Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Marie Kondo vs Alejandra Costello vs Lily Ann Teo - my views - entry drafted on 30th Sep 17 #lateposting

Can't believe this entry has been in my Drafts since 30th Sep 17. Late posting again.

This post is about these two organizers I've heard so far and my views 

Alejandra Costello
I've heard of her around two years ago and was so mesmerized with the way she organizes her house. All the nice containers, jars that fits nicely into the cabinets without an inch left on the sides.  Either she must have found the perfect containers size to fit into her cabinets or she tailored made her cabinets to fit the sizes of the containers. For an OCD freak me, it's certainly very pleasing to the eyes. 

I watched her home video where she shows you how she organizes her house

Woah! A bit like a mini mini mini mart like that lor...... cans of baked beans arranged neatly, canned soups etc.. Very wow! Nice but not practical here, unless I've got an army to feed daily. Plus, there are so many grocers; supermarkets within our radius. Do I need to stock up so much? 
Pantry is useful for those days when you just don't want to be caught when you have nothing in the house to eat. However I live in a small flat, with a kitchen space that is smaller than their toilet, as it is I don't have space on the counter top so many of my appliances are in the cabinet. The cabinets are little for a family for 4. But.... for someone like me who don't have to cook 3 meals 3 dishes daily, it's a little easier for me to maintain a minimum stock of items in the house. 

A walk through her whole house after that, My initial thought was "wow! That's a lot of stuffs for her to keep." I managed to keep certain stuffs into boxes & into the cabinets, I don't need a specific room for that.  


That's alot of crockeries she's got in there. When we moved over, I left some in the old house and brought over the good ones bought from Takashimaya years before. I was so ready not to have any more and how often do we have guests over right? I thought maybe I could use disposable plates and bowls then? However, for 2 years we had my in-laws and family over at our place during CNY so I had to get another 8 sets of small plates, bowls, ladles for steamboat. Actually should have bought like 12 sets of each but .... I’m also worried if the plate stacker organizer that I bought might collapse under the weight.  
Thanks to Alejandra where I saw how she stacked up her plates with some stacker. It certainly helped me as our each cabinet space has only two compartments, with quite a tall height. 

Craft and Office Room
She has nice stash of papers and files in rainbow colours in her craft and office room. It looks beautiful, if I were to look at the myriad of colours daily, I'd definitely be cheerful. But really! She has too many things in that room. Who keeps wrapping papers macam like bookstore? I have kids who attends more birthday parties than her and I don't even keep that many rolls of wrapping papers. At the most I only have 1 roll or nothing at all. But then again, our wrapping papers don't come in gigantic size like theirs. I used to buy a huge roll of paper during Christmas to wrap up the presents and I finish the whole roll. Whatever extras I have, I'll just junk them coz' I don't like to repeat same wrapping paper the next year. Anyway, the kids' friends parties seemed to stop. The easiest for me is to give angpow. 

She has ribbons hanging on the wall panel. She has some good ideas but OMG! the first thing I thought to myself was - dust collection!! Does she even clean up every rolls? With such a big house, I don't think she does thorough cleaning daily unless she's more superwoman than me.

Checklist for chores? Exercise? Stickers to indicate that she's done particular stuff. I thought it was so funny - stickers. Once I get my errands done, I don't even bother about the list. Even this muddle -headed brained me only needs two A4 monthly calendar and I put them on the fridge. I note down the kids' tuitions and extra informations (eg. staying back in school later or early dismissal), so I can remember when to pick them up. The other piece is mainly for menu planning. As both my kitchen and fridge is small, I don't keep alot of groceries. I plan what to cook and then try to finish up the ingredients as quickly as possible. Like if I know I need to get big onions for sukiyaki pork, I'll plan for another dish that uses big onions as well. Once the month is over, I junk the paper and put in new month. Oh well, just like what she said 'choose a system that suits you'. I choose to have errands listed in my handphone, so once it's done for me I'll just delete it away. Simple!   

Ha! The only thing she can't beat me is the number of pens and stationeries my girls own. My girls have octopus hands lah! But yet, those are kept in their respective study table drawer so the amount does look spread out. 

I do have extra stationeries (eg. stapler bullets, post-it-pad, glue dot refills,tabs, exercise books, ready-size book wrapper covers, flat files etc..) and I stash them in two small transparent boxes which I kept in lil' one's wardrobe. (I don't have the amount of space and drawers like she does) Those are what I call my "Mini Popular Bookstore" coz there were occasions where we were caught off guard when they ran out of stuffs, situations where che-che suddenly needs a coloured flat file for school the next day. So after I got a little smarter by keeping a little extras, we don't have to worry so much. Sometimes we even rescue 1 or 2 of her classmates. Although, there's a Popular Bookstore in a nearby mall but I don't have the time to run out there whenever we need something. There comes a time when both of them don't attend school and don't need those stationeries, will deal with that later. Or perhaps with only one kid left in school (lil' one. Che would have started working) I don't even need to stock up anymore, she'll get them when she needs it. Mummy is not her errand lady anymore.    

Magazines - at any time she keeps only 12 magazines in the house 

I'm not too sure if I have more or less than her. I throw magazines away after reading them. The only magazines that are in our coffee table drawer : 1) Ikea catalogue 2) Motoring magazine bought by the man (which I'm going to junk soon). But if I were to include the Readers Digest that che-che kept in her room... yah... we have more magazines than her. Speaking of which, I don't understand why che-che likes to keep RDigest. I do subscribe to BBC Earth. Very interesting read but seems like che-che has lost interest in this, so I'm the only one reading it. Anyway, I have stopped the subscription. I will resort to digital subscription. There's so many interesting magazines - History, Wildlife, Economist. Che-che has been asking me to subscribe to US edition of RDigest, well I shall see how. I don't want to deal with so many rubbish at home.  


She has too many clothes! I have less than 12 tops! I mean, even though I don't need to wear any warm clothes since Singapore has only one season - HOT! Even if I were to bring out my winter tops and thermal wear from underbed storage, I still have lesser clothes than her. And mine are organized in boxes and vaccumed packed 

The thing I like is her organized special drawer for her jewelleries. I don't have a drawer, I put my jewelleries in a jewellery box or in the small safe. That's because I don't change my jewelleries daily and infact I don't wear any except earrings. I always shower and run out of the house, wet dripping wet and put on lipstick in the car at traffic lights. Where got time to 打扮自己?

The snap on the hanger is a nice idea but not practical in my case. Her idea of having snaps is to identify which is a top; dress etc.. Which is not applicable to me as I only hang up outside tops. My home clothes and jeans are folded and tucked into a drawer. And since whatever goes from the wardrobe goes to drying rack, having snaps will be so troublesome. But we do have different colour hangers. Hubby and I uses a white hanger, che-che uses a pink hanger, lil' one uses her old wooden hanger for children. She's small size so can't use the same one as we do. Hopefully, one day I can clear those away and let her use the same hangers as us. Oh! Just in case you're wondering why I had different hangers... in the old house my girls like to throw their hangers around and when probed they both deny it's their doing. Oh yah! like it's the ghost who threw hangers around. So it's used to identify which kid left their hanger around the house, something which I've been asking them not to do. I'll make sure that guilty person keeps it back to proper place. They can't deny it's not them.   

Most of my clothes are folded and "filed" in. It's much easier and won't create a mess when I take them out. I learnt this from her! I don't keep alot of clothes anyway, my walk-in cabinet drawers are small so I can only keep to 7-8 pieces of home clothes top, 5-6 shorts.

I keep my extra bathroom clutters in transparent Toyogo boxes (I use these around the house), labelled them and put them in the cabinet below sink. She hides them behind shower curtain. Good idea.. but not practical for us coz' we have shower screens at home and the last thing I want to see is untidy visible mess in the toilet. Preferably is to have none at all, but it's quite impossible when you have a family of 4 living together, everyone has their own toothbrush; own comb; own stuffs - they all add up. 
She moved and in another house - Her Office
I would have chucked the rubbish mails into the bins; tore up my statements on the way up to my house and bin it the moment I step into the house; no need anymore slips of papers coz' most payment are by GIRO or I can do internet banking, which I'll snapshot on my phone and then put a memo to my calendar for "TO DO" and get it done in the night after I'm free. She even shows people she has 3 bins for "recycle, shred and trash". She has small bins for used batteries. Wah piang eh. Ok, so I'm not an environmentally friendly person. Even for the girls' school matters, I only put the ultra important ones infront of my study table, the rests I just snap a picture and keep it in phone photo album folders. I'll die if I ever lose my phone or memory data. 

Conclusion : She's probably the 没事要找事做 . In my opinion there were too many redundant ways of keeping stuffs.  Not that I'm freaking jealous of her big house but .... I think I'll keep the rooms for the children, guest. And I'm still wondering how she cleans her house, or does she not clean them regularly? 

I am proud to say, despite having small spaces in my house. I still have empty wardrobe space.  

Marie Kondo

Early last year(2016) , my friend talked about this lady Marie Kondo. I first thought it's no surprise that a Japanese start with organizing homes as houses in Japan are small. They need to compact everything. But wait! While she has runs a consulting company in Tokyo, my Japanese girlfriend residing in Fukuoka gave me a big blur look when I asked if Marie Kondo is famous in Japan. My girlfriend's reply "Who is she? I've never heard of such person."

Anyway, this sparks my curiosity about this person and her ideas. I began a search on her on the internet and realized she wrote books. Her first book seems to be very popular thus I had to make a reservation for it. Within days I received notification that the book was ready for collection.  

Quote : - 
In Kondo’s worldview, “When you’ve finished tidying your home, your life will change dramatically.” Your relationships will improve! 
I'm not sure if I should agree with her views coz' while in the process of upkeeping the tidy home (the kids come home and throw things about; the man leaves the remote controls around etc..), I nag and scold. In the end, this spoils my relationship with my family.  

Interesting read :

Just by reading 2 chapters of the book I must admit this is not really a book for me as this is what I had been doing. (I'm slow in writing a book myself!)

This book will be suitable for hoarders and I'm not (tho the man will say likewise). I declutter and I'm able to discard things away with two eyes closed and without giving thanks. But how can I maintain the whole house so neat like some people's house? When u have kids, it's so different. I'm sure if I lived alone, I will be able to. I mean....I'm able to survive with only 7 undergarments and 8-9 home clothes. I've tried but I can't say for my family members you know. So what if I have 8-9 home clothes when their "clothes outnumber mine by many times"? The best solution is to throw their clothes away when they're not in. 😬 Only when the girls are older, then we are able to throw/giveaway all the books.
So, I hope there is nothing 'new' coming into the house even before I have the time to get it 'out' of the house.

Does it spark joy? While she has the belief that every item has like a life and you gotta give thanks before throwing it away. I just don't have the time to hold every piece of item. I simply close my eyes and throw. How much time do I even have? I gotta do the household chores, in between the cooking and picking girls up from school. Honestly, not much time left to hug and sweet talk the non-living thing.   

Kon Marie says to declutter by items not place. And suppose to bring it from all over the house and put in one big heap and sort it out from there. I don't want to follow her, it's not practical. I do it by place because I would have known where I've decluttered. Moreover I keep all the items at one designated place/ box when we moved in, so there you go..... I'm already organized even before I read her book. I don't have the luxury of piling a mountain up in the middle of my living room unless I'm super free at home the whole day.  But sometimes feel that the girls mess up faster than me!! After all there are 3 pairs of hands while I only have one pair of hands to keep the rests. I get really mad with them.  

Clear your desk, clear your mind. Sigh...... their study table is a .....No wonder their brain all clogged up, just like their study table. Che-che's room is an eyesore, she has books and ... I just tidy what I need to tidy, then leave the rest of the mess to her. I tidied up her study table and the books once, she couldn't find her things and was mad at me. She said it's not messy to her at all. (signs of ADD?). 
I remember once the man said our table is messy. My things are there. My things meaning the pens; penknife (to kill someone) in the drawer, printer. Printer?!?!? Oi! He works in an office, if he wants to print something, he can 偷偷 print in the office. I'm not working leh! Plus it's not MY PRINTER!! Though I'm the one paying for it, the girls also use it when they need to print something for their school work etc..

In an interview, Marie was asked if there's any gender difference in their approach to tidying.
She claimed " in general they're pretty much the same. Men collect things and there are more things that they  can't just let go of. BINGO! He still dare to say I'm a hoarder. Whose the hoarder? I ever asked the man before what he needs (even before we made the move) and don't need, so I can clear and tidy the place. He told me he needed everything. Oh my! I see his clothes - since we were dating - 21 yrs ago. Still can wear or not? Why keeping on to them? Tell me, does this make a good excuse for me to secretly throw his things away? 

“There’s no need to let your family know the details of what you throw out or donate,” she writes, although she advises against secretly disposing of other people’s things. “You can leave communal spaces to the end. The first step is to confront your own stuff.” What own stuff? I've settled mine long time ago, it's their stuffs that are too many and taking up space in the house; not mine! For this, I disagree with her. If I were to ask them what they want to let go or keep, 100% they'll keep everything. Then I'll not get any job done. 

The things I can't wait to get rid of are the books. Unfortunately, they will have to keep until they complete that level. Once lil' one completes her PSLE, primary level stuffs will be gone but I still need to keep the secondary level for her, until the day she finishes Uni and goes to work, all school materials will be gone from our house forever!   

My First Major Declutter - though in previous house and now i declutter every 6 mths or so, there were occasions when I tend to be more sentimental and decide to keep items that I don't even use but i can't bear to throw them away. So the move to current place was ruthless! There were hairbows which I spent my time making for my girls which I gave them away. That's the time my ruthless self came out. I realised that I was able to get rid of items and was grateful that it did served my girls at one point in their life. Certain items just had to be cleared out in phases. But I must admit, at some point in time I would have forgotten that I used to possess certain items. Decluttering makes you feel so good. It's just like after a haircut, my whole head feels so much lighter and I feel livier  

Kondo says she has been obsessed with tidying since she was five, opting to arrange shoes and pencils while other kids played outside. She began communing with her belongings in high school and, after years of work at a Shinto shrine, realised her calling as a professional consultant on attaining the joy of minimalism.
“The inside of a house or apartment after decluttering has much in common with a Shinto shrine ... a place where there are no unnecessary things, and our thoughts become clear,” she says.“It is the place where we appreciate all the things that support us. It is where we review and rethink about ourselves.” 
Sometimes I wonder the truth in all these testimonies. Since she was five?! You sure or not? I don't remember what happened when I was five. Or maybe because I'm a blur sotong. At 5, I was probably still messing the house. I was a fairly disorganized; messy and forgetful person. I only knew how to tidy up when I was flying. Yup! In the hotels, I learnt to keep my things tidy and in one place. And I don't bring out everything from my bag.    
Tip # 8: "Storage experts are hoarders. A "clever" storage solution never really solves anything. A new box or organizer won't make you tidy. Pursue ultimate simplicity." Ahh.... I do agree with her on this. Which kind of sound like ... the above Alejandra

I can't believe that Marie Kondo is making money and normal people like you and me can even attend a Consultant Seminar and be a step closer becoming a Certified KonMari Consultant. As it's written in her tagline - Register today to help people “Organize the World” and lead lives that spark joy. Hmm..... food for thought... sounds abit like YL essential oil business like that hor? Soon, everyone is a KM Consultant and then nobody needs to hire somebody else.  

Anyway, do grab this book when you have the time. 
The Life-changing Magic of Tidying up : The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

So am i a perfectionsist?? Do I live in a designer looking house where there's practically no "human belonging"? Not really, I just try my best to keep them to the minimum.  
So do I need to hire them to help me?? I don't need to spend the money coz' it's something that I've been doing.

Hmmm...... change of strategy? 
Recently, I thought about Alejandra and went into her youtube videos. Suddenly she has this SimpLESSity?? Almost the same idea as Marie Kondo. Hmm...... just like Shichida and then Glenn Doman and some other people who claims they were studying on the brain development etc..
So who is the originator?? Shall we compare their age and then try to find out who copied who? All I know is they will have their own home organization programme to follow for these few years, after that it's no longer new and they'll have to find other areas to start a different programme. And then the followers will religiously follow them to the ends of the earth

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