By Cena Block
This article was originally published on Sanespaces.com and is reprinted here with permission.
What is your organizing personality type?
Have you ever considered that you have natural approaches to organizing your space? Have you ever wondered why certain people seem to be better able to get organized and maintain their organized spaces than others?
Do you take your personality traits and habits into account when getting organized? Do you have any idea how your personality type affects how you organize?
We all have natural behaviors regarding the use of space and how we organize our living and working spaces.
Sometimes everything seems to work well for us, but tension can arise when we become out of control and blocked with clutter.
When this happens, it’s important to understand how to work with our natural organizing personality style preferences. If we don’t, we can get in our own way, impede our best intentions, and delay organizing tasks, which can lead us down a rabbit hole of clutter, disarray, and chaos.
Understanding what organizing techniques, behaviors, and products work best for you, and what does not, impacts the overall quality of your life.
There are six different personality types for organizing space. Each person is different. One may strongly align with one type as dominant, where another person may display behaviors of several styles in different situations. Read the descriptions below, and see where you think your organizing style preferences lie.
1. Everything Out™ Organizing Style Personality
The Everything Out organizing style maintains their flow by leaving things out in the open as visual reminders. By leaving things out where (hopefully) they can easily put their hands on them again, they feel more organized and in control. When too many things are left out, however, it becomes difficult to find what they’re looking for. It doesn’t take too long before this style preference begins to work against people. Known as ‘pile-filers,’ Everything Out personality types may be fine with their own style preferences and piles as reminders — but others may not function well in a cluttered workspace.
How Everything Out Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
Everything Outs do well when they survey their desks and living spaces often to make sure that visible items are only those they use and/or are pleasing. When possible, Everything Outs should schedule consistent times for maintaining their spaces.
This style personality also loves color. Everything Out’s may be attracted to certain color strategies to help them maintain their organizing systems — assigning a different color for a clear purpose. When considering storage products, — this organizing personality type feels most organized when they use clear or translucent storage containers. Clear containers allow them to see and automatically know what’s stored there.
Visual inventory is very important for Everything Out’s to know what they have. In the case of opaque storage options — labeling works. Many Everything Out’s prefer a picture of items, as well as an itemized inventory list.
2. Nothing Out™ Organizing Style Personality
The Nothing Out Organizing personality styles equate a clear surface with a clear and organized mind. Nothing Out’s will clear their surfaces and put things ‘away’ to feel more in control. They dislike and avoid messiness in their visible and public spaces. In their attempt to maintain an orderly appearance, they’re most often drawn to organizational products that hide things from view.
Because they dislike mess, they often “stash” items away without a storage and retrieval system. Because of this tendency, it’s necessary for them to maintain organization even when systems are not visible. Nothing Outs find it beneficial to create workable filing and storage systems for both active and longer-term projects. This style finds computerized planning and scheduling tools very appealing.
How Nothing Out Organizing Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
Because they dislike mess, Nothing Out’s may “stash” items away in haste… to tidy up, or when feeling out of control. However, without adequate storage and a reliable retrieval system, this organizing style preference can get overwhelmed and feel very disorganized behind the scenes.
Because of this tendency, it’s necessary for Nothing Out personalities to maintain organization even when systems are not visible. They do well to find storage containers that control closets and cupboards, so things stay organized ‘behind the scenes’. Nothing Outs find it beneficial to create workable filing systems that are adequately labeled so things are easy to recognize and retrieve, and they do well to use storage systems for both active and longer-term projects. It is Nothing Out’s who often find computerized planning and scheduling tools very appealing.
3. Saver™ Organizing Style Personality
Savers think that virtually everything might come in handy someday. They don’t subscribe to the idea that the ‘value’ of things changes over time. Savers see their accumulations as insurance of something to come, and feel secure as a result of these tendencies. Savers often feel they “may need it one day” — and use this as a reason to save, store and sometime stockpile items.
An item’s possibility is a reason to keep “perfectly good” items they “paid good money for” even if they have no use for them now or in the foreseeable future. Some Saver tendencies may have developed in families of origin where saving meant survival. These Savers may have behavioral and psychological triggers connected with their things.
How Saver Style Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
Savers are the personalities who struggle most with too much. Excess of anything can easily turn into clutter because typically living and storage spaces are limited in size and scope.
Savers should review their stashes to be sure they are easily able to find, use, and enjoy what they save. They should work to stop the inflow of items if their collections are overrunning their spaces, as well as avoid holding onto items they no longer need or use.
Savers often struggle with letting go of reading materials that are not current and may hold onto them as reference. When working to diminish clutter, Saver’s need to review and minimize collections so they fit within the available space, then reserve space for future items. They should focus on only obtaining new items that serve a specific function or give them pleasure.
Some Savers who display deep psychological attachments to items, and lifetime struggles with clutter, will do well to seek expertise and professional counseling to address and modify hoarding and/or compulsive tendencies.
4. Minimalist™ Organizing Style Personality
Minimalist organizing style types thrive on only having essentials. Minimalists dislike clutter and avoid it at all costs, often throwing perfectly good items out in haste to avoid messiness. Excess causes Minimalists to feel out of control. You will not see minimalists stopping at tag sales and clearance bins. They typically pass up “free” items and rarely pick up materials unless they have an absolute need. They prefer to live in the “now” and let go of past items if they’ve served their purpose. They appreciate the value of memories, but do not connect those memories to “things” nor keep things for sentimental reasons.
How Minimalist Organizing Style Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
Minimalist types typically do not struggle with clutter. They will often let go of items in haste to avoid storing things. Some Minimalist personalities feel that items carry a sense of responsibility with them – so they avoid picking things up, and often shop purposefully. Because Minimalists maintain order by accepting, keeping, and storing less, they typically have no problem letting items go — even those that may have some sentimental value.
Minimalists should take time to evaluate the importance of items, so their personal items are not tossed in haste. (It’s especially important for Minimalists not to throw out other people’s belongings without permission.)
5. Straightener™ Organizing Style Personality
Straightener organizing style types love the appearance of straight lines and tidy piles. Straighteners feel in control when items around them are aligned. They like neat piles even if they don’t know what’s in those piles, and will create neatness out of disorderly spaces by straightening items, even when there are no categorical distinctions within piles. They may be caught ‘tidying up’ spaces over which they have no authority or accountability, for instance, strewn items on a table in a public waiting room.
Because of the propensity for neatness, Straighteners may straighten to tidy up, yet fail to organize the items they’re straightening. Therefore, they sometimes “look” more organized than they actually feel.
How Straightener Organizing Style Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
Straighteners need to monitor what they keep and avoid straightening items just because they have them. They will also want to approach organizing tasks with the end in mind: determine where and how they store items so they are able to easily find and retrieve things when they need them.
Straightener personalities can accept the fact that not all organizing systems are the same — there is no one right way to organize, and their resulting systems don’t need to be orthodox, as long as they’re functional for storage and retrieval.
6. No Rules™ Organizing Style Personality
No Rules personality types tend to look disorganized to others. Even though they may know what they have and be able to find it when absolutely necessary, this personality style typically struggles due to their lack of systems.
Their disorderliness tends to trigger others who may call them “packrats.” Because of this, this style personality more than others may deal with ridicule and the shame that results. This negative cycle may exacerbate their tendencies and make things worse.
No Rules personalities may actually have gaps in their knowledge and/or organizational skills. Alternatively, they may be nonconformists (or less mature), and may simply rebel at the idea of structure and control. Sometimes this style revs up when people experience sudden change, transition, illness, or overwhelm in their current (or recent past) life situation.
How No Rules Organizing Style Personality Types Can Organize More Effectively
It can be helpful for No Rules personalities to know that changes can come gradually, and that the best systems are those that are convenient and easy to manage and maintain. No Rules personality types may require unconventional solutions to help them get, stay, and feel more organized.
The best organizing systems that last are those designed to match their unique space, behaviors, family, work, and needs. If this style is dominant as a result of life, whether transition or ‘situational’, No Rules personalities are encouraged to engage expertise and professional support to design reliable organizing methods and storage systems that are easy to maintain.
Learn How to Effectively Organize for Your Personality
Have you wondered what your time organizing style personality type is?
You can easily learn all about your Organizing Personality Style with the Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™). The Time & Space Style Inventory valuates your time style preferences and how you manage priorities, attend to details, and take action. By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the most of your time and choose to take actions that increase flow in your life.
Consistently arranging your space, working to adequately assign value to items over time, and letting go of items when they no longer serve a purpose will help you create more flow in your environment and in your life. Knowing your dominant organizing styles will help you successfully manage yourself and your decisions about time.
Embrace Your Natural Style!
I’ve created the Time & Space Style Inventory™ — a tool that not only identifies natural time management style preferences but also enables you to use that information to create a personalized road map to manage your time and space. Make it work for you — take the Time & Space Style Inventory™ and identify your time and space styles and enjoy your life.