Minimalists vs. Savers
Minimalists and Savers truly live on opposite sides of the continuum. They have very different beliefs when it comes to the value of “stuff”, which can lead to very different experiences of life.
Minimalists don’t like to be tied down by their belongings.
They enjoy the feeling of being streamlined as opposed to having to deal with clutter. Sometimes however, the places they live and work in may not seem to have any personality, because Minimalists would rather maintain a small, functional footprint rather than investing time and money in decorative trappings.
Organizationally, Minimalists tend to have it easier than Savers because their belongings are more spare and simple. But they still have to learn how to make decisions regarding the sentimentality of items as opposed to just their utilitarian value. One of my clients, who originally called me in to help deal with a team management problem, remarked conversationally that his girlfriend became upset with him recently when she noticed that he didn’t have a photo of her displayed in his office. Or in his home. “It’s not like she’s not important to me or anything like that. She knows how I feel about her,” he said, “It’s just that I don’t think about these things. Now she’s telling me that I must not care about her very much.” He was obviously frustrated and bewildered.
I suggested that we take a walk around the room, pretending that it was the office of someone he didn’t know.
“What can you tell me about this person, just from what you see?” I asked.
“Not much,” he admitted. “But what difference does that make?”
I responded, “Well, human beings respond to social cues. And some of those cues are present in our environment. What we’re interested in, for example, or what we value. Based on what someone sees, or doesn’t see, they may draw conclusions about what’s important to the resident of that space.”
“So,” he said slowly, “my girlfriend may need to see evidence of our relationship, even though I don’t need to.”
Minimalists may not need to share emotional connections through what they put on their shelves but they should become conscious of what their environment is saying about them to others. Sometimes sentimentality is an important touch.
At the other end of the continuum are Savers, who keep too many sentimental touchstones, or simply things that “might come in handy someday.”
Savers need to be able to find, use and enjoy what they save. They are not necessarily hoarders, but they do need to understand how to make good decisions about what to save and what to pass on to others or to discard, so they don’t overrun their available storage space.
Saved items also can retain the energy of what you’re holding onto. This year I was helping a client clean out a filing cabinet and we came to a section at the back of the bottom drawer. She stopped and sat back. “What’s that?” I asked. She was quiet for a moment and then told me that those folders were related to a business that she had wanted to start in her hometown and had never followed through on. It was clear to me that these papers weren’t just papers, but rather were evidence of a road not taken; one strewn with regrets and guilt. So we talked it through. The concept of the business was lovely and she had apparently put in a lot of time and thought on how she would go about it. But that time was past, and she didn’t know how to get beyond her feeling of being a failure.
People save things for lots of reasons and it’s important to understand those reasons. If, as with my client, the reasons are unresolved attachments, that factor has to be dealt with. Once the emotions are processed it is often an easy job to make decisions about the stored items.
Savers need emotional support and good systems to help them keep their accumulations under control. They should only save what has the most meaning to them and should cycle things through every few years, as their priorities and the value they assign to things will change.
It’s so important to know what systems and products work with your personal styles so that you can make efficient and effective use of your time and space and create a more pleasing workflow experience.
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Once you identify your dominant preferences – are you an Everything Out™, Nothing Out™, Minimalist™, Saver™, Straightener™, or No Rules™? – you can begin to take steps to integrate more Flow Steps into your experience.
The Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™) evaluates 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 taking the Flow Steps in your styles of dominance will help you successfully manage your self, and your decisions about time.
EMBRACE your natural style!
Make it work for you – take the Time & Space Style Inventory™ and identify your time and space styles and enjoy your life @ http://bit.ly/tssifree. Cena Block (sanespaces.com) specializes in helping moms design work on their own terms and build smart supportive systems that create time for living. A business coach and author, Cena has collaborated with professional organizer and author Sunny Schlenger (suncoach.com) to create the Time & Space Style Inventory™ – a tool that not only identifies natural behavioral styles but also enables you to use that information to create a personalized road map to manage your time and space. Find Sunny’s new book: Flow Formula: A Guidebook to Wholeness and Harmony on Amazon.com.