Those of you with an “out of sight out of mind” personality type know how difficult it can be to get organized. Since you tend to focus on the things you can see, anything you can’t see is easily forgotten – or pretty much non-existent! This can lead to unpaid bills, missing appointments, or forgetting where your most important items are.
Although we all experience this from time to time, in some people it is much more severe, and greatly limits their ability to organize themselves. I have been a long-time sufferer of this problem and after years of trial and error I have finally come up with the best tips to help me stay organized and productive.
Use bins and containers that are clear or have windows
People with “out of sight, out of mind” personality types should always choose storage options that are clear or have windows. This type of design makes it easy to see what’s inside so your items are never out of your sight.
And luckily, there are tons of beautiful options to choose from. Personally, I’m a big fan of the storage cubes from Thirty-One Gifts (in the pic above) but Amazon offers several different styles that are much cheaper.
Changing to storage options that you see through may seem like a simple change, but it really helps! In the picture above you can see some of the desk accessories I’m currently using in my office. Just by making my files more visible, the amount of filing I do has increased, leading to less paper clutter.
Arrange your items for visibility and accessibility
All of your most important (and frequently used) items should be arranged so that they are eye-level and easily accessible. Just think about the way supermarkets are designed. There’s a reason that the most expensive items are often eye-level. This is the spot you always see first and its location makes it easy to reach.
So items you use frequently or wish to remember more often should be stored at eye level within your home. If you find yourself lacking space in this area, try making use of your walls by adding floating shelves or a bulletin board. You can also utilize shelf risers or tiered organizers to create more room on desks, shelves, or in cabinets.
Create triggers to remind yourself to perform certain actions
A trigger (or reminder) is anything that causes us to perform an action. Some triggers like hunger, for example, occur automatically and don’t require any man-made reminders. Unfortunately, most of what we do during the day is not instinctive, so we have to create our own reminders using things like alarms, to-do lists, and calendars.
A trigger can be any type of reminder that works for you but it should be one of two things: highly visible or very hard to ignore. Personally, one of my favorite triggers is a mechanical kitchen timer. I use it every time I do laundry since I can’t hear the buzzers going off in the cellar. Without it, I would completely forget what I was doing, leaving my clothes down there for days.
Avoid piles whenever you can
Piles can often lead to huge problems. They may look organized, but in actuality, your brain only registers whatever’s at the top. So everything underneath is an afterthought. This can be problematic if you tend to pile things like bills or other paperwork with specific due dates.
One of the best ways to avoid piles is to get rid of what you’re not using. So papers you are finished with should be thrown away or filed. For items you are still working on, try using a vertical paper holder (like in the photo above) that keeps everything in plain sight. Personally, I store all my bills like this until they are paid. And then I set up bill email reminders to act as a trigger.
For more help organizing your bills, see the post: Super Easy Organizing Tips To Help Pay Your Bills On Time
Label things that are hidden
Storage containers should be labeled, especially if they aren’t see-through. And they don’t need to be pretty. Plastic see-through bins can be marked simply by writing with a marker on the side. Or you can use white stick-on labels to make it look a little nicer. But always be specific. Instead of writing a general word like “Clothing”, write “Winter sweaters, leggings, & socks” if that’s what the box contains.
For storage containers located in visible areas, you can make your labels look prettier, but make sure they are easy to read. Sites like Etsy offer beautiful premade labels or you can make your own at home just by using your printer. Another thing you can do is utilize colored-coded storage. At my house, bins in certain colors or styles are reserved for specific items. That way a label isn’t even needed.
Make kits to keep items together for specific tasks
People with an “out of sight, out of mind” personality often forget where they place things especially if they aren’t used regularly. To solve this issue, one of the things I recommend is creating your own kits. A kit is some kind of storage container that holds everything you need for a specific task. I have several of these including a jewelry repair kit, a makeup brush cleaning kit (shown in the above photo), a clothing repair kit, and a mailing kit (below photo) which I use for mailing checks and returning packages.
Kits can be extremely helpful because they prevent you from having to search for a bunch of different items. It also makes cleanup much easier since everything goes right back into the kit when you’re done. And the best thing is that they are super simple to put together and you don’t need to spend a lot for the container you choose to hold your kit together. I have a mix of Vera Bradley bags I use along with purse organizers, pencil cases, and zippered pouches I bought off of Amazon for less than $10.
For people with “out of sight, out of mind” personality types, lists can be a Godsend. One of my favorites lists to create is an inventory list. This type of list can be really helpful for tasks we don’t do on a regular basis (where it’s hard to remember everything we need). For example, you can create an inventory list of everything you need for a day at the beach or for a few days away from home. I usually keep copies of these lists on my computer so I don’t lose them.
Another great list to use is a to-do list. Just make sure you place them where they can’t be missed like stuck to the television screen (my favorite place to stick them). And be sure to write your list on the brightest paper possible or do whatever you have to, to make it stand out.
Buy duplicates or permanently attach lost items
Some items are super easy to lose. In my house, it’s always scissors and fingernail clippers that are chronically missing. If you experience something similar, you have a couple of options. First, you can try buying duplicates. In my own case, I ended up putting scissors in almost every room of the house.
In some cases, buying duplicates isn’t enough since you may end up losing those as well. So a second option is to attach your items so they can’t be moved. My kitchen scissors are now attached to the inside of my drawer via a long string, for example, so I can’t bring them to another room. And I currently keep a small notepad taped to my desk so I can’t take it with me and lose it.
Do your own thing, regardless of what people think
In some cases, you may be forced to sacrifice looks for function. In other words, you may find yourself removing decorative items and replacing them with things that are more functional (although not necessarily pretty looking to most people). For example, some people with “out of sight, out of mind” personality types remove their cabinet and closet doors (so they can see everything at all times). Either leaving these spaces open or adding movable curtains.
You may also find yourself storing more items out in the open that some might consider clutter. For example, I leave my microwave popcorn popper out on the counter since it reminds me to eat more popcorn. And instead of a small planner, I use a giant 3′ by 4′ wall calendar to plan my life. It may not be as cute as an Erin Condren planner but it works for me – and that’s all that matters.
Area Specific Tips
For more organizing posts, see also:
Do you have an “out of sight, out of mind” personality type? If so, what are your organizing tips? Please share in the comments!