Remote Managing Your Home

This post is for Traveling Professionals

For most of us who work every day, we always take pride in how our careers progress, how our pay slip seem to add another number in the end, or even just being able to buy more for our family. I have worked in Human Resources for a while, the last one was in a  multinational company which was considered, for a time, one of the biggest company in the world in its more than a century of existence. Throughout my life in this company, I got to appreciate the small and big wins alike. So I would always feel good every time I get to buy a new pair of jeans, a bag, or just a simple grocery using my own money. I love that feeling.  Now that I am in Sales and an entrepreneur, I value whatever I earn even more! I value the house that my husband and I were able to purchase two years ago, I value what’s in it, and I value those who live in it – my family. I think this is brought about by the pride coming from having to make an effort in our jobs and getting validation by getting an increase or a promotion.

This is the reason why I would tend to hate it whenever I lose something, or see people who do not give importance to what I buy. This leads to a realization where I kind of understand now when people put a lot of importance to things in their lives. Even more difficult for career men and women who always travel or would be far from home for an extended period – how do they then get to manage the house they have decided to buy and are paying for from miles away? Or the things inside which practically would represent all the accomplishments they had.

Let me try to give you a few things to help with remotely managing your home and having a system to make sure you and your family give the proper care and importance to your treasured properties.

    1. Thoughts Before Buying – Think about it. You have been eyeing this really nice 65″ OLED TV for a year now. You think this is a fantastic addition to your home. People will see it and they will be in awe with its size, and when they turn it on, they will see even the smallest of pores of actors’ faces. Only thing is, you have to shell out a month’s salary. USD 4,000 is something you would not be able to buy 3 years ago even with a year’s salary, but now, you can get it for only a month of grinding at the office. 24 months to pay is not bad too! So should you go ahead and buy it? NO!!! First and foremost, your next visit back home is a year from now, and you will stay there for 3 weeks. Your utilization of this is relatively very little. Not for anyone else, but you. Always buy for yourself. Enjoy the things you get to acquire. Now consider these points – 1) There’s this thing called scheduled obsolescence in technology, by the time you get home, there’s already a much better version of the TV you want to get. 2) Your 5-year-old kid doesn’t need ultra high definition TV to watch Peppa Pig. 3) Your guests and family will only say wow and forget about it the minute they step out of your home 4) Installments are practically loans, even if its zero percent interest, your personal cash flow gets affected without you even knowing it and limits you from preparing for the future needs. As much as possible, don’t take out a loan for something which depreciates, unless it’s for business use. So always give a good thought about the things you buy. Make it a point that there’s no one you are buying it for except for you or your family. But never just to wow other people.
    2. To See is to Believe – Buy a camera! Hahaha, so after me asking you not to buy a depreciating asset, I’m asking you to get a camera! But this is not any other camera, get a CCTV camera. Why? Nothing beats you actually seeing your home in real time and having that comfort and happiness that everyone and everything are A-OK! So the things that you might lose, the confirmation you need by calling people every time, and all the other cost associated with making sure everything are safe and sound is actually minimized. Which makes all these worth the expense of a camera. There are really good systems out there which will not require you to burn money for nothing. What we use in our home is this China made one called Clever Dog. It is a WIFI camera, both indoor and outdoor, which has the best user interface and app in the market. You just need to view it through your phone and you can already see your lovely house, your prized possession, and even talk to your family. It’s easy to setup too!JPEG image-2DDFA502D7FF-1
    3. The LRT – List – What is an LRT? List, Review, and Transfer. Three steps when you manage the things you already bought. List as much as you can. Make sure you remember whatever you have and include how much you bought it for. I suggest you also add the reason why you bought something. This is a good practice for you to be able to visually assess your belongings in one view. If you cannot finish listing all in one day, you might want to ask yourself if you have too many things in your life that most of it don’t even make sense in having. The idea is for you to have something to review from time to time. You can also add the location where you last placed it. This really works best if you want to practice minimalism in your life. With this, you tend to be more active in managing the essentials and justifying those which make you feel happy. What you don’t want to happen is to realize one day that there’s this thing you lent to someone and you just don’t remember who this someone is… such a waste!
    4. The LRT – Review – From time to time means regularly, not once a month, then once a year, then never again… Make sure the timing is manageable, I suggest you do it after Christmas, say January, and around 6 months after. This gives you that understanding of where you are in terms of personal belongings during a time where you accumulate a lot. You get to review this with people in the family and learn together the value of this stuff and how to take care of it. This way as well, this system of review becomes second nature already. That even a single look through your remote camera, you would know if something is missing or something is not being taken cared of properly.
    5. The LRT – Transfer – Lastly, transfer. You can always acquire stuff in your life, as long as it makes sense. You don’t need two refrigerators… Trust me, we tried. The fridge takes up space and consumes a lot of electricity 24×7. We tried to have two fridges but we don’t need a lot of that space for one single household food consumables. We ended up getting a small chest freezer which we can use for all the meat and other frozen products which we don’t have to open every single time. The fridge remains to be used for the chilled stuff only, which my kids literally open every 5 minutes! But not the chest freezer, so net net, I save more on electricity cost. Anyway, enough about the fridge, what I’m saying is that if you look at your list and you think you can donate or sell something, please do. You are in a great position to do so because you are miles away, so there’s really not much attachment to it. As long as your family will be able to sell it at the right price then you are good… Oh wait, you don’t need to worry about remembering the right prize! You have the buying price in your list! Look at that! Listing comes in handy! Rule of thumb is things depreciate 10% every year. For appliances, make the first year 20%. So the salvage value after 3 years, for example, is 60% of the purchase price. I think that is fair amount already, generally speaking. 20% less for the first year, 10% less for the second and third years.
    6. The Comfort of Autopilot – Autopilot is having you to not even look at your camera, or not looking at your list every time. Once the family understands the value of the things around them and understands the effort you had to make in order to buy them, the custodians would take care of these as if you are the one actually making sure there’s no dust or grime in all your appliances or making sure that the house is clean all the time. This is the comfort of an autopilot. That’s what’s good about the camera too… people would think they are being watched even if the camera is turned off!so they tend to act accordingly and sooner or later doing the right thing is already a habit for them (shhhh, that’s our secret ok?)
    7. The Most Important – But the most important thing in your life are the actual reason why you work in the first place – your family. Things in your life are nothing compared to the love of family. Don’t let things get in your way of making a meaningful relationships with the family. Have some time in your busy career to check on them rather than check on the latest Italian leather bag you have bought on your recent trip. Learn to smile even if there’s something you can’t find. You have put enough checks and balances in your system to be able to avoid this. If something slips through, try to move on quicker. And remember to get to tell your family how much you love them instead of getting disappointed for them not finding your 3 year old Apple iPad. Just ask them to not burn your house to the ground…! hahaha!

That’s it Neatropolis! More NeaTip for you guys and I hope you learned a thing or two from this one.

And to all those Pinoys working abroad, you guys have my utmost respect. Stay strong and live strong! Always remember that your home is only as far as how you make it… Stay close and stay Neat everyone, until my next post!


The One With the Secret Storage

When Mikaela (Lagdameo-Martinez) messaged me and said that she needs help in fixing some parts of her house, I asked myself what else would a stylish super mom like Mika ever need my help in? I asked her to send me photos of the areas she needs organizing. She humbly admitted that these are really parts of the house that she tends to neglect due to busy schedules and never-ending errands. I got a bit concerned while waiting for the photos since the way she described, it felt like its a catastrophe. But to my relief, it’s actually manageable as these are spaces commonly neglected by most of us busy moms anyways – the infamous storage, and the ever so busy dining and kitchen area.

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I’m so grateful that she trusted me on this one. Being part of any persons eagerness to jumpstart a change in how their surrounding feels is always something special. It feels like I am part of this personal mission. Definitely, I am not the leader for this particular mission, but being the trusted advisor makes me feel like I’m already part of its success.

Organizing is like a mission towards a healthier living… Take for example going for a healthier diet requires an external force to kickstart that sugarless dream of yours. You need that someone (or something) to inspire you (or scare you) and remind that this can actually be done… by anyone. That’s Neat Obsessions in the world of “homemaking”. I am here to work with you hand-in-hand on how to come up with a household system. I am here to help realize that things don’t have to be overwhelming.

Going back to our story with Mika, the first minute I walked into their home I already felt the warmth of this family. The Martinez-Lagdameo family immediately welcomed us into their home and began sharing stories, needs, and likes which helped me come up with an idea of how they want their household things organized. Her roles as a model, career woman, and mother already take up most of her time and us being able to help hopefully gives Mika more time to focus on what is really important – family. Here’s the before photo of Mika’s secret closet when we started… Just like Monica Geller’s secret closet which proves that all of us OC moms would sometimes need a place to just practice the art of not giving a sh**… Sometimes we are in dire need of help with fixing stuff at home but couldn’t ask for it. Why? Well, in my case, people see me as a super mom who is not capable of making any mess. Truth be told, I am a girl, a kid at heart, who sometimes just want to play and rest, then have fun again. Of course, the OCiness kicks in when I feel suffocated with all the mess, but having that secret closet gives me comfort that this side of me is not as public, but always available as a quick fix on everything cleaning related. So go ahead, mommy! Have a secret closet of your own, just make sure you don’t neglect it for too long – Quarterly closet cleaning should be good enough? right?

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This closet, together with the kitchen and dining, was our project. And working on this needed further understanding of the Lagdameo-Martinez family. Mika’s husband, Chucho, is an avid golfer, to the extent that golf is somewhat a religion. Both an outlet for him to have his me time and surprisingly also an avenue for Mika and Chucho to spend time together as a couple. This is very inspiring. Knowing that a sport, usually associated with men, can actually be a couple’s therapy activity.

The three lovely kids were also a blast, Noelle, Tyler, and Maxen, all made us felt comfortable in their home. It reminds me of my full house home, with three kids too! I can just imagine the chaos that happens from time to time. In my case, all the time! Her parents happen to be there as well, Tito Butch and Tita Vicki were very nice and welcoming to us. It was a Sunday, and true to us being part of the family, we even had dinner in their lovely home. Oh, and their cookies are amazing!!! 😋 Check them out on Instagram @heysugardough

Without too much ado, here are the results of our mini project with Mika. Hope you guys like it.

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A closet with more space means the family will be able to use it for more stuff, but more importantly, will be able to see what are actually there for them to use again.

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Hope you enjoy this new NeatProject as much as I did.

You can follow Mika at mikaelamartinez.com and on her Instagram @mikaelamartinez for lifestyle and fashion inspirations.


The One When Chesca and I Fixed the Playroom

Since Chesca is going to homeschool Kendra and Scarlet, I helped her again with organizing another special part of their home. This time it’s the playroom which can also be another area for the kids to learn and have fun for their homeschooling program.

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I really admire Chesca’s decision to homeschool her kids. While our home is the first school of our children, having a program for structured teaching in it is really something different. I mean, dealing with homework alone is already tough, with all the crying and shouting… how much more having you mommy doing the actual teaching for an extended period, every day. But more than the ABC’s, 123’s, maths and planets, one thing that’s common to us parents, whether homeschooling or not, is the passion to instill values and good morals to our kids. And most of these can actually be done in the playroom. How?

Well, here are few things your children can start learning from the playroom:

  1. Prayer – for the times they feel grateful for what they have, it’s an opportunity to teach them how to pray for the blessings and toys that they receive. Even between actual play times and learning.
  2. Patience – when they want to do or get something, you may opt to have them sit and wait to finish one task before another. And its good to have a special place in an area that they can’t reach easily. Hello, marshmallow test!
  3. Sharing – teach them how to open up and let other kids play with their toys too.
  4. Charity – let them choose the toy that they want to give away and bring them along when you actually donate it.
  5. Courteousness – practice saying please and thank you whenever they want to get something.
  6. Kindness – teach them to be kind to their toys and more importantly to their playmates.
  7. Respect – when with playmates, you can tell your kids that it is important to respect others by listening and cooperating when someone is explaining or talking
  8. Obedience – set rules and boundaries even when it comes to playing. Example: Avoid being rough, turn off the lights/fan/aircon when not in use.
  9. Leadership – when they invite friends over teach your kids to let them explain the rules that you have when it comes to playing with their toys. This way they will also show ownership and for them to teach their friends that there are rules to follow. (Ex: pack away after playing, no opening of new toys etc.) And lastly,
  10. Being Neat and Organized – make sure to have a system in place by providing labeled bins so that your kids will learn how to sort and match in the hope that one day they’ll learn how to properly store things on their own.

Here’s a video we prepared just for you. Hope you get to pick up a thing or two from this new project Chesca and I worked on.

Have a great evening Neatropolis! Hope your coming week will be great! Stay Neat everyone! Leaving you with some more photos from this Neat Project…

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Smile Though Your Heart is Aching

This is a post about service. About overcoming challenges.

Every now and then I get to spend precious time with friends or clients who I help out in their own neat projects, improving their family’s health, or even financial planning. I get to see very personal sides of them. In return for the trust they give me, I make sure I give enough focus and attention in making sure that our little project presents a meaningful and lasting impact.

It’s never an easy job though. My clients would often feel compelled to be very involved because they get inspired by my hands-on approach in all aspects of my projects. I literally and figuratively do the dirty work. In this process, most of my clients would initiate in giving ideas and spend time with me with sorting, organizing, mixing essential oils, or draining our Microsoft excel powers in coming up with the right retirement plan for them. This is something that I would really prefer, not because it makes the job a lot easier, but for making the outcome very personal to both me and my clients. The project becomes longer lasting and my advocacy in promoting a holistic care in the lives of moms gets more traction.

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This post is a bit different from the tips I usually give. This is a reflection of how I keep that smile on my face even when the job is very hard. Some people call it Service, to others, it’s called Passion, for me, I call it Love.

Just like a mom’s love to her children, I love what I do. And even though this is hard work, I am full of joy every morning after any of my projects. I feel content and more energized for my next mommy client. I’m sure at one point in your life, you have been there and have reached that certain peace in you. In the midst of all the chaos of work, you feel happy and driven. That’s what makes me smile. The things that I do to help other moms in being neat, being healthy now or in the future. Every now and then there are feedbacks and words of encouragement that I get from my clients. Now, this makes the job even more special! More than anything else, I am always overjoyed when I get validation that I make another person’s life a little better.

Let me share some of my insights and realization in all my experiences by summing it up into three approaches

  1. Imagination is the start of Passion – every client, every project, every work which I do requires some time for me to think. Imagining the what if’s, the whatnots, and most important of all – the what else! To push the boundary of progress, one must use her creativity to move forward and not think of limitations, but rather, think of the opportunities to create something new. So every time I start a new project, I always make it a point that I have a good idea on how to execute it. I would always sound this off to my ever dearest critique, my husband. He would give me ideas which I have never thought all by myself. But a word of caution to our dear wife readers, be prepared to receive some brutally honest comments which may hurt you. During this time, do take another advice from a reliable smartie – the Apple watch – breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, and breathe out… haaay naku… sometimes it’s exhausting but always take it with a grain of salt and remember that his comments have nothing but love in it. All of these are just for you to think and come up with something uniquely effective! Ultimately it’s your decision, you are the wife, you are the boss! 🤨😉
  2. Good relationship gets you going – If I don’t get a chance to know my client, tendencies are, I don’t get to have the best of results. I have tried time and time again, to have a cookie cutter approach on what I do, but because organizing and financial planning are very personal, the personality of one has to be embedded in your work for them. I always make it a point that I get to start a relationship with my client. Surprisingly, this is also the reason it keeps me going even on super tiring days. Of course, if a client is nice and we have a great rapport, I tend to become a machine, churning out good ideas and solutions for every challenge. Slight problem when clients do not have that connection, at all! But I push myself to the brim and make sure the last drop of my nice potion is always there. So far, I have always found that zen with clients which leads to great projects. Being nice really goes a long way. ☺️
  3. Inspiration keeps you sane – But if everything doesn’t seem to go my way, my inspiration keeps me sane. I would always think of what my family would need, how I want them to live, and how I want them to feel whenever they live in a place which is orderly and nice. This gives me comfort, and especially when I imagine the laughter and smiles of each and every one of them – enjoying sweet-nothing nights in our bedroom playing without any care in the world. That is my inspiration.

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I want to end this with some lines from a Nat King Cole song called Smile. It makes a lot of sense especially when you finally found that passion in you and in what you do. Don’t worry about the hardships today and make sure you always have that positive outlook on life. Give positive vibes, always. Feel blessed that there will always be a bright and sunny day tomorrow, or the day after.

I dedicate this post to the people who make me smile even on my worst possible day – my three little kids and my husband.

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Stay Neat everyone!


The One with the Hole in One

It’s only when we become adults that we realize we want to go back being kids again. Kids wake up, eat, learn, sleep, play, eat, sleep… my perfect life! hahaha! Then adulting happens… It’s like the world suddenly puts half of its weight on you. The bills to be settled, the meetings to attend, indigestion – ugh!, burning those carbs, the I-want-to-party-but-needs-to-be-in-bed-by-8! Not because of choice but by necessity. Or finally buying your dream house! And the list goes on and on and on. Now, don’t get me started on the responsibilities of being a parent, it’s by and large, more adulting to the next level – feels like the entire weight of the world is on you, times three! Three kids to be exact! ugh!

Let’s forget about adulting for a while and enjoy the simple pleasures of the life of a kid, not too young though, but a college student. In this NeatProject, I was able to help this student to have some system (of order) in his room.

Do you remember when you were in college? Probably not as crazy for most of us girls, but I remember my husband telling me stories like this dormmate he had who would only change his sheets every year! Imagine what lives and thrives in those sheets! Oh my! Or this guy who would sleep with a burger in his mouth, or a condo flooded with beer after a crazy party… disgusting!

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But this young college gentleman who I helped with is totally not that. He is a golf pro and a very sweet boy who loves his collections of caps and console games. Very respectful and diligent. Still, he is like any young man who needs some order in his room… Neat Obsessions to the rescue!

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From his closet to his work area, his bed and to his most priceless possessions – his golf trophies, plaques, and medals. I made sure that he will still have room for more because, with the rate his winnings in Golf is going, he will be able to fill up an entire room with more trophies and medals in no time. The first time I met him, he was already committed to making a change, and I always feel like he is already to become an adult soon. He’s on that stage where more serious things are about to unfold. Oh, how I would have loved to tell him to stop for a while and enjoy the carefree life of the youth.

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We shopped for storages in Landers and I was able to get an idea of his personality. I sensed that he always talks about his family, he loves his big bro oh so dearly, and with this, I started to plan. Three things which I focused on.

  1. Make sure clothes are easy to spot and stack. So the Konmari method of folding should be able to help him spot all the shirts in his drawers easily. Make sure all his favorite shirts are in one stack. This makes it easier for him or whoever is putting the shirts in his closet in keeping it neat!
  2. Highlight his passion, and make sure I get to understand what his trophies and medals mean. I ultimately arranged it per tournament so that he will remember the special stories and new friends he made in these events, more than just the awards. His passion for golf is not just about winning. His dream is to help the sport progress by being a coach and teaching young kids to love the golf as much as he loves it. But it’s not just about the sport. I want to make sure that I place all the things that remind him of the family in every corner. Make sure the photos, gifts, and memorabilia are there for him to remember how loved he is by everyone in the family.
  3. Have bins for all his stuff. Boys will be boys. The solution is to have bins for them to throw stuff in. It’s easy to manage and it helps him to find things easier. Specific bins for old toys, specific bins for cables, specific bins for personal stuff like wallet, receipts, etc.

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It was also a great opportunity for me to learn and know what else to consider in a man’s room. Another three things I learned:

  1. Gadgets and all electronic cables need to be close to the bed.
  2. The remote must be easily accessible. Especially the remote! the magic wand of all boys!
  3. Shirts should be easily pulled out. Take note, not just find, but an emphasis on the shirts being pulled out without it destroying the entire stack… Konmari, thank you!

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Remember I mentioned earlier how sweet this boy is? Days after, he tagged me in one post. He won another tournament! Woohoo! Hole in one! I can just imagine him putting this trophy orderly in his new and improved trophy shelves… fingers crossed 🤞🏼

That’s all for now. Until my next Neat Project everyone! Stay Neat!


 

 

 

The Art of Sorting

Sorting is one of the first steps in organizing. Making sure one would understand what they are organizing in the first place. Every simple or complicated task starts with understanding the task at hand and making sure there is a game plan for reaching your objectives. So even though sorting is already a big part of the organizing process, it is in fact, part of your planning too. This step gives you a validation and another perspective on how you should be able to fix a lot of the stuff you have.

So let’s step back and try to understand what our objectives are in organizing.

  1. First and foremost, you want to feel relieved of the clutter. You ultimately want to feel happy about this. If you are not happy with the outcome, then there’s something wrong with the process.
  2. Second most important is Ergonomics. You have to make sure that the result adds to the efficiency of the environment and not worsen it. You don’t want to have a difficult time in spending more effort in reaching, or even just looking, for things that would help you in completing a work you initially intended to accomplosh in that space.
  3. Have a provision to declutter and give/throw unnecessary things or those that you don’t even want to be there in the first place.
  4. It has to be nice to look at! I don’t think this needs further explaining but if you don’t like it to be, then… why?
  5. Lastly, but certainly not the least, you want to be able to make it last. You don’t want to see yourself doing this activity every single week.

Ok, so now that we have established our objectives, let’s move on to our 3-Step process:

  1. Categorising – make sure you are able to have a good list of groups or categories that would work for the area. Things have to be like-for-like in order to properly label it and make sure you are able to maximize the storages you have. Bear in mind though, that the meaning of like for like, is not to be too minute that you find yourself sorting all 1×3 grey Lego pieces issued out in 2007 for the Ultimate Collector’s Edition of Millennium Falcon of Star Wars!!! That’s just beyond crazy! Why? because you will probably never finish, at all! So make sure your categories would be something similar to 1) small toys often used 2) small toys not used that much 3) big toys 4) soft toys… etc. Once you have these listed out, make sure you understand if this suits your available storage items.
  2. Prioritising – Simple rules in prioritizing that I follow are the following:
    • Need to Have – all the necessities. All the things that you think are really important and vital to your work or well-being! You cannot operate without these.
    • Nice to Have – all the things that you have an attachment to but not necessarily you need on a daily basis. This can either be items that will improve your work or well-being but not necessarily something you cannot live without. Or this might be the most expensive item that you have and you still think this will be worth more as time goes by – so it has to appreciate in value
    • Might be ok to Have – this category is those items that don’t fall in the two above. Generally speaking, these items are those that you would like to dispose of. But of course, I do not advocate throwing it immediately unless you have gone through the process already (Read 3 steps in Letting Go). With this, I always make it a point to have a separate bin for you to put all the items that you think you can let go of. If in one week you already felt good about not seeing it anymore, then you can either sell it, give it away, or throw it.
  3. Rationalising – so now that you are able to understand all the things you have. It is time to finalize the game plan. Make sure that categories that are needed in one area are actually there. You don’t want printer ink cartridges to be on the other end of the room right? It has to be near the printer! Makes sense right? Also, what do these items look? Does it have a lot of cables and look really messy? Or are these items that are just really not that exciting to look at? Either you have a nice bin to cover these, else if it is aesthetically pleasing you can then sort it by color – ROYGBIV to the rescue!!!

So, there you go. You now have an idea on how to go about sorting the hundreds of stuff in all your rooms. In no means Sorting is a science though, rather, for me Sorting is an Art. This means what works for me may not necessarily work for you. I have been doing this for years, and it takes a lot of practice. In time you will get to do this in autopilot mode, where you really don’t need to list down the categories and do it on-the-fly. The concepts above are just really guidance so that you would know what is applicable to you and what is not. But I hope we all have the same goal, that is to make sure everything is organized for the betterment of our lives!

Please let me know your comments or suggestions. Until the next NeaTip! For now, I leave you with some sample projects I had in the past… Enjoy!

Stay Neat everyone!

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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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The Birth of Neat Obsessions

A little more background as to how this passion project started…

I was updating our (family) documents one morning and posted the result on my personal IG stories. I got surprised when friends started to send me messages saying that it was a nice idea, even thanking me for the tips, and that they were encouraged to do it as well. I thought, if my friends find it inspiring, maybe I can come up with something to share. Things that I have been doing since I was a kid… cleaning and organizing! hahaha! I already have some materials to feature at home and all I have to do is to point and shoot. Sounds easy to me then. With that, Neat Obsessions was born.

Little did I know that this will lead to something beautiful (and apparently, not easy at all!). I was so happy to be receiving wonderful comments from people, especially from people that I didn’t know before. Friends are encouraging me to share, post, and do it for others too (I have such supportive friends). And my husband, who fuels my passion every single day, cheering me on no matter how simple my posts are.

But one particular message had me thinking really hard about this passion project. Should I actually reach out and help other moms out there? Not just send replies or DMs, but actually help them and be with them.

The message was from a mom who said that she’s so helpless and overwhelmed about the things happening in her life. I immediately felt heavy, but at the same time inspired, in knowing there is a mom out there who needs help. She’s a mother who recently gave birth to her 2nd child. Without any helper at home, she clings on and remained strong, but was not ashamed to reach out for help. She said that she wanted to have a home which is neat and tidy, but just couldn’t find the time to do it because she’s so exhausted. I was able to relate right away with her situation and felt that if only I can step in and help, just for a short while,  maybe it will lessen her worries.

It is very uncommon for most moms to ask for help because, as weird as it may be, when you become one, there’s this set of superpowers that automatically become a part of you… Carrying another human? How super is that?!!! And asking for help should never be only a last resort because of this pressure from the world that ALL MOMs CAN DO EVERYTHING – is totally MISUNDERSTOOD! It’s not that we are supposed to do everything, it’s that we just want to do everything… out of love, of course. I also realized that motherhood is the ability to become the best even if we’re not perfect. Why? Because our children only need us – nothing more, nothing less. So I reached out to the super mom ready to take another helping hand so that she can continue to be super with her two lovely kids.

That’s why Neat Obsessions is here! Born from the passion of motherhood, focusing more on an aspect of holistic well-being. At times when things (Literally… actual things that pile up around you) become overwhelming, I can help you sort it out.

As most moms say it… there’s no better hood than MOTHERHOOD! So let us empower each other and pray that our husband and children will continue to love us even during those crazy times where we can’t seem to fulfill the promise of EVERYTHING. At the end of the day, no matter how chaotic the world is, a Mother’s Love makes everything better; giving peace from the love which is ever so pure and NEAT. 🙂

High five to you momma! Stay Neat!

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A Series of Travel Packing Events… S1E1

Episode 1 – Packing for a Short Business Trip (And Being a Super Wife to the eyes of your Husband) 😊

What are you most excited about when you go on a trip? Me, packing! Woohoo! Of course, I would always love to see the world and experience new things with my loves. But, nothing beats the challenge of packing for a trip. It’s like a puzzle which challenges me both intellectually and emotionally.

I remember a trip to Spain we did some years ago, and our bag then is this big cloth luggage my husband used to have back when he was still wakeboarding. This big, irregularly shaped bag which I used to fit everything for the two of us, was one of my greatest packing achievements. But our lady guide in Sevilla didn’t appreciate it at all! She was a bit distressed pulling the 30kg bag along the cobblestone streets of the city! So we invested on a new set of luggage bags. But that’s a story for another episode. I just want to remember that feeling of accomplishment when I was able to successfully fit everything in one bag!

Which is why I’m writing this as a series for the purpose of documenting all the intricacies (and joy!) of packing that perfect luggage! So let’s go to our first episode – packing for a short business trip.

When the husband goes on a business trip, I’m used to packing his bag for a 1-day or even as long as a 7-day business trip. One of the first concerns of wives who does this for their husband is that they are not sure if the clothes they have picked are something which their husband would like to actually wear. At first, I would always ask him to do the picking already, I’ll just focus on packing. Throughout the years though, I learned to do it myself and got a higher success rate on what he would really like. I always get “kilig” whenever he gets surprised because I pack all the things he needs, even those which he didn’t know he needed before flying out. Oftentimes, its as easy as him rolling his luggage out and just have that feeling of comfort and pride that he is all set, even without lifting a single finger in packing. He is a spoiled traveling husband really, but he appreciates it a lot. And I enjoy it a lot too!  So here are a few things to consider:

1. Folding the Business Shirts and Jacket

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One thing that comes in handy is the Pack-it folding board and sleeve. It is the perfect guide to evenly folding clothes. Video on how to use it below.

This allows your shirt bag to be compact and easy to handle. Of course rolling it is still a good option, but my husband doesn’t want to roll everything out and stack it one by one in the hotel closet. He wants to get the pile out of the bag and put it in the closet in one go… easy!

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2. Have separate bags for different types of apparel or personal things.

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You can see the above photo of my husband’s luggage to give you an idea on how to pack for his trip. ☺️

Clothes – includes everything that he will wear except for business clothes. Business clothes are separate because he wants it more presentable when he wears it. As such, I put it in a separate bag. Put in an extra shirt and pair of short pants to make him feel more at home by having options, and hopefully have a more comfortable sleep. Add in those gym clothes in case he decides to destress in the gym.

Undergarments – make sure you add in an extra pair or two for those gym or swimming sessions that he would always want to do but couldn’t. 🤫

Slippers and Shoes – I know hotel slippers are often available, but my husband’s big foot seems to destroy these super cheap ones that most hotels have. So throw in his favorite slippers, again to make him feel at home and not miss you too much. 😳

Suit – packing a suit is a bit tricky. You want to make sure that there are no fold lines and the suit remains fresh and prim when he uses. I have this quick guide from Brook’s Brothers, which I saw from the net.

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How to Pack a Suit

Toiletries – Lucky my husband wants to make sure he has everything in his toiletry kit. From razors to medicine. This is his. I cannot give you more tips aside from me pulling this bag from our bathroom storage and packing it neatly. Maybe one day I can ask him to write a blog about it.

Electronics – oh that charger! That phone charger! If you miss packing this, that’s it! Your reputation and all your past accomplishments go down the drain! Luckily, my husband cannot complain for the only reason that I will not pack his bags again if I’m pissed. But anyhow, make sure he has all the chargers and the battery packs. At least it’s for you too, no reason for him to say “Babe, my phone will die soon… talk to you in 3 hours!”

Lastly – make sure the bag is a good and sturdy one. Doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should be easy to handle, have zippers inside, possibly more compartments, and most importantly, properly tagged and labeled. You don’t want others getting your own bag or worse, getting another person’s bag.

That’s it. Long post but I hoped you learned a thing or two in this episode.

Soon I will be showing you how to pack for a family of 5! 😁😄 now that’s an even longer post!

Stay Neat everyone!