One of the biggest challenges in cohabitation is creating an organized environment that works for all parties. But cohabitated bliss can be found by simply understanding your roomie’s needs, habits and style in comparison to your own. The learning curve can be long, however, and may create animosity along the way if you don’t communicate, learn each other’s style and establish systems quickly.
To get ahead of the game, be observant! Ask yourself these questions about how your roommate operates. Are they a Perfect Patty, Outta Sight Sally, or one of the other styles below? Find out and enjoy some organizing tips and tricks that work for the both of you!
1. Does your roommate seem tidy at first glance but have chaotic drawers and closets? You may live with a…
HIDE IT HEIDI
These folks are people you can trust to keep the common countertops and tables clear and free but they shove random things behind closed cabinet doors and inside of drawers. Hide It Heidis may be prone to creating a VERY big mess when they can’t find something. Try supporting them by creating zones for categories of items. Ask them how they categorize certain things and create one location either behind closed doors or inside of cabinets to house each category.
The Hide It Heidi can first consider which category (and therefore which zone) they should search. This way, when they need to find something, they don’t have to turn everything upside down to find it. Show your support and enthusiasm by helping them determine the appropriate categories and creating a guide to assist them keep track of what is in each zone. Eventually they may memorize the guide and you won’t have to be so hands-on.
2. Does your roommate often ask you where to find things that are clearly organized but behind a closed door or in a basket? You may live with an…
OUTTA SIGHT SALLY
Your habitation partner may need things to be visible without opening things in order to remember that they even exist. Folks with ADHD and artists tend to operate better this way. No matter how many things are labeled and organized, if they are tucked away, these folks struggle.
Make clear containers the norm in your home. It’s a spectacular way to keep things put away yet visible and easy to find. Your Outta Sight Sally rommate will thank you. There are a multitude of strategies for this type of roomie which you can learn more about in our M2O-TV video, How 2 Hide Things In Plain Sight.
3. Do you find your roommate’s unfinished projects left out? Then you might live with a…
If you have ever tried to move or throw away something when you know it hasn’t been touched in weeks, only to hear your roommate yelling, “I’m using that!”, he or she may be a “Things Out” person. Lawyers, writers and creatives tend to be Visual Vickys.
This type treats their possessions like a to-do list. If it is out, they know it needs to be accomplished. When you put their items away, it is essentially like throwing away their to-do list. Ask your roomie if it would be ok to get an open basket or clear container to put in common areas to collect their projects. This approach may help eliminate some visual clutter for you and create to-do spaces for them.
Overall, remain patient and acknowledge the importance of their items. If they are open to guidance, set up a day that you can both go through common surfaces and declutter by throwing away trash and removing items that are no longer relevant.
4. Does your roommate like surfaces clear and clutter-free? You may live with a…
Perfectionists are often very stressed out and irritated by visual clutter in their environment. This can lead to them having trouble concentrating because they are distracted by the disarray around them. Help your cohabitation partner by doing your best to keep the common areas of the home pile-free. Try to conceal any of your unfinished projects or “creativity” behind closed doors in your private space. Man cave, anyone?
Similar to Visual Vickys, Perfect Pattys may not finish projects because they feel like they don’t have the exact tools they need or the time to do it exactly right. Reassure your rommate that you don’t expect perfect results and that you would prefer that any action is taken. Perfect Pattys can be difficult to deal with because they are so inflexible but with a little strategic planning, you may learn to love (and incorporate) some of each other’s ways.
5. When your roommate organizes does he/she do everything at once until its perfect and then let it get very messy in between? You may live with an…
These folks are typically very aroused by aesthetics. They are creatives that treat their space as art. They may rearrange their rooms frequently creating a disaster in the process. When a project is complete it’s beautiful, but in between and in everyday life it can look like a tornado struck. Show your admiration for their style as well as your appreciation for their organization when it is at its best.
Inconsistent Isabels may suffer from depression which causes periods of time when accomplishing things seems impossible for them. Offer to assist your roommate when things start to get out of control. Be empathetic and let them know that you are happy to be of service. Support these people by enjoying the art that is their space and allowing them the room to spread their wings.
You have come here to learn your roommate’s organizing style, but they may have never even considered doing the same for you. As with most cohabitation issues, communication is key. Share what you have learned and decide together which of the categories above each of you fall into. Speak to them about your observations, point out differences and share your needs on how they can support you!
Whatever the situation, remember to be patient. Everyone comes from different home environments with different habits. Nobody’s way is the right way or the wrong way. With an abundance of understanding, patience and communication, you can come to a satisfactory resolution that pleases all members of your household. Comment below and let us know which of these styles resonates in your home and how you have overcome any organizing challenges.