Organizing Styles

How many times have you told your child to use flash cards for memorizing vocabulary, only to hear them claim that the technique never works for them. Or do you recall how your father made you leave your house keys in the bowl on the kitchen table because you kept losing them? This method may have worked for a day or two, but after that, you were back to misplacing the house keys. Now that you’re grown with children of your own, do you find that you are repeating history by showing your child the same organizing techniques that work for you but not necessarily for them?

Everyone’s brain works differently and accesses information differently too. With my years in academia and parenting a “disorganized child”, much of my time was spent on helping with organization. This was when I discovered there is no “no one size fits all” technique when it comes to organization.  Through many years of practice and research, I have identified that people organize in three different ways:

The Visual Organizer

  • Think of missing items as to where they last saw the item.
  • Prefers to have all of their items where they can see them.
  • Has a hard time finding items they cannot see.
  • Respond to color, pictures, and other visual cues.
  • Feels disorganized when their work area is visually overloaded.

The Comfy Organizer

  • Think of missing items as to where they last used the item.
  • Prefer items to be placed within their reach.
  • Like sports, dance, music and are more tactile.
  • Very sensitive towards others and need to “feel good” about work area.
  • Feels disregulated when their work area is very disheveled.

The Sequential Organizer

  • Can remember sequential steps in some sort of personal order.
  • Accesses information sequentially.
  • Remembers dates, time of events, and order of events.
  • Keeps stacks of paper on their desks.
  • Memorizes best through repetition.
  • Feels frazzled when their work area is not in “order.”

You may be looking at the lists of characteristics and saying ,“Is it possible that my child has two organizing styles?”. The answer is YES, your child could have the characteristics of two styles. The most common of the dual style is the Visual/Comfy Organizer.

Once we determine your child’s organizing style, we can use techniques and strategies personally targeted to organize your child.  Specific strategies should not only help your child become more organized but will ultimately make your child more successful at school and at home.