This series is about showing the many different faces of minimalism: the living-out-of-a-backpack to streamlined city living. Today we're speaking to the lovely Shira Gill, of Shira Gill organization and styling. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Houzz, Design Mom, and Style Mitzvah. Meet Shira!
Hi Shira! Can you tell me a little about your story? Where are you from, what do you do, and what really gets you stoked?
I was born in San Francisco and currently live with my husband and two daughters in sunny Berkeley, California. Before buying our first home, I spent over twenty years working as an actor and have moved 25 times! After having kids, I started my home organizing company (shiragill.com) to help women who were feeling overwhelmed in their homes and stressed in their lives. What sets me apart from traditional home organizers is that I really coach my clients to create a space that represents who they are and what they care about. We examine what they use and love, and clear out all of the excess clutter before organizing and styling. I’ve turned offices into nurseries and closets into offices and everything in between! Over the years, my business has grown to include spatial planning and design, project management, and style makeovers. I love what I do so much because I am constantly meeting new people and encountering new creative challenges.
First things first - what got you into minimalism?
Between being a child of multiple moves and divorces, and a former life working as an actress, I have become an expert mover and light packer by necessity. My minimalist tendencies were also born out of the values my parents taught me to value people and experiences over material things. Now that I have kids it is even more of a challenge to stay streamlined. As a mother, there is a tremendous amount of consumer pressure to keep up with trends and buy all of the latest gear and gadgets. I like to provide an alternative, and firmly believe that what helps children thrive has everything to do with feeling loved and nurtured and nothing to do with physical things. In my own life, I have seen my children play for hours with a cardboard box or a fort made out of pillows from the living room...I think having less inspires great creativity and imaginative play!
What does minimalism mean, for you?
Minimalism means choosing to live with what you need and love and nothing more. No excess. No clutter. Lots of freedom and independence to do the things you really love.
What are the things that add value to your life, and that you're happy to keep around (even though you're a minimalist!)?
I have a weakness for great shoes, handbags and jeans. I always make sure I am stocked up on a few great books and magazines, a great lipgloss, and my phone for catching up with friends or listening to podcasts. I also love a few personal touches like fresh flowers, framed pictures, favorite music, and a candle which help me feel instantly at home and cozy.
Describe your home design aesthetic.
I would say streamlined, airy, and relaxed. I aspire towards the beauty and simplicity of Scandinavian style, and a real less is more approach. I love to create spaces that feel really comfortable and inviting, but also stylish.
Where do you feel most at home?
In my cozy house, hanging out with my family.
Where do you get your 'minimal' inspiration (for home, lifestyle, style etc!)?
My philosophy is to buy less, and to invest in high quality, thoughtful pieces that we will enjoy for years to come. Although we keep our home fairly minimal, I do love to shop at our amazing local boutiques and indulge in accessories for our space. I also draw inspiration from travel, magazines, Pinterest, and my amazing and talented friends.
Finish this sentence...My 'Achilles heel' is .... (mine is jeans and sweaters...I alwaaaays want to buy more!)
Shoes and jeans! Also shelter magazines and beautiful bins and baskets. We joke that I am a basket hoarder :)
What's your daily routine like?
On a typical day, I drop my kids at school and work for three or four hours on site editing, organizing, and styling. I usually bring lunch back to my home office where I do my accounting, blogging, design research, and client calls. My office used to be a porch, and it’s the sunniest room in our house. I always keep it furnished with my favorite design books, fresh flowers, and a glass jug of water. It’s the only room in our house that feels like it’s just mine, so even though it’s where I work, it feels like a relaxing retreat. I pick my kids up in the afternoon and we usually play for a bit or grab a treat, and then get right to cooking dinner since they go to bed super early. Sometimes the girls tag along with me when I go on donation runs or pick up supplies, and I’ll often head back to the office while my husband reads the girls their books before bed, but mainly I keep a nice separation between work and family time. I prefer it that way!
Do you have a tidying routine or a method for keeping your home minimal?
I practice the one-in, one-out rule pretty religiously. I hang a tote in each closet so whenever we buy something new we toss something similar in the tote to be donated. This way we can indulge in new things but also stay minimal. I also tidy as I go - If I walk into the house with groceries, mail, my bag, jacket, etc. I take a few minutes to put everything away. I find that consistently placing things in their "homes" prevents ever facing a massive mess.
Lots of minimalists are into capsule wardrobes. What's your go-to uniform?
I am always on the go so I keep it pretty casual. My uniform is a simple top, jeans, and clogs or booties. I always like to invest in a great handbag which elevates my simple style.
What's the best organizing / minimalist / small space tip you've ever received?
You don't need more space, you need less stuff!
Minimalism can be overwhelming when you first start out! What's your advice for people looking to embrace minimalism?
Probably it's just focusing on valuing people and experiences over material things. Your home and belongings should support your life and dreams. Think about what you really value and want out of life. Your stuff should support that.
I'm big into what I'm calling the 'minimal mind' at the moment - making space for what's important and being mindful and intentional. How do you stay grounded and focused?
I write in The Five Minute Journal every morning and evening and do my best to do yoga, walk and stay as active as possible. Each night at dinner my family shares with each other the three highlights of their day with a focus on gratitude. Because of this ritual, I find that I am always looking for things to be grateful for!
Here's a few rapid fire questions - just to shake things up!
Rapid fire: In the home, do you prefer monochrome or bright colours?
Rapid fire: When traveling do you carry on or check a bag?
Rapid fire: Are you an early bird or night owl?
Rapid fire: Brunch or lunch?
Rapid fire: TV series or movies?
Thanks so much for your time! Where can folks find you around the internet?