Discovering Like With Like
Pattern Recognition is the one differentiating skill set that organized people have – we see and recognize patterns where there aren’t any! It’s why an organizer can walk into a chaotic situation and be successful – we immediately see “like with like” and patterns that work!
What I’ve found with clients in their homes and offices is that for you to be successful, you need to begin to recognize how you create patterns in your environment naturally, in order to create organizing solutions that stick.
One of the oldest organizing tricks in the book is to group like things together. Organizers call this: putting “like with like” – or grouping all items that seem to go together, together. The interesting thing about this process is that each of us does this step a little differently.
As part of my community service, I offer a class to area elementary schools called NAPO In The Schools. This class is designed to teach 2nd – 5th graders basic organizing principles. There is an informational segment where the kids are introduced to “Disorganized Drake” who can’t seem to get it together. He frequently loses homework, can’t find supplies, and generally has a really rough time as a typical 4th grader! I ask the students to help Drake by applying simple organizing strategies to his books, his room, his desk and his backpack.
The class ends with an exercise where students are given a bag of school supplies and asked to group them “like with like”. It always fascinates me that some will group them by function (all things you can write with together), by color (all blues go together), by category (all pens, all crayons, all toys), or by some other construct that makes sense to them alone.
What patterns do you recognize? What makes you comfortable? Do you prefer to sort by color, by use, by function, by location? Whatever works for you, is the right answer. Determining which “one of these things is not like the other” is really up to you and the better you get at recognizing your own abilities for pattern recognition – and accept them as so, the quicker you’ll be able to move forward with organizing your items!
Today’s “Drawer Dump” Challenge
Do it for yourself!
- Find a disorganized drawer,
- Dump It,
- Sort It,
- Purge what you don’t need,
- Categorize items that are alike, and
- Containerize so like items have boundaries!
Need help at home? Download my Sane Spaces Products:
- Time To Toss It E-Book – a full-color guide that gives guidelines on how long to keep items and when to get rid of them. (There is a whole entire section on how long to keep paper and files.)
- “Dimensions” Workbook – It’s a self-driven workbook that offers you the support of working with your very own Professional Organizer without the hourly fees.