STYLE Savvy: Functional Does Not Mean Boring

"STYLE Savvy: Functional does not mean boring" by Lisa Hess (

Via Pixabay (2017), CC0 Public Domain

When it comes to organizing, there’s STYLE, and then there’s style. The first one is a process, one that takes personal styles (I need to see it, I love stuff and I love to be busy) and organizational styles (cram and jam, drop and run, I know I put it somewhere) into account. The second refers to a certain flair, one that takes organizing from mundane to interesting and fun.

In last week’s post, I touted the importance of the second kind of style — the one whose partners are form and function. Starting next week, I’m going to dig into STYLE one letter at a time, but this week, I wanted to share a few simple ideas for bringing a little flair to your organizational process, while still keeping it functional.

  • Add a pop of color, a coordinating pattern or a hint of texture. Color, pattern and texture are functional staples for those with an I need to see it personal style and they can be used to brighten up a space as well. Just as a throw pillow adds life to a neutral sofa, a bright or patterned container can be more than just a place to keep things. The addition of colorful, patterned or textured containers to a space can also be helpful for those with the I know I put it somewhere organizational style, providing them with a visual reminder of which somewhere serves as storage for which things.
  • Keep it neutral. Color is great, but sometimes we want our storage to blend into its surroundings. Perhaps the colors in the space are loud enough, the patterns busy enough or the texture a key feature in the furnishings. In these cases, choosing organizers that blend may be a more stylish option. If monochromatic and neutral don’t work for your personal and/or organizational styles, look for other ways to distinguish what goes where. Labels (a visual reminder of what’s inside the container) and location (keeping all similar items in a set of containers that go together and are stored together) can be helpful for folks with an I need to see it personal style or an I know I put it somewhere organizational style, and these same strategies play right into the strengths of those with a cram and jam or drop and run organizational style. No matter the style, minimizing the number of steps involved is key to the success of the organizational system.
  • Make it unique. One-of-a-kind containers are not only great additions to a room, but also great visual reminders. A strong argument against the idea that storage has to be utilitarian, their visual appeal contributes to one form of style, while their visibility is a key element in organizing by STYLE. Unique, distinct or unusual boxes, baskets and bins can dress up the concepts of open storage, one-step storage and visual attention-grabbing that underlie the organizational styles and look good doing it.
If you keep these concepts in mind when setting up or revamping your organizational systems, there will never be a need for one kind of STYLE to run roughshod over the other.

Copyright 2017 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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