STYLE Savvy: Standing on the Line


After being contained into submission not so long ago, they’re back. The bane of my I need to see it personal style.

The piles.

They have homes — good ones. Simple ones.

Clearly, not simple enough.

Too many papers, too little time, and too many deadlines have crashed headlong into one another. And the result isn’t pretty.

As someone with an I need to see it personal style, piles are my default. In moderation, they can actually be helpful, prompting me to take action. The trouble is, the line between moderation and visual overload can be very fine indeed. In fact, I often don’t see the line until I’ve crossed over it.

In the middle of writing this post, I stopped, got up, and tackled the piles — or the ones in this room, anyway. The clear space on the table now far outpaces the one small stack of items I’ve left out for tomorrow’s class. I still have just as much to do, but the sense of relief is palpable, even though a couple of the piles have migrated to the sofa where I am sitting so that I can organize them before putting them where they belong.

For many of us, our default styles were an obstacle for a long time before we started organizing by STYLE. Pressed into service, these personal and organizational styles can be useful, but it’s also easy for us to cross the line and fall into old (bad) habits. Often, the first clue we get that we’ve crossed the line is a sense of being overwhelmed. When that happens, it’s time to take charge and make sure our styles are working for us instead of against us.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have a few piles to attend to. I need to show them who’s boss.

"Standing on the line" by Lisa Hess (

Image credit: (2017), CC0 Public Domain

Copyright 2018 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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