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!

Storage 101

What are these for?

It comes in different shapes, sizes, and make – but with 1 purpose – to keep your things organized.

Some will say it’s a waste of money, but there are a lot of affordable organizers now in the market which will help you sort and organize like a pro. You can also use make-shift organizers (ex. Shoe/perfume/gift boxes) to tuck away your things.

Tip 1: if your storage organizer is exposed, then you have to make sure that you’ll still neatly display your things. It defeats the purpose if you’ll just put your things without arranging it nicely – it will still look untidy.

Tip 2: if you are the type of person who doesn’t want arranging things, then go for the “boxed” opaque type organizers with a cover so that you can just dump away and cover it making your space eye-sore free.

Tip 3: Style and Color matching. All your storages have to match the areas you will put these in. If its just the closet, then plastic would do. If these are located somewhere a lot of people will see, make sure it matches the look and feel of the shelving spaces or areas where you will put these in. If you feel like you don’t want to use plastic (although this is the most practical because it’s not too expensive, easy to clean, and lasts a long time), other options include metal mesh and cases and wood crates or boxes. Most stylish for me would always be the wooden ones but it tends to be very expensive and may not last as long if not treated. The metal ones are good, just make sure it’s not used inside the fridge or humid areas of the house. You don’t want these to be rusty and affect the stuff you put inside.

Tip 4: The size and shape – having the right size make it easier to stack or configure in where you want your storages in. So make sure the sizes and shapes are the same (for an area) and something that can be stable when placed inside an area.

Tip 5:  Make sure you add labels. This would make it a lot easier on what the contents are. In addition, try to have a whiteboard sticker where you can write the date last opened. This way you would know when you last checked the contents, cleaned it, and updated it. You will avoid those items which are already near expiry or check if the quality of the clothes/shoes is still good or if you need to put in silica gel to absorb excess moisture.

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You can use these organizers in your closets, kitchen, storage, dining, refrigerators, playrooms, garage, and almost anywhere you can imagine. I get thrilled every time I see different types of storages, especially the smart and easy to use ones. If only Manila has The Container Store, then I will be in that storage heaven almost every day!

So there you go, some simple tips for getting the right storages.  Stay Neat everyone, until my next post!