Nate Berkus' Room Organizing Tips
In the Office
Are you a revealer, who puts things on display? Or a concealer, who hides it all away? No matter your organizing method, TV's Nate Berkus can fix those clutter-prone zones
"Everyone wants more storage," says home guru Berkus, whose Nate Berkus Show is in its second season. But how you achieve it is up to you — and your organizing preferences. The priorities in your home's workspace: keeping files, etc., from piling up and making sure supplies are ready to grab. Here, two ways to deal:
1 | A memo board (a fabric-wrapped foam core in a thrift-store frame) tames to-do's, invites, and more. "If it doesn't fit here, out it goes," explains Berkus.
2 | Mounting a DIY shelf — this beauty's made of reclaimed wood and vintage brackets — frees up the desktop and corrals essentials.
3 | A clear acrylic sorter (Russell+Hazel) paired with can't-miss-me folders (Paper Source) keeps key files in view.
4 | Woven bins (The Container Store) won't let you hoard too many magazines; less-used files tuck into a felt box (CB2).
Cabriole Leg desk in cinder, $349, West Elm; westelm.com. Zig Zag Jaipuri rug, 4’ by 6’, $300, Calypso St. Barth Home; calypsostbarth.com. Small water hyacinth bin in natural, $8, The Container Store; containerstore.com. Felt file box, $60, CB2; cb2.com. Turquoise ruler, $5, and yellow tape dispenser, $8, Poppin; poppin.com. Acrylic collator, $40, Russell+Hazel; russellandhazel.com. Sunshine Dots file folders, $7, Paper Source; paper-source.com.
In the Office
1 | Binders in coordinating colors (The Container Store) make sense of papers. To use: Divide by topic (e.g., decorating ideas, school-directory materials) and slip sheets into clear plastic sleeves.
2 | Supplies are out of sight but close at hand in a drawer fitted with modular dividers.
3 | Create a magazine library with labeled holders, like this sleek sorter from The Container Store.
4 | Files find a home in a CB2 cabinet. Folders' colors ("never monochromatic," Berkus says) should correspond to their purpose. Invest in a label maker to keep tabs uniform and easy to read.
"People think getting organized is daunting, but it saves you so much time and energy in the long run," says Nate.
TPS chartreuse file cabinet, $159, CB2; cb2.com. One-inch Stockholm binders in navy, white, and turquoise, $10 each, and Bigso Stockholm magazine file in turquoise, $10, The Container Store; containerstore.com. Natural-fiber tapered drum lampshade, small, $39, Pottery Barn; potterybarn.com.
In the Family Room
"Everything has a home," says Berkus, and clearly labeled containers (for concealers) or easy-to-spy spots (for revealers) make it more likely that DVDs, games, and remotes will make it back where they belong. How to get your family with the program, if you're a...
1 | Designate an eye-catching remote control holder, like this Jonathan Adler dish, and encourage family to make use of it when shows end.
2 | Stashed in a basket (West Elm), Guitar Hero is ready to go when kids want to rock, along with gaming accessories. Wrap and label other components' cords with masking tape and a marker; throw those in, too.
3 | Vintage wire baskets — a Berkus fave — let everyone see what they want when they want it.
4 | Banish CD jewel cases. Berkus, "100% a revealer," uses cloth-covered binders that let him quickly flip through collections.
Light blue mandala cotton rug, 6’ by 9’, $925, Madeline Weinrib; madelineweinrib.com. Rolling storage, 3’ by 2’, in chocolate, $400, West Elm; westelm.com. Horse tray in white, small, $138, Jonathan Adler; jonathanadler.com. Ikat woven cylinder basket, medium, $59, West Elm; see above.
In the Family Room
1 | Even open shelving, like this West Elm bookcase, can appeal to a concealer. Thanks to a wireless range extender, devices for Web-connected electrical equipment (think gaming consoles) can reside in another room.
2 | Binders by Russell+Hazel disguise media. Mom's and Dad's go in blue binders up top; kids' movies and games go in purple binders closer to ground level.
3 | Berkus loves the character that flea market boxes give a room — here, a metal tin holds clickers, hidden from view.
4 | A lidded bench holds oversize toys, games. Bonus: extra seating!
Signature three-ring binder in light blue and regal, $24, Russell+Hazel; russellandhazel.com. Modern Weave storage bin, $39, West Elm; westelm.com.
In Your Dressing Area
It's hard to enjoy your accessories when they're in a tangled clump or a jumbled heap in a drawer or dish. Worse? "Losing" pieces because you can't remember where you stashed them. These attractive add-ons will help you spend less time hunting. "Who doesn't want to get ready like this?" asks Berkus.
1 | "I like things lined up," Berkus says of these magnetic containers with clear lids (The Container Store). They wrangle smaller items (earrings, chain bracelets), so you can quickly scan what you have.
2 | Suspend necklaces from decorative knobs or hooks. These Mini Spot-On! magnetic versions are a snap to add, remove, or reposition as needed.
3 | A wall-mounted paper-towel holder (Bed Bath & Beyond) lets bangles hang out at eye level.
4 | Trinket trays complement the decor while giving the dresser-top real function.
Harbor 5-drawer dresser, $1,200, Crate & Barrel; crateandbarrel.com. Mighty magnetic strip in white, $13, and magnetic spice tins, package of three, $6, and Mini Spot-On! magnet hooks in stainless, package of four, $10, The Container Store; containerstore.com. Umbra Stream wall-mountable paper towel holder, $20, Bed Bath & Beyond; bedbathandbeyond.com.
In Your Dressing Area
1 | If a jewelry box just doesn't cut it, Berkus recommends hanging an inexpensive medicine cabinet (Amazon) to tap unused wall space and provide an extra mirror.
2 | Small labeled boxes inside the cabinet bring order to baubles. Group items by style (e.g., evening, everyday), then by type.
3 | A sorter meant for socks or bras (The Container Store) turns a shallow drawer into your new necklace cache. Keep fine chains clasped and away from large beaded strands to prevent snarls.
4 | Pick up a fabric-lined drawer sorter at any housewares store. Favorite bracelets belong up front; less-often-worn styles go in back.
"When your jewelry is organized, you dress better and look cuter, because you know what you have," says Nate.
Coastal Collection CAPE-2530 Cape Cod series maple with white finish top crown medicine cabinet, 25 inches (similar to shown), $197.50, Amazon; amazon.com.