……..“I can see all obstacles in my way.” What do you see and how do you see? You have probably never pondered that thought much. Do you step back and take a broad scan of a new or existing environment or get in close to see the detail? Are your possessions displayed across many linear feet of open flat surfaces or neatly placed behind closed doors? Are they made up of treasures, projects, and papers that you are afraid to let out of sight for fear of forgetting about them, or do you naturally remember where you can find and retrieve each little widget that is stacked on every shelf and hidden in each cupboard. Take a look at the black and white image. Do you first see faces or vases? If you see one image within the picture, can you then also see the other? Let’s explore further what you may or may not “see” and what you may or may not realize about it.
Right Brain vs. Wrong Brain
Of course there is no such thing as a “wrong” brain. We are all individuals and have a variety of ways of learning and retaining new information and ideas. We each have a left and right side of our brain that may or may not be dominant in how we “see” and process what comes in and goes out. Left brain dominance typically means that we like structure and process “data” or “items” in a sequential, logical, and organized fashion while thinking “verbally.” Right brain dominance pertains to the opposite, processing many things at once in a global, creative, and holistic manner while thinking “visually.” An easier way to understand the concept may be to make an analogy to right-handed vs. left-handed individuals. Being dominant with one or the other is neither right nor wrong, just different, with different capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. You certainly know if you are right or left handed, but do you know if your brain is dominant on one side or the other based on the way you prefer to work and play…and organize? Pick a spot, any spot, in your home, and take a closer look at what you really “see” and feel or perhaps don’t see and feel. Pretend it is the first time that you have ever walked into that space. What do you see and sense first? The color of paint on the wall, the style of furniture, the stacks of papers or clothes, a cat toy on the floor, or do you imagine what might be hidden behind the closet doors? Just like in the faces/vases picture above, do you see the “faces” perspective of the room or the “vase” perspective of the room? Maybe it’s time to stop and analyze that perspective before you jump into, or give up on, an overdue organizing project.
Right Organizing vs. Wrong Organizing
There are a many ways to organize “right“ and even more to organize “wrong.” There are lots of tricks and methods to getting someone organized at work or home, and many preferred styles but the only “right” way is the one that naturally works the best for you and is the easiest for you to maintain. All others should be considered dead in the water. Forcing you to get and stay organized in a manner that doesn’t complement your right or left brain preference will soon have you in a state of chaos. Organizing styles seem to directly correlate to learning styles. Do you learn by seeing (visual), by listening (auditory), by touching (kinesthetic) or a combination of all three? If you can identify the one that you are naturally the best at, the easier it will be to start, complete and stay focused on and maintain an organized environment.
Right Feel vs. Wrong Feel
If you are surrounded by sense of clutter, disorganization, and generally can’t find most things that you are looking for, chances are you may have given up on trying to get and stay organized by some “one size fits all” solution. Just like a great outfit, you know when it feels right and looks good and it may take a bit of experimenting, “trying on” a few things and an alteration here and there before you get to what works right and feels perfect…for you. When a certain type of organization or system is a good fit, it will continue to work and you will have it around for years to come.
Right Space vs. Wrong Space
If you can now begin to recognize whether you are more right-brained or left-brained, you can begin to see how you may or may not deal with conquering clutter. If you do all of the right things to get organized based on the “right” style for you, you will still not be able to magically make a wrong space right. Having too much stuff, or no option for creating additional space, no matter what your organizing style or whichever side of your brain is cheering you on, you will not be able to force a square peg into a round hole. Make a plan to shave the square corners off of your excess “stuff” and the wrong space may just become the right space. As a designer, it is my job to know how to “space plan” a space and make it visually appealing for a client to live in with their belongings. As an organizer it is my job to help a client get that same space organized with easy access to the things that truly need to belong in that space. Only then will it be “right” and maintainable for you.
Seeing is Believing
Hopefully you have opened your eyes to seeing what is really all around you, by suggesting that you look
closer and with a new perspective, or stepping back and recognizing the bigger picture. Give your brain a test and put the strongest side to work for you instead of fighting with the weak side. Put that right or left brain in gear and surround yourself with the things and spaces and the organizing style that is right for you. My wish is that you will be able to “see” what’s in your spaces, recognize the way that you learn best; make those spaces organized, functional, and beautiful so that you will want to walk into them over and over again.
“………It’s gonna be a bright, bright sun shiny day!”
~ Cheryl Ford