Lisa Hess tackles puzzling questions about our organizational and personal styles.
Drop and run. Cram and jam. I know I put it somewhere.
I love stuff. I need to see it. I love to be busy.
I think I'm all of these! Can I have more than one style?
This is perhaps the question I get asked most often! The answer is yes. Organizing by STYLE is predicated on each of us having two primary styles: a personal style and an organizational style. As regular readers know, my personal style is I need to see it and my organizational style is drop and run.
But...what about the others? Can we have more than one personal style or organizational style? Can we be a little bit of all of them?
That answer is also yes, but the key phrase is "a little bit." While it's not unusual to have a dash of this and a little of that, most of us typically have one personal style and one organizational style that rises above the rest. It's what I call our "default setting." The thing we revert to most often. The thing that, if we corral it and use it in our service, can be our organizational North Star.
How do we figure that out?
Look around. Focus on not just what frustrates you, but what's working as well. When things get hectic, I pile. Some of the piles are a result of simply putting something down before racing off to the next thing (a little dash of I love to be busy flavoring my drop and run). Other piles have been purposefully designed to be visible so I don't forget to do the things in those piles (my I need to see it personal style taking center stage, as usual). Technically, that works, but it messes with the clear space I love.
So, what works better? Clear drawers. Labels. Color coding. Open file bins (topless, if you will). These allow me to put things away, but not completely out of sight. Tucking all those to-do items into a brightly colored file folder with an equally bright sticky note labeled "to do" and laid on top of my laptop? That works. And it looks a whole lot better.
What about the drop and run part? Finding the right tools helped there, too. When I made it as easy to put something away as it was to put it down (hello, open file bins and easy-to-access clear drawer units), it was easy to put things where they belonged instead of just dropping them anywhere.
So, what's frustrating you? Overstuffed containers? (Hello, cram and jam organizational style!) Things stashed in "safe" places? (Welcome, I know I put it somewhere organizational style!) Too much to do and too little time to organize? (It's my I love to be busy friend!) Plenty of containers, but none doing the trick? (Those with an I love stuff personal style can love containers, too!)
Now, step back. Start with successes. What spot, drawer, closet or location is well-organized? Why is that? How can you apply that same idea to a spot, drawer, closet or location that's not working?
Our primary personal and organizational styles can be the main dish, but our other-style tendencies can add a little spice. Who says that I know I put it somewhere organizational style tool has to be boring? Toss in a dash of I love stuff and choose a unique container to designate as your "safe place."
When we stop looking at organizing as an insurmountable task and consider it a puzzle to be solved, the whole process becomes easier and, dare I say, fun. It's not always fast or painless but, when we do it according to the rules that work for us, it's a whole lot easier.
Copyright 2021 Lisa Hess
Images: Canva Pro
About the Author
Transplanted Jersey girl Lisa Lawmaster Hess is the author of a blog compilation, three novels, and three non-fiction books, including 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 of Pennsylvania. She blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, Organizing by STYLE, and here at Catholicmom.com. Read all articles by Lisa Hess.