Know Your Organizing Style Preference

Different strokes for different folks!

It’s a cliche that rings true in the area of organization.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution for your organizational needs.  It’s important to know your organizing style preference. Take, for example, dealing with the paper in your space.  There are three categories of clients when it comes to those who struggle with paper – The Pilot, the Crop Duster, and the Flight Attendant.



  • The Pilot: This person loves to “pile it” (that’s why I call them a pilot), leaving ‘Everything Out’ in the open. In their home or office you will find papers stacked vertically. They may be stacked neatly or haphazardly but they are piles nonetheless. These pilots will often say that they know exactly where everything is and they’re right… it’s in a pile! Are they really comfortable organizing this way? The answer is yes.
  • no prescription needed neurontin The Crop Duster: This person has it all spread out.  Just like a little crop duster, making sure to cover every nook and cranny. Every horizontal surface is covered with papers.  When the crop duster person begins to think about getting organized with file folders, they are instantly overwhelmed. Their brain tells them “out of sight is out of mind” so having everything visual is a comfort that allows them to feel more in control. They have an ‘Everything Out’ organizational style.
  • The Flight Attendant: Visualize the flight attendant on a plane – you walk onto a plane, they have everything neat as a pin and are smiling brightly. But they have a secret place, a closet of sorts. There, all of the tools for their job are hidden away – the beverage cart, coffee carafes, garbage bins, magazines, and the like.  A person who organizes like a flight attendant has neat and orderly files and likes everything put away in a file cabinet, out of sight. They are of the ‘Nothing Out’ style preference.

As a professional organizing coach, it’s critical to understand a client’s dominant organizational style preference. This is the basis from which to build systems that will not just address the client’s problem areas, but allow them to work within the bounds of their own style.

More Examples of Organizational Style Preferences:

Everything Out vs. Nothing Outclean desk

There was a case study presented in which a small business owner, who had a team of twenty salespeople, imposed his ‘Nothing Out’ style as a company mandate. Although he was clearly intending to be helpful, his solution was a one-size-fits-all – that really just fit him. He insisted that everyone have a clear desk by the end of the day. He believed that by doing so, this would eliminate visible mess, enhance sales, and increase the sales teams’ productivity because it would save time each morning, allowing them to get right to work. Unfortunately, his ‘Nothing Out’ solution did not take into account the needs of his ‘Everything Out’ employees. They, in turn, panicked when they had to stash everything away at night. Not only did it add stress, but these employees actually LOST time each morning by having to reset, look for items and re-establish their own workable systems.

If ‘Nothing Outs’ had to abide by a company mandate of ‘Everything Out’, it would diminish their productivity and  would experience the same loss-of-control issues if the situation was reversed

Minimalists vs. Savers

Minimalists like to feel streamlined while Savers like to, you guessed it, save. Those with a dominant Minimalist style preference love the challenge of purging because they don’t have as much sentiment invested in their belongings as Savers do. One of the key behaviors that differentiates a Saver from a Minimalist is found in how one assigns value to belongings, and this determines whether a person keeps or is willing to let go of items.

In another case study,  a Saver client, Doreen, was cleaning out a file cabinet when she came to the rear of the bottom drawer. She suddenly sat back and got quiet. Doreen then explained that those folders were related to a business that she had wanted to start a number of years ago and never followed through on. It was clear that these papers represented of a road not taken — one strewn with regrets and guilt. She needed to process those feelings before making decisions about those files.

Straighteners vs. No Rules

Straighteners and No Rules style preferences are very opposite. Appearance is often more important to Straighteners than function, which can be aggravating (and often even invisible) to No Rules personalities who can seem oblivious to how things look.

In this case study, a mother, Mandy, and her 14 year old son, Zak, constantly argued about the way their house was managed. Mandy was a Straightener and needed things to look orderly and Zak…, well he was No Rules all the way (and a teenager after all).  A great compromise in this situation needed to take place. It’s important for individuals to believe that they have some control over their personal/private space. In this case Zak’s bedroom was his personal space. A compromise was reached and Zak agreed to clean his room once a week but kept his door closed so that he could express his style preference the rest of the week. They also agreed to keep the rest of house maintained at a certain level of cleanliness and order so that Mandy could feel confident comfortable, in control, and have peace of mind.

To find out your style preferences, go to:


evaluates your time style preferences and how you manage priorities, attend to details, and take action. By learning your dominant and strong style preferences, you can learn to make the most of your time and choose to take actions that increase natural flow in your life which in turn will help you successfully manage yourself, and your decisions about time. I invite you to take the TSSI and let’s talk about your next action steps, based on your unique results!

Share What Works For You In The Comments!

  • What about these style preferences resonates for you?
  • Do you have any examples, tricks or techniques to share of your own?

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