In this instalment of Design Files, we discuss home organization and the feeling of a home with Emily Barrieau of Less But Better Home Organization Solutions. Spruce’s Design Files series brings local Victoria home experts and their insights on trends, investments, and design to Victoria locals looking to refresh and spruce up their home.
Meet Emily Barrieau, a home organization expert and the owner of Less But Better Home Organization Solutions in Victoria, B.C. Emily started out on this journey when she moved to China in 2016 to teach. Living in China motivated Emily to create a life of simplicity, easy habits, and peaceful living.
“My values lie in awakening to our highest self. When we commit to a life that is slower, simpler and more sustainable – we breakthrough, and connect to our greatest potential.”
Q & A with Emily Barrieau
How would you describe your interior design / organization approach?
The pillars that make up my home organization approach are all based on a less is more philosophy. So by starting with reaching for less, I invite my clients to uncover new ways to reduce the energy, efforts, and bandwidth that are needed to maintain their ideal space. So after reducing the contents to what realistically fits, we embrace their (often busy) lifestyle and create ways to simplify how everything is stored. So everything is easy to reach, find, and put back – every time.
If you could give one REALLY amazing piece of interior design/organization advice to someone who doesn’t know where to start, what would it be?
Create an outbox. One for each member of the household. My outbox is a place to drop anything that is no longer serving me in the moment. It doesn’t fit, I don’t use it, or it’s something from my past. I use this space as a buffer for later decision making even, eventually deciding where the things are better off – donated, given away, or sold. Most importantly, this basket is large enough and stored in an easy to reach place – near the door – such as in the bottom of a closet.
What is something few people understand about interior design/home organization? Or a misconception about being an interior organizer?
Sometimes people think that home organizers want them to get rid of so many of their things and almost encourage some extreme level of minimalism. But the reality is, my number one intention in home organization is to just make sure that their inventory not only is serving them in their present moment but that it also fits within their given storage space. I always reassure my clients that I am not there to tell them to let go of anything, I merely show them how to make fast, easy decisions to know exactly what to keep and then how to place it all back in the simplest way.
What is something you think is really worth investing in when it comes to home organization?
Coherent wooden clothing hangers. I know it sounds simple, but this one small shift often starts my clients off into a spiral of intentional design choices and creates a space that wants to be cared for and tended to. The hangers create a boutique-feel that miss-matched hangers never could.
What’s the most important factor in choosing an interior designer/home organizer to renovate your space?
The most important factor, in my opinion, would be that their values align with your own and that they are willing to always listen and adapt to your preferences or needs. There needs to be a level of trust and knowing that they have your best interest in mind and that they will show up with an energy of accountability and momentum no matter what.
Are there any trends you’re seeing that homeowners should be excited about?
Something that has struck my attention lately is the natural, intentional, and simplistic style trend inspired by a combination of interior designs from Japan & Scandinavia – also known as Japandi. One of the top storage trends within Japandi is showing up in kitchens as the hook & rail system. A form of hanging storage that is sleek and convenient with endless possibilities.
Continue reading: Design Files with Raubyn Rothschild