Every walk into a room where every surface is clear and think “Wow, he/she sure is organized”? You might be wrong.
Many people think that being organized means having a tidy space, where there is no visible clutter as far as the eye can see. The reality is, how things look frequently has nothing to do with the actual state of affairs. The true definition of “organized” is being able to find what you need, when you need it. How you set establish this system is a matter of personal choice.
Generally speaking, there are two types of people: everything “in” people and everything “out” people.
Everything “in” people prefer a clean, tidy space. Their counters are usually empty, their desks have only the bare bones supplies, and their décor is typically minimal.
Everything “out” people like having their stuff out where they can see it. Their offices have piles on the floor and surfaces, their homes are filled with decorations, and their surfaces are frequently covered.
Many assume that everything “in” people are organized and everything “out” people are not, but this is simply not true. For example, open a drawer in the office of an everything “in” person and you might find a mess of crammed items. It isn’t visible, so the clutter isn’t bothersome. In contrast, a close look at the piles of an everything “out” person may reveal an orderly, up to date system of paperwork.
The reality is that both personality types can be totally organized or in total chaos. You probably have a natural personality inclination, and it is perfectly fine to be either way. The key is to make sure that regardless of which environment you prefer, you strive to keep it organized.
If you are an everything “in” person:
- Resist the urge to shove items into a drawer or closet just to get them out of sight.
- Establish order in your internal spaces (drawer organizers, hooks, filing)
- Periodically empty internal spaces, review contents, and restore order
If you are an everything “out” person:
- Resist the urge to put items down randomly
- Establish a “home”, even if it is out, for all your belongings
- Consider making better use of internal spaces for items you don’t access daily
While we may have different preferences for where and how we work, we all need a system that maximizes our efficiency. Knowing your own proclivities will help you develop a strategy that is sustainable and comfortable.
Which type are you?