Have you made several attempts to get organized, but ended up frustrated and overwhelmed because you couldn’t keep it that way for very long? Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. And it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you either. It just may be that the techniques you tried were not a good fit for you.

Contrary to what many believe, the traditional techniques and systems for getting organized do not work for everyone. We are all wired differently. Trying to change yourself to adapt to a cookie-cutter approach will only drain your energy, since you’re going against your nature. You’ll be able to keep it up only for a short time before you fall back on your natural and familiar behavioural patterns. This often leads to a sense of failure and discouragement. But there is hope. The key to conquering clutter once and for all is to find solutions that fit your preferred learning style.

Learning styles are simply different ways of learning. There are 3 different learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. We all have overlapping styles but usually favour one. Visual learners learn by seeing, kinesthetic learners learn by doing and auditory learners learn by hearing. If you don’t know your learning style, you can determine it by taking the free online learning style quiz at: www.OrganizingOutsideTheBox.com

Our optimal organizing style stems from our preferred learning style. Information will have little meaning unless it is presented in a way that each individual can understand and remember. Asking an auditory learner to make a list of the things they have to do will seldom lead to completion of those tasks. But that technique would likely be very effective for the visual learner. Kinesthetic learners, because they like to keep moving, may prefer to write their to-do list on a large whiteboard and check items off as they complete them.

Here are some organizing solutions you can try based on your preferred learning style, from the book Organizing Outside the Box: Conquer Clutter Using Your Natural Learning Style:

If you are a visual learner:

•Store your files in rolling carts, literature sorters or crates. These are open at the top, giving you a clear view and easy access to the files you use regularly.

•Use clear plastic letter trays for inbox, outbox and papers to be filed; label the trays and keep them within view.

•Colour-code files, binders and bins to identify things quickly.

If you are an auditory learner:

•Use your cell phone or a small tape recorder to record daily tasks and appointments.

•Use sounds (alarms, timers) regularly as reminders to keep you on schedule.

•Close your email program or disable the email alert feature when working on important tasks that require your full attention.

If you are a kinesthetic learner:

•Stand at a counter rather than sit while sorting and filing paperwork.

•Position your filing cabinet a few steps away from your desk so you have to get up or roll your chair to reach it.

•Choose storage containers with textures that appeal to your sense of touch (wicker, canvas, leather).

If you’ve tried to get organized but it didn’t stick, it’s time to let go of past failures and start over again, with a clean slate. Once you determine your natural learning style and begin using organizing techniques that reflect it, organizing will get easier for you. And the results will last longer because you won’t have to change who you are to make them work. In addition, once you understand other people’s learning and organizing styles, you can use the techniques to help others in your life learn to organize themselves.

Author's Bio: 

Hellen Buttigieg, CPO®, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, life coach, TV Host, and speaker. She is the author of Organizing Outside the Box: Conquer Clutter Using Your Natural Learning Style. For tips on organizing your home, your office and your life, visit www.WeOrganizeU.com and sign up for a free monthly newsletter. Contact Hellen at 905-829-2219 or info@WeOrganizeU.com