peter walsh

Photo: Saverio Truglia

In 2007, more than a decade after he landed on these shores and quickly became indispensable to America's pack rat citizenry, Australian organizing guru Peter Walsh—along with his partner, Ken Greenblatt—bought a charming little stucco vacation cottage in the chic desert oasis of Palm Springs. There, the couple retire most weekends from their busy life in Los Angeles to bike, hike, read, entertain friends, "eat way too much," admits Walsh, and generally bask in gloriously minimalist domestic perfection. In honor of O's third annual de-cluttering issue, we decided to see Walsh's home for ourselves. Although we've watched him subdue 4,000-square-foot suburban junk palaces on his OWN show, Extreme Clutter—not to mention whip a certain magazine's very messy New York headquarters into shape—nothing could've prepared us for the super-advanced stuff-slaying that goes down in his own home.

Walsh swears it's all about volume control and systems. "We keep physical stuff to a minimum," he explains, noting the scant furniture and complete absence of tchotchkes. "Instead, we want to emphasize the house's openness, the view of the San Jacinto mountains, the incredible weather." And rather than perpetually clean and organize, Walsh and Greenblatt use an established set of tools and routines that allow them "to quickly straighten up, find things we need, and not have to waste more time than we absolutely must maintaining the house," Walsh says. His solutions include life-alteringly simple ways to store linens and dried foods, even tame one's junk drawer. "It's about ease of living," says Walsh. "We come here to recharge our batteries, not to clean."

Peter Walsh Home Office

Photo: David Tsay

1. Make Your Rooms Multitask
In a small house, each room can serve more than one purpose, says Walsh. Take his guest room/TV room/office. The couch—a pullout that's perfect for guests—faces a flat-screen TV that Walsh and Greenblatt watch alone on quieter evenings.

To create a cozy home office, Walsh removed the closet doors, installed a desk and shelving, and added venetian blinds from Ikea that he can pull down to hide the workspace when visitors arrive.

Even Walsh's furniture serves more than one function: This ottoman, a handy footrest and coffee table, moonlights as storage for Walsh and Greenblatt's DVD collection, leaving the room's media console clutter-free.

peter walsh fridge

Photo: David Tsay

2. Focus Your Fridge
Walsh uses clear plastic trays (Fridge Binz; to separate cheese from condiments from baking supplies. When he's grilling outside, he simply grabs the entire condiments tray (ditto the cheese tray, which he and Greenblatt sample most evenings). Bonus: No need to scrub dried maple syrup from the far corners of his fridge.

peter walsh jars

Photo: David Tsay

3. Use Easy Counter Canisters
To keep the dried lentils, beans, quinoa, flour, and other ingredients he uses for healthy summer meals readily available, Walsh stores them in a set of stainless steel canisters ( This way he always knows what he has—and friends can easily pitch in with the cooking.

peter walsh linnen closet

Photo: David Tsay

4. Rethink Your Linen Closet
Warning: Your mind might be blown by Walsh's brilliantly simple linen system. To store his uniform white sheets, he folds fitted sheet, top sheet, and extra pillowcases inside a pillowcase of the same set. Needless to say, he never has to ransack his closet for an elusive match.

peter walsh non junk drawer

Photo: David Tsay

5. De-Junk Your Junk Drawer
Instead of being jammed in a kitchen drawer, household necessities like rubber bands, pencils, and glue are stacked in clear, labeled boxes of varying sizes (Zak! Designs canisters; inside a cabinet. This makes things easy for Walsh—and his houseguests—to find.

Walsh's clear containers make it easy to see what needs replacing. Even better, their labels discourage the stashing of miscellany. "They don't allow you to overload your junk drawer with junk," he explains.

free money box peter walsh

Photo: David Tsay

6. Establish a Free-Money Box
Inspired by the sheer dollar amount of unused gift cards and rebates he finds stashed in others' homes, Walsh corralled his various coupons, gift certificates, free gym passes, and vouchers into this brightly colored box (Bigso storage box;, which he riffles through for relevant bargains each time he goes shopping.

standardized storage peter walsh

Photo: David Tsay

7. Standardize Your Food Storage
To avoid accumulating a drawerful of mismatched plastic containers in ten colors, Walsh uses just one brand of food storage container so lids will always fit (OXO LockTop set; He stacks just a few sizes in a cabinet for easy access. "Most people only really use three or four of these containers anyway," says Walsh. "There's no need to keep hundreds."

Keep Reading: Peter Walsh helps you figure out what kind of clutterer you are