6 Organizing Style Personalities & How To Stay Organized For Life
What is your organizing style personality type?
What is an organizing style preference? Have you ever considered your habits? Each of us has natural behaviors that either support an organized lifestyle or can get in the way of staying organized.
Do you ever wonder why some people find it easy to get and stay organized? Your organizing personality traits and habits come into account when getting organized. Some people do find it easier than others to stay organized.
One of the best ways to shift your space is to shift your perspective first. If you have no idea how your personality type affects how you organize, this article can help. Understand more about your organizing style and personality preferences to solve your disorganization troubles. Knowing more about yourself will help you create your ideal way of getting and staying organized in your spaces.
Why Your Organizing Style Matters
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. Clutter blocks flow, and when it gets out of control, everyone knows!
When this happens, it’s important to understand how to work with your natural organizing style preferences. If you don’t, you can get in your own way, impede your best intentions and delay organizing tasks that can lead you 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.
How To Stay Organized For Life
Being disorganized can often be the result of situations that get out of hand. For instance, none of us expected to take on:
- working from home
- working out at home
- socializing at home
- and doing everything else at home.
This era has completely turned our lives upside down and inside out. Which actually is a good thing. Getting organized typically starts bad, gets worse, and then slowly becomes much better. The process of simplifying, paring down, purging, and re-coordinating our space is just that – a process. So, to be successful and take the baby steps necessary for success, you have to approach getting organized for life as a journey, rather than a destination.
Quarantine Era and Space Organizing
Although I feel relatively safe referring to this as a “Quarantine Era” – in essence, this time is simply a situation that has thrown us all out of control. And because most often disorganization results from situations that pop up and throw us out of whack, we know there’s hope.
The good news is that being disorganized is a temporary state. Getting organized for life requires you to actually put time and energy into creating workable systems and habits that fit your life, organizing style, and personality preferences.
But, how do you know when you’re making the right decisions that will stick? How can you be sure you’re making the right decisions? This is why it’s essential to know your personality and aesthetic organizing style preferences for getting and staying organized.
When You’re Disorganized, You Struggle
When you’re disorganized (especially chronically disorganized) you struggle in many ways. People who struggle with staying organized feel less confident, they spend more money on things they have but can’t find, tend to order take out more often, they waste unmeasured time looking for things, and not to mention – running late and behind on appointments and bills causes an enormous level of personal stress.
Being disorganized as a lifestyle takes a huge toll. Studies have proven that disorganized spaces can cause chronic stress, relationship problems, and even health challenges. A disorganized home or work environment makes many things more difficult.
Research Proves It
According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in June 2016, clutter has several negative impacts on a person’s well-being. The study surveyed 1,489 residents of the U.S. and Canada on the relationship between clutter, personal well-being, and attachment to one’s home and possessions. According to the research, “Clutter had a negative impact on self-reported well-being”. The study also linked disorganization to a “strong negative impact on feelings of security, safety, and other positive emotional benefits derived from a sense of psychological home*.”
Therefore when your home is disorganized, you feel less secure. It even threatens your sense of safety. So it’s important to approach getting organized as an essential strategy for living your best life. As such, the goal of getting organized is not just to make it pretty. Rather, getting organized helps you simplify and create a safe place where you can thrive. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of your organizing style personality preferences can help you create your own sense of home in a way that makes you the happiest and most fulfilled.
Organizing Restores Homeostasis
Although an organized space can become disorganized, it is much easier to restore homeostasis when there’s a place for everything to begin with. When you want to stay organized for life, it’s important to know what you like. Learning and incorporating your style preference dominance makes it much easier to develop solutions and remedies that will stick.
When you know your organizing personality style preferences, you can creatively hack your systems, habits, and behaviors so you can create sanity and get back to homeostasis easily.
There are 6 different organizing styles. Since each person is different, one may strongly align with one dominant organizing style, where another person may display behaviors of several different organizing styles in different situations. Read the descriptions below, and see where you think your organizing style preferences lie.
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. However, when too many things are left out, it becomes hard to find anything. 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 Personalities Can Organize More Effectively
Everything Outs (EO) 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. Many times simply setting a maintenance schedule can be the most effective strategy to help Everything Out personalities feel more organized.
Another key to success for Everything Out style personalities is to use color. You may be attracted to certain color strategies to help you maintain your organizing systems. So a successful and consistent color strategy helps you assign different colors for a clear purpose. Use it in your space, as well as in your digital universe. Color coding files and online appointments can work wonders to help you feel more organized.
About Visual Cueing
An instant organizing hack for Everything Outs is to build systems based around visual cueing. This means your systems need to show what you have at a glance. This may go against some minimalist approaches to getting organized, but visually aligned systems will keep Everything Out styles organized for life.
So, when considering storage products this organizing personality type feels most organized when they can see what they have. Therefore use clear or translucent storage containers whenever you can to keep things in view. Clear containers (think lucite and acrylic) allow you to see and automatically know what’s stored. Taking an instant visual inventory helps Everything Out’s know what you have and avoid overbuying. However, if you’re already laden with opaque storage options – colorful labels will work as a great remedy. Many Everything Out’s even prefer an actual picture that captures stored items, or an itemized inventory list.
Nothing Out Organizing Style Personality
The Nothing Out Organizing style personalities equate a clear surface with a clean 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 Personalities 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 should adequately label files 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.
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 stock-pile items. An items’ possibility is a reason to keep “perfectly good” items they “paid good money for” even if they have no use for them now nor 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 Personalities Can Organize More Effectively:
Saver organizing style types are the personalities who struggle most with too much. Let’s face it, living and storage spaces have limits. When items outgrow storage spaces, there’s nowhere for them to go. Items can easily turn into clutter. Savers must learn to review their stashes. Saving unusable items is pointless. So, appoint storage spaces so things are easy to find, use, and enjoy.
Many savers have an underlying, silent problem – compulsive shopping. So if your Saver Personality is the result of over-purchasing, solve this habit first. In order to work more effectively with your Saver Style, you must stop items from coming in. If your collections are overrunning your spaces, you need to do 3 things better. First, stop what’s coming in, reduce what you no longer use, then equalize what you keep.
Savers often struggle with letting go of reading materials that are not current and may hold onto them as references. When working to diminish clutter, Savers 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 lifelong struggles with clutter will do well to seek expertise and professional counseling to address and modify hoarding and/or compulsive tendencies.
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. Minimalist dominant styles prefer to live in the “now” and let go of past items if they’ve served their purpose. And, while they appreciate the value of memories but do not connect those memories to “things” nor keep things for sentimental reasons.
How Minimalist Organizing Style Personalities Can Organize More Effectively:
Minimalist style 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 find it easier to let go. Letting items go – even those that may have some sentimental value reduces their tension. However many minimalists live with some sentimental regret.
Therefore, Minimalists do well when they evaluate an item’s importance. When you press pause internally, this allows you to check in and slow down. When you do, you’ll avoid trashing personal items too hastily. (It’s especially important for Minimalists not to throw out other people’s belongings without permission.)
Straightener Organizing Style Personality
Straightener organizing style types love the appearance of straight lines and tidy piles. Aligning items help them feel a sense of control. A Straightener loves nothing more than neat piles, even if they don’t know what’s in those piles. And they will straighten items, even when there are no categorical distinctions within piles.
Straighteners are famous for ‘tidying up’ other’s spaces. They’ll get caught straightening things they don’t own. Additionally, they’ve straightened stuff others would ignore.
For instance, I’ve straightened items in a public waiting room (more than a few times!) Straighteners crave neatness. They may straighten to tidy up, yet still feel disorganized if they only focus on neat. If Straighteners fail to organize before straightening, they’re still disorganized. Therefore they sometimes “look” more organized than they actually feel.
How Straightener Organizing Style Personalities 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. It works well to determine where and how they store items so they are able to easily find and retrieve the things they need. Straightener organizing style personalities can accept the fact that not all organizing systems are the same. Understand there is no one right way to organize, and their resulting systems don’t need to be orthodox, as long as a system is both functional for storage and retrieval.
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 my 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 a sudden change, transition, illness, or overwhelm in their current (or recent past) life situation.
How No Rules Organizing Style Personalities Can Organize More Effectively:
It can be helpful to remind yourself that changes can come gradually. Disorganized spaces don’t just magically occur. It has taken time for them to become how they are. So, it follows then that it will also take time to unpack, unplug, and reassign your items according to your organizing style.
It’s also important to note that the best systems will be the most convenient and easy to manage and maintain. In that way, No Rules style types may do better with unconventional solutions. That is why it’s important to start from the inside. Your style determines overall solutions to get, stay, and feel organized for life.
Why Do Some Systems Work Where Others Don’t
The best organizing systems that last are those designed to match their unique space, behaviors, family, work, and needs. It’s important to understand the source of disorganization. Disorganization as a result of life transition and change is situational vs. chronic disorganization. That’s good news because life situations can change. It’s harder to change habits and behaviors associated with chronic disorganization.
Any organizing personality can become overwhelmed. And when you’re overwhelmed and chaotic, you’re unmotivated and stuck. This is where professionals can be a great investment. No Rules style preferences score this way often due to a lack of systems and habits.
If this is you, think about hiring a pro before you take this on. Professional organizers specialize in chronically disorganized clients. You can find them at the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). They’ll help you design reliable organizing methods and easy-to-maintain storage systems.
How To Effectively Organize for Your Dominant Style Preferences
Have you wondered what your time organizing style personality type is? You can easily learn all about your Organizing Style Personality Types with the Time & Space Style Inventory. Another important aspect to stay organized of course, is to learn to better manage your time according to your preferences. Like the Organizing Personality Style types, there are six Time Management Personality Types to help you manage your time.
The Time & Space Style Inventory™ (TSSI™) evaluates your time style preferences and how you can stay organized for life. By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can make the most of your space. Learning your flow formula will make it easier to get organized for life. You can choose to take actions that increase flow in your life.
3 Organizing Flow Steps
There are 3 organizing flow steps for any organizing style.
- Taking time to arrange items according to your style helps us all. Your aesthetic approach is important.
- Secondly, how you value items matter. In fact, you need to re-evaluate an item’s value over time, to adequately value your collections.
- And third, the most common hurdle is whether you can tolerate letting items go when they no longer useful.
These are the 3 flow steps to move any organizing style forward. Little changes matter when organizing. So, when you take organizing style-specific actions consistently, you create flow in your environment.
What Can I Do About Disorganization?
I created the Time & Space Style Inventory™ to help you move toward self-acceptance and remove your own personal barriers to getting and staying organized! This tool not only identifies your natural organizing personality preferences but also evaluates your time management style preferences. And, it can help you work better with your disorganized spouse! Your results indicate your preferences and natural behaviors. Once you understand your own style preferences, you can use the information to design a project plan to get organized for life! Typically, it will take a bit longer than you think. But a personalized, style-specific road map makes it easier to get organized for life.
EMBRACE your natural organizing style to stay organized for life!
Make your space work for you rather than against you. The Time & Space Style Inventory and identify your time and space styles and enjoy your life. I created an online assessment tool that identifies natural organizing style preferences and time management style preferences. Knowing this key information about yourself will help you create a personalized road map to manage your time and space.
Get organized for life. To make your time and space work for you need to understand how you’re naturally wired up. Take the Time & Space Style Inventory to organize your space for life, so you have more time to enjoy it.
*In the study, one’s psychological home refers to the concept of “home” as a “vital source of meaning, belonging, and identity.”