The Problem Area
A teetering pileup of binders, papers, gadgets, sunglasses, and miscellanea, all hidden from sight by a curtain.
The closet-shaped nook outside Dawn Bridgewater's bathroom was originally built as a mirrored vanity, complete with a large desk. But when Bridgewater, 37, an assistant director for films and commercials, moved into this motel-style apartment off Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, she didn't need extra storage for her toiletries—so she stashed mail on the "vanity" instead. Inevitably, it seemed an equally convenient repository for printer paper, cell phone chargers, wedding invitations, a three-hole punch, Mardi Gras beads, manuals for a Brita filter and a waffle maker, a New Kids on the Block 45, Bed Bath & Beyond bags, a Swiss army knife given to Bridgewater by Joan Jett on the set of The Runaways ("I did that movie just so I could hang out with her—15-year-old me was freaking out!"), and a yellow notepad on which she'd scribbled a script idea. Hyper-organized in her work life, Bridgewater hung a curtain to hide the mess, because "every time I went into my bedroom or bathroom I was shamed," she says.
A clean, compact workspace for sorting mail and using the computer.