Struggling to declutter? This is the best place to start, according to interior designer Bobby Berk

The Queer Eye series’ interior expert reveals the one thing that is vital for a home that works and brings joy is organization. Here's how he tackles it

Bobby Berk X Yellowpop collaboration
(Image credit: Bobby Berk X Yellowpop)

You might think that a successful interior is all about color, pattern, lights or choice of furniture. But Bobby Berk, the design expert who has graced us with his invaluable design wisdom in the hit series Queer Eye, begs to differ. Of course, all of these elements are important, and one can’t design without them, however, there is one element in particular that is above all else and is at the core of a home that looks good and, most importantly, is impeccably functional.

It doesn’t involve a big budget or following the latest interior design trends, but it does involve rolling up your sleeves a little bit. 

The key word here is organization. Bobby thinks that no good design can be built starting from a disorganized, cluttered space. In a recent chat, he tells me exactly what he thinks of chaos in the home, and how that links to your mental well-being too. 

‘Chaos around you creates chaos in your mind’

mediterranean style dining room designed by bobby berk with white walls and solid wood dining table

(Image credit: Credit Sara Ligorria-Tramp. Design: Bobby Berk)

I asked Bobby what, in his opinion, is the most important thing to consider when designing a modern home, and his answer was quick and assured: organization. The main point of designing a home is for you to feel better about it and within it. ‘Chaos around you creates chaos in your mind. When you’re surrounded by chaos and clutter and disorganization it can create anxiety even if you don’t realize it. Start out with organizing,’ explains Bobby.  

Before you even look at color swatches and fabric samples, look at what is already around you, and decide what has become redundant, and pure clutter. Bobby’s advice is to start out by getting rid of things that you don’t need, that have served their purpose, and donate them. 

‘If it feels overwhelming start out small, with that drawer in the kitchen that has accumulated all those things that you don’t need. Once you get that sense of accomplishment it’s really going to catapult you to start larger projects and really go through your home and make it much more functional.’

'Maybe the dreaded junk drawer feels to overwhelming right now, or maybe that corner of the garage you can't bring yourself to make eye contact with isn't going to happen this weekend,' Bobby says in his new book, Right at Home, available on Amazon, but he recommends choosing even the smallest job as a start to your decluttering process, even if that's just a single shelf. 'One less thing for you to be annoyed about is ONE LESS THING,' he says. 

When going through your things, ask yourself when you’ve last used a particular item, do you love it, or does it bring you joy? Answering these questions honestly will help you decide what to get rid of. 

Getting organized is a great way to achieve functionality without sacrificing style 

bobby berk designed kitchen in mediterranean style

(Image credit: Sara Ligorria-Tramp. Design: Bobby Berk)

Good design is first and foremost functional. Clutter is anything but, and stands in the way of achieving functionality. 

‘The first thing I do is I work on the functionality of a space, and then I make it pretty. That way you don’t have to sacrifice style because you get into function first, and then you work on the decor,’ Bobby tells me. 

The key here is getting your priorities straight, and looking at your project stages in the right order. Designing a beautiful interior without first looking at how the space and objects within it are organized, and how they serve their function, is like building a house without a foundation. And really, decluttering your home can bring you more joy than you might expect. 

Use these stylish items to help get your home more organized  

Raluca Racasan
News writer

Raluca is Digital News Writer for and passionate about all things interior and living beautifully. Coming from a background writing and styling shoots for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire Raluca’s love for design started at a very young age when her family’s favourite weekend activity was moving the furniture around the house ‘for fun’. Always happiest in creative environments in her spare time she loves designing mindful spaces and doing colour consultations. She finds the best inspiration in art, nature, and the way we live, and thinks that a home should serve our mental and emotional wellbeing as well as our lifestyle.