Home Organizing 101 with Kat Ong

Have you ever put off organizing your home?

While we’re all spending most of our time at home because of the pandemic, this is a chance to push through with organizing and sort out everything that we own. Being organized is something we can learn, and who better to learn from than Kat Ong, a certified professional organizer! We gathered a few questions from our community and asked her to give her the best advice to answer these common questions about organizing your home!

How do I begin organizing? Is starting the hardest part?

Starting could be the hardest part for some people if there is too much going through your head. But in other cases, finishing is the hardest part. Begin by visualizing the function, feel of the space, and the aesthetics.

For the organizing process, SEAS is an acronym to help you out. This stands for:

Sort – Grouping like items to see how much of something you have.

Edit – Choosing to keep what you love and use.

Assign proper places – the most used items should be kept in accessible areas. Assign places to keep things where they make sense over where they fit.

Staying organized – once you set up a system, label everything. With all bins and storage labeled, it increases the chances of the system being maintained.

Does being organized mean being a minimalist as well?

No, it doesn’t. Being organized does not mean being a minimalist as these are different things. You could still own a ton of stuff and be organized so long as these things are in proper places.

What if I don’t have enough time everyday to keep things organized?

Time is not the question. The real question is whether you have enough energy. The key here is to create a system. A simple system is better than none at all. Having a proper system could help lessen the time and effort when returning things where they belong.

Is it expensive to be organized?

On the contrary, it is more expensive to not be organized. In the case that you lose something important, what happens is you have to go out to buy that item again. It would be less expensive being organized because you know what you have and where to find them when you need it.

What’s the best way to organize or position your items in the entrance of your home?

For every space, identify your most essential items in that space. In this case it would be your wallet, keys, bags, or shoes. Make sure that these items have a proper place by the entrance. Focus on how you want that little space to serve you, and then build on how you can make that space work by putting in the storage needed to support that function.

What should I keep in mind when setting up my home office?

Determine what you need in your home office. Build around your necessities such as a desk, a chair, good lighting, extension cord, printer, filing, and office supplies. Make sure that these items have a proper place that they would return to at all times.

Any tips in organizing the kitchen? From pans and utensils to food items inside the fridge.

Keep in mind the process of eating – Preparation, Cooking, Consumption, Cleaning. For your fridge, allot shelves strictly for leftovers so that you would always see the food you need to consume before it turns bad. Ideally you would have a pantry or a rack for your groceries and categorized areas for this. When storing kitchenware, keep the items close to the area where they are most accessible for use.

Do you keep things just in case you need them again in the future? If so, where should they be kept, and do you have any guidelines when deciding to keep things?

The most used items should always be kept in the most accessible and easy to reach areas and those that are not used should occupy the high or low cabinets. When disposing items, ask yourself ‘what is the worst thing that could happen if I decide to throw this away’? Try to determine if this is something easily accessible and the likeness that you would need it again.

How can I keep long cords, whether stored or being used, clean and out of sight?

Keep them in a labeled bin. You could use a velcro for your cable cords and store them in a zip lock with labels. Have containers that are low maintenance and could be used for long periods of time. 

What’s the best way to organize loose/small/miscellaneous items (i.e. pins, papers, clips, etc.)?

Gather all those small items to sort and edit, and get rid of what you don’t need. Use little plastic containers that could fit in drawers to keep them organized. You could use recycled containers from items that you bought or were given to you to save on expenses.

How do I avoid storing/keeping so much stuff that accumulates over time (i.e. sort clothes every x months, etc.)

There are two ways things enter your life – either you buy it or it’s given to you. Be vigilant on what you allow to enter your space. Declutter the things that no longer serve you. It’s more wasteful to keep the item and not use rather than give it to someone that may actually need or will use

What is the best way to store bags/luggage bags when you have a small space/area?

You can try to store your smaller luggage inside the bigger luggage. If needed, you can use a bed riser to lift your bed to give you more space to store these things under the bed, but make sure to keep them organized even though there are out of sight.

Where can I keep extra linens if my closet doesn’t have enough storage?  

As mentioned earlier, this could also be stored using a bed riser. Use under the bed storage bins that are short in height but long in length. Keep these linens all together in the container and don’t forget to sort them out.

Where/how can I store boxes from gadgets and shoes?

Do you even have to keep it? Most of the time these are not important unless you are a reseller or will use these boxes as storage. Always assess if you actually need to keep those boxes. Remember that that’s a lot of real estate used just to keep those boxes.

What are some daily reminders to help keep my home organized and avoid clutter piling up again?

Clutter is postponed decision and actions. Which is the main reason that things pile up. Once you decide to act on it, then clutter will hopefully be eliminated. Set up a system with a proper place for everything you use so when you have the energy to put things away, it would be much quicker and easier. 

Now is the time to clear up your space one area at a time! Hopefully, these answers give you some professional tips on organizing your home and help you get started taking control of your things! If you liked this online session, learn more about different industries from our past sessions here

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