Natalie's library, before

Photograph by Grey Crawford, styling by Rebecca Omweg

When Natalie Appell's sister-in-law heard that Natalie was having the office in her Beverly Hills home photographed by a national magazine, she had two words for Natalie: "You're insane!" Built to be the family library, Natalie's office morphed over the years into a disaster area, the receptacle for things that the mother of four says she "intended to deal with later." That meant the baby's car seat, tokens from Chuck E. Cheese's with once profound sentimental import, magazines saved for a single recipe, playbills from every concert she'd attended, and an exhaustive collection of finger paintings.
Natalie's library, after

Photograph by Grey Crawford, styling by Rebecca Omweg

A self-confessed pack rat who only recently found the fortitude to let go of her own Brownie uniform, Natalie needed to purge and reorganize on a seismic scale. Her previous attempts had proved futile: "I bought all the organizing stuff and then hoped it would organize itself," she says. So then she hired Jill Matson and Caren Kaplow, partners in the Los Angeles-based life-organization agency Done, which helps clients streamline their material world. The agency also oversees moves and can draw together detailed inventories of a home's contents—invaluable for clients with multiple dwellings.

Done knows how to, well, get things done. Jill and Caren emptied out Natalie's office on a Sunday night and had it itemized, inventoried, painted, and back together—minus 60 percent of its contents—by Wednesday afternoon.
Natalie's shelves, after

Photograph by Grey Crawford, styling by Rebecca Omweg

Reorganizing Natalie's shelves was no easy feat, but a little ingenuity and some simple storage solutions prove there's a place for everything!

Photo Ops: Done gave Natalie flat boxes to keep and index her photos (by year), making it easier for her to eventually transfer them to archival albums.

Dine by Design: Natalie and her husband, Robert, are food and wine experts. Done organized Natalie's piecemeal collection of recipes and gathered articles about different vintages and varietals in these matching binders from Russell + Hazel.

Boxed Sets: Natalie is also an avid scrapbooker, and Done gave her these heavy-duty cardboard boxes to store elements—such as "books" her children wrote in school—for her future projects. Jill and Caren instructed her to use bamboo boxes from the Container Store to hold blank greeting cards.

On a Roll: Caren repurposed a shoe rack she found elsewhere in the house, turning it into a gift-wrap-and-ribbon dispenser. "Natalie has four children," she says. "That means a birthday party to attend just about every weekend."
Natalie's new desk

Photograph by Grey Crawford, styling by Rebecca Omweg

Done cleared off Natalie's desk so that it actually would function as a work space rather than a storage area. Then Jill and Caren got rid of her busted computer and brought in her laptop from another part of the house. The new bulletin board has a laminated list of emergency numbers and gives Natalie a place to pin up her kids' art as well as various invitations, "so they're in her face and she doesn't miss events because she lost the invitation," Jill says.
Organized file drawers

Photograph by Grey Crawford, styling by Rebecca Omweg

Once a mishmash of receipts, newspaper clippings and—believe it or not—socks, Natalie's files now are organized by subject matter, with each family member assigned to a folder color. The "to be filed" box keeps things orderly even when Natalie is too busy to organize paperwork right away.

Learn the rules for staying organized.


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