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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.
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.
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.
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”.
How To Organize Your House Room By Room
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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