You’ve organised your home, office or life and weeks or months later you are back to being disorganised.
You ask yourself what went wrong? The answer could be you didn't organise your space based on your personal needs or style. Often when we start organising our lives, we apply mainstream organising methods we see on television or read in popular organising books. While these methods can work for some people, they may however not work for others.
Because we all organise in different ways and applying a universal organising approach may not meet the needs of everyone. Living an organised life means finding an organising system that works for you. And this can mean trying different strategies until you find one that keeps you organised.
Now you might be wondering:
What other organising approaches can I try?
One approach is to organise based on your learning style.
Think about it:
If you learn and retain information in a certain way, chances are you can stay organised if you apply how you learn to how you organise. I’m going to share some tips on how you can organise your life based on your learning style.
What are Learning Styles?
Learning styles are theories that explain how people learn. There are many theories on how we learn, but for this blog, I will focus on a prevailing theory known as VAK learning styles.
What is VAK?
VAK suggest that there are three core learning styles:
1. Visual Learners
A visual learner will retain information better when it is presented in visual form, for example, in pictures, diagrams or charts. When assembling a new flat-pack TV unit a visual learner will most likely open the box, read the instructions, and then commence to put the unit together.
2. Auditory Learners
An auditory learner will learn best when they can listen to what is being presented. When assembling a new flat-pack TV unit an auditory learner may read the assemble instructions out loud or have someone explain to them how to put the unit together.
3. Kinesthetic Learner
A kinesthetic learner likes to touch or feel objects during the learning process. When assembling a new flat-pack TV unit, a kinesthetic learner will most likely open the box, disregard the instructions and jump straight in and start putting the unit together.
If you are unsure what learning style you are, google VAK learning styles to find an online self-assessment. Note, it ’s not uncommon for people to have more than one learning style; however, most people will be dominant in one.
Let's now get you organised based on your learning style.
Visual learners will benefit significantly from visual cues when organising which can be achieved in many ways.
Labels will make it easier for visual learners to identify where things need to go. Written labels work well but you can also use pictures, for instance, when organising financial records rather than labelling the file finances you could stick a picture of a dollar sign on the file. Or having a file with a photo of a house to store paperwork relating to home insurance, mortgage documents, bills etc. Using pictures may make it easier to identify the content in the file.
Don’t limit your creativity.
Visual learners may benefit from using open shelving rather than cupboards as storage. Open shelving allows a visual learner to quickly identify where items are as stuff isn't hidden behind doors. This will also make it easier to return things back to their correct location once items are no longer needed. A similar outcome can be achieved by removing doors from cupboards.
3. Storage Containers
Transparent storage containers can help visual learners to identify what is stored in them easily.
4. Using Colour
Allocating different colours to items can aid the organising process for visual learners. For instance, storing garden supplies in a green tub and pool cleaning products in a blue tub makes it easier to identify what’s in each tub as the colour is associated with the items contained in it.
Use colour sparingly as for some visual learners too much colour can become visually distracting.
Sound is essential for auditory learners and needs to be factored into the organising process if it is going to be successful.
How can sound be used when organising?
In a few ways:
1. During the Organising Process
Auditory learners should consider having music or background noise playing when organising. Background noise will help to retain the organising system implemented. Also having music playing while organising will make the process more enjoyable.
There is evidence to suggests that classical music (e.g. Mozart) can help with mental performance and aid in memory retention.
Also talking about the organising solutions with a family member, friend or professional organiser can also help to ensure that the organising systems are enforced and retained.
2. Recording Notes
Auditory learners may benefit from recording their to-do list or other notes rather than writing them down. Replaying recordings can help to retain information and keep the auditory learner on track with what they need to get done.
3. Using Alarms
Rather than writing reminders on post-it notes, auditory learners may find it helpful to use an alarm for essential reminders. For instance, setting the alarm for every Thursday at 6pm as a reminder to take the bins out. Also, some electronic calendars allow for sound notifications to be set up which act as a reminder that an event is coming up.
Kinesthetic learners will need a hands-on approach to organising which can be achieved in a few ways:
1. During the Organising Process
A kinesthetic learner will need to be actively involved in setting up their organising systems. They will most likely need to touch items they are organising as this will help them retain the organising solutions that have been implemented.
2. Organising by Association
A kinesthetic learner may benefit from storing items in the location they are used rather than where they should go. This approach will make it easier for a kinesthetic learner to quickly identify where things are or where they need to go as they are able to link the item to the action they are performing at the time. For instance, if a kinesthetic learner pays their bills in the kitchen, then the bills should be filed in the kitchen. This will make it easier for the kinesthetic learner to file their bills once they are paid as the file is located where the task was undertaken (the kitchen).
Organising your home based on how you learn may lead to better organising outcomes. While we all have one dominant learning style, we may also have preferences in others. So if you have tried organising your space based on your dominant learning style and it hasn’t worked, consider organising approaches from other learning styles.
The key to organising your home is test organising solutions until you find one that works for you. So don’t give up.
Let me know how you go organising your space based on your learning style. What are your challenges? If you need some support give me a call on 0401 149 185 (Australia residence only) or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how I can support you.
Blog cover photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.