Organizational DOs And DON’Ts For Each Type
We’ve gone over some specific organizational tips for each personality type in our book, but we haven’t written a DOs and DON’Ts article yet, and we thought it might be a handy thing to reference while getting your home organized. Of course, the first step is to figure out what personality type you are, so that you can then figure out the best ways to organize for you personally. The easiest way to do this is to take the Pixie Quiz on our website. That way, you’ll have a clear place to begin. Assuming you’ve done that and know your type, just what are some of our core suggestions for each? Read on and find out!
Classic Types (ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ)
If you’ve read our book or visited our website, specifically the Type description page, you know that Classic types are extremely organized naturally. They make lists, they label everything, they file consistently. In theory, they don’t need help getting organized. In reality, they struggle with things like delegating and being flexible and communicative about their organizational habits.
Here are some Classic DOs:
- DO keep a filing cabinet.
- DO store things in opaque bins with lids (you know exactly what is inside each bin).
- DO have kitchen cabinets (it is important for Classics to appear orderly).
- DO make written-out To Do lists.
- DO set up effective communication strategies for new household organizational systems.
- DO keep your home office as much like your work office as possible — only nicer.
- DO purge annually, as certain Classic types (ESFJ and ISFJ) have more trouble letting go of clutter than others.
- DO try and cohabit flexibly and work with other types who might not share your stringent views on clutter and organizational tactics.
Here are some Classic DON’Ts:
- DON’T put an organizational system into place in the home and expect everyone in the household to ‘catch on’ naturally.
- DON’T have open shelving in the kitchen.
- DON’T have a ‘great room’ that sacrifices a formal dining space.
- DON’T push extraneous clutter into various closets and other storage spaces merely to hide it from your view.
- DON’T have an entryway ‘inbox’ — seeing that paperwork build up day after day will drive you crazy.
Fun Types (ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP)
These types are experts at living in the moment —making them master improvisers and the friends you really need when you’re in a pinch. Their solutions, though often brilliant, need to feel inspired, so don’t expect regularity or routine from them, except for things that they are passionate about, or feel in the mood to address. Fun Structures (ESTP and ISTP) are more inclined to be conventionally organized than Fun Freedoms (ESFP and ISFP), but both types struggle with what they see as boring routines, and in order for things to get done, the routines need to be made into fun activities.
Here are some Fun DOs:
- DO organize when you feel inspired.
- DO file using an easy system.
- DO color code everything.
- DO schedule things flexibly so you don’t feel tied down or bored/routinized.
- DO purge when inspired to.
- DO carry your bills and other important paperwork in your briefcase or purse so that you can deal with it on the go and avoid losing things in a pile somewhere.
- DO use bins and pretty/cute labels.
Here are some Fun DON’Ts:
- DON’T keep a million purses and totes in your entryway closet: pare them down to five.
- DON’T keep your shoes (unless they are winter boots) in your entryway closet.
- DON’T try and make written To Do Lists. You’ll likely end up making a million different ones when the moment strikes you and then not be able to piece and parcel them all together into one coherent and cohesive list.
- DON’T use an industrial filing cabinet. Use accordion folders, a colorful cabinet, or another type of storage unit for your storage. Looking at an ugly filing cabinet will NOT inspire you to get those papers organized.
- DON’T hesitate to ask for help from neighbors or friends when it comes to purging. If you can make a fun experience out of an otherwise unpalatable activity, go for it!
Organic Types (ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, INFP)
These are, well, the free-flowing types. The creative, people-centric, rather than logic-driven individuals, who will keep a meaningful thank you letter on the fridge or in their desk for literally years before deciding to throw it out or put it into a Later Box (a box filled with things that all types are just not ready to part with completely, but can be stored away in an attic or garage).
Here are some Organic DOs:
- DO keep things out in the open. You have visual memories; you need to see things to remember them.
- DO have an open shelving plan in your kitchen.
- DO have a great room, where you can roam freely from one space to the next.
- DO solicit the help of friends or professional organizers when purging.
- DO have a Later Box (or two, or three…).
- DO use clear, translucent bins for your piles.
- DO use filing cabinets with restraint — mostly these are for paperwork you know you won’t need for another year or more.
Here are some Organic DON’Ts:
- DON’T keep a formal dining room — it would soon be overtaken by things that belong in the living space or home office.
- DON’T use traditional jewelry boxes — you’ll never wear jewelry if you do!
- DON’T use your bedroom closet drawers for anything but underwear and sleepwear.
- DON’T keep sentimental items in the kitchen.
- DON’T make To Do Lists. They will disappear into a pile and you’ll never see them again.
Smart Types (ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, INTP)
These types are inventors, visionaries, and strategic thinkers who have no problem seeing the big picture when it comes to interior decorating or just life in general! Smarts are quite analytical, although Smart Freedoms (ENTP and INTP) are less inclined to remember minutiae and more inclined to be busy scheming and dreaming up their next big (ad)venture. Smarts, like Organics, have visual memories and need to see things out in the open to remember them.
Here are some Smart DOs:
- DO keep things out in the open.
- DO make mental To Do lists.
- DO keep an E-Calendar, Daily Planner or whatever else helps you stay on top of the routine.
- DO remember that your perspective, though brilliant, is not always the best one.
- DO spruce up your living room with a collection of hidden and visible storage.
Here are some Smart DON’Ts:
- DON’T wait to throw unwanted or irrelevant things away, but do so in the moment.
- DON’T have a great room, but keep each room separate to serve its individual function.
- DON’T keep an opaque closed cabinet or hutch in the dining room. Instead, use one with glass doors that reveal your best china, neatly stacked.
- DON’T use bedroom closet drawers for anything but underwear.
- DON’T use under sink bathroom storage.
DO go easy on yourself. No matter what type you are, no one is doing life perfectly, even if the Martha Stewart Living magazines make it look that way.