Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Styles...and STYLE

Two weeks ago, I posted a quiz to help you identify your personal and organizational styles. Today, I'd like to share a little bit about the personal styles. In addition, I'd like to add a layer of action to our musings about what we do and why we do it by introducing the first concept behind the STYLE acronym.

When it comes to identifying styles, the quiz results don't come as any surprise to most of us. We know what we do, and we've spent a lot of time beating ourselves up about it.

But there's no beating up here. As I said in my first post:
I believe that everyone has the capacity to get organized and that the trick to success lies in finding a method and tools that match the way you think -- marrying your personal style and your organizational style to create a process that underlies the way you organize everything.

So let's take another look at the personal styles and what they mean for organizational systems and successes.

  • Those with an I love stuff style:
    • develop an attachment to their things and often struggle to part with them. 
    • are often collectors and sometimes choose unusual things to collect.  
    • have so much stuff that they often run out of places to put things. While the simple solution to a pragmatic, naturally organized person would be to just get rid of some of their belongings, this is extremely difficult for the I love stuff person. 
  •  Those with an I love to be busy style:
    • thrive on hectic schedules.
    • may have one overriding interest or many varied interests.
    • are often disciplined when it comes to managing their time, but disorganized when it comes to managing their things, except, of course, for the tools they need to pursue the activities they love. 
  • Those with an I need to see it style:
    • put things out so they'll remember to do them or bring them somewhere.
    • hate to put things away because they fear that out of sight will mean out of mind.
    • replace “to-do” lists with “to-get-to” piles. These visual reminders are meant to serve as nudges, and this plan sometimes works....and sometimes creates clutter.  

Did you fit neatly into one style, or are you “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”?  Either way, it's okay. Further observation, discussion and exploration may help you to determine predominant styles, but some people really are a mix of styles, both personal and organizational. 

Next week, I'll have more on the organizational styles, but in the meantime, I wanted to clue you in to my STYLE acronym, which will form the foundation of our action plan. In last week's blog, I suggested taking stock of what's neat and what's not. If you did this, where did you find your organizational successes? What can you find immediately when you need it? What always gets put away?

If you can answer any or all of those questions, you've already begun. The "S" in STYLE stands for "Start with successes." If something is working for you in one place, chances are, you can adapt the plan to make it work somewhere else as well. 

For example, when we remodeled our bathroom several years ago, I knew I didn't want a standard linen closet, but rather a mix of drawers and shelves. I'm five feet tall, and whatever got stashed on the top shelf was likely to become a mishmash mess. Once the storage was in place, I used bins to organize my bathroom shelves. In addition, I used smaller bins to compartmentalize the drawers. When I open the doors or the drawers, I can see everything I have. No mishmash, no mess, and even years later, the bathroom is organized. The concept of open storage -- even behind closed doors and inside closed drawers -- enables me to work with my I need to see it style and maintain a system that works. 

Once again, look around. Where do you see your styles in action? And how can you make them work for you instead of against you? When you look at the pictures of organizers I've posted over the past two weeks, which are a match for your style?

(This week, all of the photos are from

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