Wondering how to get organised and in need of some assistance? We’ve got the solution, mama!
As a mama who works from home, I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate to have schedule flexibility and the ability to spend quality time with my daughter. As a bit of a clutter-junkie hoarder, I often find myself overwhelmed and stressed out by my messy home workspace (also known as “The dining room table”) – if there’s one thing I’ve learned in a year of working from home, it’s that it demands a certain kind of discipline and organisation not necessary for a regular office.
Enter Nathalie Ricaud, a professional organiser and the founder of Get Organised & Beyond. A Frenchwoman with 20 years’ experience in corporate logistics, Natalie has lived in Singapore since 1998, and left the corporate world after the birth of her son. Once she was at home and had organised her own household system to her exacting standards, she noticed that friends kept asking for her help in organising their homes as well. Eventually she looked into professional organising (she’d previously not known this was even a thing!), and found her true calling.
As Nathalie mentions on her website, these are the common organisational challenges she tends to find her clients facing (guilty as charged!):
- They own too many things (clothes, books, toys, medicine, kitchenware, paper, etc.).
- Clutter in the home has them feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
- They don’t socialise at home very much, because of the disorganisation.
- They spend money buying things they already have but can’t remember they have, or can’t find.
- There’s never enough time to get done everything that needs to be done.
- There’s even less time (if any) to enjoy the things they truly love to do.
Ring any bells, mama? After exchanging a few [desperate on my end] emails with Nathalie, we chatted on the phone for about 30 minutes so I could explain what I considered to be my top challenges and my goals for organisation: I get stressed by the papers and assorted junk that seems to pile up during the workday, and have a hard time clearing it away at night when we want to eat dinner. Plus, between all the baby stuff that seems to have materialized out of thin air, along with dusty stacks of unread magazines, our living room just felt cluttered, which really stressed me out.
Nathalie focuses on three main areas in her work: clutter management, paper management and time management. While I probably need help in all three areas if we’re being honest, she truly helped me target the clutter in our living room.
In preparation for her visit, she asked me to get together a few baskets or containers, along with some trash bags (gulp!). Upon arrival, she got right to work sizing up the room, peppering me with questions, and immediately labeling different piles:
PUT IN BEDROOM
And so on. Nathalie forced me to go through the burgeoning piles that were mounting ominously around my computer, but more than that she identified what items could be stowed away rather than kept nearby. She also helped me go through drawers in a storage cupboard, gamely picking up each item one-by-one and dubiously asking, “Do you really need to keep this?” (In about 85% of instances, I didn’t). It was almost like my mother had come to visit!
Because much of the work Nathalie did was emptying drawers and dispersing papers (with lots of handy suggestions for how to properly stow them with an effective system), I don’t really have any dramatic before-and-after photos to share (the two images above are from another workspace that she organised). Nonetheless, one month on I’ve managed to keep my desk clear – making it a point to stow away work papers each night before dinner – and we’ve also put the baby’s toys into containers that minimise clutter in the living room.
Like Nathalie told me at the time, it’s all about finding a system that works for you, because she could write up a list of instructions and tell you what she’d recommend, but if it doesn’t work with your normal rhythms and habits, it simply won’t be sustainable. Shelves, drawers, cupboards and stacking folders are all handy for a streamlined workspace, but for every person, there’s a different way to make it work.
“I must confess that I don’t take a lot of before & after pictures,” says Nathalie, “as to me, organising is not so much how nice and tidy the space looks but how efficiently the space functions“.
Nathalie organises much more than workspaces, mama: she’s a whiz with closets, too! I truly do feel calmer and less stressed in my new and improved workspace, and can’t recommend Nathalie highly enough to help get you organised, mama!
Get Organised & Beyond, email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: (+65) 6836 9344.