how you want your home to look and feel and sticking to it is, essentially, taking ownership and being the gatekeeper of your home. I believe in respecting the physical boundaries of your space and practicing the one-in, one-out rule to prevent clutter from accumulating. In my home, we donate toys, books and games to local charities before holidays and birthdays to make space for the new gifts that will be coming in. Likewise, if I go on a shopping bender, I will pick some clothes and shoes to sell or donate so I ensure my home stays streamlined.
“I believe in respecting the physical boundaries of your space and practicing the one-in, one-out rule to prevent clutter from accumulating.”
What are some key ways to control everyday family clutter with kids at home?
Systems! Kids love systems and are great at maintaining them. I always use the analogy of a kindergarten classroom: When you walk into the classroom it’s very obvious where everything is stored – art is in the art corner, books are in the book nook, backpacks go on hooks by the door. Make sure you have clear and intuitive systems set up for your kids to follow at home. They should have a place for backpacks and lunchboxes, homework, art supplies, toys and games, etc. I also created a DIY guide, Clutter-Free With Kids, that’s available on my website which has tons of tips on this subject.
How do you typically work with interior designers?
Collaborating with designers is such a win-win! My job is to create a clean slate and clear the way so that a designer can walk into a space and hit the ground running, rather than having to navigate through clutter and disorder. In addition, I partner with both the client and designer to ensure the space is not only stylish but functional, from an organizational perspective.
Can you offer interior designers some tips of best practices for de-cluttering a client’s space before starting a project?
With any organizing project, it’s always best to start with a serious editing session. First, help your client identify what they truly use and love and then help them discard or donate the items they can live without. You can also use clutter as information – i.e if mail is always dumped in the kitchen is it because it doesn’t have a clear home in the entry or office area? If so, setting up a simple basket to collect mail can be an easy fix.
“My job is to create a clean slate and clear the way so that a designer can walk into a space and hit the ground running, rather than having to navigate through clutter and disorder.”
How can an interior designer de-clutter their work/office space to maximize productivity and efficiency?
I’m a big fan of a clean work surface and suggest storing office supplies and files in concealed storage for a streamlined look. Designers are generally working on multiple projects at a time, so it’s hugely beneficial to set up a simple system like magazine files to house notes and reference materials for each project. I also advocate for practicing good daily habits like putting things away at the end of each work day so you can return to an inviting work space and a clean slate each day.
What’s the next area you plan on de-cluttering in your own home?
My house is pretty well edited, but I’ll confess I have this ridiculous goal of having nothing in my basement! I have always believed that basements are just graveyards for stuff. Aside from some house paint and a few boxes of mementos from my father, I think I could happily let the rest go.
Shira is the founder of Shira Gill Home a boutique lifestyle brand with a “less is more” philosophy. She offers on-site and virtual home organization and styling, as well as online resources to help you design a clutter-free life. Follow Shira on Instagram or her blog for weekly tips and inspiration.
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