Finding Your Organizational Style


Finding Your Organizational Style

For the first 15 years of my life I shared a room with my sister. Once I was old enough to realize we were on opposite ends of the organizing spectrum it became a challenge to find the perfect balance between my organizational style and hers. For anyone who has shared a room with someone, whether it is a college roommate or a sibling, I’m certain you understand the concept of finding a “happy” medium between their organizational style and yours. Some of us sleep best when our clothing is stored inside the closet, rather than on the floor. Some prefer a clutter free zone when working or studying, while others can easily concentrate amidst stacks of books, blaring music and piles of mail. All of us are wired differently when it comes to our organizational style, and we never have to apologize for it. There is no one way to organize. A filing system equipped with color coded labels and organized alphabetically would become a complete annoyance for some. While post it notes with various reminders would seem random and illogical for others.  What we can do is fully embrace our inner organizer, even if you believe she may have run off screaming in discontent.  Determining what organizational style best suits us based on our personality is not as difficult as it seems. It’s the key to maintaining function, simplicity and organization within our lives. In truth you shouldn’t even begin tackling organization until you understand what makes you tick.

Learning to Find Your Organizational Style

Consider the approach to finding your organizational style the same way you would shop for a dress you need for a special occasion. You may be inclined to jotting down every last detail from the color of the dress to the heel height of the shoes. For others it could be as simple as browsing Pinterest for inspiration and gravitating towards colors and styles that feel best. Or you may wind up borrowing a friend’s dress at the last minute. Your organizing style isn’t any different. You approach the details with what makes sense for you in order to complete your tasks. Remember that if it works for you then it’s the correct way. Paying close attention to your habits and zoning in on your personality type can determine your approach to organization. Consider these questions- do you tend to be extremely detail oriented or can you do without the details and let your instincts take over? Do you live by your daily planner and to do lists? Or do you see where the day takes you? For comparison sake let’s distinguish each organizational style using two general terms- the planners and the seekers.

Organizing for the “Planners”

If you are a “planner” you probably answered yes to being detail oriented. Planners tend to love clutter free flat surfaces, everything in its place and a place for everything. Working amidst chaos will cause you to panic. Commonly referred to as type A personalities, planners are all about order, scheduling and are highly task oriented. Organizing for you is top priority. You feel best when you are on task and productive.

Organizing Spaces for Planners

Your schedule and sticking to it is a major part of your daily routine. Deciding on the best calendar system for your lifestyle is important in organizing your daily tasks, post its just don’t make the cut. An electronic calendar is a great tool for staying on track and gives you flexibility in scheduling and changing appointments, and you will never run out of room when making those check lists!

Organizing for the “Seekers”

Not concerned with the intricate details and typically a bit care free in nature, seekers prefer to have items in sight. You tend to think in images rather than words and because of this you work most productively and can stay organized best when items are displayed. To do lists and systems tend to be thrown to the way side, and catering to your need for creativity will give you an advantage when organizing.

Organizing Spaces for Seekers

  • Forget about sticking to organizing rules, for a seeker your keep it neat plan needs to draw on your creative side. Organizing systems such as chalk boards, fun and colorful desk accessories that double as storage, as well as cork boards, are great for organizing in your work zone. Seekers can tend to become lost within their work spaces as a clutter free desk space is not high priority. This can combat productivity quickly. Making an effort to set aside some time for a quick decluttering is important to maintain a sense of function in the space.
  • Shoes, clothing and accessories in a seekers closet is best kept in plain sight rather than neatly stored in bins and boxes. Hanging a cork board on your closet wall to display jewelry is a great way for a seeker to scan items quickly and visualize what to wear. Clothing is best organized by color which gives seekers a quick reference to find what they need. Clear bins function great in a seekers closet because they achieve function but it’s still easy to locate items.
  • Your schedule is not quite as regimented as a planner, but for those days you need to stay on track a paper calendar works well for your organizational style. Seekers respond well to physically writing things down and can customize paper planners to fit a unique style.  It’s about getting a bit more creative to stay on task.

Whether you are a planner, seeker or possibly fall somewhere in between always remember our organizing style is whatever we decide works best for us. The journey to finding it is hidden in our everyday habits, unique to us. So embrace it, stick to what works best for you and remember the key to successful organizing is pay close attention to your personality. Come up with a plan to work around that and you will be on your way to organization!

photos by Brister Photo