Sunday, January 2, 2011

Starting the Year Right

Newly organized  files in my home office

It's been really quiet today and I've been able to finally sit down pay my December bills in only a few minutes.  I sorted through the bills in my inbox, worked on the papers scattered on my desk, and then filed everything away. Normally I wouldn't be so efficient, but last November, I asked a professional organizer to come over and help me wade through the chaos of my home office.

The "Before" shots: what a mess..I didn't know where or how to start! I know it doesn't look so bad, but you should've seen the inside of the drawers before the hanging files came in...

On the recommendation of my friend Nicole, I called Kat Ong, a local professional organizer.  I had a attended her half-day workshop called "Organizing your Papers" a couple of years back and thought the content of the workshop was useful and enlightening--except that I was already overwhelmed with my mess, that I never practiced what she preached. I didn't realize she was now available for personal consultations and home service!

I lost no time contacting her and after one meeting at home (she has to see the space she's going to help de-clutter so she can assess what needs to be done), a few emails back and forth,  our organizing schedule was set.

Before: Files in the 3-ring binders had to be purged and sorted in an easier-to-maintain system. My file drawers below contained a hodgepodge of assorted papers--too bad I don't have a "before" photo.

It wasn't easy. Kat and I worked together from early morning until the sun set--and over a few days. I know that if I started the project without her, my home office would've even been a bigger mess. I tend to "start organizing", get distracted in the middle of it all, start browsing pictures, taking phone calls, and then I get so tired I dump everything back into the drawers and I'm back where I started. With Kat, it was like having a personal trainer encouraging me to keep moving forward, dealing only with one manageable section at a time.  We even took water breaks to keep us going.

Taaa-daaah! After a couple or so days of purging, sorting and filing, everything is now in it's proper place!

I had a really nice time with Kat because she is very pleasant and professional.  I never felt judged by her, nor did I feel she was looking over my things and files. I didn't want our sessions to end because of her very positive and encouraging attitude. What I needed from her specifically was help with my all my papers, but she also specializes in organizing closets and other spaces in the home.  Look at her website here. I wish she could come live with me and help me clear out the rest of my house!

Everything from those 3-ring binders are now in these file drawers in  5 categories:  Household, Financial, Business, Personal and Family.  Easy to file and pull out whenever needed.
My home office was the perfect place for me to start  because now my mind is clear and I'm not as stressed as I was. I can finally find things!  After a few days "hands-on-training" with Kat, I'm also ready to tackle the other parts of the house on my own. Her method of  attacking a space is a process which I know I can duplicate when I begin (I think... and I hope!)

My Sydney-based sister who's back for the holidays recently asked me if I received her new credit card in the mail (I handle all her bank statements and I'm supposed to file and keep track of them). If she only knew that just a month before, all those statements remained in their sealed envelopes in a pile dumped inside a drawer!

I also have an under-desk wagon where I keep supplies that I use often: envelopes in all sizes, calling cards, gift certificates that need to be used, USB cable and earphones for laptop...

With the help of Kat,  we went over mounds of unopened envelopes, purged eight-year-old documents, and categorized all the rest of my papers.  I was able to file everything in easily accessible  hanging files. Aside from favoring the hanging file system, Kat also prefers to use binder clips over fasteners and paper clips. She seems to get a kick out of Muji lucite containers, but she can also use box tops as drawer dividers.  I love the usefulness of binder clips and of course I have come to admire my Muji lucite DVD boxes which I use as In and Out boxes.

 Very useful binderclips. Even the tiniest one holds a lot.

The recently-opened Muji in Rockwell, photo from here

To the question of my balikbayan sister I was able to say honestly, "I have your new card filed here with the rest of your statements. Come on over!"  And when she came over a few minutes later,  I opened my file drawer, pulled out a folder with her name on it and handed her the card. Normally I would answer her question the same way, but I would've had to scramble to look for it after I put down the phone.

I  really impressed myself!  Sister on the other hand, thinks I'm organized so she wasn't surprised. :)

I designed these file cabinets so that my files are within easy reach. That never happened until now!

Let me see, I still have my garage to clear out, and the pile of boxes in the laundry room. But I think I got enough on-the-job training from Kat to start these projects on my own. And if I do get overwhelmed or distracted, at least I know Kat is just a text away!

Kat Ong
Space That Works
mobile: 0917-845-2579


ChichaJo said...

OH WOW! I work from home so I also have a home office and let me just say...I am melting away with envy right now!!! Yours now looks so fabulous and organized and inspiring! I have been dying to do something like this for a long time but can never get around to it...I've got all the same problems: unopened envelopes dumped in drawers, documents from god-knows-when piled here and there, etc. I will check out Kat's website! And your hanging files are gorgeous!!! I want! What a great way to start a new year!

Marivic said...

Kat is the person you need to call! My files have stayed organized for a month now. I think I can keep it up! Thanks for dropping by!

Amy @ Journey Mum said...

I am really impressed! I have to admit that all that paperwork is something I always dread having to go near, I absolutely loathe having to have it, but so much of it is essential stuff.
Even when your office was cluttered and disorganised it looked beautiful, you have some lovely furniture in there. It looks like a really lovely space.

Marivic said...

Beauty and and a de-cluttered mind is a good combination. Thanks for checking in!

Dolly Lama! said...

you could've hired me!!! Organizing has been part of my professional services since 1991....

Nicole said...

love it!!!

Christine Juan said...

love it! i'm so inggit!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Its such as you read my mind! You appear to grasp a lot approximately this, like you
wrote the e-book in it or something. I think that you could do
with some percent to drive the message house a little
bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read.
I'll certainly be back.
Feel free to visit my web site - topografía


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...