As a child and young adult, I loved to look at beautiful organized spaces and imagine having spaces like those. But it felt like an unobtainable dream, because I was perpetually disorganized. I could not get my spaces to look like those you find in magazines or on Pinterest. Then, on day, I found out that all I needed to become organized was to know my organizing style. Not everyone organizes the same way, and chances are you live with someone who organizes differently than you.
Discovering my organizing style has had the biggest affect on my life (besides joining the church, getting married, and starting a family anyway. Now my home and spaces can look beautiful and organized. I just have to organize them in a way that works for me! Not only have I been journeying to becoming organized, I have also been taking a course to become a Certified Organizational Specialist. And now I am one! With this certification I am hoping to be able to help you all more in your journeys of family life. Soon I will have online organization consultations available from the ByzShop, so be sure to check back in the new year!
Most people struggle with organization or some kind of clutter problem. There are plenty of organizational systems and books out there. But the problem is these systems are mainly geared to detail-oriented people who like visual minimalism. These systems don’t work for everyone, and maybe they don’t work for you. And unless you are living alone, there are probably other people in your house with a different organizing style.
There are four main organizing styles, and you may find that you fall somewhere in between two of the styles. Or perhaps you prefer one style for your workspace and another for your living room. Either way, knowing what your style is and how to organize in a way that works for you will transform your home and your life.
Style One: Simple Minimalism –
This style involves fast and easy to use organizing systems that provide minimal visual stimulation. This person will prefer to take the time to search a basket to find things rather than taking the time to put something in the exact spot or putting a lid back on. If your home looks tidy but your drawers and closets are a mess you probably fit with this style.
Style Two: Simple Visual –
This style also involves fast and easy organizing systems but these systems need to be visual and will fail if things are going not out of sight. This person will prefer to take the time to search a basket to find things rather than taking the time to put something in the exact spot or putting a lid back on. If you are afraid to put things away because you worry you’ll forget them you may fit with this style, or the next one!
Quick confession: this one is my style. I love to see my things, and have my favourite colour (green) everywhere in my home. Since discovering my organizing style we’ve gotten me clear bins to put “out of season” items away, but so I can still see them, and I love to be able to look at my decorative items throughout the year, even when I can’t have it on display.
Style Three: Detailed Visual –
This style also uses visual organizing systems, but are more detailed than in the Simple Visual style. This person will prefer to take the time to put something in the exact right spot and put lids on, rather than spending time looking for what they need later.
Style Four: Detailed Minimalism –
This style involves detailed organizing systems that are generally out of sight. This person will prefer to take the time to put something in the exact right spot and put lids on, rather than spending time looking for what they need later. If you have no trouble using an organizing system when you’ve taken the time to set it up, you likely fit in with this style.
Tips to Get You Started
The Prep Stage: Sorting and Purging
1. Pick a room to get started in. I recommend either the master bedroom (because it is the first place you see when you get up in the morning and last before going to bed) or bathroom (because it is small and will give you the confidence to keep going.
2. Get three bins/baskets together. And a large garbage bag. Label one Donate, one Keep (in this room or near), and one For Other Rooms. The garbage bag is for garbage. Then go through the drawers, closets, shelves, etc in the room and sort things into the three bins. Toss any old, expired, empty, or other garbage into the bag as you go. If you don’t have a lot of time for organizing. Do this part in 15 minute chunks. But you’ll be surprised at how much you can get done in 15 minutes.
3. Remove the garbage and donate piles from your space, and move them where they need to go accordingly. Then take the “belongs in other rooms bin” and if you have the time move those items to those spaces now. If you don’t, move the contents to another location and give yourself 15 minutes another time to deal with those items.
4. Now you are quite possibly left with 1/4 of the stuff you had in the room this far. If you didn’t purge quite that much don’t worry, you can go back and make more decisions later.
Your Style Stage
Now comes the fun part! Making homes for the items you’re keeping. How you do this is going to depend on which organizing style suits you best. Another thing to keep in mind is anyone who is using this space with you. For example, you are a simple visual organizer and you share a bathroom with a simple minimalism organizer you are going to want to opt out of using clear bins and baskets, and use large labels as a visual signal to your mind instead. Or, if you are a detailed minimalism organizer and you live with a simple minimalism organizer, you can put the stuff you use away in a micro-organized system. But have the stuff your spouse uses put away in macro-systems, like a basket for face care products used in the morning, which can be taken out and put back in the cupboard quickly and easily. When you have to combine styles, always default to macro systems if there is a simple organizer in the group. Also be sure to include large labels if there is a visual organizer in the group. If you have children who are too young to read, they are probably simple visual organizers for the time being. You can use picture labels instead of words for them, and clear bins and baskets work well.
Because each style has different individual organizing solutions, in going to go through how you can make a space work for each individual style. For the sake of this exercise I’m going to pretend we are working in a bathroom, with just one person using it. You can use my tips for combining styles above. And remember, you only need to combine styles with items that more than one person uses.
The Simple Minimalist becomes Organized
When putting things away you’ll want to make the most of cupboard and behind mirror space. Use baskets inside the cupboard to hold like items. This will increase your storage potential. Keep this macro organized. You may want to have one for makeup, one for extra toothbrushes, soaps, and toothpastes, and one for for hair care items including brushes, combs, and other hair products. Because you like minimal visual stimulation, you probably want to pick baskets with a simple colour scheme. Pretty baskets or baskets that match throughout your house work lovely. You can also use these baskets on open shelving to help your home look uniform.
Finally, putting labels on these baskets will make it more likely you’ll put things away in them.
Drawer dividers may work for you as long as they aren’t sorted in a way which is too detailed. Leave bins and baskets open (no lids) and put things away where they are easily accessed. A Pinterest example of this style can be found for a pantry in this image: https://pin.it/tusaahc3wgnpo3.
The Simple Visual Organization Style
You’ll want to get a lot of clear bins. Have clear baskets behind any cupboards, but only put items like extra toothbrushes, unopened soaps, or things you use less than once a week behind the closed doors. Or just take the doors off the cupboard to maximize visual shelf space. You can have clear baskets or baskets in your favourite colour for the open shelves. Sort your items into macro categories, like makeup, hair care, or face cloths. When you’ve assigned these categories to baskets, add large labels as an extra visual cue for where things go. Make sure to leave lids off baskets and bins.
Adding a vertical organizer behind the door could add more visual storage to your bathroom. If you own your home, install hooks and open shelving wherever possible. If you rent, 3mm hooks work well even for heavy items like coats. Over the door hooks are also great. A Pinterest example of this style can be found for a pantry in this image: https://pin.it/k7vm3chypajxsl.
Become Organized with the Detailed Visual Style
If you haven’t got a lot of time, start with macro systems as described for the Simple Visual Style. When you have more time you can go back and micro organize theses spaces, and it will take less time to do so. You’ll want to get things like clear tool sorter kits or sewing kit containers for sorting small items such as makeup. You could get a tiered spice rack to shelve your hair care products, and use a shower caddy or kitchen drawer caddy to hang your brushes and combs from. Or put a 3m hook up on the wall. Clear bins, jars, or other containers work best for you. But you’ll also do well with colour coded systems and pretty bins. Add large pretty labels to your containers.
Like with the Simple Visual organizer, you also may want to take the doors off the cupboard so you can see your items. A vertical over the door organized will also work well for you, as well as peg board organizers. When organizing your main investments should be in open shelving and hooks. These are just the best choice for your style. You can use bookshelves to store more than just books! A Pinterest example of this style can be found for a pantry in this image: https://pin.it/d6ohd4yknxeqvh.
Detailed Minimalism Organizing Solutions
if you haven’t got a lot of time to set up the perfect micro system you’d like, start with the macro systems suggested for the simple minimalism style. It will save you time later when you do go to micro organize because things will already be sorted. You’ll want to get stack-able bins and boxes. When you organize you can keep the lids on! Also when selecting bins you probably want to go with a monochrome colour scheme to help minimize visual clutter for you. Or selecting one accent colour for each room. Like with the detailed visual organizer, you may be able to use micro sorting containers for your makeup or other small items, and store then behind a cupboard door.
One thing you can do to help yourself stay organized is to have an open bin or basket for new things coming in to go. That way it has a temporary home for before you have the chance to organize and put away the pile, that isn’t just clutter on the counter. Solid containers, drawer dividers, small labels, and closed storage all work well for you. Finally, while you can probably remember where things go without labels, it is good to add them anyway. In case someone else comes and uses your system. It isn’t always obvious where things go to someone who didn’t set a system up. A Pinterest example of this style can be found for a pantry in this image: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/233483561915115595/. Check out the Simple Minimalism pin as well, as I think that is a better image. Just imagine it being more detailed and that is your style!
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in reading my article on Developing a Rule of Life. Don’t forget to share this post to social media and pin it on Pinterest so you can find it again later!