We had the honor and privilege of chatting with Issa Reyes, Professional Organizer and founder of Neat Obsessions. She is a Konmari Consultant-in-Training and a Certified Professional Organizer by the International Organization of Professional Organizers
In this interview, we got to know how she started, what the ups and downs are in the business, and some tips for maintaining our homes.
Being a professional organizer seems like a very interesting career! How did you get started?
I started Neat Obsessions three years ago as an Instagram page and as a blog, to share my passion for organizing and homemaking. I never really intended it to become a business, so I always refer to Neat Obsessions as a beautiful accident. It was a passion project turned into a profession.
It's always nice to look back at those first steps my husband and I took to figure out things on our own like doing our rate card from scratch, attending workshops, and thinking about the process that will allow me to help every Filipino home.
What are the most enjoyable and the hardest parts of your job?
I always find it enjoyable and fulfilling to know different types of Filipino homemakers and help them find the system in their home that will best work for them. The hardest part of my job is when the clients are not involved in the process. It's easier to execute ideas if the clients are present and very much involved. If they're not present, we just try to identify their lifestyle based on the items they own.
What's your take on #TeamPuti and #TeamKahoy?
As a professional organizer, I'm always about what the client wants. As a homemaker, I like both because our house is a combination of puti and kahoy. White always achieves that neat and clean look, and it's always easy to match white with furniture. I also love wood and its color because it brings that homey vibe.
What advice can you give to busy moms who can't seem to stay on top of the mess?
▪ Don't be hard on yourself. Create a system that is simple and easy to follow. It will be difficult to maintain a home if the system is complicated.
▪ Know your season. If you are a mom of small children,then you have to set basic categories that you can easily maintain. Later on, you may progress to a system that the kids can easily follow depending on their age. Stick to a simple routine that appropriately matches your season, and the people you are living with in your home.
Any advice to young professionals who are managing their own homes for the first time?
If you are building or moving to a brand new home, know your priorities and assess how you want to start anew.
If you intend to bring your things from your childhood, manage which ones you still need to keep. The things that you will bring with you should match the new season that you're in. You don't want to start a new life in your new home with clutter. If you plan on leaving things behind, make sure they are well attended to and will not be clutter to your parents' home.
Everything that you own is your responsibility. Don't just leave your old things behind and start buying things. Part of the process of managing a new home is assessing your old things and decide which ones to bring with you, donate, or let go.
Being an efficient homemaker means that you are embracing the entire experience by first attending to the things you own from your previous home and being intentional about bringing them in your new home.
Some people cannot throw anything away. How can we avoid clutter but still keep the memories?
There are a lot of ways for you to remember the memories and not keep its physical counterpart that may just turn into clutter. You may take photos, write in your journal, or publish a blog about it. Should you really need your sentimental items, keep them properly where you could preserve its meaning and value without compromising the neatness of your space.
If I want to give my home a makeover, but I only have the budget to do it bit by bit, which room do you think I should start with?
Start with the room where you spend most of the time in. Where do you and your family usually stay in your home? You also need to identify your season. For example, if you are a mom who's currently working from home and also supervising your kids' distance learning, then work on those spaces that you need to fulfill your everyday tasks.Assess where you are most present among all the areas in your home and start from there.
What's the best investment you made for your own home?
My best investment is the time that I spend to make sure that my husband and I create a safe space for our children. We intentionally set areas in our home where our kids could spend their time nurturing their relationship with us, their parents, and with each other. Every homemaker needs to invest their time in their home.
Can you tell us more about your book, Neat Obsessions? How did you start writing it and where can we get our own copy?
When I started Neat Obsessions, I never thought I will be given an opportunity as big as writing my own book. So when I got invited by ABS-CBN to write a book, I realized that it was the best opportunity to reach out to more Filipino homes and share with them my advocacy that homemaking is for everyone.
Since Neat Obsessions started as a passion project, writing the book entailed for me to assess our process whenever we do Neat Projects. What do we call our process and what are its steps? We started with only knowing what to do by heart and not necessarily by name, so I spent a lot of time thinking about the right terms that would capture our very Filipino way of organizing.