A Tidy Kitchen is a Happy Kitchen

tidy kitchen quote

So we had the pleasure of decluttering and organizing the kitchen of Celebrity Mom Blogger and Model Amanda Griffin Jacob. She had just moved to a new condo unit with a kichen that had been renovated in a beautiful white and gray color palette.


One of the things that we recommended to her was to use a white refrigerator instead of a stainless steel one. And it made a huge impact on the space because initially the stainless steel one was really huge and overwhelmed all-white kitchen. This white Samsung inverter double door ref was slim, yet had a huge capacity without sticking like a sore thumb.

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The first thing we do when decluttering is remove everything from all the drawers and cupboards. This first step in the #KonMariMethod really helps us from being overwhelmed by all the stuff. And it helps us start a new.

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Labeling is important because it helps the whole household place things back in their place. And for anyone using the kitchen, whether they know the kitchen inside out, or if you have new staff or people, they can easily find things.

It’s important to use the correct labels. I have both the electronic Dymo Letratag and the manual Dymo Embossing Label Maker. The manual embossing refills are cheaper and great for using on kitchen and toiletries because they are water resistent, but doing longer labels can be tedious to make. While the Letratag is faster because it’s electronic, but the original refills can be pricier. I like to order these instead. What’s cool to know is that the also have iron-on refills if you would like to label clothes.


Because Amanda had chalk board sticker labels, we used it for the bigger jars. For the small jars, we used Dymo Embossing Label Maker. Don’t you agree that they looked really good together in the after photo?

BEFORE: Jars were labelled with masking tape

BEFORE: Jars were labelled with masking tape

AFTER: Dymo black embossed + chalk board labels

AFTER: Dymo black embossed + chalk board labels


The cool thing about the electronic Dymo Letratag labels is that you can change the size according to your needs. They were perfect for labeling the pantry shelves and drawers because the large font could easily be read. See the before and after transformations below









Labeling cupboards and drawers makes it easy to return things in it’s place after using them. After organizing, it’s easier to keep it organized with labels.

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Some of the changes were really subtle, like below. We just removed things that were not in the cutlery or serving utensils category, and then we made sure that you could see everything. If you look closely, we placed the spoons and forks sideways so can see each one, instead o piling them on to of each other. Because when you place cutlery on top of each other, it looks messy and they can get scratched.

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Another really important step in decluttering a kitchen is disposing of all plastic items that are expired. What is expired plastic? Plastic containers and tools that are…




… are considered expired and dangerous because they can leech toxic, cancer-causing, hormone-disrupting chemicals into our food. This is the reason why I recommend shifting to glass, ceramic, porcelain or stainless steel containers to my clients. The best for me in the kitchen is really glass because you can easily see the food inside, you can use it in the microwave and some can be even be used in the oven. If there is plastic, then it’s usually just the covers, which don’t have direct contact with the food. Glass lock containers will last longer than the plastic ones and will stay off the landfills for longer. They will also be more worthwhile to recycle.

After disposing of scratches, discolorations and mishapen plastic items we were left with below:

AFTER: containers + juicers + salad spinner

AFTER: containers + juicers + salad spinner

AFTER: Baking & Cooking utensils

AFTER: Baking & Cooking utensils


The important thing to remember when organizing your home is to place everything of the same category in one place. This prevents us from forgetting what we have and buying more unnecessarily.

So for example it’s quite common to find some office supplies in the kitchen, but I would avoid it, because usually they get oily. In the space below we only left scissors that could be used for 1) poultry/fish and 2) for cutting opening packages. The rest of the items were moved out of the kitchen and into the “office.”





We moved the cutlery below to the beautiful buffet in the dining area, so that it’s easier to set the table. The sauce bowls were also moved to the seasoning rack so that serving sauces is made easier.



Since this drawer is right beside the ceramic cookstove, we placed instead cooking and food preparation utensils so that they are in easy reach while cooking.




In the end we declutter and organize our kitchens so that it works for us, and makes food preparation fast, easy and efficient. Only have out what is the most commonly used items like the ff:

  1. book stand for recipe books

  2. paper towels (do you see the reusable paper towels on the left side of the photos below?)

  3. Drying racks need air flow for dishes to dry (I recommended this one from IKEA because it pulls-out to expand)

  4. Blender if used regularly

  5. Olive oil and salt and pepper grinders

  6. Hand and dishwashing soaps

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Other than that a clear counter space is the perfect canvas for home-cooked meals.

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What do you think of the tips in this post? Do you have more tidy tips to add? Would love to hear it in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to Pin it! Thank you.

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*May contain affiliate links but all opinions are my own.

Jungalow Style Sala Transformation

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My best friend and I have always been complete opposites, but I was honored that she asked for my help to create the Jungle Sala of her dreams. The style of her home had been the same for the past decade and she was ready for a change.

We’ve been drooling over #JungalowStyle posts on Instagram and Pinned so many pegs on Pinterest!



Having my kids at 21 and unprepared had my apartment populated with hand me downs and the cheapest cobbled together crap you can imagine. Needless to say, though I remain grateful for everyone’s help, my living room was not my favorite place to hang out.
— Jenn Castillo


MINIMALUXE TIP: Purchasing a large open storage that maximizes the wall space, will give your room a sense of permanence. Small storage solutions feel temporary and don’t look put-together,

Jenn’s and her family love books and movies like Star Wars and Avatar. The best interiors are the ones that reflect the personality of those who live in it. But there is always a way to do this in a fun and put together way.

The secret? Creating VIGNETTES with books, decor and collectibles, so they create interest in each shelf.



AFTER: Beautiful open storage from LRI Plaza

AFTER: Beautiful open storage from LRI Plaza

Living in Berlin, I loved how all flats were painted totally white - even the cornices - because it made rooms feel large and grand, but not boring. Different colored cornices are dated, but paint them the same color as your walls and they feel more modern, yet not plain. So I recommended to Jenn to paint the whole room white, to emphasize the high ceilings and show off the old building’s details. They don’t make condos like this anymore.

jenn tv nook before

The Philippines is a warm tropical country, yet I see a lot of people decorating their homes in warm colors like red, orange and brown. These colors make interiors feel warm and smaller than it is. So I say go for cooler colors that reflect light like base color white - no need to mix and always easy to buy - then combine with cool greens.


This is the secret to a put together, tidy looking home. Consider each angle you see as a vignette and arrange furniture, decor and artwork accordingly. It makes each corner look more interesting and neat or streamlined. Can you see the difference in this before an after?

The after in my opinion is not just tidy, but shows the interest and quirky humor of the owner of the space.





Surfaces have a tendency to get messy. So again create vignettes on your surfaces, to make it look put together and fun.


Say thank you to your hand me down furniture for how it has helped you over the years especially when you were starting out. Then you can either 1) offer it to staff, who might want to refurbish it 2) or places that might recycle the materials.

Jenn tv nook before


I love white interiors and advocate white living, but I promised Jenn that the result of her interiors would reflect her personality and her Pinterest pegs. We just needed a good clean, cool white base.

MINIMALUXE TIPE: I love the idea of wall-papering nooks, or even interiors of closets, to make it much more interesting than a different color of paint. It’s as if you are stepping into a different world and add’s that touch of whimsy and bold personality, without overwhelming the space.

white living

The only other thing was the ugly brown shelving for electronics. It was the perfect size - compact yet hardworking - so I didn’t want to just get rid of it or paint it white. I told Jenn to wall-paper it in the same wall paper for the nook. And I thought it came out rather beautifully, don’t you think?

When we work with clients on their space, we try to use what is already there, but just make it better.


The wall papered shelving added so much interest and depth to the TV nook. I’m really so proud of this project. It really went from blah to Pinterest-worthy in one afternoon of wall-papering.

jungalow style wall paper

DECLUTTER MNL also sourced these powder coated steel shelves that would do well with plants because moisture can damage wooden shelving. And an accent chair to replace the old one seater couch is airy and well-loved by the kids.

jungalow style sala

What do you think of Jenn’s #JungalowStyle Sala? In the future, I would love to share with you some more parts of Jenn’s home that we helped transform using color, some well-chosen furniture pieces and a photo wall.

For us it’s not just about decluttering and organizing, we help clients look for organizers, furniture, decor and home items, that will help them visually declutter their space and beautify it while fitting within their budget and making their dream spaces come true.

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Virtual Decluttering Client Transformation PART 2

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This is PART 2 of the Transformations in my Virtual Decluttering Client Deslie’s Home. Yesterday I showed you PART 1 the changes in her work areas in her home, like the Pantry, Utility and Laundry Areas. This was an amazing opportunity to help a fellow mama overcome the clutter that seems to overwhelm us at certain points in our lives, through virtual coaching, because Deslie was all the way in the USA and I am currently based in the Philippines.


These are pictures of the bedroom as a work in progress after our one month coaching. I hope you can see the work that’s been done on the dresser, which I was really impressed with when I think about how Deslie and her husband are doing this with full time jobs and a newborn!





Dressers are hard working parts of our bedroom. Keeping them organized, helps us practice self love and self care minus the stress of looking for things. A clear surface is always a joy to use. After putting on make up, be sure to put away everything, to maintain a clear surface.


Before heading out to buy organizers, always REDUCE your stuff first, then look for pretty boxes that you have already. You can use them to organize drawers without spending more.

dresser drawer before konmarimethod
dresser drawer after konmarimethod


Extra rooms have a tendency to become a dumping ground, but envision a guest room that is always ready for a guest or a tidy area for DIY or seasonal storage.






The dining and living room must be a space that you would love to hang out and entertain in. After applying the #KonMariMethod, here are some other tips to keep it visually tidy:

  1. Always keep tables clear of things, except for pretty flowers

  2. Never leave clothes or towels on chairs

  3. Think of the different areas as vignettes and have a color themes for each - Max of 4 colors per vignette. For example the dining area has (i) wood, (ii) gray and (iii) white.









Look how beautiful their space was for Christmas. A decluttered space is one where you will love having special family time and making memories!

The couch now has an  easy on and off cover  that Deslie could regularly throw in the washing machine to remove the pet’s fur and dirt

The couch now has an easy on and off cover that Deslie could regularly throw in the washing machine to remove the pet’s fur and dirt

dining living after konmarimethod

Isn’t it amazing what Deslie and her husband were able to do in a short amount of time in between their work & caring for a new born?!? It was truly an honor to help a fellow mama who was overwhelmed by clutter. I have been in this situation myself, especially before a move, where I wish I had a professional to help me, so I can focus on the life ahead of us, instead of being bogged down by what I need to let go of. Sometimes we just need fresh eyes and professional experience to guide us.

I was so excited by the challenge of coaching virtually to make an impact on someone’s space and life even if we are timezones away.

If you haven’t read it, please do check out PART 1, which has Deslie’s touching post asking for help, what was included in our one month coaching package and the before and after photos of her Pantry, Utility and Laundry areas.

Thank you for for the amazing feedback Deslie, it was truly our pleasure and honor to work with you!

Oh, just the feeling of going home to a clean comfy space makes my day better! Also our relationship got better because we are not as stressed and occupiedl
— Deslie, Virtual Coaching Client

* I am an amazon affiliate but as always all opinions are my own.

Virtual decluttering coaching before and after photos PART 2

Virtual Decluttering Client Transformations PART 1


Below was Deslie’s post on the Glam-O-Mamas Discussion Group, a group for mamas with thirty four thousand plus members by celebrity mom Amanda Griffin Jacob. I was very flattered when Amanda told her that she might want to get in touch with me for help. Deslie’s post really touched me, because I could so relate - the mental load for housework is still mostly on women in many countries - and I wanted the opportunity to virtually coach her to declutter, because Deslie was all the way in the USA, and I am currently based in the Philippines.

We scheduled a meeting online to discuss in detail the current state of her home and find out more about her situation so that I could help her create realistic goals and expectations for herself in the one month that we would be working together. After our initial meeting, Deslie sent us complete pictures of her home so we could study it and give our recommendations for:

  • How to do the Kon Mari Method in her home.

  • How to shift her own and her husband’s mindset so they could do this project as a team.

  • What and how to dispose of items in each category.

  • How to organize the items that remained.

  • I also guided on what products can help organize problem areas and what decor can declutter her space visually and where exactly to buy each item.

In the end she sent me some AFTER photos which truly delighted us both. There was a massive shift in her space and they were able to do it during their free time. I am sure it was tiring work, but to be able to see these results and be happier in their home was truly worth it.


Though her husband said he could paint the pantry, I give huge props to Deslie for deciding to DIY cover her shelving using marble contact paper achieving a cleaner look faster and without waiting for her husband to have time and energy to help. So empowering and Love the marble design!

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After disposing of all the expired items & using organizers with chalkboard labels to keep similar items together, the pantry went from chaotic to one that anyone can find anything they need stress-free.

After disposing of all the expired items & using organizers with chalkboard labels to keep similar items together, the pantry went from chaotic to one that anyone can find anything they need stress-free.


It’s so easy to dump everything in a utility room, but keep only utility items in there and use bins to segregate things according to their purpose.






One of the most important things I learned from Marie Kondo is that labels are visually cluttering, so whenever possible please remove them, or transfer products to plain containers that do not have loud noisy packaging.



Another thing that tidies a hardworking space like the laundry room is a clear sharing of the work and mental load. In places where household help is not the norm, it’s important for couples to discuss how they can share the mental load of the home. This is very different from assuming that it is all a woman’s job, then anything the husband does is to help her.

A healthy way to look at it is: this is OUR home and we all have a responsibility to keep it tidy, including children! Seeing how Marie Kondo has her toddler join her when she declutters, and how she makes it fun, instead of a chore is really very inspiring. This is such a good read for couples:





We all have that “project” that we had such high hopes for and didn’t end up doing. In Deslie’s husband’s case, they were these wooden floors he wanted to install, but after 3 months it was still an eye-sore in the stairs landing. Instead of keeping them out in the open, thinking it will be done sooner, it’s better to keep these things in the utility area or garage while waiting.

However if after doing the Kon Mari Method, you realize it no longer brings you joy, you have the option to sell it on Craig’s List, eBay or Facebook to get back part of the cost. But if it’s more effort than what is worth your time, it’s better to put it out in the sidewalk for someone else to use, fix, or be collected by the garbage truck.

Deslie was really happy to see these go, and it made the house and their relationship feel lighter since the weight of expectations on her husband has been lifted. Sometimes the cost of the items is less than the happiness you feel letting go.

wooden floor boards before after

Stay tuned for PART 2 tomorrow, where I will show you the transformations in their bedrooms and the dining & living area!

* I am an amazon affiliate but as always all opinions are my own.

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Tidying an Entryway Using the KonMari Method

source: unsplash

source: unsplash

Whenever I move to a new country, the first thing I always set up is our entrance. Here you can see pictures of our Jakarta entrance and berlin entrance.

Entrances are very useful spaces, so much so that sometimes they become a dumping ground for the things that we think we really, really need. In other words, entrances have a tendency to get really cluttered. Another word for an entry hall is a mudroom.

A mudroom is where boots and outerwear are shed, shopping bags get dropped, and keys and coins are tossed. Coats, hats, schoolbags, umbrellas and often shoes are left out in the open, creating visual chaos – and making it hard to  find what you need to deal with or wear.

STORE IT! Where to put all the things you need to keep

I wanna show you a recent tidying we did of an entry way. Our client had a lot going on in the entrance, with several bug out bag versions, luggage and items for disposal.


The entrance also had a very large and hardworking built-in storage, that was filled to the brim. This is very common for entryways, especially if there is no specific, assigned location for your stuff. Naturally, it gets jumbled up. Does this happen to you too? Don’t worry, it happens to me too. The secret is to have an assigned location for stuff.

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The first step is always to clear the shelves and put all the contents on your table or floor. This is the perfect chance to wipe the storage, and clean your belongings, before putting them back. By them I mean, only the items that #SparkJoy of course.

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Once the items are in a central location, where you can see them all, you will be surprised, at how much you actually have. Then we guided our client, to do the #KonMariMethod of touching each item and asking themselves, if the item truly sparks joy. If an item brings about feelings of guilt, shame or sayang (what a pity) for not having used it, then it goes to the disposal pile.

Here are the before and after photos after 3.5 hours of tidying.


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Now this space is very clear. The top portion is for glass jars with their lids, the middle is for all the china - organized according to color - and the bottom is for the luggage and the newest set of bug out bags, with the backs facing the door, so it’s easy to grab.

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One section of the storage is for pots/pans, and below are all the coolers. Just like Mari Kondo’s bag-in-a-bag, the smaller coolers go inside the bigger coolers, to save on space. The largest cooler has a medium cooler, with a small cooler inside. It is truly #SpaceSaving!

On top of the coolers are the booster seats, and air pump for the bikes.

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In this top portion of the storage, their used to be a vacuum cleaner. I don’t recommend this because it’s hard to access. The vacuum cleaner should be nearby at hand, so that it can be used regularly.

Now the space is for cooking accessories - large and small - and cheese plates with their knives.

Like most Filipino families, the turbo broiler was kept in it’s original box, which is already showing it’s age and can also attract pests. Cockroaches love feasting on boxes. After the session, you can clearly see the turbo broiler and the roasting pan, making it more accessible (easy to grab) and pleasant to use.

entrance storage tidying

We always send our client BEFORE & AFTER pics, not just to celebrate life-changing victories, but also so that when they feel, like the clutter is creeping back in, they can always refer to the photos, and arrange accordingly.

The entry way is now a bright and clear space that breathes. Please feel free to like and share, if this transformation inspires you!

*May contain affiliate links, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Letting Go Of Heirloom Furniture

Tanya has been the caretaker to some furniture pieces, that had been with their family since they were children. They were in a home shared by the family, but was not currently in use. 

So instead of having these beautiful vintage solid Narra pieces sit in the dark, unused, she and  her family decided it was time to let go, to perhaps make space for new pieces. Before letting go of heirloom pieces, it’s important to ask the next generation, if they are willing to part with it, or if they would like to keep it themselves.


If you would like to make the most money out of your furniture, your best bet is to sell through an auction house. You can start by emailing them photos of the items.  They will then let you know if it is something that they can auction off, and how much it is valued at. Having them value your piece is FREE so it doesn't hurt to do this at all.

Once you decide to have it auctioned, please be aware that it's possible that the item will not sell, and you will still have to pay them around 2.5% of the reserve price - which is not bad considering how they professionally photograph, print a catalogue, display your items and then promote the auction. If it is sold, you then give 20% commission to the auction house. Rates may vary depending on your location, so please confirm with the auction houses in your location.


However if the items are in need of repair or refurbishing, but you have no time or energy to do it, then a preloved online estate sale is your best bet. You can do it on your own or we can do it for you, so you don't have to bother with collecting payments and coordinating pick ups and deliveries. 


When buying preloved vintage pieces online, we have to know that we are getting a bargain because these items have been used for more than 20 (vintage) or 100 (antique) years. So expect normal signs of wear from it's age and use, and the need to do a bit of restoration or refurbishing. 

We were so happy to find new homes for Tanya's family heirlooms. Buyers knew they were getting solid hardwood pieces that just needed a bit of TLC. 

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How Moving Teaches Us to Declutter

Our client Arlene was a multinational executive with a super busy schedule. So much so that she and her husband didn't have time to declutter their stuff before moving back to the Philippines after years of being expats in Singapore.

Most of the stuff that she brought home would no longer fit in the new space and life they were building, so we went over to their half-way house to evaluate, photograph and really take stock of what they had. 

image  via

image via

Part of the process is discussing every piece, to know if it is something they really want to keep because it sparks joy, or if they are ready to purge it from their lives. Each item has a story and this is so important to us, because we take 100% responsibility for the things that we dispose of in our estate sales

The most reputable local Facebook groups do not allow people to sell things that are not their own. Why? Because it is a scammers excuse to say, "I'm sorry it was my sister's / brother's / friend's item, I didn't know it was fake or damaged, etc."  This is not our style. When we sell something, we want to know it like our own, so we can answer buyers' questions fast and gain their trust. 

Now Arlene and her small family can move to to a new space, only with the things that spark joy, happy in the knowledge that their well-loved Singapore furniture and decor are with new owners, that will use and love them. 

Moving homes is the greatest decluttering teacher.
— Ayessa Bautista

When we move to a new place, it really puts things into perspective, because when you see stuff that you have been hanging on to for years, beside freshly painted walls and new furniture, you suddenly realize that it no longer fits your new space or style.  

We are happy to find new owners, who would love to refurbish your stuff and give them new life in their homes. 

How to Organize a Huge Photo Collection

source: hautestock

source: hautestock

A life well lived is also a life with tons of photographs. In today's digital age, we don't necessarily have to print individual photos (unless we want to frame them), because we can create beautiful photobooks that capture our most treasured memories. However a certain generation... ahem... still has a lot of photos from the past. Our client, the multi-hyphenate celebrity mom blogger and author Amanda Griffin Jacob, with being an international model, VJ and TV show host under her belt, certainly had lots of photos to declutter and organize.

She bravely went through all of her photos, frames and keepsakes, using the Kon Mari Method of touching each one and asking if it sparks joy. Then it was time to organize whatever was left,   so that they took up the minimum amount of space, yet still easy to reach and enjoy. 

Our objective with sentimental items is to make it easy for our clients to browse through them and delight in their memories.   


When there are too many different photo sizes, which is normal with a photo collection that spans different decades, do not hesitate to cut them to fit a more compact album. Chances are there is a lot of dead space around the subject in the photos. It will be easier to put them in albums


For photos you would like to enjoy, albums are your best bet.  It makes it easier when you label your albums so it's easy to find the photos you are looking for.

Below we used different sized MUJI PP Albums. We love them because not only are they archival for long lasting storage that doesn’t damage your photos, but they are compact and can store a lot of photos in a slim space.


But if you have a lot of photos, an archival box with tabs or acid free photo storage will do. Just make sure to store the latter in a dark cool place. 

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It's funny to think about how film is  barely used now, when they used to be such a huge part of life just a few decades ago. There are generations now, that would never have heard of film cameras. Isn't that crazy?

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But for those of you who still have this and plan to keep it, I find the neatest way to organize them is to: 

  1. Trim to fit into a 5x7 or 4x6 acid free photo storage using a paper trimmer

  2. Store them in a cool dark area with silica gel and dehumidifier tubs that are replaced regularly

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Film slides fit perfectly into a MUJI calling card holder. The best thing about MUJI is that they use archival acid free plastic polypropylene that is superior in clarity. Incidentally small polaroids also fit in this calling card holder. 

This material is considered archival safe as it is as close to PH neutral as technical possible with plastic and does not contain any plasticizers. - Keep Filing Archival Safety

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I hope you learned something from these simple ways to declutter and organize photos. Decluttering digital photos is a whole other story. However one thing that I have found through experience is that Photobooks are the cleanest and least cluttered way to print and enjoy our photos. Scrapbooking and printing photos to place into albums create more clutter, are quite bulky, and prone to damage from humidity.  

You can see some before and after photos of Amanda's space here

We are making photographs to understand what our lives mean to us.
— Ralph Hattersley
archival safe photo storage

 *May contain affiliate links, but all opinions and thoughts are my own.

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