Occasionally when I go to a new client’s home, after I’ve walked in and seen what they are struggling with, that they ask me to tell them what to do. This is perfectly understandable; they’re frequently frustrated. They have tried to find a solution and have only called me because they’ve gotten overwhelmed and need that answer. Yet this is not the way I work. I cannot tell someone what the solution is; what I can do it talk about the options. In organizing, there are so many different ways of doing things.
I was trying to think of a comparison – one idea I came up with was the way we choose to handle our money. A good financial advisor is not going to tell you to invest in a high-risk stock without talking to you about your personality. My dad talks about how when he started investing, he got obsessed with checking the status – often several times a day. It became apparent to him that this was not the way he wanted to spend his energy. Nevertheless, there are many people who are comfortable investing without the need to check it compulsively.
Just like organizing – there are a variety of approaches to staying organized. It depends on your personality, your style. If you can find what you need, when you need it – it doesn’t matter how it’s done. Here are some examples:
- I think I’ve mentioned it before; I worked with a woman who used accordion folders for all her paperwork – the monthly one, with numbered slots for each day, which she used for the current month’s bills. Then once the month was finished, she moved the relevant things to a yearly folder with monthly tabs.
- A client had researched different ways of organizing papers and found one suggestion to break everything into 5 categories, and put your papers into one of those categories.
- In organizing media, you can subdivide into genres. I knew one woman who broke her CD’s into genres while others just alphabetize everything. And others who just throw everything onto the shelving.
- When I was working with a woman who needed periodic breaks when we were together, I started organizing her books during that time. As I presented different ideas about how it could be done, she loved the idea of little organization of them. The idea of going to one of the shelves and being surprised by what she found captured her imagination. She eventually decided to have some minimal organization since she was inadvertently buying duplicate books, so we broke her books by authors (not even including genre). This way she could easily see what she had by author and avoid getting those second copies.
- Organizing your closet by style of clothes – work, casual, and eveningwear – is another example. While others group by type – long sleeved, short sleeved, long dresses, short dresses, etc.
The list could on and on – I could have even expanded the examples within the specific item being dealt with; yet it all comes down to finding a way that makes sense to you. You need to be able to maintain it; you have to like it – it needs to fit your personality. It might be easier if there were ONE way to organize things, yet we’re all too different. Finding the system that works for you personally is the only way to make a difference in the long run. Discover the system that makes sense to you.