To continue our examination of how personality style affects organizing, we're going to look at how we take in information. We do that through our senses - smell, sight, hearing, taste, and touch. This preference is called sensing.
Next, we take that information and:
- correlate it to other information, or
- grasp the meaning of that information, or
- see the big picture into which that information fits.
This preference is called intuition.
All of us function in both areas. Our preferences determine where we spend more time.
A person who prefers sensing will notice when things are out of place. A person who prefers intuition will not necessarily notice clutter until it gets to an uncomfortable level. In fact, the intuitive may not even see the obvious at times - the trash can on the curb which needs to be brought in, for example.
An intuitive sees possibilities and loves to brainstorm and generate new ideas. This can be threatening to a sensor who likes the practical, sensible, and realistic. The sensor will point out flaws in the new ideas unless she feels they are practical and useful.
A sensor relies on past experience, whos motto is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." An intuitive relies on hunches and gut feelings, which are usually reliable and accurate. Without necessarily being able to pinpoint the details he picked up through sensing, he takes those details and forms a hunch about them.
The person who prefers sensing, likes to receive information in consecutive order, whereas the person who prefers intuition can receive information out of order and can still understand its meaning.
A sensor may be more likely to read instructions than the intuitive.
The person who prefers sensing is more present-oriented and focuses on what needs attention now. The person who prefers intuition is more future-oriented and focuses on long-term goals.
The person who prefers intuition sees meaning from the details, whereas the person who prefers sensing will see the details but may miss the meaning or bigger picture. It's a "can't see the forest for the trees" kind of thing.
So how does all this apply to organizing and decluttering?
- The sensor needs to understand that the intuitive may not realize the clutter she has left behind and may not have done it purposely. A simple "Could you put your dishes in the dishwasher, please?" would suffice from the sensor.
- The intuitive needs to make a conscience effort to look behind him to see what clutter he has left.
- The sensor and intuitive may need to come to an agreement about how much clutter is acceptable to both parties.
- A five-minute family challenge may need to be instituted each night before bed-time so all the clutter is picked up. It is depressing for a sensor to start the day with a bunch of clutter lying around.
- If an area is not functional, the current system is obviously not working. It's time to look at new possibilities - the intuitive's forte! The sensor needs to appreciate the intuitive's ability to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. The sensor needs to be open to new ideas.
- When generating new ideas, the intuitive needs to listen to the sensor's critiques.
- When critiquing, the sensor needs to be diplomatic and kind.
- Together, the intuitive and sensor can make a great team - one generating ideas, the other tweaking them to make the final outcome even better. If the parties aren't too possessive about their ideas or ways of doing things, they should be able to solve the problem!
- Even if it's scary, the sensor needs to listen to the intuitive's hunches and gut feelings. If the intuitive is not used to giving his own hunches credibility, he should start listening to them, also.
- The person who prefers sensing may want to start decluttering at one place in the room and move around the room in an orderly manner, whereas the person who prefers intuition may prefer just jumping in anywhere.
- If a sensor and intuitive are decluttering a room together, they need to determine a plan of attack they can agree upon - moving consistently around the room, jumping in anywhere, or something in between. The sensor may want to do the orderly sweep while the intuitive categorizes items into like groups, for example.
- The intuitive's strength is to see the big picture for the room - the vision.
- Once the vision for the room is determined, the sensor's strength is to determine priorities of what needs to be done and in what order.
- The person preferring intuition may enjoy making a floor plan with scale model furniture, trying different configurations until he finds an option that creates a functional room.
- An intuitive and sensor working together need to draw upon the other's strengths by listening to ideas, contributing ideas, and having a teamwork mentality.
- If you are a sensor and are stuck, find a family member or friend who loves to brainstorm and think outside the box (most likely an intuitive) and ask for help. Vice versa if you're an intuitive.
- Or locate a professional organizer who will fill in the blanks for you. The National Association of Professional Organizers or Faithful Organizers provide directories of organizers near you.
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