Monica Leed, the Founder of Simply Spaced, on How to Clear Clutter in Style
The organization guru's three-step process—outlined in her new book—will help you slip into an organized mindset and reclaim your home.
You may know her from your Instagram feed: Monica Leed of Simply Spaced boasts an enviable grid of organized, aspirational spaces in a palette of white on neutral. Everything is labeled in perfect script in chalk pen; potted plants and just the right amount of tasteful objets give shelves both room to breathe and personal warmth. Now, Leed's methods can be yours, thanks to her new book, Simply Spaced: Clear the Clutter and Style Your Life ($19.49, amazon.com). Consider it a primer on getting organized—both for actual professional organizers, and for the mere mortal, as well.
"This is a foundational book," Leed says. "A lot of people want to learn to think like a professional organizer, and I think it's possible." A self-described creative who switched into this profession after 10 years working as a film set designer, Leed found that organizing helped her regain control after a car accident forced her to reframe her life. "Originally, I thought it was a side gig. I didn't realize what it would become," she shares. These days, Leed is a full-time professional organizer, and her blog and Instagram feed—which she started as a way to capture thoughts for clients—have gained nationwide attention. And just like her other media, her new book isn't simply a collection of pretty pictures: It's a workhorse of a workbook, broken down by zones and categories (closets, kids' spaces, and more), with her three-step methodology honed for each space. There are tear-out sheets, tool kit checklists, and affirmations, too—plus a few inside jokes (see: fish plates) that wink to her family and followers.
Best of all, her book outlines attainable results. "Anyone can get into the mind of an organizer—this book is a starter," says Leed, who laughed at—then agreed with—our suggestion that learning how to manage clutter should be a college course. "If you can adopt an organizational mindset, you can use that mentality to approach just about everything, including your work and your schedule."
Leed's biggest goal in Simply Spaced is to teach this three-step process, which readers can use to tackle any space. "Building this framework makes it easy to apply the methodology," she says. As for those three basic steps? First up is simplify—a staple of the organizing industry, this means going through all items in one category to figure out what you "love, need, or use," then discarding the rest. "The outcome is always clarity and calm," Leed says. Next up? Streamline. Once you know what you have, it's optimizing your space with strategic storage. "Here's where you pull in bins and baskets, or put up shelves, to get back control," she explains. Last, but not least—style. "This is where I differentiate from others," says Leed. "It's not just about what you let go of—when something's styled beautifully, you're encouraged to maintain it." That means personalizing a space and making it a reflection of the life you want to be living. "It's not just survival mode, it's about thriving."
Leed feels grateful to be part of the professional organizing industry, since the results run far deeper than a clean, functional home. "I have an opportunity to really help people, and to help people feel empowered to learn," says Leed. "There's a confidence in knowing that the right process is all we need, so at least you have a place to start. That's the motivation to not feel overwhelmed."