This week’s organizing tip begins with an anecdote. The place: a restaurant on Manhattan’s upper west side. The time: a muggy summer evening last week. The scenario: two dear friends from high school meeting up for the first time in several years. Before we’d had a chance to catch up and for me to tell him that I’m a professional organizer, a funny thing happened. We perused the drink menu for a moment and when the waitress came over to take our orders, my friend said, “this beer selection is not organized in a way that makes sense to me.” See, the beer menu was organized geographically, and he liked to view the options by type of beer. (having adopted sparkling rose as my official summer drink, this did not apply to me). My friend ended up with a beer he enjoyed, and when I asked him what he got, he said, “I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s from Maine.” This interaction reminded my of a book I have on my shelf, Organizing Outside the Box, which is all about how we can use our innate preferred learning styles to help us organize.
Today I’d like to give you a taste of what it means to use your learning style to guide you in creating an organized, functional, beautiful space for You. Below you’ll find tips for visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners, taken from my professional experience and the ultimate resource on the topic, Organizing Outside the Box by Hellen Buttigieg and Sari Brandes.
There is so much more to be said on this topic than what I was able to cover in this brief newsletter. If you’re interested in learning more, I’m highly suggest you pick up a copy of Organizing Outside the Box. It is a short read, but it will guide you to discover your learning preference and it’s packed with practical solutions, some of which you’ve already seen in this newsletter! Alternatively, feel free to shoot me an email with any questions you have about how this may apply to you and your space and how I can help you!
“Out of sight, out of mind”
-You like to have your belongings where you can see them.
-Two words for you:COLOR CODE. Visual learners remember by seeing. Designate colors for different categories and be consistent with them
-Opt for clear containers and open storage systems
-While you like to have everything out in the open, you need not have a cluttered space–use clear or shallow containers to corral and cluster like items.
-You may want to consider taking the doors off your cosets, using shelves rather than closed cabinets, and utilizing hooks and other wall organizers todisplay your items.
“Let’s keep it moving”
-You like to keep moving and may be easily distracted
-Embrace this natural tendency to be active-set your filing system slightly out of reach so you have to get up and put your calendar on a white board on the wall where you have to reachto add to it rather than your desk.
-When organizing, stay focused by having music on in the background, taking regular breaks, and standing up while you sort
-Opt for containers withfun textures, use sticky notes for bits of information so that you can transfer them easily.
-You may want to consider making organizing a game or challenge–a healthy reframe for an otherwise mundane task. Set a time, put some music on, and do as much as you can, then reward yourself.
“Don’t show me, tell me”
-You need to hear things to process them, seeing them is not enough
-Identify your optimal level of noise; do you need to cut out all background noises, or do you perhaps concentrate better with some music or white noise?
–Talk it out: when creating organizing systems (or after), discuss with someone to help your brain process. As you organize, tell yourself out loud where you’re putting things
–Sounds jog your memory, so use alarms or beeps to cue you for tasks
-Since you won’t be cued visually by colors, create logical systems, such as alphabetizing files
-Since you don’t need to see something to remember you have it, you can opt for systems that are tucked away inside non clear bins, and not out on surfaces like desktops and counters.