At Home: Professional organizer creates calm, clear oasis

What does a professional organizer’s home look like? Is it totally minimal, methodically structured as though it was ripped straight from the pages of Real Simple magazine? Or is it perhaps a secret refuge of chaos and clutter?

Emily Wilska’s humble Hayes Valley flat isn’t either.

Tucked away near the newly revamped Octavia Boulevard, the first-floor Victorian one-bedroom is distinctly vintage San Francisco, with its pocket doors, generous bay windows and built-in shelving and seating.

Wilska, founder of the company The Organized Life, is privy to the ins and outs of working with not-so-spacious living situations and has crafted creative solutions for living big in small spaces.

“My tolerance for clutter is close to the floor; I really cannot stand it in my own living space partly because I am around it all day when I’m working with a client,” she says. “But also because I am a very visual person and the more I see the more distracted or unsettled I get. I like to have a clear, calm space.”

Wilska’s home is charming in its token accoutrements, which includes wall art from Creativity Explored. One such piece hangs in the kitchen, while a collection of plush birds greets visitors from a bookshelf in the entryway and a large fuzzy of the Japanese anime character Totoro sits against colorful pillows atop a built-in bench in the living room.

She admits that her design aesthetic has changed a lot since living with housemates in the Castro.

When she first moved into a place of her own, everything from college furniture to IKEA specials made its way into her Hayes Valley home. Little by little, Wilska has begun to replace furniture, most recently with the addition of her sofa from Crate and Barrel.

Green and orange predominate throughout the pro-organizer’s apartment, adding life to the crispness of the otherwise gallery-like white walls and high ceilings. Her color scheme extends to her business as well; she jokes that friends and clients tell her they immediately associate her with the color green.

Wilska’s home, as she puts it, can be best described as “carefully curated.” The term doesn’t suggest that precious and pricey pieces have been searched for and collected, but that essential items have proved their worth. Select items — the grinning Totoro, for instance — add a quirky, personalized edge to the clutter-free digs.

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