It’s all about balance

In the few months that I’ve been running my Neat Obsessions IG account, I have received all sorts of questions regarding organizing, decluttering, and letting go. One of the recurrent few is, “Do you get mad when your things get unorganized?”

Well, there’s a part in each of us that gets a little annoyed when things don’t go our way, but it’s a different thing when we’re talking about literal, material things going everywhere! Though you know, it’s a little complicated to answer this question, mainly because it depends on what situation led to getting my things unorganized.

But for the record, I do have a certain place in the house where my things are a little “unorganized.”

Yep, you read that right!

I want my things in order, I want my family’s things in order, and I help people put their things in order through my #NeatProjects. What I emphasize again and again is that I help people develop a system that will work for them, and I am never on the side that says, “Be organized 100% of the time or else!” for it takes away our human side of getting tired from a day’s work, desiring sleep more than anything else after tutoring our children, preparing dinner, and so on.

Also, being organized ALL THE TIME sends the message of you being stiff and rigid, which might even scare people in your life away! Imagine your friends visiting your house and not moving at all, too afraid to move your picture frame a few inches to the right because you might notice! (No offense meant to those who always want their homes tidy.)

My point is, there should be a healthy balance between setting a standard and giving yourself leeway: the answer to achieve this is the catch-all bin.

The catch-all bin is that storage in your house (a box, an old container, what-have-you) where you’re allowed to throw your things in the meantime – while you choose to rest first, or while you are still deciding where you want to place your things. This is why I recommend that your catch-all bin is relatively small and should have a cover, so that when it cannot hold your things anymore, it’s a signal for you to sort your things out! Can you imagine sorting things from a balikbayan box? It might take you half a day to finish sorting things in that big box, so I don’t recommend having a huge bin or box to be your catch-all bin. It plainly defeats the purpose of it being a temporary storage area of things not sorted yet.

Here are samples of catch-all bins for different purposes:

  1. In-Out Office Trays

This one’s exposed, I know, but it’s difficult to hide an entire stash of documents which might be asked from you anytime of the day. Its exposure is actually a help because it becomes easier for you to sort things immediately, as others can see those papers filing on your trays. Just make sure that the trays just carry ONLY papers. When it carries all sorts of things, believe me, people won’t believe it when you say the open tray is your catch-all bin.

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Photo from http://www.pexels.com
  1. Laundry Hampers

Don’t we all have those mornings when we try on an OOTD, and realize the moment we look at the mirror that the outfit no longer fit properly, or it does not express our personality anymore the way it did before? The laundry hamper in or by your closet will help you decide later on if your failed OOTD becomes something to donate or to sell, while you choose the perfect outfit of the day.

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  1. Ottoman

This couch may be in your bedside, in your study, or in your living room. While it serves as a chair or as a decoration, it can also be your catch-all bin for the papers you can’t let go of yet –  for example, the test papers of your kids that will serve as reviewers for their quarterly or term exams.

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  1. A small tub

Whether you keep your receipts as mementos for your scrapbook or as proofs of purchase to aid the computation of monthly expenses, a small tub will help you temporarily house the receipts that you have to check again at the end of the week or month.

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  1. Bill holder

You need a place in your drawer to hold all bill-related items. You usually need the bills as a proof of your residential address, not to mention as reminders of what you need to pay (Oh no, this sounds dreadful!) Just make sure that when you are done with all the payments, you need to decide where to transfer your billing statements.

This is my catch-all bin in the house. It’s an ottoman where I keep unsorted papers, receipts and unopened packages. When my catch-all bin gets out of hand (literally!), I start sorting the things inside.

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Like what I said, this little place inside the house allows us to be unorganized only at a specific duration in our week or month, while maintaining the system that we already started.  Since it’s just seated in one or two places in our homes, they automatically become our go-to places when something goes missing. It’s pretty convenient compared with looking everywhere for a tiny key that will open the front gate. (Don’t we all relate to this? Hehe!)

So to answer the question at the beginning of this post – No, I don’t get mad if my things get unorganized – because in the midst of clutter and chaos, there should be a system of organization whether at school, at work, or at home… when things are not in their proper places, allow them to be in one place while you are at another, taking a break or a deep breath… then allot time to put each of the things where they must belong. Then you’ll become more relaxed because you will not feel forced in putting things in order for the sake of doing it.

This catch-all bin teaches us wisdom about organizing our life too, don’t you agree?

Organizing needs balance, just like everything in life.

Stay Neat, everybody!

The One With the Supermom

Who is a supermom to you?

To me, it has always been my one and only mom. She took care of 5 children, making sure our home is in order considering, 4 of her children are crazy boys, all these while working as a teacher. A teacher who even have more “kids” in school. She is my inspiration as a mother, she is my idol as a person. I would have never thought I can do what she has done in her life. I love her so dearly and I don’t think I can ever see someone as close to what she is to us as a mom. Until…

Until I became one. Until I met more moms and realized that being a supermom is not just about slaving and enduring all the hardships life has to offer. Being a supermom is about giving, giving oneself, like what my mom did. Just like how I give my time to my kids and husband, like how any other moms in all walks of life give as much as they can, without any expectations, to their children. To me, every mom is a supermom!

That’s why when I met Chesca Garcia Kramer I was so inspired and in awe of how a beautiful woman, who is both famous and successful, still remains to be like any of us, a super mom who will do anything for her children’s welfare. I knew her for some time now, but this new project has shown me a new side of her that I will forever treasure. We had long talks about being OC (she is very OC too, I love her!), being a homemaker, and most importantly being a mom who have hopes and dreams like any one of us. She would tell me stories about how blessed they are about something, or even how challenged they are about another. I am amazed how relatable her life to me is.

It all started when I told her about this passion project and she asked me to help her when she finally moves to her new home. Who, in their right minds, would not get excited when a Chesca Kramer of Team Kramer, THE! Team Kramer, asks you to collaborate on this project? No one! I was so excited… Then one day we just thought of just working on their home now, because she wants to pursue homeschooling for her lovely kids. Imagine having the busiest of schedules and still having that courage to embark on such a courageous task of homeschooling your kids. It is a definitely something that any mom should be well prepared for.

So… I happily said yes to @chekakramer when she asked for help in organizing their office/classroom. I was so excited to do it for someone as inspiring and as humble as this Super Mommy ☺️ She warned me though that it’s @dougkramer ‘s office too and we have to make sure everything he looks for can easily be found.

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Truth is, organizing their stuff is not as difficult because things were already sorted, thanks to Cheka’s neat obsessions too. 👍🏻👏🏻 All it needed was a little reinforcement with proper storage and making sure that they can easily locate their things with proper labels, efficient groupings, and allotting individual workspaces for everyone in the family, making the room a multi-purpose work area. So here’s the video we prepared for all of you ☺️

Sharing some NeaTips from this project:

  1. Priorities Need to be Established – I understood from the beginning that this project is for the kids. Chesca wants a place where the kids can focus on learning. Learning while playing is very effective, but the kids have to be able to distinguish that this is not any other normal play. Rather, this is still a structured form of learning, it just so happens that it is done at home. As such, my goal is to make the area a distinct place of learning for the kids. I want some more extra space so that we can put in another books shelf for books to be easily seen and sorted.
  2. Storage is Key – The room being Doug’s office too poses a bit of a challenge. There is a certain type of peace men need whenever they work; they can’t have that uneasy feeling that their stuff are mixed with all the kids’ stuff too. So storages really helped us a lot in this requirement. We got our storage bins and boxes from Landers and it was really fun to see how perfect everything fits all the spaces we have.
  3. Sorting is Patience plus Understanding, Combined! – Sorting really requires a lot of brain power, it’s not like cleaning where you can just dust of everything and put it back on the same place. You have to understand who the user is and what their priorities are. Second is aesthetics, you want to make sure it is visually pleasing. Lastly, you want to make sure you work with your space, making sure that everything can easily be seen or accessed. I have a more detailed blog about the Art of Sorting here. For now, let me share with you what I follow as a simple rule in sorting:
    • Need to Have – for all the essentials
    • Nice to Have – for all the things you may not need but brings you joy
    • Might be ok to Have – not sure, but have it for a week and just decide if you want to dispose of it after. (blog post on letting go here)
  4. Organising Means Outside and Inside too! – Ok, so yes it may be nice to look at on the first glance, but always be honest to yourself and make sure that each and every square millimeter is spick and span. It’s like being nice, it cannot just be the inside. Just like our supermom here, Cheka is beautiful inside an out. So that’s why we made sure each and every drawer and storage is still organized. It’s good for the soul, trust me.

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So there you go. Hope you picked up a thing or two which you can apply to your own home, and I hope you had fun in seeing all these as much fun I had in doing it all.

Thank you again @teamkramerfive for this opportunity to be a part of your homeschooling journey… The kids are so lucky to have very passionate and dedicated parents such as you guys are. ♥️☺️

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And to all the super moms reading this blog. Give yourself a pat on the back. You did a great job mommy! Thank you and I wish you all the love and sweet kisses from your little ones… and from the hubby too!

Stay Neat everyone! Sharing with you some photos of this project below.

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