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How To Organize The Home As A Visual Processor

By Jan 27, 2012 May 24th, 2015 18 Comments

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Did you know that how you process information best can help guide how your home should be organized? Well, it can! This piece provides tips how best to organize your home for people who are visual processors. It’s awesome!

Are You A Visual Processor?

We all have different methods of processing information, and most people fall under the categories of visual, auditory or tactile.

You are a predominantly visual processor if:

  • You need to write things down to understand and remember them.
  • You need to see the other person when you talk to them, so you’re probably not a fan of telephone conversations.
  • When you forget how to spell a word, you write down all possible variations and pick the one that looks least weird.
  • You can’t concentrate if the environment is noisy.
  • When meeting new people you notice their appearance rather than their speaking style, what they are doing or even their name.
  • You prefer to read silently rather than out loud or having someone read to you.
  • You prefer tutorials with images.
  • When jotting down driving instructions you prefer to a drawn and not spoken instructions.
  • When waiting, you occupy yourself with looking around or reading rather that talking, listening, pacing around or fidgeting.

Wondering how to organize your house? These tips will help! Visual processors work best in specific environments. Applying these principles to your house and your organization techniques will help you to create a space that is perfect for you.

Organizing for the Visual Processor

If you are a visual processor, you might be “leaving things out” as visual reminders. However, only so much stuff can lie on surfaces before you get irritated by the mess or stop seeing it altogether.

A visual processor myself, I have spent the last 5 years learning or organise my home so that it works for me and makes me happy. Most of these are also useful for persons with ADD and ADHD, since they too tend to get distracted by too much going on.

Decluttering

This is the most important step! Most visual processors are happiest when their home doesn’t hold more than they can easily process visually. Start out by throwing out a thing everyday. The reclaimed space is often more valuable than the item. Set up a donation box that will go to charity when it’s full. I put out mine on the curb and usually within a few hours it’s empty. This cuts down the guilt of getting rid of “perfectly good stuff”.

Open vs hidden storage space

This is a topic open for debate. Many visual people need to have everything on open shelving. Personally I only keep books, décor and containers on open shelves, otherwise the mess that
accumulates there would drive me crazy. The unpretty stuff goes behind doors. With closed storage it’s important to keep it uncluttered – anything that lurks at the back of cabinets should probably leave.

Containing the mess

Containers will cut down the number of stuff your brain has to process (sixteen cookie cutters become one thing when inside a labeled box). See-through containers work only for hidden storage; otherwise they add to the sense of mess. For open shelving go for pretty opaque storage.

Labeling stuff

Many visual processors don’t remember what’s inside containers if they can’t see it, so labeling is key. Make sure the labels are pretty – if you don’t like your handwriting print them out or use a label maker. Personally I prefer chalkboard labels since I’m always moving content around. Also, colour-coding does wonders for many visual processors.

Keeping surfaces clear

Having horizontal surfaces empty makes the works spaces inviting to visual processors. If you can’t resist the temptation of leaving stuff on them, it probably means the stuff doesn’t have a proper “home” (which needs to be found, asap). Make a habit of clearing surfaces at the end of the day.

Keeping it aesthetic

As a visual processor I feel serene when surrounded with objects that are pleasing to the eye. Pretty things are more “visible” to me and I tend to use them more, while ugly things often visually “disappear”.

Bead Palette

Photo Credit: Mollycakes

How To Organize Your House Room By Room

  1. In the wardrobe:
    As a visual processor you need to have everything on display plus breathing room, so rotating the wardrobe seasonally is the way to go. Inside the wardrobe organise like with like. Customizable wardrobes work wonders here (I can’t recommend Ikea Pax enough, even though I couldn’t afford the doors) since they allow you to organise your clothes in a way that makes most sense to you.
  2. In the kitchen:
    Divide your kitchen into action areas: every kitchen should have a food storage zone, preparation zone, serving zone and cleaning zone. Now think of other activities that happen frequently in your kitchen which are associated with a bunch of products and appliances. Create a small zone or station for them: a hot drink station, a baking station, and a kids station are just some ideas. I have a smoothie station which is centered around my blender and superfoods.
  3. In the bathroom:
    Pare down your beauty products. Buy new ones only when you’re done with the old. Resist the temptation of a different kind of cream for every part of your body: a body moisturiser is good enough for the hands and feet too. When products can be shared, have just one for your family instead of three each (toothpaste, shower gel).
  4. The home office:
    Go paper-free when possible. Our home has an offline wiki where a lot of information gets stored. For papers you do need to keep, set up a folder system: clearly labelled folders so that each paper has an obvious home. For scheduling, Google calendar works better than wall calendars, since the latter usually get too cluttered.
  5. Going out station
    I have a shelf near the front door for everything we need to grab while leaving: water bottles, my keep cup, kids’ backpacks, tissues, reusable shopping bags and more, most in labeled containers. My handbag and a stuff that is headed out of the door in the near future – all has its space. This streamlines the entire process of leaving the home, as the items and containers serve as visual reminders of what I need to take with me.
  6. In the cellar / attic:
    These are less frequently visited so zones are very important, otherwise you’ll never remember where anything is. Arrange your stuff into broad categories such as: out-of-season clothes, kids stuff, car / bike stuff, unused decorations, etc. Assign a space for each. Open shelving and containers work great here, labeled of course.

Are you a visual processor? Do share your tips!

About the Author: Eternal*Voyageur
Eternal*Voyageur writes at Venusian*Glow, where she shares DIY skin care experiments, how she got her dream hair and everything about breaking out of the bra matrix. When she’s not blogging she hoop-dances, thrifts and backpacks with two little people. You can find Eternal*Voyageur on Twitter @eternalvoyageur and Facebook.

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18 Comments

  • Linda says:

    I usually look on to my husband’s. He is so good at dealing decorations. Me? I am good at cooking. He knows what I like and surprises me with good designs.

  • Cynthia says:

    After reading your list, I am convinced I am a visual processor. I suspected it for awhile as I cannot process directions over the phone. Thank goodness for Google maps and GPS or I would spend my whole life lost.

    Great tips – I’m now off to clean my bathroom make-up drawer. It’s a visual disaster!

  • I realized a few years ago that I’m a visual processor. Visual clutter makes me CRAZY!

    A few years ago I organized all my kids’ toys in clear tubs. I purposefully bought see through containers so we’d know what was in them. But every time I went in the basement the wall of tubs just felt like clutter to me. A few weeks ago I made simple labels for all of the tubs and suddenly the wall of tubs looks organized. It’s amazing how a simple thing like labels can visually change how you see a room.

  • Adrian says:

    It was funny going through that list. I kept going yes, yes, and yes to everything. In fact you described me to a T! So I guess I am a very visual person. Good tips!

  • Jenn says:

    It’s getting to the decluttering that’s the hard part. Every six months or so I go moggy and throw out everything… but it’s all back in three months! And the having to start over every time gets to me, so inevitably I have a grumpy husband (who is a less is more kinda guy). I’m also a less is more type…but I can’t seem to get to the less bit.

  • mona says:

    this is absolutely me..my craft room has stuff all over it in piles so I can ‘see’ it..but now there is no room to do anything..it seems like one day I will be able to get a grip on this..but if it out of sight, I usually forget it..and when I find it again, it is like a whole NEW thing..and I am not a spring chicken here….my house is not really dirty but I am so visual that I get overloaded with all of the things I am bringing out to ‘see’ on any given day…maybe there is hope for me. 🙂 I will keep reading the comments..

  • Jenn Staz says:

    This is totally me! People think I’m crazy when I get easily frustrated when there’s a lot of background noise, or when things are really messy. I’m glad I’m not alone!

  • I am going to begin using a container for all the items that need to go out the door! I love that tip.

  • Barb says:

    Oh my gosh, this so describes me! Thanks for the insight and tips.

  • Kimmie says:

    Wow! Excellent tips. I didn’t realize I was a visual processor until I read this post. A lot of the suggestions I’ve already put into practice as I am a virgo as well. Slightly OCD, so if I see something out of place, it goes right back to it’s “home”.

  • I’m a visual processor who is destined to be unhappy due to her terrible piling tendencies. 🙁
    Good insights!

  • Melissa says:

    I’m a very visual person — I simply think better when I’m somewhere I like looking at. And though I do have containers (love containers), most aren’t labeled. I like your idea of making sure the labels are pretty!

  • Declutter- I need that for my emai over 3500 UGH I dread going through them all .

    I tell my husband that cleaning is not my gift LOL. He’s starting to believe me

  • Life As Wife says:

    Oly crap! I’m a visual processor. It all makes sense now!

  • This is true about me- I have LONG known this about myself but I still struggle with piples of things around my house. My craft area is more like a craft heap right now. Ugh.

  • I had no idea I was one of these people! Explains a lot!

  • This must be why my husband needs things all over the counters.