What’s Your Organizing Style?

How come your home and office are still cluttered when you’ve spent months reading self-help books and buying snazzy containers? Maybe what you need are suggestions that match your personality.

See how you match up with these 4 typical housekeeping scenarios. Knowing your style will help you create a system that works for you.

Keeping Stuff on View

You probably pin your dry cleaning slips to the wall over your desk so you’ll remember to pick up your shirts. Where others see messy piles, you see strategic triggers that keep you on top of your responsibilities.

1. Straighten up. If putting things away seems stressful, focus on making your space look neat. Fold your clothes or hang them in the same direction. Arrange items on shelves instead of the floor.

2. Use see-through containers. Clear boxes will let you spot your gloves or kitchen utensils instantly while holding small items in one place. You’ll even be able to find your summer or winter clothing as soon as the weather changes.

3. Find alternatives. There are other ways to prompt your memory besides keeping broken appliances in the back seat of your car. Use computer pop-ups and calendars or write out an old-fashioned list of tasks.

Keeping Stuff Out of Sight

You believe that a tidy environment contributes to your peace of mind. You’re the type who cleans off your desk each evening before going home.

1. Design a system. Your pristine surroundings may look organized, but there could be chaos behind the scenes. There’s a difference between storing things in logical places and throwing them in a junk drawer.

2. Blend in. You might prefer storage solutions that look good. Consider hollow ottomans and vintage chests.

3. Review frequently. It’s easy to forget about what’s accumulating in the garage or attic. Label and date boxes for future disposal.

Keeping Lots of Stuff

Whether you’re sentimental or frugal, you prize your possessions, even if you’re not sure where you put them. You’re likely to still have your first teddy bear and an assortment of hardware left over from years of home improvement projects.

1. Reduce consumption. If you have trouble letting go, you may want to cut off the supply at the source. Buy only what you need. Take a walk when you’re tempted to shop online.

2. Weigh costs. In addition to the original price tag, most goods require time and money to maintain. Imagine what you could do with those extra hours and dollars.

3. Reach out. If you’re struggling to cut back, ask a loved one or a professional counselor for help. Assistance with emotional issues or practical techniques could provide the breakthrough you’re hoping for.

Keeping Minimal Stuff

Your priorities are clear. You value experiences more than material things. You’d rather climb mountains than sort laundry.

1. Keep it simple. There’s no need to bog yourself down with complicated procedures if you’ve already streamlined your life. Taking care of your valuables and putting them back in their place may be all you require.

2. Accommodate others. On the other hand, your spouse or other members of your household may have different habits. Be tolerant if your loved ones think their high school book reports might come in handy someday. Ask before you donate their old sports equipment to charity drives.

3. Enjoy your freedom. Rather than requiring sacrifice, studies show that voluntary simplicity can enhance your mental and physical health. Relish the increased satisfaction that comes along with scaling back.

Organize your stuff with choices that leverage your unique strengths. You’ll be more likely to succeed with a routine that feels natural.