Podcast, Ep. 136: organizing expert Clara Schoen

Home organizing expert Clara Schoen shares all of her organizing tips


Luxury home organizing expert Clara Schoen joins the show, to talk about what it takes to be a professional organizing expert, and gives her advice on how we can best use this time to get our home tidy and streamlined. Clara also talks about how we can get our family excited and onboard for organizing, how to get through the sentimental part of throwing things away, and what products she finds the most helpful as an organization investment.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

  • How one gets into the organizing space in the first place, and how it’s different than organizing for yourself.
  • Why labeling things really does help you save time, and how to get your family onboard (and maybe even excited?!) about labeling. 
  • What organization products Clara feels is worth the investment, and where we can save money.
  • Clara’s advice on organizing things that can create clutter such as junk drawer items, extra pens, and chords.
  • Organizing can be an emotional or sentimental practice, so how to feel better about ditching things you really won’t use.
  • How to get things looking clean and uniform, and where we spend small amounts of money to have everything looking streamlined.
  • How Clara folds clothes, and tips for getting our closets under control and storing handbags.
  • Great ways to organize sentimental items that the kids create, and why it’s okay to not keep everything they bring home from school.
  • How we store and file away our important papers, so that they are easy to find and clearly labeled.
  • Great tip: stores will load paint for you in your car, so you don’t even have to go in the store!

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hello ladies!

I am an avid listener of your podcast, and I love learning about design and hearing your hilarious conversations and back-and-forth banter with each other! I’m actually a friend of Taryn’s (hi T!), and I just bought a new house. I feel like I’ve already spent a million dollars on new furniture, decor, necessary items, etc., but I look at the house and it just feels empty. To clarify, I haven’t decorated yet, so that’s probably why it feels that way. But I’m currently struggling with two rooms and I need some help!

The first room is the living room. The size is about 14′ 3″ (the wall with the couch) x 13′ 9″ from where the stairs end. Right now we have a couch, coffee table (shout out to Taryn who helped me with that one), and rug. We also have purchased a love seat that hasn’t been delivered yet (it matches the couch), but it will go on the wall that the lamp is sitting on in the photos. I need help with a few things. 

1) The couch and the love seat are pretty big (96″ x 42″ and 78″ x 42″), which I didn’t 100% realize when I bought them, but they’re new, so they’re staying. The major question I have about this is that when they’re set up, there will be a pretty huge hole in the corner of the room (where the lamp is) for a side table to go, and I am not sure what type of table to put there because of the size of the hole it leaves. It’s about 44″ x 44″ (I know, it’s big). My ideas are: a colorful pouf (like the one attached- 34″ x 34″) with a tray and a floor lamp, some nesting tables (like the ones attached), or something else? HELP! I also am not sure what color to get… brown? colored? gray? white?

2) I can’t decide if the side table I did get is too small and/or the wrong color. You’ll see it in the picture. It’s 18″ (W) x 15″ (D). A couple of notes- the lamp in this picture is NOT staying, nor the pillows on the couch; we are having the hole in the wall that is meant for a TV filled in to be a flat wall, which is why the TV is on the hearth right now; I am still looking for the right window treatments, but leaning toward something with tasteful green/teal/blue; hoping to replace the railing as well; the kids Pottery Barn chairs will not stay there; I don’t think I can paint the walls right now because if I paint the living room, I’ll have to paint the entire house (literally).

The second room is the master bedroom. I have my new Ballard Villandry headboard, which I love, and all my new furniture and bedding (this room is also not decorated yet). The trouble I’m having is deciding what color to paint the walls. I don’t need an actual paint color, but would just like opinions on a general color. Most of the bedding and pillows are off-white, black, white, and tan, but I’m trying to add in a mustard yellow and thinking about a dark (forest or hunter) green in the curtains or somewhere else. The brown that it is now was the color when we bought the house. HELP ME PLEASE!

That’s all for now- any advice would be great! Love the show!


It’s all about thinking big! A 36 inch round skirted table that fits your own vibe with a big round ceramic lamp would look great. Feel free to buy larger things, like big artwork, as you have a good amount of space to fill. This will add height and presence to the room. We also bet your friend Taryn may paint something for you, if you ask nicely! Some modular seating that flow around the room could work to add more seating, and you do have the space for it.

The color of the headboard depends on how much light comes in the room, and how much you want to create a little cocoon feeling in the room. We like a color called Urbane Bronze, so check it out and see if it would work for you. Also, deep purple or green would go great. Think about getting bigger lamps, with something big and exaggerated with drama and pizazz.

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Kim Boyer

    May 9, 2020

    I LOVE listening to your podcast on “how to decorate” SO much! I really enjoyed this last episode from Clare on organizing… my husband and I are total opposites when it comes to keeping things in their proper home, he is not tidy in the slightest. We have been married for 34 years and he just doesn’t get it! Ugh! It has been a constant frustration for me and he just turns a deaf ear to my desires for a more organized home. I think by listening today, I can see that if I can simplify more and keep the clutter down we won’t have so much stuff to shuffle about. Thank you for all the suggestions on how to manage the stress of having too much stuff!