Peter Walsh is the thinking person’s organizer. After interviewing him this morning it’s clear why Oprah nabbed him for her show. He manages to bring heart and soul as well as a great design sense and intelligence to his role as master declutterer. This is the first in a series of conversations we will publish with Peter. If you’ve got any specific questions for him just let me know!
You are Australian but you’ve been living in the States since 1994. Where do you call ‘home’? A mid-century house in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles. The house was built in ’59 and we’ve restored it. I love it. It’s surrounded by very mature landscaping.
Do you run your organizing business from home? Yes, I do. My office is at the back of the house and looks onto the backyard. There’s a huge window and lots of natural light.
Is that a bedroom that’s been transformed into a home office? No! I am a great believer in keeping those spaces separate if you can. I am very interested in the psychology of space. Whenever I see a client I always ask the same question. What do you want to get from the room. No what the room is for, but what you want from it.
What if you need to have your office in your bedroom because of space constrictions? Then zones are really important. You’d need to clearly mark out where the office space was in the bedroom.
How would you answer your own question? What do you need from your home office? Organization, focus, motivation, ease of access, cleanliness and inspiration. The lack of clutter in my home office helps me focus.
How do you achieve all that? It’s not necessarily through products. I think Western culture is obsessed with the idea that if we just have the right product everything else will follow, we’ll be happy. There’s an obsession with quantity over quality. The feeling is the more I have the better off I am and that’s just a myth – the myth of more! We were looking at a house for sale in the neighbourhood. It was built in ’59 and the people who lived there had slowly filled it with Herman Miller pieces. And you know, the furniture was still there. In a culture of built-in obsolescence it’s so good to see lasting quality. (The photo below is of Peter’s living room.)