JB Organizing: Spring Cleaning Specifics. What Type of Organizer Are You? An Inny or Outy?

It is important to identify and understand what type of organizer each member of a household tends to be.  When we understand we tend to be more tolerant of people’s habits and we can better design organizing systems that work with the habits and characteristics of the people using them.  

What do you mean by an Inny and an Outy?  

An Inny:

  1. Likes things behind closed doors
  2. Doesn’t feel the need to have visual cues in order to remember things
  3. Likes the appearance of as few things out as possible

An Outy:

  1. Likes things out.  Feels panicked if their piles are put away.
  2. Needs the visual cues to remember, does not feel comfortable with things behind closed doors
  3. Does not tend to put things in cabinets etc.  If so, needs a note reminder that they are there.

Can you be a combination?  Yes! In my experience women are most often a combination, as we tend to take on the attributes of those around us.  Sometimes a woman may be one type when they are single and if they get married or have a family the woman will often become a combination as they begin to organize for others.  Men, will often be one way and stay that way regardless of the other people who come into their life or home.

A Combination:

  1. Wants things put away, but feels the need to have the visual cues
  2. Will need to rely heavily on written visual cues, reminder cards, “to do” list etc.

What do you do when an Inny and Outy live in the same house?

  1. First talk about it – knowing how and why the other is doing something and recognizing it helps!  We are more tolerant of people and habits when we understand the “why” behind the behaviors.
  2. Look at the main areas that each is “in control” of. 
    • Is the office mainly for one of you? Make that space to fit your preference.
    • What areas are “shared”?  For these areas, look at how you can have visual cues without clutter.
      • Attractive storage – baskets, file holders, files – that match the decor and don’t detract from it.  
      • Rely on “to do” list and other written visual cues instead of the sight of the actual item sitting out.  


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