It’s hard for me to believe that the first kiddos I introduced to Organizing by STYLE are now seniors in college but, alas, that is the case. Back then, I set out to not only help them get organized, but to help them have faith in themselves as well.
Those goals have never changed.
When I retired and began teaching Organizing by STYLE in community education classes, I was pleased that my silly style names appealed to adult audiences, too. As it turns out, they needed the humor and low-key approach just as much as the kids did — maybe more. A lifetime of feeling like Plan B in a Type A world takes its toll. Despite studies that correlate disorder with creativity, adults who struggle with organization feel self-conscious and somehow flawed. And in a world where Type A organizers feel justified intruding into a co-worker’s space and tidying up, the feeling of being a second-class citizen is intensified.
Not everyone is a Type A organizer. More important, not everyone needs to be. If you can function effectively in your space, health and hygiene issues don’t arise as a result of clutter and you can find what you need when you need it, your organizational system is probably functioning just fine.
Aside from the tangible organizational choices we make — containers and locations for our stuff and planners and lists for our time — there are some non-tangible things that are important for all of us to keep in mind, regardless of our specific personal and organizational styles. We all need:
A plan that works for us. My husband swears by file cabinets. I think file cabinets are where old papers go to die. Clearly, his plan doesn’t work for me, nor does mine (open top file bins) work for him. As long as the plan works, allowing us easy access to our stuff and affording us the ability to find what we need when we need it, the specifics of the plan don’t really matter.
An appreciation of what works for us. Traditional tools (e.g. binders, file cabinets, pocket folders) don’t work for everyone, yet we often equate organization with traditional systems. Chasing after something that doesn’t work wastes time and money, and can leave us feeling a little like one of Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to squeeze into that coveted glass slipper. Why covet the traditional when there are so many other choices? Knowing what works and what doesn’t and choosing accordingly protects our time, our money and our confidence.
Patience with ourselves. Organization is a process, and one that can be painfully slow for some of us. The good news is that once you create a system that works for you, it becomes self-sustaining, and you can move on to the next organizational challenge. Some days, it feels as though all we’re doing is running from one pile to the next — and some days, we are. Be patient. Creating systems that work with your style (let alone transfer to family members with other styles) is time-consuming, but well worth it.
When we stop thinking of organization as a one-size-fits-all proposition and start honoring what comes naturally to us, organization can actually be — wait for it —
Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess