Let’s face it: No matter the type, we all need life hacks to help us keep it together and stay organized. However, we thought we’d zero in on Organic Structures for this post (don’t worry, we’ll have some goodies/life hacks for all you Smart Freedoms and Classic Funs in future).
Who Are Organic Structures? A Refresher
We like to classify Organic Structures in our book as ‘a landscaped English garden’. Now, English gardens are generally filled with flowers — a bower, if you will. A zen Japanese garden they are NOT. And yet, there is a symmetry and order to them that keeps them from looking unkempt. Organic Structures tend to organize in the same way, meaning that everything is out and visible (yes, they are pilers), but in an orderly and neat way. There is, for sure, a method to the madness of an Organic Structure. Some identifying traits of Organic Structures are:
- Piles. But straight piles, neat piles. OS’s use piles as a way to retrieve things, and as we all know, retrieval is the key to effective organization. They are actually an Organic Structure’s way of keeping things organized internally. By the same token, if an organic structure puts something out of sight (Classic Structure’s favorite pastime), they will forget about it almost immediately.
- Visual reminders. Organic Structures need to see things in order to know and remember that they exist and need to be dealt with. Hence the visible piles.
- Organic Structures love and need routine, but eschew rigidity. They operate within a boundary, but the boundary is not as close or tight as, say, a Classic Structure’s would be.
- Organic Structures have the gift of seeing the Big Picture and have a knack for prioritizing based on that.
- Organic Structures need both digital (phone) and analog calendars where they can write things down as well as enter them into a system.
Organic Structure Pitfalls
Let’s just clarify right here that there is nothing wrong with any of the types. We’re talking stumbling blocks, not character flaws. WIth an Organic Structure, the biggest challenges are holding onto things that should be either purged or stored, piling haphazardly, ignoring crucial details (maybe bc they misplaced a piece of paper that they needed) and overthinking potential organizational systems and getting overwhelmed by the whole thing. Also, if it’s hidden, it’s gone.
Organic Structure Solutions
Here is a list of things you can do as an Organic Structure to help clarify and classify — and essentially organize — your life. Ready?
- Get help: Purging can be an ugly business for Organic Structures, but it’s gotta be done (at least annually). Because OS’s put such a high priority on sentimental and non-sentimental items, this can be difficult if not impossible to do alone. Solicit help from a friend or professional organizer to aid in your efforts to streamline and keep that ‘neat’ look you’re so well-known for.
- Formalize/designate your piles: So you have piles. But there is an order to them — usually. And they are very, very straight. Great! But now it’s time to put the pile of opened bills into the home office, and the row of purses onto wall hooks (even if you need seven).
- Use transparent, labeled bins: The better to see and identify your piles, my dear.
- Get a ‘Later Box’: This is where you’ll keep all the sentimental and otherwise unsentimental items that you are holding onto. This box will be stored in the attic, most likely, and you will know that at any point, you can go and open the box and decide what to keep and what to toss — but that it doesn’t have to be done NOW. Hence the ‘Later’ part of the ‘Later Box’.
- Get an inbox tray: One that you can hang on the wall or put on your shelf in the dining room. Purge this — we mean, ‘go through this’— monthly.
- Limit your tupperware consumption: We know it depends on the size of the household, but honestly, you only need 10-15 tupperware containers at any time, on the average.
- Get a junk drawer: Put it in your kitchen. ONE.
- Categorize your collections: These are the things in your living room. Consider a gallery wall, if that plays into your aesthetic.
- Get hangers: Hang everything you can in your closet. If things are folded away in drawers, they will be forgotten. And if you’re a true Organic Structure, you’ll make sure that those hangers are matching! “No Wire Hangers”, as Joan Crawford famously said in ‘Mommy Dearest’.
Remember, as we say in our book: “You’ve Got to See it to Retrieve It”. This is perhaps the essence of learning how to live as an Organic Structure (organizationally, that is). And on that note, we’ll add one more life hack:
- Be a loud and proud Organic Structure. Take that pile of shoes and make a neat row of them. Hang up almost everything in your closet so you can easily see whatever’s there. Seeing is believing, and believing is the real life hack.