Get Organized by Using Your Strengths

get organized with strengths feature

Sandra was not a naturally organized person. Her creative mind was always spinning with the next idea, the next project.

Making sure her keys landed in the same spot every time she walked in the door rarely crossed her mind.

Halls were piled with books. Closets were stuffed with last year’s halloween decorations, next to her daughter’s kindergarten artwork archives. Living room couches were piled high with laundry.

She read a few organizing type books, and she tried a few different systems that other people seemed to thrive in. It would work for a week or two, and then the clutter began to build again.

Nothing was working, and she was frustrated.

Her buried counters represented so much more than a physical mess, as well. They were filled with agitation. Agitation with her daughter. Agitation with herself. Agitation with her diet

She was buried and was not thriving in her work, life or family.

The Best Kind of Organizing 

Last year, Google recorded over 33 million New Years Resolution searches to “Get Organized.” There are over 1300 current books written on the topic. The professional organizing field is a growing industry.

The need to get organized—and stay that way—is a strong one!

Today, we partnered with a talented Professional Organizer out of Northwest Iowa who understands that Organizing takes much more than a one-sized-fits all approach. Rather, the most effective organization is rooted in your own Strengths.

Michelle Kuiken of The Proper Place {Developer | Includer | Achiever | Responsibility | Discipline} works with women to free up space in their lives. When the clutter is clear, their minds and hearts are also free to “do more life.”

The best kind of organizing, she says, is the kind that is easiest for you to maintain in your current life-stage.

“There are a lot of great books and blogs out there, but I caution my clients not to get too caught up in a specific philosophy of organizing.


The system or style that works for someone else—or for my home, for that matter—might not be what works for their lifestyle. And if it doesn’t work for them, then it is not a good system.


Just because my Discipline Strength leads me to need a completely clear desk before I can work, does not mean that the same is true for the clients I work with.”

{I can relate to that…my Arranger Strength, for example, is much more comfortable with “organized” piles in my work spaces!}

proper place desk

When women work with Michelle, it feels very tangible—assessing, moving, sorting. Yet, underlying the physical organizing, she is listening for the deeper patterns—personal strengths, cognitive barriers, family systems.

It is in those patterns that true organization is born!

How Do I Know What My Natural Organizing Style Is?

Here are 3 Steps to Get Organized by using your Strengths:

Step 1 :: Know your big rocks.

Organizing physical spaces is an extension of our priorities.

We use the “rocks” metaphor in our Life Balance IsogoTV miniseries, in the episode about our biggest “YES.” Michelle uses a similar message.

The largest rocks represent our biggest priorities. The smaller rocks and sand represent all those other things vying for our attention. When we fill our life or house “jar” with small rocks and sand first, overtime, we no longer have room for the larger rocks. We feel cramped and miserable. Cluttered.

When we dump it all out and START with the largest rocks — our most important priorities — the smaller rocks and sand fill up the space around them. We feel fulfilled and at peace that we are filling our space with what is most important.

As you start to get organized by using your Strengths, know your biggest rocks:

  • Is it important that you have a dedicated space to work?
  • Do you need to have a clear space for family gatherings?
  • Do you love hosting people in your home?
  • What type of relationship do you have or want with your kids?
  • What do you want your various rooms to be used for?
  • What routines/systems are already working well?
  • What else?

Understand what you want your home to free you up to do or be, and start with that priority in mind.

Step 2 :: Be Realistic.

The next step to Get Organized is to understand your own mental stories, pull out their truths and their lies, and get realistic about what you really want.

Recognize which organization tactics you have already tried and determine what has worked and what has not. If it doesn’t work for you, try something else.

Michelle impresses the importance of this, “Be realistic with what is ‘organized enough’ for you, your work, and your family. It is not about some perfection you saw in a magazine, but rather the organization that will give you peace of mind and time for the things that are most important to you.”

{Read more about Michelle’s take on being “organized enough” AND take an awesome Are You Organized Enough? QUIZ}

michelle proper place

Imagine this…your mail is all over the place. Depending on what you happen to do first when you walk in the door, you might find piles of mail in the entry way, on top of the fridge in the garage, on the laundry room counter or even in the bedroom.

It feels overwhelming to see paper everywhere, and you have even missed paying a bill or two on time.

It might not be Realistic for you to plan to open your mail as soon as you walk in the door. But, it does feel doable and Realistic to designate a landing zone for mail.

Understand what “organized enough” looks like for you and be realistic about where you want to be.

Step 3 :: Know your Strengths.

Some Strengths care about organizing more than others. Some thrive in chaos. Others are paralyzed by it.

Get to know your Strengths and you will see what type of organization should top the priority list.

Michelle talks about her own Relationship Strengths {Developer + Includer} as those that need time to be with other people. Her life feels organized when she has coffee dates on the schedule. Without those, even the most spotless desk will not give her the sense of freedom she wants to feel.

She also points out that people within the same household often have different styles. She coaches the women she works with to consider the strengths of their spouse and kids as well. If their strengths cannot maintain the new system, it will not be long before she is frustrated again.

Your StrengthsFinder Top 5 Strengths give you secret insight into the value that you bring as well as what you truly need in order to thrive. These “needs” impact your organizational style and your underlying psychological needs when it comes to being organized enough.

{Use this Bring Need StrengthsFinder resource to identify your greatest needs — our most popular free resource! Explore our Dynamite Personal Brand course to get even more clarity on how your Strengths affect your ideal environments.}

StrengthsFinder Bring Need Tool

As an Arranger myself, I thrive when my schedule is different every day {need = flexibility, new, a bit of chaos}. So, I need a scheduled organizing system that flexes for that. Beginning last year, we started a Communication Station that allowed for a fresh slate every day. It was visible to the entire family, in a common area. It allowed space for ongoing lists, communication to the babysitter, and a large area to sketch out the outline of the day’s schedule. It was liberating to find a system that worked for our fluid schedule.

As for Michelle’s client, Sandra, she turned a corner in her home and in her life.

By understanding her top priority {to have meaningful conversations with her teen daughter}, by being realistic about the systems that would work for her creative mind, and by beginning to see her own personal strengths, she found a way to get organized that truly stuck.

It was like she was free from the bondage of her clutter. “Free to do more life.”

So, how about you….know your largest priority rocks, be realistic and know the needs of your strengths…and you are on the road to Get Organized in 2018 by using your Strengths!

Michelle Kuiken is a warm-hearted, Professional Organizer and Organizer Coach, organizing in the communities of northwest Iowa + beyond. She provides tips and resources over at



Links & Resources from today

Meet Michelle | Proper Place Organizing
Bring It | Need It FREE Resource
Create your own Dynamite Personal Brand
Use StrengthsFinder + Strengths Startup to get organized using your Strengths
The Power of Saying No {& Yes!} {balance series 5 of 8} | Isogo TV Episode 50
How to Use your Strengths for Life-Balance | Isogo TV Balance Miniseries {ROUNDUP}

StrengthsFinder Personal Brand


The Strengths-perspective can impact your marriage, your parenting, and your work!

If you’re into it or you’re just not so sure about it all, reach out, and let’s connect about it. You can catch me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, all at @isogostrong, by this handy contact form, or in our Energy Up Frustration Down facebook group.

Enjoy your day, and {be strong}!

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