One organized desk and one disorganized deskorganizing tips for those who tend to pileTake a look at this picture. The desk on the left is Mark’s. The one on the right is mine. This, my friends, is the difference between innies and outies.
Innies tend to file. Outies tend to pile.

I first talked about innies and outies in my Better Together book as it relates to friendships. I always felt self-conscious having my “innie” friends over to my “outie” house.

Then Mark and I talked about it in our No More Perfect Marriages book because this difference can cause challenges in marriage.
I now call myself a reformed outie which means that I have learned the value of filing, but I do it in a different way. My “files” need to be visible in some way. 

However, when life gets crazy busy or I haven’t taken the time to set up systems, I can end up back into my natural outie mode–piles. The past few months were crazy busy for us plus we recently set up new home office space that I hadn’t had the chance to fully organize yet…thus my piles in the picture.

I’m guessing that you probably live with people who organize their stuff differently than you do. (Yes, even in my piles, I knew right where things were!). Sometimes we have to meet in the middle in some way. In the office, our agreement is that my piles can’t spill over onto his desk.

Most outies are “out of sight, out of mind” people. If we put something in a file inside a drawer, we forget about it. Let me show you some practical systems for an “outie.”

Notice the green arrows on this picture. These are “file drawers” for outies. We can see what’s in the “drawer” and that’s really important to us.

Notice the blue arrow. This is a really important organizational tool for outies too because we can see what’s in the trays and they work with our natural tendency to pile.

My innie husband needs no external file organizers. He can put files in drawers and his brain has no trouble retrieving what he’s tucked away.

Before I understood this, I tried to be like him and so many of my innie friends. I compared myself to my “more organized” friends and felt like they had it together in ways I didn’t. I tried their innie strategies and they didn’t work for me.

But once I learned how to organize in a way that worked for me as an outie, it made all the difference in the world!

Today I want to remind you to stop trying to be someone other than who you are. Embrace who you are and find organizational strategies that match how your brain works!

And stop trying to make your husband and/or kids be someone other than who they are. Embrace who they are and look for organizational strategies that match how their brain works, too!

Carry on my friends and work well with your differences!

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