Before you begin organizing, it can be useful to know how you engage with the world. That may sound odd, but it is an important factor. There are basically four modes – people, things, data and ideas. Your preference will determine an organizing style that can work for you.
If you enjoy People, then it will help to get support or help from people to get organized. In fact, it may be more difficult for you to get organized and stay engaged with the process unless there is social interaction. This could be working with a professional organizer, a friend or family member or a clutter buddy.
If you primarily enjoy working with Things, then you will probably like installing shelves or creating space suited for storage. You’ll approach organizing by how it looks and functions. Seeing it as a project with a beginning and an end product, an organized space, will be a motivator for you.
If you like Data, then it will probably be easy for you to organize papers and electronic files by categories. Paper probably doesn’t scare you and it may be easier for you to sort and purge.
If you like working with Ideas, then themes and meaning behind the organizing will likely be important to you. You will need the big picture as you set your goal for organizing and need to remind yourself of that when the organizing becomes tedious.
As you consider these four modes, you may feel you are strong in more than one of these. Even so, there will be one that predominates. You can test yourself by asking if you had a choice of what to do right now, which one would you engage with?