Home Organizing 101 | HTH 018

Transcript

Aaron:
00:00
Welcome
back to another episode of the How To Home podcast. My name’s Aaron Massey and
joined a long side by Tracy Pendergast and our guest today is Kat Petty from
the Neat Method, and we are talking about ways to create an organized and
functional, sustainable home.
Aaron:
00:21
So,
thank you so much for being here today.
Kat:
00:23
Thank
you for having me.
Aaron:
00:23
I
appreciate you taking the time. Give us a little bit of a background on the
Neat Method and how you got involved and what your day to day is like.
Kat:
00:29
I’ve
just always loved organizing, ever since I was a little kid. I would be that
kid that goes over for play dates to friends’ houses, and I would, rather than
play with my friends, sometimes organize the pantry.
Tracy:
00:44
I
love that.
Kat:
00:44
Yeah,
that just carried through into my adult life and I realized it was a passion of
mine, and so I decided to go into it professionally. On a weekly basis, I got
into clients’ homes and organize, and I really enjoy it.
Tracy:
01:02
Isn’t
it so cool that you could take a quirk or something about your personality,
things that you’re really drawn to and actually create a business out of them.
Kat:
01:11
It
is. Yeah.
Tracy:
01:13
The
world is your oyster.
Aaron:
01:14
I
feel like you can really help me out, because ever since I had my son, things
have gotten a little crazy around our house, so we’re trying to figure out ways
to organize and put everything in it’s place and keep it clean. It’s a constant
challenge, so I’m really excited to hear some of your tips and tricks.
Aaron:
01:32
But
before we dive into that, we just want to first of all thank our founding
sponsor of The How To Home podcast, which is FilterBuy. FilterBuy is an HVAC
filter provider. They manufacture over 600 different sizes, or you can create
custom sizes, and you can subscribe to the service through their website at
filterbuy.com-
Tracy:
01:50
And
you save 5% when you subscribe, that’s a great incentive. Also, we want to
remind you guys to hit us up on social media. We love hearing from you. This
show was actually based on a suggestion from you on our Instagram, so we love
taking your suggestions and making them a reality. You can also go to
howtohome.com and subscribe to the newsletter. Lots of great articles and
content in addition to the podcast.
Aaron:
02:16
So,
plenty of ways to get involved in the show. We encourage you guys to do that.
Tracy:
02:19
We’re
a community. I love it.
Aaron:
02:21
So,
tell me a little bit about the Neat Method.
Kat:
02:23
Yeah.
Aaron:
02:23
I’m
not too familiar with it. What is Neat Method?
Kat:
02:25
Sure.
We provide home organizing and unpacking services that’s sustainable and design
focused. So, we basically organize your home and make it look good.
Tracy:
02:37
Oh,
that’s a game changer to have someone actually unpack your home in an organized
fashion.
Kat:
02:43
It’s
huge.
Tracy:
02:43
Because
when we moved, I had a two year old, and a brand new baby, and we just put
everything, we just wanted it all away, and then even now, we’ve been in our
house for two years and things didn’t really start out where they belong and
they’ve just kind of stayed.
Aaron:
03:00
We
just lived out of boxes when we moved until we needed that thing-
Tracy:
03:04
Yup.
Aaron:
03:05

and then we took it out and figured out where it was going to go.
Tracy:
03:07
Yup.
Kat:
03:07
Yeah,
it’s great. I mean, we tell our clients, go on that trip that you’ve been
wanting to go on and let us just get you unpacked and totally organized too.
It’s great, they come home and they’re ready to live in their new home.
Tracy:
03:21
Amazing.
Kat:
03:21
Yeah.
Tracy:
03:22
And
for those of you listening, who are saying, wait, I could never afford to hire
a professional organizer or someone to unpack my home, don’t stop listening,
because we’re going to cover all of things that you do, but we’re also going to
provide some great tips to DIY and to organize your home, yourself. This is a
service that’s available, but not necessary-
Kat:
03:43
Exactly.
Tracy:
03:43

for everyone.
Aaron:
03:44
You
said that as a kid you were kind of into, are you just like a type A
personality, are you really meticulous about everything?
Kat:
03:52
Yes,
in fact we just did, we had this corporate, it’s called Summit, we get together
every year, and we get together with everybody, but we also have workshop type
things, anyway, one thing we did was took this personality questionnaire and I
was definitely the type A, strict perfectionist. It’s just in my blood. I don’t
know. I love organizing and it’s not to say I don’t create messes sometimes, I
do, but they don’t stay that way for very long.
Tracy:
04:23
When
you go to someone’s house, what is the area that you have to, if you see
something you have to just fix?
Kat:
04:29
I
really like to see the kitchen in order. I think because it’s the heart of the
home. It’s kind of where everybody hangs out and if I open up a pantry and
there’s just no rhyme or reason or order, it drives me a little crazy. So,
yeah. I would say that that would be an area that I would ask friends
permission before I start just diving in.
Aaron:
04:53
Start
shuffling stuff around.
Tracy:
04:55
Are
you in the spices again, Kat. Yeah.
Kat:
04:59
They’re
pretty open to me going in and doing my thing.
Tracy:
05:08
You’re
always welcome at my house in my kitchen. The kitchen is something that needs
to be functional, because you’re creating food in there and using a lot of
ingredients and there’s a lot of loose parts.
Aaron:
05:19
Well,
it’s just so ever changing too. You always have different things coming in and
out. You have all sorts of different stuff so having a system in place, I guess
to organize all this stuff is important, which I am certainly not a poster
child for any of that. We kind of have our pantry, and I kind of let my wife do
what she wants to do with it. I just try not to interfere and stay out of the
way.
Kat:
05:43
Right,
right.
Tracy:
05:44
What
are some systems you like to use within a kitchen? What are some of the main
organizing strategies you have?
Kat:
05:51
Well,
I guess we can get into kind of the whole approach that we would take, which
basically is the same for every room but in a kitchen we would want to take
everything out and sort and organize, and then once we get things into
categories, we find homes for them. We recommend buying some product. But
there’s lots of different budget options out there. Several different price
points. You can get great baskets and containers at Target or Container Store.
Kat:
06:29
Then,
kind of just grouping things in like categories. I think it’s fun to get
specific with some categories but then it’s also a good idea to have broad
categories. So that way when you come home from the grocery store, and you have
pickles, you’re like, “Well, I don’t have a container labeled
pickles.”
Aaron:
06:51
I
don’t have a pickle drawer, here’s my pickle drawer.
Kat:
06:51
Yeah.
Tracy:
06:51
Call
Kat.
Kat:
06:56
Yeah.
Depending on how you use pickles or how you eat them, it can go into the snack
bin or in the refrigerator. If you put pickles on sandwiches, you can have a
sandwich section. It should be totally customized to you for it to make sense
for you and your family.
Tracy:
07:17
So,
do you feel like when things are labeled, people are just more inclined to put
things away where they belong?
Kat:
07:23
Yes.
Tracy:
07:23
It’s
just kind of like a reminder.
Kat:
07:25
It
helps keep you on track. So if everything has a home, it’s so much easier to
keep it maintained. It’s just less likely to get messy and disheveled if
everything has a place. I think it’s very easy for when people want to get
organized, they only kind of get half way there and they’ll often pre-shop for
product before actually seeing everything that they need. I really think you do
kind of have to set aside the time to, like I said, take everything out. You
kind of want to start with a blank canvas. That way you can see everything that
you need.
Tracy:
08:05
I’m
so guilty of that. I go on these tears where I go to Target, and I buy 900
organizational bins and then I come home and I’m like, ehh.
Aaron:
08:15
Trying
to find stuff to throw into those bins.
Tracy:
08:17
Yeah,
and then you’re actually creating-
Aaron:
08:20
More
clutter.
Tracy:
08:21

because you have useless space now that you need to fill. So, that’s a really
great tip to kind of plan things out before buying the product.
Kat:
08:28
Right,
especially with drawer dividers. I just did a client’s home last week and she
was so sweet, I think she was trying to help, but she had already purchased the
drawer dividers and of course, once we went through everything and mapped out
our system, it was like, well, they’re not really going to work with what we’ve
come up with. Or we need more of them, that’s often, it’s like, “Okay,
great, well now we need eight more and where did you get them.”
Kat:
09:00
So,
yeah, I think it’s just important to kind of come up with a plan first, and
take the time to really create a system that’s going to be sustainable, because
that is the only way it’s going to be sustainable.
Tracy:
09:14
What’s
the messiest spot in your house?
Aaron:
09:16
Well,
depends on what you’re talking about, because my shop is pretty much a
disaster. But, that is kind of always like that based on whatever project I’ve
got going on, but then we have about three different playrooms at this point.
We have the living room as a playroom. We have my son’s bedroom is also a
playroom-
Tracy:
09:34
You
have become a playroom.
Aaron:
09:35
Then
my wife’s office is also a playroom. So it’s like we have three different
playrooms. Really he just has full range of the house. We’re trying to kind of
keep it-
Kat:
09:45
Okay,
yeah.
Aaron:
09:46
Yeah.
Kat:
09:47
That
would be my question for a client, if I were in a consultation, and you were
telling me that I would say, “Well, do you like that?” Because some
people actually want their kids to have toys in every room, and some people are
like, “No, I don’t want it that way, but we just can’t control it.”
Obviously we can help and corral everything in another room and get that
organized, but yeah, I hear that often.
Aaron:
10:10
I
like the idea of him having toys in each room because I don’t want to have to
dictate how we kind of live our life based on only in this room and doing
whatever. But it is important to have some kind of storage solution or some
kind of optimal situation. Which I don’t think we’ve really settled on yet. My
son’s only 18 months old so we’re still kind of getting-
Aaron:
10:30

figuring it out. I actually just built a giant toy box for a friend of mine
that he’s got a couple kids that are slightly older, but it’s like eight feet
long and it’s this huge-
Kat:
10:41
Wow,
that’s pretty big.
Aaron:
10:42
But
yeah.
Kat:
10:43
I
don’t know if we would recommend that.
Aaron:
10:46
It’s
also-
Kat:
10:47
That’s
just like another room you’re making.
Aaron:
10:49
It’s
in a playroom, it’s-
Tracy:
10:51
It’s
on a trailer.
Aaron:
10:52
It’s
in an entertainment center too. It’s multipurpose.
Kat:
10:54
You
just throw everything in there.
Aaron:
10:54
Multipurpose.
Tracy:
10:57
It’s
a console. It’s a console of sorts. So, what’s a great toy solution in your
opinion?
Kat:
11:02
Yeah,
I love using clear bins. A combination of the ones, they’re actually, the ones
that we buy are from the Container Store, they’re called The Shoebox Bins. They
come in different sizes. Like I said, they’re clear, which is important because
the kids can see what’s in them. If you get boxes or bins that aren’t clear and
they can’t see, they’re not going to know what’s in there-
Aaron:
11:27
They’re
going to dump it all out.
Kat:
11:27
Yeah.
Exactly.
Tracy:
11:28
Rifle
through everything.
Kat:
11:31
They
can stack on top of another, what’s also important for playrooms or kids rooms
with toys, is to not have, label, we’re huge on labeling, we really believe in
labeling everything. So, same would apply to toy bins. But not getting crazy
specific on the categories. If we were to do, for instance, we could do a label
that we often do a label that says friends or a category, a bin that says
friends, and that way you can throw all those random characters like the Happy
Meal characters or anything that would go under the category friends-
Aaron:
12:10
Stuffed
animal type things.
Kat:
12:10
Yes,
you know. So, that’s a fun one to do. Obviously legos and things like that.
Having extra labels on hand because as they grow, as you were saying, their
toys, their interests change. Yeah, it should be easy to switch out and I like
to put donate bins in my clients’ homes. That was it’s easy when it comes to
clothes or toys for them to just put in a bin and then maybe like every, it
depends, every couple weeks, every month or whatever. Whatever works best for
the family, depending on how quickly they go through everything or outgrow,
hauled away to the local charity or hand me downs.
Kat:
12:58
That’s
a good way to kind of keep things organized and not too cluttered.
Aaron:
13:03
So,
I need to walk around my house with a p-touch labeler and just print it all
out.
Tracy:
13:08
I
love those things.
Kat:
13:08
Yeah.
Tracy:
13:09
Sound
when you cut the tape is just-
Aaron:
13:11
So
satisfying. Actually my shop is kind of like that. I get kind of type A about
my shop. But it gets messy, but I try to keep it organized.
Tracy:
13:20
There’s
lots of small parts. That’s actually an issue in our playroom. So, my son is
super artistic, and he loves making things. So we have popsicle sticks, pipe
cleaners, broken crayons, little googly eyes, lots of little pieces and I keep
trying to figure out how I can create a sustainable art space for him.
Kat:
13:42
Often
what I do and I am going back to the same solution is the clear plastic bins.
Because you can clean them out easily. So we’ll put paint in there and paint
pens. It’s definitely our go to. It’s huge. You can even get smaller containers
for the little eyes and the things that you’re talking about and put them
inside and then you can just call, if you have just a general craft bin.
Kat:
14:11
If
you don’t want them to have access to it, finding a place, in our home it’s
above our pantry. We’ve created kind of the craft-
Tracy:
14:21
Play-Doh
and all that stuff.
Kat:
14:23
Yes,
all the stuff that can get messy, that way they don’t have full access to
everything. It would be a disaster. But at least it’s close to the kitchen
table where we can bring it down if they want to color or whatever, paint,
yeah.
Tracy:
14:40
If
I step on hard Play-Doh one more damn time.
Kat:
14:44
I
recently-
Aaron:
14:45
I
bet you will.
Kat:
14:46

just threw it all away because I was so, I was like, “This is
ridiculous.” You’re adding water to it.
Tracy:
14:50
It
appears. It’s really, it’s knife like, really in the carpet, but they love it
so much.
Kat:
14:59
Yeah.
Tracy:
14:59
Who
am I to rob them of their Play-Doh joy. They just love it.
Kat:
15:04
But
yeah, having a Play-Doh bin and Play-Doh parts, I mean, that’s what we would do
for a craft room or play room or something like that. Then we love the magazine
file holders for coloring books and paper.
Tracy:
15:19
Oh,
that’s so smart.
Kat:
15:21
It
really is and it goes right next to the bins, and it just works perfectly for a
little craft room. Craft zone.
Aaron:
15:29
I
feel one of the more difficult or more challenging parts of your job, maybe
would be to create that sustainability where a lot of which maybe what you’re
instilling into the home is a habit change. Right. You have to kind of be
receptive to all this stuff and then you have to use it in the way that it’s
being meant. Do you find yourself running into that a lot where you have to
kind of coach people on how to utilize the system once you’ve-
Kat:
15:55
Some,
yeah. We lay the groundwork for sure. We really do try to make it easy for our
clients though. I don’t think and I tell my clients this, if it gets too
disheveled, too quickly after we’ve been there, somethings wrong. We didn’t
really customize it the way it should have been customized and organized. So,
once you truly create homes for everything, it isn’t that difficult.
Kat:
16:25
So,
really it’s just a matter of putting it in it’s home. So, as long as you can
read, and use your arms-
Aaron:
16:37
I’m
out.
Kat:
16:37

it’s not that hard.
Aaron:
16:39
So,
it creates a place for it and then all you have to do is put it back.
Kat:
16:45
Really,
yeah.
Tracy:
16:45
So,
it’s not harder, you’re actually simplifying things for yourself. You’re
spelling it out.
Kat:
16:49
Exactly.
Tracy:
16:50
You’re
giving yourself-
Aaron:
16:51
It’s
just the work on the front end of, okay, this is where that goes. This is the
home for this.
Kat:
16:55
Yeah,
and that’s where the work is. You need to spend the time to do it. It really
does take some time. Sure, there’s some quick organizing hacks that you can do,
but if you really want to do it right, I think you need to spend a good couple
days for a kitchen or block off the time.
Aaron:
17:17
What
I’m hearing you say is it would seem like you would have to spend a significant
amount of time with your client on the front end kind of seeing how they
utilize the home.
Kat:
17:25
Yup.
Aaron:
17:26
Is
that accurate?
Kat:
17:26
We
ask a lot of questions during our consultations. Then sometimes, even before
the project date, we want to know if we’re doing kitchen, how often do they eat
out, are they left-handed or right-handed, do they bake a lot, how often do
they cook-
Tracy:
17:43
My
baking stuff is way up high.
Kat:
17:43

we get specific. What are their staples. Because it’s not a one size fits all
approach. We can’t do it that way. It won’t be sustainable. So, yeah. Yeah, we
ask a ton of questions.
Tracy:
17:57
What’s
hard for people to let go? And how do you kind of work with them through that?
Kat:
18:01
It’s
really easy for just about everything to become a sentimental item. Even
clothes, be like, “That one time I wore that shirt in high school and it
was the best night of my life, I might wear it again some day.”
Aaron:
18:17
Hey.
Hey. I feel attacked right now.
Kat:
18:19
This
is where maybe we kind of mirror the Marie Kondo approach of just saying,
goodbye to it. Okay, I had my time with you, it’s time to let go. There’s
actually this great company called Artchive, where you can-
Tracy:
18:33
Yes!
Kat:
18:35
Have
you heard of them?
Tracy:
18:35
Yes.
Aaron:
18:36
No.
Tracy:
18:38
I
just signed up for my kids.
Kat:
18:39
Yeah.
I think it started off of the whole to be more focused on kids art work. So,
they send you a box and then periodically you send your kids’ artwork in.
Because you come home with piles of artwork, at least my kids do from school
and you don’t know what to do with it. So they came up with this system.
Aaron:
18:59
Where
does it go? Like a [crosstalk 00:19:01].
Kat:
19:01
So
you send it in, they take photos of the artwork and you can create a box-
Tracy:
19:05
It
can even be 3D art. Or it could be a little-
Kat:
19:09
They
can make a framed art. Yeah. So they create an online account for you. You’re
not pressured to do it right then and there, like, I’ve got to make this book,
and you can just go in whenever.
Tracy:
19:19
Like
a table top book of all your kids art.
Aaron:
19:22
And
it’s called what? Artchive.
Kat:
19:22
Artchive.
They can take photos of anything. Trophies, sentimental-
Aaron:
19:26
That’s
cool.
Kat:
19:26
Yeah,
anything really. So I try to point my clients in that direction if they’re
having a hard time letting go. Great, well we can create a really cute book for
you with these memories. They’re pretty receptive to it.
Tracy:
19:40
That’s
hard for me. The kids stuff. The baby stuff. The little hat they came home in.
The little swaddle that’s so cute and small.
Kat:
19:46
Well
you don’t need to get rid of everything.
Tracy:
19:48
For
me what helps is giving it to another person. Not putting it in a trash bag and
putting it on my curb for the Vets or whatever. Actually finding an
organization that I connect with and giving it to someone, so I know it’s
serving another little baby. That helps me with that kind of stuff.
Tracy:
20:07
The
art, that Artchive, finding that was a huge blessing for me because they come
home with their little footprints and everything’s so cute.
Kat:
20:14
I
know, you don’t want to get rid of anything.
Tracy:
20:16
No,
you don’t.
Kat:
20:16
I
know, it’s hard. A lot of things are sentimental when, it just can sort of be a
pretty broad category. Then with that, I think I tell my clients to try to
stick to the one year rule. If you’ve got an item of clothing and you haven’t
worn it in a year, the chances are you probably aren’t going to wear it again.
You’ve had your time with it, let it go. Unless, it’s like an item that’s for a
special occasion. Like a wedding or something that maybe you don’t wear, maybe
you wear it once every two years or something like that.
Kat:
20:54
Those
things, hang onto. Like a tuxedo, but other than that, there’s no real need to
hang onto things much longer than that.
Tracy:
21:01
My
big problem is my car. My parents are disgusted with me. Every time they get in
the car with me it’s just kind of like, they don’t say anything and they’re
like, it’s okay, we don’t judge. But I know it’s disturbing-
Aaron:
21:14
They’re
talking about you behind your back.
Tracy:
21:16
I’m
disgusted with myself.
Aaron:
21:18
What
did we raise. What is she doing.
Kat:
21:20
[crosstalk
00:21:20] There’s like toys.
Tracy:
21:21
Yeah,
it’s not grimy, you know what, it is grimy gross. It’s the kids shoes,
sweatshirts, like basically I grab the two kids when I get out of the car, I
grab the diaper bag, my purse, and we all head in, and anything that doesn’t
fit, I don’t come back for it. So every day more stuff. I just want to know, do
you have any kind of strategies for that?
Kat:
21:47
I
do. I think it’s a great idea to keep a basket or tote that has a handle, and
keep it in your car. So, that way when you picked up your kids from school.
They’ve got the art work, the lunch, everything, you throw it in there, carry
that one big basket or tote into the house, dump it, put it right by the front
door, and then put it back in the car.
Kat:
22:11
Yeah,
because it’s the same thing, I’ve got two kids and you cannot carry it all. So,
I came up with that system.
Tracy:
22:18
So
it’s rewiring.
Kat:
22:18
It
works well.
Tracy:
22:19
It’s
creating new habits and maybe even leaving a note on your door for the first
week that says, “Grab the bag.”
Kat:
22:24
That’s
a good idea.
Tracy:
22:25
Because
even with my shopping bags, my reusable shopping bags. It took me a long time-
Aaron:
22:31
Yeah
I forget them all the time.
Tracy:
22:31

to actually start remembering them.
Kat:
22:34
And
then I think also, I like to keep a bin, we have a basket of seasonal items, I
live in Santa Barbara it’s kind of one big season, the same season all year
around, but we keep beach items in there during the summer, and spring, so that
we’re ready to go. Sunscreen, things like that. The only tricky thing is to not
let it become this catch all. I really try to keep it one category of, okay,
these are outdoor activity things that maybe we’ll go do if I pick up my kids
from school and I don’t want to go home first or something like that.
Kat:
23:13
I
also like to keep a little plastic bin with a lid of just car toys. I try not
to let them get crazy, bring in a bunch of stuff in from the house and just
keep things exclusively, little toy bin for the car.
Tracy:
23:30
If
you were my friend, I would bug you so often.
Kat:
23:34
You
can. Feel free.
Tracy:
23:34
Please
help me.
Kat:
23:35
Yeah.
Aaron:
23:35
I
will buy some storage bins and I love the way that they stack and stuff, and
then I’ll go to buy new storage bins, six months, eight months later to match
the ones, and they don’t make them anymore. They don’t stack and they don’t fit
and it’s like why? I get it because they make you buy new ones, but it just
drives me bananas.
Tracy:
23:54
The
canned goods at Costco don’t interlock. If you get the diced tomatoes, the
corn, whatever-
Kat:
24:02
Oh,
that’s annoying.
Tracy:
24:02
They
don’t always stack on top of each other and I’m like, they’re setting me up to
fail.
Aaron:
24:07
Yeah.
Kat:
24:07
So,
you can use, I think it’s risers, at the Container Store. At Target and other
places-
Tracy:
24:13
Oh
they look like tubes.
Kat:
24:14
Yeah,
we use those a lot for cans. That way you don’t have that problem and you can
kind of stagger them-
Aaron:
24:21
That
crazy pyramid of tipping over cans, that you’re like strategically placing in
specific spots because they’re that size.
Kat:
24:27
Be
sure you alphabetize them, that’s super important.
Tracy:
24:29
Oh
my gosh. A rainbow.
Aaron:
24:31
I’m
out, I’ll see you guys later, I got to go.
Tracy:
24:33
As
far as your bins, I think you just need to write a strongly worded letter.
Aaron:
24:36
They
do it on purpose. They just do it just to make me mad.
Tracy:
24:41
It’s
you, it’s a personal attack.
Aaron:
24:43
Rubbermaid,
stick with the bin for a second. I need six, eight months to put my stuff away.
Like all of it. So that they all interlock before you release the new iteration
that doesn’t fit the previous one. Anyway, pet peeve, I’ll get off my soap box.
Kat:
24:57
Yeah,
I can understand that.
Tracy:
24:57
Well,
we just figured out in our last episode how to remove residue with lemon oil.
So let me just tell you, anything is possible, there’s an oil for that.
Kat:
25:05
Wait,
really? You can, that might be huge for us, because we’re constantly having to
try to removed labels-
Tracy:
25:11
Lemon
oil.
Aaron:
25:12
Lemon,
essential oils.
Tracy:
25:12
Thank
you Lindsey from the Natural Cupboard.
Kat:
25:19
Wow,
thank you.
Tracy:
25:19
Yup.
Aaron:
25:19
Yeah,
I actually did it, and I was skeptical about the whole thing, and it works
really well.
Kat:
25:20
Really?
Okay.
Tracy:
25:21
So,
I want to do my whole, I’m your client and I want to organize my whole house.
Kat:
25:26
Okay.
Tracy:
25:26
Do
you recommend someone taking it on like that or do you say lets go room by
room-
Kat:
25:32
Yes.
Tracy:
25:32

and work our way through.
Kat:
25:33
Absolutely.
The latter. We like to take on no more than like two or three spaces at a time.
Typically. If it’s a move, we’ll still try to follow that guideline, but we’ll
also try to get them set up so it’s like they have a place to sleep. So that
they’re functional for a few days, and then we kind of hone in on the rooms
that are priority rooms to them, which is often the kitchen and then the
bedrooms.
Kat:
26:08
But,
yeah, it can get a little overwhelming if we’re like, “Okay, we’re here to
take over your home for two to three weeks or a couple weeks.” We want to
give the family space and things like that. So, often our clients call us back
after we’ve done a couple rooms and we’ll go back and okay, now we’re ready to
do the playroom.
Tracy:
26:28
Please
come back.
Kat:
26:28
Yes.
Yeah because they see what it’s like after you get organized and it’s kind of
an addiction. You’re like, well everything else is so organized, I can’t have
this crazy, cluttered mess of a room. It just doesn’t really flow.
Tracy:
26:47
What
will my kitchen think of my playroom?
Kat:
26:48
Right,
exactly. I think yeah, and even if we’re not doing, I would tell my clients if
they don’t want to hire us and they just want to do it all on their own, I
would say the same thing, take it room by room.
Aaron:
27:00
And
as far as things, we touched on the sentimental things being the hard things to
get rid of, are you mostly as you’re walking through, are you looking at things
from a functionality standpoint? Like the items that you’re trying to encourage
the people to keep versus get rid of.
Kat:
27:16
I
don’t know, yes of course we want everything should be functional and it should
be items that they’re using. It should be things that they love. For instance
like serving dishes, that can be something that can easily pile up, I don’t
know why that’s one category where people have so many. It’s like, do you
really use these?
Kat:
27:41
Let’s
try to cut it down so it can make the space more functional and-
Tracy:
27:47
Can
we touch on garages a bit.
Kat:
27:48
Sure.
Tracy:
27:49
Because-
Aaron:
27:49
I’m
listening.
Tracy:
27:51
Yeah,
I was going to say. So what are some great options in the garage?
Kat:
27:56
Well,
okay, I think, I love it if garages can just be like a storage place for things
like seasonal items, large outdoor toys, skis, things like that, right. Camping
gear. But often times, people don’t have the storage space in their home. So,
it does have to be an extension of the house. If that’s the case, that’s fine,
I would say you’ve got to go through, again, I feel like people are going to
hate me for saying this, but you’ve got to put the time in and really clear
everything out. Let go of things, map out the system, and then just approach it
like any other room. You want to create your categories and you want to create
a system that works for your family.
Kat:
28:45
Because
it’s easy for it to just to become like one gigantic junk drawer and you don’t
want that. Also, I think it’s important to get things off the ground. Get
hooks. They have a hook for anything now. You can really hang anything,
strollers, car seats, just things-
Aaron:
29:02
[crosstalk
00:29:02] bike things.
Kat:
29:02
Yes.
Anything. Once you get things off the ground, it makes it feel less cluttered.
So, I think that’s important to do.
Tracy:
29:10
I
mean, we hear it again and again and again, seriously everyone that comes on
this show tell us the same thing, to have a plan and an overall vision before
you try to attack something. I think that’s when people call in someone like
you, it’s because it’s so overwhelming and I think if people go into it with
the idea of pulling everything out, seeing what you have, strategizing, and
then they know that it’s going to be a process and commit to that, I think the
success is a lot better.
Kat:
29:41
Yeah,
you just got to block off the time and do it. When you do, it’s so rewarding.
Tracy:
29:45
So,
let’s talk about some of your favorite hacks. In different rooms. Like in the
bathroom for example.
Kat:
29:52
Yeah,
bathroom it depends, every bathroom’s different. But if there’s drawers, we
like to use the clear drawer organizers. Again, we wouldn’t buy them until
we’ve kind of mapped out our system typically. That is also an area where our
clients really need to purge a lot. So, we try to just encourage getting rid of
old makeup, and okay, what are the items that you truly use on an everyday
basis. And label.
Kat:
30:22
Even
putting a label on a bin that says toilet paper, I know it sounds silly, but it
makes sense and it will help keep you organized, because here’s what can happen
is that if you use your last roll of toilet paper, and you’ve got a bin that’s
not labeled, before you know it your husband, or your kids going to come and
put something else in that bin.
Aaron:
30:42
What
are you looking at me for?
Kat:
30:42
So-
Aaron:
30:44
What
did I do?
Kat:
30:45
I
know, it sounds a little bit extreme, but it makes it-
Tracy:
30:51
It’s
giving everyone a road map.
Kat:
30:52
Yeah.
Tracy:
30:52
Getting
everyone on the same page.
Kat:
30:55
With
medicines cabinets, they’ve got the, they’re usually not super deep, the
shelves in there, but buying the small narrow drawer dividers for the medicine
cabinet too, and having an area for your eye cream or your face wash, things
like that, and really just making it neat and organized and labeled.
Tracy:
31:22
If
you’re a woman and you don’t have a plastic container of nail polish that
you’ve acquired since you were 16 that you haven’t used in-
Kat:
31:31
Yes,
I-
Tracy:
31:32
I
think we all have one of those. I really need to throw it away-
Kat:
31:35
And
you never really use them. Never, ever, ever.
Tracy:
31:39
I
don’t know how nail polish comes in-
Kat:
31:41
Yeah,
I’m like okay, keep a thing of red for maybe a touch up in case it chips, but
other than that no, you need to get rid of your nail polish from when you were
15, like the glitter.
Aaron:
31:51
Your
husband will be happy too.
Kat:
31:57
Yeah.
You probably can’t even open it.
Aaron:
31:57
[crosstalk
00:31:57] cluttered. I have a question regarding, so you’re talking about you
buy a lot of stuff from the Container Store, Target, stuff like that. Do you
guys also partner with contractors or stuff to create custom solutions? Like,
built ins or book cases or stuff like that?
Kat:
32:10
Oh
yeah, absolutely. We’ll get involved from the very beginning of a home project
even. In the remodel or renovation stage. We will work side by side with closet
installation companies like California Closets or Closet World, to create a
system and solution that works for the client. Often we’ll look at the
inventory, what the client has, and cabinet people and closet companies,
they’re not necessarily doing that. They create beautiful systems, the
structure but they aren’t looking to see how many hats does a client have,
things like that.
Kat:
32:50
It
can alter the way something might be designed. So, we love to work with custom-
Aaron:
32:59
Manufactures
and stuff like that-
Kat:
33:01
Yeah,
exactly.
Aaron:
33:01

to create custom storage solution’s. You can look at something from a magazine
and you can implement the exact same thing into your home, but once you put
your stuff into it, it maybe not even-
Kat:
33:09
It
doesn’t necessarily make sense.
Aaron:
33:11

meet your needs.
Kat:
33:11
Exactly.
By that point, it’s too late or too costly to change. So, yeah.
Tracy:
33:17
I
live in a community where kitchen and home storage, there’s not a ton of it,
and I think things get stacked back into pantries, and a lot of the questions
we got involved making these deep spaces more efficient. Besides the risers, do
you have any, like if people don’t have the pull out shelves, what are some
options for keeping those deep black hole-
Kat:
33:46
I
really don’t, I try to advise, and we don’t do this either, against stacking
things behind things. It’s just an easy way for things to get lost and hidden
and then you’ll never now that there’s and then you’re buying duplicates of
things.
Kat:
33:59
So,
for a really deep shelf, I would buy, again it’s called the Linus bin, and they
make different depths, sizes of them. But there’s one that’s called the deep
Linus and it’s, I think 16 inches deep, so that can go pretty far into a shelf
cabinet, and that way you can see that it says, condiments or something like
that, and you can kind of pull it out easily.
Tracy:
34:28
Kind
of serves as a drawer.
Kat:
34:29
Mm-hmm
(affirmative). After the fact, you can put in shelves that can pull out.
Container Store sells them, I know that we’ve used them before, and it just
takes a few screws.
Aaron:
34:42
Yeah,
they’re relatively easy. You can make them yourself pretty easily just get some
draw slides and-
Kat:
34:46
Yeah.
Aaron:
34:47

make whatever custom sized little box that you need and pull them out. It’s
pretty simple.
Kat:
34:50
Exactly.
But if you don’t want to go that route, I would go with just find a deep bin
that you can easily pull out. Turntables are great too.
Tracy:
35:01
Oh
yeah, like the little lazy-
Aaron:
35:03
Lazy
Susan things.
Tracy:
35:04
I
love those.
Kat:
35:05
Yeah,
for things like oils, vinegar, the condiments, where you can easily start, that
can pile up, and you have to kind of do this if you want to, I think putting a
bunch of turntables or several in those deeper shelves can help too.
Tracy:
35:27
We’ll
have to link to your favorite products-
Kat:
35:29
Yes.
Tracy:
35:29

in our show notes for sure.
Aaron:
35:30
In
the garage, specifically, things like pegboard and things like that. It’s so
easy to just kind of find and make a custom solution, because you just getting
stuff up off the floor, onto the walls, and all that type of stuff, almost wish
they had a home, a better looking version for inside the house where you could
just kind of [inaudible 00:35:48] or a kids playrooms you could just put up-
Tracy:
35:50
You
could put this in a playroom-
Kat:
35:50
Yeah.
Tracy:
35:50

it would look great.
Aaron:
35:50
I
suppose you could, yeah.
Kat:
35:50
Absolutely.
Aaron:
35:50
In
certain areas you could mount them up and-
Tracy:
35:55
To
me, Ikea has some really great storage solutions for super cheap and
fashionable, good looking stuff. I think they’re kind of forgotten for their
organizing sections sometimes.
Kat:
36:08
Oh,
I love Ikea. It’s just not super close to my market. But I do order online from
them a lot. They actually have this white bin, I used it recently in a garage,
it’s one of my favorites. I’ll give you the information on it, but and it’s got
a lid, I love to use it in garages, it stacks and it looks super chic-
Aaron:
36:27
Chic
shelves. Give me the chic-est stuff you got for my workshop. I want it all.
Kat:
36:32
Yeah.
Tracy:
36:32
Well,
we’ve gotten you into oils. Now we’re going to get you on the chic shelves.
Aaron:
36:37
I’m
a new man. I am a new man. Sign me up for all of it.
Tracy:
36:39
Oh
man, bless your heart.
Aaron:
36:41
I’ll
try anything once, then after that, no guarantees.
Tracy:
36:45
Hey
if I could learn the basics of electrical, anything can happen.
Aaron:
36:48
That’s
true. We have some social media questions, I think-
Tracy:
36:50
We
do.
Aaron:
36:51

do you mind if we just dive into a few of those?
Kat:
36:52
No,
let’s go for it.
Tracy:
36:53
I’m
renting a small bedroom in a shared apartment. Any tips on space saving
organization? Is there an age limit on bunk beds? I love that.
Kat:
37:02
Yeah,
it’s really hard to stay without going into this space.
Tracy:
37:08
I
guess kind of think of dorm living. Some solutions.
Kat:
37:11
Yeah,
if there’s not a lot of storage, like closets, which I suppose that can be a
problem in apartments, you might need to buy some sort of furniture piece. We
really like the Ikea Kallax unit, or you can buy different bins, I think it
comes in different colors, but we love the white one. It’s like little cubbies.
Well, they’re not necessarily little, but you can put the bins in there. You
can put your little label clips on there.
Kat:
37:45
You
can store things, if you don’t have the space, things like linens in there.
Really anything. So we love that. It’s a super versatile piece and it can also
be used as a bench. So you can sit on it too.
Tracy:
37:58
Right,
we have those in our playroom-
Kat:
38:00
Yeah.
Tracy:
38:00

they’re awesome.
Kat:
38:00
They’re
great for playrooms.
Tracy:
38:02
And
they’re really easy to mount. To secure on the walls.
Kat:
38:06
Right,
right.
Aaron:
38:08
I
was kind of joking about the p-touch labeling thing earlier, but what are you,
are there stylish labels that you put on things or what are you using for
labels?
Kat:
38:15
We
usually use chalkboard labels. Then a permanent white paint pen, which can come
off with alcohol or Windex. If you use a chalkboard pen, they tend to rub off
or scrape off really easily. It might be fun to do if it’s in a playroom, or a
place where you don’t think you’re going to want that specific label for very
long, but we like to use, I think it’s called an UniPoca. It’s from Japan,
paint pen, the white paint pen.
Kat:
38:45
Yeah,
U-N-I-P-O-C-A, it’s my favorite.
Tracy:
38:50
Are
you allowed to be a professional organizer if you don’t have nice writing?
Kat:
38:58
Well-
Aaron:
38:58
You
gotta go to the penmanship school.
Tracy:
38:58
Yeah,
did you maybe have you worked on your penmanship a bit?
Aaron:
39:02
Calligraphy.
Kat:
39:02
Yea,
mines pretty good, I think. I also have a couple people on my team that have,
I’m fortunate to have a couple people who have good penmanship as well. I am
pretty particular about it, but no. You don’t need to. A word is a word, if
you’re going to get organized, either way-
Aaron:
39:21
I
would only care about the spelling. I would be so, if my wife wrote it all out,
she doesn’t spell that great and it drives me crazy. I don’t know why.
Kat:
39:31
She
probably should Google it then-
Aaron:
39:32
Yeah.
She’s fine with basic words.
Tracy:
39:36
P-touch
should have spell check-
Aaron:
39:38
There
you go.
Tracy:
39:38

that should be a feature. How do I avoid my kitchen table becoming my family
command center? Everything is a disaster, and it catches every item.
Kat:
39:50
So
I have a feeling what’s probably on that table is a lot of mail and like
magazines, just things that come in-
Tracy:
39:59
Keys.
Kat:
39:59
Yeah.
So, I think having somewhere kind of close to the door if you’re able to, and
kind of creating a specific drop zone. If you have a mud room, something like
that, some people don’t have that and that’s fine, you can still make it work.
For paperwork, or mail that comes in, I like to have a system that says, it can
be in bins, or it can even be in one of those hanging sorters, you know those
three dividers, and the categories that I like to use are To Do, which
basically is anything you need to touch or look at.
Kat:
40:36
So,
if you don’t have time to look at mail, put it in the To Do bin and if it’s a
bill that needs to be paid, mail that needs to be opened, whatever, it’s
something that you need to actually hold and look at and do something with.
Then, File, which would be anything, the obvious, that needs to be put away or
filed.
Kat:
40:56
Then
a bin for outgoing. That can be outgoing mail, it can be a permission slip that
needs to go back to the school. So, just keeping it simple. I think that that
can help declutter the kitchen table. And then everything else, I have a
feeling what’s happening with that too, is that the rest of the home isn’t
organized. So if there’s things piling up outside of what the categories I just
said, like toys or whatever, it’s probably just because you haven’t created the
homes for those in the rooms that they should be in.
Tracy:
41:30
What
are the steps that I take, how do I jump start my organization. What are some
things I can do right now?
Kat:
41:37
Putting
a date on your calendar or dates, blocking off that time. If you just have 15,
20 minutes, 30 minutes here and there, I would say, start with the purging
process. Or one thing you can do is go into your pantry and get rid of all the
expired stuff. Go through your spice jars, and I guarantee, a good 40% of your
spices are expired-
Tracy:
42:03
Oh,
for sure.
Kat:
42:04
Just
start with the editing. Which is our word for purging. It sounds a little bit
nicer, right. Yeah, and setting aside some time. That’s probably the biggest
tip I would give. Yeah, to get started.
Tracy:
42:19
There’s
a woman named Cory Clark, she created a planner, and I follow her, and I had
interviewed her for something for my site and one tip she gave, which really
helped me with my overwhelm, is every day setting the timer for 15 minutes and
in those 15 minutes, being as productive as you can. Seriously, just committing
to 15 minutes, whether it’s running and doing anything.
Kat:
42:44
I
do the same thing.
Tracy:
42:45
Yeah,
and I think that’s a good place to start.
Kat:
42:48
Right.
Yeah, because it’s so easy to just pick up your phone, oh I’m going to clean
this afternoon, but you’re not staying focused and on track. So, I love that. I
do that too. We do that when we’re organizing. I’ll say okay, we’re going to
spend one hour doing this, so we don’t get off track-
Tracy:
43:04
Move
forward.
Kat:
43:05
Yeah.
Aaron:
43:05
Do
you find a lot of your work around home offices, because I have a home office
and it just becomes such a mess.
Tracy:
43:14
It’s
so hard.
Aaron:
43:14
It’s
so hard to keep it organized and clean. Do you do lot of home office type work?
Kat:
43:19
We
do. It’s probably not a ton, it’s not one of our top rooms that we do. We’ll do
it, we’ll do any room, because I think, our clients fully trust us, it’s not so
much about they don’t want us to see their paperwork and stuff, but a lot of it
they feel, and I agree to an extent, are things that they need to go through.
The taxes, the things like that. We can give guidelines, but yeah.
Kat:
43:49
I
think the same would apply, creating simple categories. You really probably
don’t need half of the filing categories that you, you know, so often we’ll
give, if our clients don’t want to hire us to actually go through all their
paperwork, we’ll just kind of maybe email them a list of things to help them,
like homework.
Kat:
44:15
Then
we can even come in after they’ve gone through everything and help them create
a better system going forward.
Tracy:
44:22
I’ve
been meaning to go in and make all my filing digital-
Aaron:
44:25
I
know, it’s such a-
Tracy:
44:26
Oh
gosh, it’s just so overwhelming. So, maybe even 15 minutes a day of combing
through, throwing stuff away, and photographing, scanning, I’m going to do it.
Kat:
44:37
But
if you feel like you’re not going to stick to it-
Tracy:
44:38
2019
is the year.
Aaron:
44:39
Good
luck.
Kat:
44:41
Yeah.
Aaron:
44:41
I’m
not going to commit to any of that.
Kat:
44:46
I
would say if you feel like you’re going to stick to it. I actually don’t do a
whole lot of the digital scanning, for me personally, I tried it and it didn’t,
I don’t know. I stuck to it for a week and I’m like, it’s just not my thing-
Aaron:
44:59
I
do it in the moment now but I don’t do it for the older stuff. So, I have an
app on my phone that I use called TurboScan, which I think is a $1.99 or
something, but it’s a scanner app on your phone. They probably have free ones
out here too. But, I love it because I just, if I’m doing business-y stuff or
anything like that, I can just take a picture of it in the moment, email it to
myself as a PDF, or put it wherever I want to put it and it’s done in the
moment. As opposed to, I get the stuff in the mail, I got to take the time to
stop down and do stuff. If I can do it in the moment, it’s a lot easier than
before it starts piling up, because then it just becomes a [crosstalk
00:45:36].
Tracy:
45:36
[crosstalk
00:45:36].
Kat:
45:37
It’s
a habit. What do they say, you got to do something seven times. So, that is one
area where I personally want to kind of focus on and make that change, I just
need to-
Aaron:
45:49
She’s
not perfect.
Tracy:
45:50
It’s
a lot.
Aaron:
45:54
Yes,
we got her.
Tracy:
45:55
The
receipts. Oh that’s funny.
Aaron:
45:55
Well,
we can’t thank you enough for being here. Really appreciate it.
Kat:
45:58
Yeah,
thank you for having me. That was really fun.
Aaron:
46:00
So,
if people want to find more information about the Neat Method or contact you
directly, how can they get in touch with you?
Kat:
46:06
Well,
you can reach me personally at [email protected] or you can visit our
website at www.neatmethod.com. I own the Santa Barbara and Ventura County
markets. But we have several markets all across the country, and we’re even
expanding into Canada now. So, you can also just reach out to our corporate
Neat Method, our Instagram handle is @NeatMethod-
Tracy:
46:32
And
share your Instagram handle because it’s so fun to watch.
Kat:
46:35
Oh
thanks, it’s @KatPettyHome.
Aaron:
46:37
Clean
stuff.
Tracy:
46:38
So,
clean.
Aaron:
46:39
Goals.
Life goals.
Tracy:
46:40
Thank
you.
Aaron:
46:42
And
we want to say a quick thank you to our founding sponsor of the show, FilterBuy
for making this series and this episode possible. And if you guys want to
follow us on social media, we would love it. You can find us at How To
Home_Guide on Instagram or just visit our website Howtohome.com and make sure
you sign up for the email list so you never miss out on any of the content that
we post.
Tracy:
47:04
That’s
it.
Aaron:
47:04
That’s
it. Thank you guys so much.
Tracy:
47:05
Thank
you so much.
Aaron:
47:06
Well
see you next time.
Speaker
4:
47:09
The
How To Home podcast is brought to you by FilterBuy.com your one stop director
to consumer replacement air filter brand and is produced in collaboration by
Mass Media Group LLC and Intelligent Arts and Artists. The show is executive
produced by George Reese and Aaron Massey.

Show Notes

This week Aaron and Tracy chat with Neat Method, Santa Barbara owner, Kat Petty about sustainable solutions and hacks for creating an organized home.

LET’S CHAT!

You can always call and leave your questions and comments on our voicemail!

978-709-1040

KAT’S TIPS:

  • Take everything out of your space, categorize it and then find homes for it.
  • There are great containers at every price point.
  • Group things in like categories. Have some very specific categories, but also some more broad ones.
  • When things are labeled people are more inclined to put things where they belong.
  • People often pre-shop for product, but Kat recommends taking everything out first and grabbing what you need next.
  • Have donate bins in your home that you take out regularly.
  • If you haven’t worn something in a year (and it’s not for a special occasion) let it go!
  • Keep like seasonal items together in grabbable bins.
  • Go room by room (no more than 3 spaces at a time).
  • Clear drawer organizers are great for the bathroom.
  • Get rid of old makeup and products you no longer use.
  • To make a deep shelf efficient try not to stack things behind others. Use containers that serve as drawers. Kat recommends the deep Linus bin. Linked below.

TIPS FOR KIDS TOYS:

  • Kat loves the shoebox bins because they’re clear and kids can see what’s in them. They’re also stackable.
  • Label everything, but not crazy specific. (For example: “Friends” could be stuffed animals and figurines.)
  • Have extra labels on hand.
  • Small pieces and art supplies can be maintained in clear plastic bins as well.
  • File folders/holder for coloring books (genius!!!).

TIPS FOR THE CAR:

  • Keep a basket or tote with handles in the car, fill it up and then bring it in every day/set it back by the door.
  • Have a bin that’s only car toys.

TIPS FOR THE CAR:

  • Clear everything out, let go of things, map out the system and put everything back in.
  • Get things off the ground. You can hang everything: strollers, bikes etc.

KAT MENTIONED:

SOCIAL QUESTIONS:

Q: Any tips on space saving organization for communal living?

A: A furniture piece that has little cubbies/bins. Kat likes this one- https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S29278262/

Q: How do I avoid my kitchen table becoming my family command center?

A: Have a drop zone close to the front door. Mail system that says: To Do, File & Outgoing will help. Create homes for everything to go to.

Q: What can I do TODAY to start?

A: Put a date on your calendar. Start with the purging process. Look for expired stuff in pantry.

CONTACT KAT:

Website | https://neatmethod.com/location/santa-barbara/

The Gram | @katpetteyhome

Email | [email protected]

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THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSOR FILTERBUY.COM

Further Reading