Like most families, the Taos have a schedule so packed with work, school, and activities that it's tough to find time to straighten up. Gwen Tao, a physical therapist, and her husband Pete, an electrical engineer and college-football official, are raising three sons they adopted as babies: Isaiah, 10, and Caleb and Cody, both 14. The family has five rescue dogs, and they also open up their Drippings Springs, Texas, home to weekly community events, including Girl Scout troop meetings and Pilates classes, which take place in a room above the detached garage.
The family's nanny, Caitlin McCollom, took notice of their growing mess—and then took action. "I am writing on behalf of my boss," her e-mail to Real Simple read. "Gwen is a wonderful woman, but her house needs organization so badly! If your editors could help her, it would be an enormous blessing." And so the RS team swooped in for a whole-home overhaul, helping the Taos whittle down their belongings, contain them smartly, and establish some systems. The redo was transformational.