As a self-proclaimed Queen of Clutter, I couldn’t wait to take a tour of home organizer Katy Winter’s organized home and learn the secrets to having an Instagram-worthy house. And sure enough, she does have a home that could be featured on The Home Edit. But as a fellow mom of three, her Chappaqua home never felt sterile or too formal. You could tell kids lived in her house, but everything was neat and minimalist.
One of the first features noticeable in her sun-lit open plan kitchen was a designated area for her youngest son. A bright colored art table (a COVID DIY project Winter proudly notes) was in the kitchen next to a Lucite art cart. Each type of art supply was sorted in a bucket clearly labeled. “When my son comes home from school, I give him art supplies and a snack here while the older kids do their homework.” All of this can happen while Katy cooks. She opens her kitchen drawers and everything is neatly displayed and organized from tea towels and oven mitts in one section (she is a fan of drawer inserts) to prep tools like potato peelers to pizza slicers in another. “I use everything in my drawers. Everything has a purpose. There is nothing I don’t use in my kitchen.” And she is not a fan of duplicates. Note to self: throw out or donate my extra garlic presses and put glue sticks strewn about my house in one labeled bucket.
Everything in her home has a specific zone – whether it is her mudroom or toy room. I enter her mudroom and marvel at how orderly it is. Each child has three pairs of shoes on a bench. “Shoes that aren’t worn often like dressy ones belong in their closets. When they get home from school they know that the shoes go on the tray and the jackets and backpacks go on hooks.” I meander into her toy-room with multiple shelves and baskets clearly labeled so that trains, mini-cars and trucks are all in one “vehicle” area and building toys like blocks or Magna tiles in another.
Winter has always had a love for organizing even as a young girl growing up in Florida. “I was the third kid with the tiniest room. It was basically a closet. I couldn’t have any messes in my room.” She continued to care about how things were organized in her small dorm at college. “I became obsessed with folding my clothing to fit in these tiny drawers.”
Upon graduation, Winter worked in the wholesale fashion industry for top designers. Part of her job was merchandising handbags for Cole Haan. “I got such a thrill out of making the shelves and walls look beautiful at the stores. I also loved the personal connection I had with my buyers,” she recalls. Winter has such an affable personality and that shines through when she’s working on organizing with her clients.
Fast forward a few years and Winter was a stay-at home suburban mom with her second child turning three years old. “I’d be on playdates, helping my friends reorganize their playrooms,” she recalls. At her friends urging, they suggested she become an organizer. Fast forward, and today she is one of the most sought-after organizers working on Westchester homes, Hamptons vacation abodes and Brooklyn brownstones.
With one of the hottest housing markets spurred by the COVID crisis, Winter notes, “I do a lot of relocation jobs now.” Winter will work with sellers to declutter homes and help stage them for sale. “Once you make things look minimal, it usually looks great.” When families move to the suburbs, she monitors the movers and then helps with the unpack, setting up each room thoughtfully. “Many of the houses here are large and can take three full days with up to five organizers but each project is different.” Additionally, she is often asked to help consult as clients do renovations on closets, kitchens and cabinetry.
“Your house should make you feel good. It should have that nice hotel effect,” sums up Winter. As I leave her home, I feel relaxed and, as a bonus, armed with plenty of organizing tips.
Visit katysorganizedhome.com to learn more.