Are you an innie or an outie?

Are you an innie or an outie?

When I was first asked that question, I thought the person was referring to belly buttons.

She wasn’t, though; she was referring to my organizational style!

Innie’s like things neat as a pin. They file and tuck everything away and out of site.  An innie’s desk is cleared off and only the project they are working on is on the desktop.

At home, an innie is one who keeps their kitchen counters cleared of appliances and mail is sorted and filed as soon as it comes in the house.

An outie is a person who needs to keep things out in order to tend to them.  Outies use sticky notes to remind themselves of what needs to be done. They like bulletin boards and often tend to pile rather than file.

86511039I’m an outie at heart.  I’m visual and need to see things to remember to do them. I’m also a Post-It queen. I have post-its everywhere to remind me of what needs my time and energy.

My “outiness” however, contributes to clutter and clutter stresses me out!

So… I’m an outie who is learning to function as an innie.  Oh, I’ll never be as organized as my “innie” friend Brenda, but I can learn from her!

Here are a few steps I’ve learned to be true to “outie” self, but keep the clutter controlled:

1) Use reminders and alarms. I put reminders on my calendar and phone to prompt me to do something that I’ve filed away.  The reminder includes where I can find the paperwork needed to complete the project.  Last week one of my reminders came up on my phone. After it said what task I needed to remember to do, I had also typed in: Jill, this is filed in the picnic basket on the kitchen counter.  Hey don’t laugh! I can’t trust my brain to remember those things!

basket-closed2) Be creative. If you’re wondering why I filed something in a picnic basket, let me show you what I mean.  I need folders for current projects, bills, and family members at my fingertips.  I found an old picnic basket and turned it into a file cabinet on my countertop! When I open the basket, I can work with my “outie” mindset, but when the top is closed, it operates with an innie look!

basket-open3) Make sure everything has a home.  When things don’t have a “home,” they get left out on the counter or in the bedroom.  This is often because we forget to give them a place to “live.”  When clutter begins to pile up, I’ve learned that it’s usually for one of two reasons: 1) My pace of life is too fast to allow me to manage things well and I need to slow down.  2) I need to re-evaluate my organizational systems because these things don’t have a home.

4) Make sure your organizational system is easily accessible.  Sometimes I’ve assigned things a home, but it seems that I’m more often leaving those things out than putting things away.  Usually this is because the “home” for something isn’t easily accessible.  I recently decided to store my extra tote bags in the attic (we have a walk-up attic with a staircase you get to in the master bedroom).  There was space in the attic and I thought it would make sense to store them where we store our luggage.  However, every time I need a tote bag to carry something to the car, I’m usually on the first floor.  Getting a tote bag that requires traveling two sets of stairs was becoming inconvenient. Not only that, but every time I brought the tote bag bag home empty and needed to put it away, I was tending to leave it somewhere on the main floor.  My organizational system was not easily accessible and needed to be changed!

No matter whether you’re an innie or an outie, you can still be organized.  Be true to yourself and get creative! You can find what you need in whatever way you need to organize it!

What about you?  Are you an innie or an outie?  What strategies have you used for organizing your home and family?  Where do you struggle the most with organization?


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11 thoughts on “Are you an innie or an outie?

  1. What a great post and great analogy! I am an outie and looking around – it’s glaring me in the face! I am constantly working on new ways to organize. I am forcing myself to stop ‘buying’ organizational items (like baskets and containers) until I have things sorted and know what I want to do with them.

    One tip I did get from someone – think VERTICAL, instead of horizontal, i.e., in a deep drawer, get cereal boxes or popcorn boxes, cut them to fit and stand up your phone book, 3 hole puncher, pencils, notepads, etc. I had never thought of it that way! But, it does help! Put like items together in plastic bags, keeps things from shuffling all over and getting moved in an open space. I got a fabric 5 pocket organizer for the wall. It hangs outside the kitchen. I’ve labeled each pocket with each family members name and important or “to save” papers go in their pocket. That way, they don’t get lost on the counter. I struggle with any flat surface, so I’m open to any tips! Thanks, Jill!

    • I love that we are all the same even though we speak other languages and live in other parts of the world!

  2. I’m a definate outie, and the older I get the more outie I get (I just turned 49). My counters are always cluttered. I don’t like it that way, but I have to see at least the corner of.the paper/object to remember what needs to be done with it. If it gets stacked in a pile, forget it…only the top item is now in my brain….out of sight out of mind!!. I do have a “mail/bill lidded basket and another basket that I can put filing folders in. I have both in my kitchen….where it seems to be this mom is always at. My file folder basket is for.those things it seems that I’m always needing to.refer to….medical stuff, schedules, some tax stuff (who wants to run around the house filing stuff when ur trying to.cook supper, answer kids questions, make phone.calls…lol. so the basket file is where it functions best, not necessarily the best place I would like. Keep function in mind…like Jill mentioned, tote bags in the attic sounds good, but.doesn’t function good. My counters aren’t perfect cuz.I’m not perfect. I function….lol

  3. Definitely on outie!!! Always knew I was more outward but didn’t realize I could still be neatly organized!! Thanks for this post and validating my “style”! My husband is an innie, which I hadn’t consciously realized until I read this post. =). Sitting here thinking about this I am also more outward with my feelings and hubby is more inward….hmmmm. Thanks again Jill, for this post!

  4. I am an outie, there is no doubt about it. I call it organized chaos. We live in our home and you can tell. My mother always kept a very clean home, toys were kept in our bedrooms, she was basically a ‘no’ Mom. I am way more relaxed than my mother, but yet similar in many ways. I have 3 rooms that I try to keep picked up at all times. They are my kitchen, family room and guest bathroom. I try to keep the guest bathroom clean ALL THE TIME. A friend told me once that you could have the messiest house on the block but your toliet better be clean! 🙂 I made a schedule for myself to try to stay focused on. Everyday has something different on it from laundry to emptying the dishwasher. I believe I found it on Pinterest. It has been a wonderful tool for an outie like me! …oh and I love to check things off lists!