Top 10 home organization tips

WORDSWORTH - Mons Romulo - The Philippine Star
Top 10 home organization tips
Before and After.

Life was simpler then. Our clothes and shoes would all fit in the cabinets in our room. But now, with the influx of imported brands, billboards, advertisements and malls everywhere plus the temptation of sales for last season’s clothes, our cabinets are getting smaller and smaller. 

I remember then, my friends and I would be happy with a pair of simple white sneakers, which we used in and out of school. But now, we are being exposed to different brands, types and colors of rubber shoes.

Today, most homes are built with a whole different room that serves as a dressing room or to accommodate the things we feel we might need in the future. But for those living with a limited space, there are storage companies that offer extra space to accommodate things that are hard to let go or has sentimental value.

In the Philippines, it’s not often that we hear about “professional organizers” so I was happy when I chanced upon Issa Reyes of @neatobsessions through Instagram.

Issa is a BS Psychology graduate, a mom and a wife, whose obsession for cleanliness and managing her household has now turned into a passion of making things for her family and friends orderly and beautiful.

“I have always been moved to know that there are moms out there who are struggling to juggle work, motherhood, and keeping a home more livable and happy. We moms have a room full of clothes, beautiful memories of things that are hard to let go or just simply a big pile of mess begging to get our attention, which we seldom have time to give.” she explained. “I believe asking people to discard stuff without going through a process is not very reasonable because letting go is a process, not an event.”

For today’s Wordsworth, Issa shares with us her Top 10 tips in organizing rooms. I hope her tips will help you as much as they have helped me.

Issa Reyes with Chesca Garcia Kramer.

1. Sorting is key. This is the heart and soul of organizing. Sort by category not by area. You don’t want to have two or three of the same thing just located in different parts of your home.

You can first make a general category then subcategorize if you want it to be more detailed. For example, your “general category” is makeup, and subcategorizing it means you will separate the lipsticks from the blushes, eye shadows from the eye liners. You may also separate what’s for everyday and for occasional use. It will all boil down to your own preference in creating relevant categories.

2. Identify your system. What is your system? How does it work? Is there a better one? These are the questions you need to answer before moving further.

Even with a space that needs organization, you already have a system that works and gives you the ability to move and practically exists in your space. The idea is to improve this system, so think of efficiency in your way of living towards a happy life.

What’s the first thing you do when you enter your room? What do you usually look for when you wake up in the morning? These are some of the questions that are essential in identifying your system so spend time thinking about these and reflect on what your system is. Ask a friend or a professional on how you can improve your system.

3. “House” your stuff. Storage bins are there to “house” your items.

Once everything is sorted out and you already have a system in mind, an effective storage that matches your lifestyle will not just help keep your items last, but most importantly, it will help you remember that it still exists and can be used to maximize the value of your items.

I prioritize two things in selecting a good storage: 1. Something that’s easy to use like transparent boxes that help me keep things in place and help me find them without actually opening the storage; and 2. Something that fits, both in size and aesthetic.

Remember, you don’t have to spend much when buying storage items. You can even use shoe boxes and ice cream tubs for storing items, too.

4. Organize one area at a time. If you’re new to organizing, things can be a little overwhelming so start small.

Instead of doing the entire room, work on a small area first like your desk or a portion of your cabinet. That way you will be able to accomplish something, even just a bit.

5. Past is in the past. Let go of the items that no longer matter. If you are extremely attached to an item, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it especially if it still brings you joy. Best if it still has some utility. But if you feel that it is only taking up space and the memories it gives can exist without it, you can donate or sell it instead.

Most of the time, the reason why we’re holding on to things is because those items are the bearer of a memory. Good thing our phones have cameras now, taking a photo of an item could help preserve that memory. For me, I choose to write and remind myself why one thing is good to remember, of course with photos, too!

Happy client Kim Chiu.

6. Always go for efficiency. Always try to imagine if housing your items will improve the way you move around your space. Sometimes, using boxes with lids may lead one to forgetting the items inside. So, place everyday items in an area where you can easily see them. If you are storing items in high areas, make sure that you use small boxes so it won’t cause any strain or accident when you need to bring it down.

Efficiency can also come in the form of arranging brands alphabetically or sorting them by date where the ones in front are those sooner to expire.

7. Have a “catch-all station.” Have a box in one place where you can easily put files, documents or small items. This way, it would be easier for you to know where to find your items.

A helpful tip: get a small, shallow box so that when its contents are already piling up, that’s your signal to sort out the things in it.

This can also work in the closet. You can have a box for “donate” and “sell.” Once those are filled up, you know what to do.

8. Set a realistic standard. Make sure that you have an acceptable and realistic standard that you want to achieve at the end of every day. Because if you will be complacent, chances are you can fall into a trap of just accepting that clutter is part of your life.

If your standard of a bedroom is with clean sheets every week then make sure to change them every week. Setting a standard is just the start of a clutter-free habit. It’s always good to stay consistent on those good (cleaning) habits, and that is the challenging part.

On the other hand, having an extremely high standard might not help at all. Either you will get frustrated more often, or you will find yourself losing that inspiration to form a habit because it’s just too difficult. Make realistic goals and improve them little by little.

9. Learn how to balance and don’t be too hard on yourself. If things are piling up and you have no time to clean, and it’s no longer meeting your “standards,” accept that there are other ways to deal with it. Don’t beat yourself up and go back to tip No. 3, ask a friend’s help, or just give me a call! I will be your best friend in your clutter-free journey.

10. Have fun in finding your passion. When I was a child, I thought I was cleaning just to please my parents but they were actually preparing me for life. It ignited my passion in helping people.

Now, I love how my husband and kids appreciate me taking care of them and making sure our home is spic and span. Doing the same for others and seeing my client’s reaction are both humbling and satisfying. Do it for yourself and find joy in putting value on the things that you worked hard for because the reward is amazing.

(We welcome your suggestions and comments. Please e-mail me at [email protected] Follow me on Instagram @monsromulo.)





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