It’s so important to keep an organized abode. That’s something Ivanka Siolkowsky, professional organizer and owner of The Tidy Moose, is passionate about. Read on as she shares a few simple tips for keeping your home neat and orderly.
Living Luxe: Everyone wants an organized home, but why is it so important to have one?
Ivanka Siolkowsky: Organization and decluttering is about more than just “the stuff” that surrounds us. It’s very much about mental headspace as well. When our physi- cal surroundings are organized, our mental health improves, as does our productivity. When we wake up in the morning, so many of us brush our teeth while we’re still half asleep. Why is that? Because it has become a habit. When something becomes a habit, we barely think about doing it, but the job gets done. When we implement organizational systems in our homes, putting an item away after use becomes as brainless as brushing our teeth half asleep. This not only makes the home look tidier, but it cuts back on time spent looking for things. Tidy as you go, or at the very least, do what I call the “10-minute room reset.” At the end of every day, spend 10 minutes putting away the items that may not have made it back to their respective places. If you do this for 10 minutes a day, it will never take longer than that because the items will not accumulate. Our goal is to create a system where there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place. This is when true Zen in the home exists.
LL: For most of us, a fully organized home seems difficult to attain. Where do we start when we want to get our things in order?
IS: As a certified master KonMari consultant, I practice the KonMari method of organization, where we begin the organization process by asking ourselves “what sparks joy?” rather than “what should we get rid of?” We tackle our home by category, not location. It breaks down like this: clothing; books and papers; komono (miscellaneous items); and sentimental items. The reason it’s important to go in this order is that if we started off with sentimental items, we’d hit a wall quickly. So, by starting off with clothing, which typically already has a higher turnover, we are setting ourselves up for success.
LL: One area most of us have a problem with is paper, especially now, with many of us headed back to the office. What are your tips for dealing with receipts, medical forms, bills, etc. before they pile up?
IS: The trick is to create a system where
you deal with new paper immediately. For example, if it’s a bill, set a time of day (or a day of the week) where you pay the bill, then file it right away. I like doing this daily because it’s less to think about. For myself, I love the binder system over the filing cabinet. I have a binder for my personal items (medical, home, etc), and one for my business. As soon as something comes in, be it a bill, receipt, or a health report, I file it into a plastic sleeve in my binder, under the appropriate heading right away. Then, at the end of every tax year, I take what needs to be removed out of the binder and put it in a manilla folder should the government ever require it.
Another obvious choice is eliminating paper altogether, or as much as one can, and going digital. I no longer receive any mail for anything. All of my bills and receipts come to me digitally, and I file them onto my computer into their respective folder immediately upon receipt. Again, like brushing my teeth half asleep. Then when tax season comes, my accountant gets a USB with my paperwork (organized into folders, of course) and it makes her job easier. The digital filing system is also much better on the environment, so in my mind, it’s a win-win.