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What does your ideal room look like?
- A. Bright and colorful, with all of my supplies displayed in pretty containers on shelving.
- B. Everything organized perfectly in separate containers inside cabinets.
- C. Everything stored out of sight except a few pretty accessories.
- D. All my tools perfectly organized and easy to access on a pegboard.
The answer could reveal what type of Clutter Bug you are.
While most personal organizers seem like born perfectionists, The Clutter Connection was written by an organizational therapist and semi-mom blogger who clearly lived the struggle.
The beauty of the Clutter Connection lies in its recognition of different organizational personalities and styles, instead of preaching the merits of one stringent system for us all to obey.
To make it adorable, she assigns an insect to each of the four personalities. Because this book changed my life, I want everyone around me to read and embrace it. I have done my best to summarize its pearls of brilliance below for you. But really, you should read the whole thing and take the quiz too.
1. The Butterfly
Most children are butterflies. These monarchs have it tough and often go through life believing they are born messy. The truth is, the world just hasn’t been properly been designed to help them shine.
Butterflies love beauty, but are very ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ They leave things out not because they are messy, but because of a real anxiety that putting belongings away will result in never finding them again.
The tragic cases on hoarder reality TV shows are often Butterflies with low self esteem who don’t know how to unlock their superpowers.
Everyone can Butterfly. And all humans begin as a butterfly before finding their true spirit bug. If you live with a Butterfly, this visual, transparent, macro-category system needs to be the default.
The key to organizing as a Butterfly is clear containers and open bins you can easily throw things into. No lids. No micro-organization.
For example, this means you would label storage containers ‘Office’ or ‘Kitchen’ instead of ‘Paperclips, Pushpins, Pens’ etc.
Every organization makeover should start with macro-categories, no matter what your insect persona may be.
2. The Ladybug
Ladybugs love a minimal visual style. Whereas Butterflies need everything they own in their direct line of vision, this level of stimulation overwhelms a Ladybug.
Most Ladybugs appear to have a beautifully immaculate house, Ladybugs are actually prone to a horrific level of secretive stashing.
While Butterflies leave stuff strewn about in plain sight (for example suits hung on the stair rail) open a closet in a Ladybug’s house and you might be killed by an avalanche of ‘stuff’.
If you love a Ladybug (as I do) your plight might be that you are never able to find anything. In an anxious effort to tidy and eliminate visual clutter, they will toss anything and everything away in drawers and closets, unable to remember where.
Unlike Butterflies, Ladybugs don’t want to see their stuff. To thrive, Ladybugs need drawers, closets, and opaque containers. Like Butterflies, Ladybugs need macro-organization systems and broad categories. Keep the lids of and the style simple.
3. The Cricket
This bug is the classic perfectionist Type-A personality which you tend to think of when you hear the words ‘Personal Organization Specialist’.
Most of the world has been designed by crickets, for crickets. Crickets appreciate minimal, visual clutter and detailed organization systems. Think categorizations like ‘Drill bits, Nails, Screws’ instead of ‘Tools’.
Crickets can use closed storage containers and still remember what is in them. They are probably the only insect species that can handle maneuvering container lids to remove and store things.
While we all admire and envy crickets, at times they can develop one fatal flaw: analysis paralysis.
Crickets tend to want their systems so perfect that they began sorting, classifying, and piling. You can spot a cricket in chaos when they have micro-organized piles everywhere. The fear of imperfection can create a tendency to never start or put anything away.
To solve this, crickets need to embrace their inner butterfly with macro-systems and perfect and refine along the way.
When the cricket does achieve organizational zen, there is nothing they can’t achieve if they put their minds to it.
4. The Bumblebee
I’m a visual perfectionist who loves organizational micro-systems. I like the clear, open containers of a Butterfly, but enjoy organizing them in deeply psychotic detail of a Cricket.
With a Ladybug mom, I was always taught and encouraged to stash things away in drawers or closets.This explains why I would accumulate way too many Forever 21 mini skirts. Without being able to see the ones I had, I would forgot they existed, and buy more. #retailtherapy
It also explains that why when I color coded my closet, suddenly new outfits popped out at me and getting dressed in the morning became a joy!
I immediately fled to Target, IKEA, and the Dollar Tree to overdose on clear bins, hooks, and drawer organizers.
Side note: did you know the Dollar Store is basically the Container Store but way cheaper? I’m in love.
I’m still perfecting my systems, and I can’t wait to share the photos of how I implement this methodology with you.
I’m not always a fan of personality tests. I feel they are a way to box people in or stereotype. However, in this scenario, the Clutter Bug test has illuminated my inner and outer world.
Before reading this book, I would never have know that clear bins, peg boards, and hooks would bring me such delight.
My Ladybug mom wasn’t hiding things out of twisted spite after all. I understand why my fiance craves a minimalist apartment, while an avalanche is stashed in his man cave.
I hope this blog and the quiz can provide you with a similar revelation about yourself and those you love.