Introducing: The Neat Obsessions Book

Dear You,

Hello! How have you been? I hope that you are well and good. Safe from any harm and always strong in facing all the challenges that a lot of us are having right now. I want to share with you one thing that has been very close to my heart for the past few months. Many of you know that I have been a private person most of my life, then I found my passion. It started from being a mom, to becoming “obsessed” with being neat and orderly at home, to finally sharing special moments with people that I discover along this journey. The journey apparently is not to be the best organizer in this planet, this journey is about happiness. I want to share with you my first book –

Introducing: The Neat Obsessions Book

The One with a View

What is the most beautiful view you’ve ever seen?

For Team Kramer – Doug, Cheska, Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin – one of the most beautiful views can be seen from their new home.

This part of their house allows them to relax with a “grand view” overlooking Metro Manila. The first time I stepped in their new home, I had to stand here for a long while for me to take all the beauty in.

When Kendra and Scarlett were about to start homeschooling two years ago, Cheska and I fixed their home school area that shares the same space as Doug’s office in their previous house.

Initially, Cheska’s plan was to have our organizing session when they move in to their new house; but the kids’ homeschooling made her decide to have the organizing session right away.

This was the initial moving in plan which supposedly will give us a good 3 weeks to finish. But it was moved to last week of June and we were only given 5 days to complete the unboxing and organizing.

Cheska assured me then that Neat Obsessions will be a part of their moving in. What I really love about Doug and Cheska is that they are true to their word. While their new house was still under construction, they share the progress and developments with me. I was part of their moving in timeline.

Finally, when our organizing schedule came, we wasted no time as we had four floors and five days to finish!

Photo from @dougkramer’s Instagram

Team Kramer’s new house is such a sight to behold. Believe me, it’s difficult to be in a position where you are completely in awe of the house and all the beautiful views that come with it, but at the same time you are reminded by the balikbayan boxes in the hallways that you have to move fast to get a lot of job done within a short time frame!

I can already hear you ask me how we were able to do it in five days.

To answer your question, the five-day organizing was a collaborative project. The effort did not only come from me and my team. Team Kramer’s household staff lent their hand, too. Even Cheska and Doug were with us, not just to assist, but to actually pull the things out of the boxes, move the things around, and organize some of their personal things themselves!

For those who are building a new house or moving out in the future, here are three things we learned from the Team Kramer Moving In Project:

Know your things really well. The new house didn’t need so much storage solutions because there were no storage problems to begin with! Doug and Cheska know their things so well that there was a space provision for everything they own.

Team Kramer’s Homeschool Classroom
Cheka’s Bag Collection

Cheska allotted more than enough space for her clothes, accessories, bags, and shoes. Doug had his storage space for his DVDs and collectible figure collection. Even Kendra and Scarlett had so much space for their clothes and bags. Their play area had enough space for the children’s toys.

Sort your things. Prior to moving out of their previous house, Doug and Chesca already sorted the things from their old house in balikbayan boxes, and labelled each box with the rooms (and corresponding floors) in their new house! I could not imagine having to deal with unsorted items and be given only five days to sort and organize everything. Their sorting really helped us be efficient in our work.

Involve your children in the process. Kendra, Scarlett, and Gavin had their special participation in the organizing process. Doug and Cheska made them choose which toys they still play with, and which toys they can already let go so that other kids may enjoy them instead. They asked the kids to identify which toys are always played with, because these are the toys put on places they can easily access.

I really admire how Doug and Cheska lead their kids in understanding how important home and family life is. Like many family journeys, they also transferred to a more spacious house as their family grew. In each house, they made beautiful memories.

This new home is the cherry on top of their bountiful blessings. It’s true that they have a home that offers a really good outdoor space and a view of the city, but the most beautiful view is not just what the eyes see.

Photo from @chekakramer’s IG

For Doug and Cheska, the foundation of their house is built with a view on what really matters:

“What makes a house a home is family.”

For me, no matter the size of your house, having this kind of view will make a world of difference in the way you live your life everyday.

Here’s a throwback video of our organizing journey in Team Kramer’s new house:

Kobe Farinas Nursery

A Neat Project with Karel Marquez

Coming up with a nursery is one if the most exciting parts in an expecting mom’s journey. In this #NeatProject, we helped Mommy Karel by repurposing and putting together their old furniture and existing storage to create a safe and functional space for Kobe that warmly whispers, “Welcome Home.”

Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio’s Home Classroom and Library

A Neat Project with Rica Peralejo Bonifacio

Helped out a super momma during her nesting period. What a fun #neatproject it was. Really happy that we were part of this special time in Rica’s life as she prepares her home for both for Philip and Manu. Special thanks to Landers Superstore for all the organizing materials that we used in this project and to Ninjamadeph for helping us clean the area.

This is one of my favorite Neat Projects knowing that we get to improve Rica’s space and utilize the previous storage to something more useful for her children. The reaction of Rica says it all. Hope you like this one as much as I do.

Here’s Rica’s video of our awesome Neat Project together. Thanks for watching Neatropolis!

Rica Peralejo Bonifacio’s Closet Makeover

A Neat Project with Rica Peralejo

It’s always a great feeling helping out a nesting momma. I can totally relate on having mixed emotions. Grateful also the for the trust the Rica gave me and my team to help her prepare become a mommy of two. Watch our quick #neatproject session in her walk in closet. Biggest congratulations again to the Bonifacio family as they welcome Manu in their lives…

The heartfelt and inspiring video of Rica gave me a lot of moral boost. This gives meaning to what I do. Whoever the mom is, I always find joy in helping out moms who have different struggles in motherhood. But I know for a fact that even without me, every mother pulls through and makes a way for their children. Nevertheless, every little help that a mom gets is a blessing that every mom appreciates. A mom for moms…

The One with the Label Maker

What is your fondest childhood memory?

I’m sure some of you would recall playing on the streets with your neighbors after (escaping) the dreaded siesta, watching a cartoon in one of the local channels, riding the bicycle, playing patintero and piko, or collecting and exchanging teks or pogs. We all have that memory that makes us smile or laugh, and on stressful days, we look back and think of how amazing our childhood has been… we learned a lot through bruising our knees and losing some games, right?

As parents, we try to recreate that feeling of childhood fun and play with our children. As much as we want them to do well in school, we also want to develop in them a sense of balance by allowing them to be just kids. “The days are long but the years are short,” so they say. Before we know it, our kids are already teenagers, (something I am so not ready for yet!) so we want to give them the experience of playing only children their age can enjoy.   

Many parents nowadays give their children their own space in the house, a space where they can be just kids: to explore, learn, and discover on their own while having a lot of fun. Allow me to share with you one of the biggest playrooms we ever did as a #NeatProject, and the things I was reminded of while we were in it.

Before #NeatProject

This huge room is a feast to the eyes of children and adults alike. For a child, this room gives a feeling of overjoy, very similar to that of a feeling created by a toy store: the child would want to play with everything at once, but would want to scrutinize the toys one at a time, too. For an adult, this room triggers precious memories, back to those good old days when #adulting is not a thing yet.

With two girls sharing this playroom with their only brother, one would notice the collection of dolls and the number of dollhouses and play kitchen dominating the space. The boy on the other hand had legos and toy cars, and both had their musical instruments and art materials.

While we were planning for the new layout of the playroom, something caught our attention…

Look closely at the bins seated on top of the shelf on the left side of this photo. They are already labelled.

Those labelled bins are for the American Girl Dolls. Each of the accessories that came with the dolls had a separate bin – comb, clothes, shoes, tights, socks, bloomers! While sorting, we somehow felt like we were organizing a real-life closet.

On a side note, we also organized the kitchen (the real one!) after we worked on 1 ½ days in the playroom. Before we even worked on anything in the kitchen, everything was already neatly labelled in there too! Upon seeing the kitchen, I realized that since labelling is the system that works for the parents, this is the same system they want to instill in their children. No wonder there were labelled bins for the American Girls Dolls, and there were colorful bins for the other toys in the playroom.

Here’s my take on placing labels in the kids’ rooms, especially in the playroom:

When we place labels in our kids’ rooms, we don’t want to make stiff and rigid robots out of them. We don’t impose perfection and a hundred percent squeaky clean room through labels, and make them reasons to punish our children one day for not following rules and instructions.

Instead, we develop in them a sense of responsibility, so that they grow up knowing where to put things back where they found them, and ultimately, to not take things which are not theirs or without permission, in the case of toys being labelled with names of their siblings.

In addition, we also subtly teach them the value of taking care of what is given to them. By putting things back where they should be, the kids are trained to read, to be aware, and to take care of everything they are entrusted with, because in reality, they will not be given toys every single day of their lives… when they grow up, they will not be able to buy everything they want from the store. It is important that at a young age, they understand how taking care of what they have is much more valuable than wanting to have more.

Because of this, we can also teach our children to share.

With all these taken into consideration, we now transform a play area into a learning area: it’s not just a place where kids can be just kids, but a place where kids can be responsible kids.

Things take toll on us parents. At times, we get crazy with the idea of a messy playroom or living room. While it can be overwhelming, we can introduce small steps that our children can manage so that while we put our attention to more important things such as ironing their uniform and polishing their shoes for the next school day, someone else in the house would take care of putting the dolls’ clothes and shoes back where they should be. More beautifully, when our house help is doing something else for our kids, we can count on our kids to do this small task for themselves.

This post is not just for parents whose houses have huge playrooms. It doesn’t really matter how huge your playroom is. In truth, it doesn’t really matter whether you have a playroom or none. What is important is that we parents provide an area, a space, or an environment where our children do not just express their creativity and skills. It is important that the space we give them brings out their responsibility towards their own space and the things in it without making them feel that they are punished.

When we start them young, cleaning up and organizing, as well as being trustworthy and responsible, will not be foreign ideas to them as they grow up.

After #NeatProject

In time, they will tell about stories of how their childhood taught them to be nice and kind to themselves and to others too, because they learned these through taking care of what toys they have, no matter how little they are…

Stay Neat Everyone!

ROOM Makeover and DECLUTTERING feat. NEAT OBSESSIONS

by Mikaela Martinez

Watch Issa Reyes and Mikaela Martinez in one of their Neat Projects

Finally, a #decluttering session & room makeover with Issa of @neatobsessions! Sometimes it gets really overwhelming especially when you don’t have the time to declutter on your own.. so Issa shows us tips and tricks on how to get started! I hope you find this useful and find time to start your own #NeatProject xx

#DelRioGrande Home Makeover

A Neat Project with Kai Honasan

Here ‘s my 1st attempt to do a makeover video to show you what a typical workday looks like. It’s a massive effort of sorting, analyzing, designing, moving, organizing, did I mention sorting? hahahaha. Grateful to have NinjamadePH in making sure that everything and every corner is clean and disinfected. Please bear with me if I still can’t do HGTV style videos since I am still practicing how to be mindful when it comes to vlogging. lol! Thank you again Kai and Eco in trusting us to be your ally in your #NeatJourney

Kim Chiu’s Decluttering BTS

A Neat Project with Kim Chiu

One of the most enjoyable and fun Neat Projects I have ever had was with Kim Chiu. Her positivity and love for family, friends, and home inspired me to appreciate everything around me even more. Here’s a behind the scene video of Kim’s decluttering.

Here’s Kim’s own video of our Neat Project. Thanks for watching Neatropolis!