If you’ve been meaning to get your work space organised for 2017 but have been lacking in motivation or inspiration to date, how about taking your cues for from these two fashionable (+ freelance) Sydneysiders and their recent home-office makeovers? These stylish self-starters share their tips to staying organised and creating a space that works – no matter where you live.

MEET ALLY HAYWARD (@allymayhayward)

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Former model turned writer + creative Ally Hayward lives in Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, working on creative projects with her husband and on her style, beauty, health and travel site, Substance.

Is working for yourself, from home, as great as it sounds?
Yes! Watching the evolution of our work and projects is exciting. Every work day is different – I could be on a photoshoot, writing copy, attending events, travelling or in meetings with clients. Then there’s the flexible working hours, taking breaks when you want, and being able to manage your own client list and workflow.

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What would you say your fashion style and interior style have in common?
I love a classic palette whether it’s for my home or sartorial choices – it’s easier to match things with each other. Other similarities would be the use of textural elements and layering. I think this is how you tell a story in both fashion and interiors.  

Any tips on staying tidy and organised? 
Staying organised is something I absolutely love to do – I think you really need to when you work for yourself. It’s a way of holding yourself accountable. I am a firm believer in deleting things from your desktop, organising files in folders and deleting emails when you no longer need them. We shoot regularly so we have a lot of images on hard drives – I try to go through them and delete what I no longer need, but this is something I need to get better at! 

When it comes to the home – keep things in their own place and if you can’t find the appropriate place, donate it or throw it away. I travelled for three months of last year so I really narrowed down the things I “needed”. On my return I removed things from my home that didn’t serve any real purpose.

What are your top 2 home office essentials?
Space. My husband and I both have our own work zones in our house – it’s so important to have a designated area you can close the door on, otherwise it’s so easy to continue to work weird hours. I have racks, my desk, bookcase and side table in my office so I can organise outfits for shoots and organise other work related pieces.  

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Light. Our house is filled with natural light, and a glass desk really helps to keep the light streaming into otherwise dark corners. A large leaning mirror also really helps to open up a small space by reflecting light.

MEET BROOKE TESTONI (@brooketestoni)

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Stylist + creative director Brooke Testoni just moved into a 112-year-old gem of a house in the northern Sydney suburb of Mosman and created a special space from which she could plan shoots, edit photos and the like.

Is working for yourself, from home, as great as it sounds?
There are definitely positives and negatives. On the one hand, there’s the freedom – I can go to the later Pilates class if the earlier one is full. But it’s also easy to get distracted. And a bit lonely. So I work from home half the week and at my husband’s office for the other half. I like to work amongst his staff because it keeps me sane. I swear if I was by myself too many days in a row, I would start to talk to myself!

What would you say your fashion style and interior style have in common?
I always mix old with new. Every outfit I wear will have a vintage item amongst it. When it comes to my house, it is full of new and old gems.

Any tips on staying tidy and organised? 
I have always been tidy, my husband says I am a little OCD. However, I am not as organised as I would like. I am always writing stories, editing photos, paying bills and writing notes on the go, and I almost always forget where I saved them. You won’t see paper everywhere though, I don’t own a printer. (On purpose! Trying my best to save the trees!) What’s funny though, is that I like clutter. Well, organised clutter. You will see me stack books and frames, even put one too many ornaments around. I love a house to be organised and clean but I love to have beautiful pieces scattered around.

What are your top 2 home office essentials?
(1) The Mid-Century Desk. It perfectly sums up my home office style. Everyone who visits our house always asks about it. It looks vintage yet has all the functionality of a contemporary design. (2) A real-office mentality. It’s important to get up and get ready like you are heading to any regular office. I get up early, train at the gym, get a coffee, get into my work clothes (well, fashion work clothes) and start work by 8.30am.

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