For many of us, organizing is a one step forward-two steps back process. For every success, there are myriad setbacks imposed by stuff, life, and the inevitable shortage of time. Whether we're trying to organize ourselves or our kids, we need to be realistic about how we approach this sometimes monumental and always never-ending task.
Enter STYLE. When I write about organizing with STYLE, I'm talking about not just personal and organizational styles (lower case), but also the plan that underlies them: STYLE in all caps:
Start with successes
Take small steps
Yes, it has a home!
Let it go
Starting with successes is at the heart of organizing with our personal and organizational styles. When we build an organizational system around what we do most naturally (our styles), the first step is to decide what works. Using what works (our successes) as a foundation enables us to build success upon success. The more we do this, the more we learn what what to keep doing and what to stop doing. Eventually, our system is personalized to our needs, which makes it functional and easy to maintain.
I, for example am an I need to see it/drop and run person, but my personal style (I need to see it) is, without a doubt, my more dominant style. If I don't build a visual element into every aspect of my organizational system, I'll only end up wasting time and money chasing someone else's idea of organization.
Case in point: the file cabinets I continue to "use" -- don't ask me what's inside -- vs. the open-top file bins and hanging organizers surrounding the work space in my office that I really use. The file bins and hanging organizers are not only visually appealing, but I can see their contents at a glance, which means I actually put things away (most of the time). Their easy access appeals to my organizational style (drop and run), which makes it a win-win. Space constraints and a small budget mean I keep the file cabinets, but they house my archives. The things I need on a regular basis are in my I need to see it/drop and run organizers.
Once I knew these file bins worked for me, I bought them in multiple patterns. When I decided a single pattern looked nicer in my office than the crazy patchwork of patterns that appealed to my visually dominated style, I devised a way to file similar topics in the same bin and label them. Without that second part, I might as well have stuck to the file cabinet where everything was hidden.
What works for you? What part of your house or life, no matter how small, is organized and easy to maintain? Chances are good that the key to both your styles and your system lies in recreating that magic in other areas.
Not sure what your style is? Take my unscientific quiz here. And be sure to stop back next week to find out about taking small steps.
Around here, we're all about success, even if we can only get there in baby steps.
Copyright 2015 Lisa Hess
Logo background image:†"Unageek color" by Unageek (2013) via Morguefile. Text added†in Canva.
About the Author
Lisa Lawmaster Hess is a transplanted Jersey girl who writes both fiction and non-fiction. Lisa’s latest book is the award-winning Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is an adjunct professor of psychology at York College. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.