A member of my organizing support group on Facebook (I’ll call her Denise) recently posted a photo of the “messy” kitchen awaiting her after being away for two days. She got right to work cleaning it up and posted a second photo 90 minutes later showing her beautiful kitchen with the counters completely clear of everything except a coffee maker.
Everyone was impressed. Two members commented that it looked like a show-ready home. But one member made a comment that prompted me to write this post.
Linda (not her real name) commented that the kitchen looked beautiful, but maybe “uncluttered” means different things to different people because having nothing out at all just didn’t feel comfortable to her. And you know what? She’s right. But does that make Denise wrong? Of course not! They are just different people with different organizing styles.
What about you? Do you lean more toward Denise’s style of “nothing out” or are you more of an “everything out” person when it comes to organizing your space?
Years ago, a new employee came into my office and sat down. As we chatted, I noticed that he was looking around. Finally he said, “Your office doesn’t give me any clues at all about who you are.” That’s because I am, at my core, a minimalist.
We minimalists don’t like to be tied down by our belongings. Often, the places we live and work in may not seem to have any personality, because we would rather maintain a small, functional footprint rather than invest time and money in decorative trappings. My co-worker’s comment made me more conscious of what my environment says about me and because of it, I now decorate my home with color, patterns, art, and furnishings that express my personality.
The opposite of a minimalist is a saver. As you might imagine, minimalists and savers have very different beliefs when it comes to the value of “stuff.” Savers keep things for sentimental reasons and also because they think that those things might come in handy someday.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with saving! And savers don’t need to throw everything out to get organized. They do need to figure out what’s really important to them, so they can make decisions about what to keep and what to toss based on what they value. In addition, savers often need emotional support as well as good systems to help them keep their accumulations under control.
I often joke that I grew up with two of the world’s most organized people – my parents. My mother once confessed to me that she used to get stressed out if the silverware was not neatly stacked in the silverware tray. When I was a new bride, I can remember re-arranging the coasters on the coffee table so they were just so (we’re talking a millimeter in one direction or the other). I’m a lot more relaxed these days, but I still don’t tolerate clutter well.
Ironically, my husband and I live at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to our tolerance for disorder. I can’t work unless my home is neat and clean. I believe in having a place for everything and everything in its place and that place depends on how often I use a thing and where I use it. My husband (whom I love dearly) just puts things away wherever and as a result, he regularly asks if I know where this or that is. He’s what you call a “no rules” kind of guy when it comes to straightening up.
How well do you tolerate disorder? Are you a straightener like me? Or a “no rules” gal or guy like my husband?
There are no right or wrong answers to the bolded questions above – only what’s right or wrong for you. But what is true for all of us is that when we understand our natural styles, we can make more efficient and effective use of our time and space.
What if the reason why you struggle with getting organized – and staying organized – is because you’ve been working against your natural style? What if you’ve been attempting to achieve the possible with an impossible set of rules? What if you were to discover that you’ve had the power all along just as Dorothy had the power to get herself back to Kansas by clicking the heels of her ruby red slippers?
The key to getting organized is understanding YOU!
When you know yourself better, you’re better able to arrange your time and space to suit your natural style which will reduce your stress and help you feel more calm and in control. Makes sense, right?
A few months ago, I discovered the Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™). This is an assessment tool designed to empower people to accept themselves as they are, with all of their natural skills and talents.
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