Emily Henderson’s Styling Trick Makes Your Home Look Instantly Neater
Plus, the best closet update she's made in the past year.
Published Feb 7, 2024 2:00 PM
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Here’s something you probably didn’t know about Emily Henderson: She’s messy. “I make a mess all day, and I clean it up all night,” says the seasoned designer, stylist, and partner of The Samsung Art Store. It’s the nature of her job. Her Portland, Oregon, home is also her HQ. It’s where she meets with coworkers, tests out new products, and shoots content for her blog. Now feeling settled in the farmhouse she and her family bought in 2022, Henderson has spent the past year coming up with different strategies for keeping the place organized. “A reader once told me that without systems, there is chaos, and it’s my favorite quote,” she shares. Ahead, we asked Henderson to tell us, in her own words, what decluttering methods she’s tried out lately, including the ones that didn’t work out as she expected.
The Storage Staples You Won’t Find in Her Mudroom
A lot of what I see online sometimes requires too many steps, like putting your coats on hangers instead of hooks. My kids won’t put things on hangers. They also won’t put their shoes in those cute little drawers on a day-to-day basis. For us it’s “Here’s the sports basket” and “Here’s the shoe basket,” and that’s it. It’s very simple and actually manageable.
The Key to Automatically Making a Space Look Neater
Things need to be in collections together. I’ve been buying seascapes for forever, and I decided our family room is where I’m going to put them all over the walls. This included a Samsung Frame TV with a seascape on it from the Art Store. It looks like a very intentional art selection versus just years of hoarding. Some of my favorite pieces to put on the screen are Miya Ando’s Unkai and Bunryo No Ame, Petro Koublis’s Aurore and Mejila, and Cody Cobb’s Evergreen.
The Pantry Organization Trick She (Sort of) Gave Up On
At first I decanted everything in my pantry into pretty jars and it looked awesome. Ultimately, I can keep up with all the baking goods, all the beans, but anything that’s snack oriented…it just doesn’t make sense anymore to put the pretzels in the pretzel jar every day. [We realized] we’re going through pretzels way too fast! Don’t overcomplicate it, and give yourself permission to make that shift.
The Designer-Approved Tip That’s Not All That Practical
This is unpopular with designers and stylists, but see-through baskets and see-through bins work better than a pretty wood or woven basket. If you don’t see it, you will forget that you have it. [It’s the same with] my prop closet where I keep all my inventory: I have a whole room dedicated to open shelving.
The Update She Made to Her Closet a Year After Building It
The biggest thing I learned is that I need to have a label maker that tells me what to do. I was like, socks will go here for sure—then I just put everything everywhere. Redoing it with labels [on the edges of the drawers and cabinet frames] helps me stick to it, like: No, wait, socks go here.