Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Organizing for the Creative Person

For more tips check out
we are that family.

I use to think that stereotypical artists let themselves be messy because that's what is expected. They were being lazy. This bothered me because, as a fairly organized artist, it made me look bad by association. After reading Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping C.S.W, I realized that I was totally wrong. Right brain dominant people, like artists, actually think differently from left brain dominant people who tend to be very analytical and logical.

What left brain people prefer in organizing:
  • vertical (filing cabinets)
  • hidden (drawers or closets with doors)
  • complex systems
  • linear (bullet points for brainstorming)
  • formal (expensive looking furniture, like wooden bookshelves)

Preferences for Organizing for Creative People:

Creatives prefer horizontal organizing.

We also like things to be informal, like using 2x4s to hang up tools.

Creative people also like their things exposed,
so they don't forget about them (fear of out of sight, out of mind).

Plus we like things simplified by not having things in drawers for easier access.

Creative people prefer:
  • horizontal (storing papers flat in open cubbies instead of using a traditional filing cabinet)
  • exposed but quickly covered to hide visual clutter (secretaries desk)
  • simple
  • circular (mind mapping technique for brainstorming)
  • fun
  • colorful
Most organizing systems or containers from the store are tailored to left brain dominant people. That's why they often don't feel natural when creative people use them.

By analyzing thought patterns and learning to organize in a way that is natural for you, is how this book helps you to keep your home and office in order. This book also helps out left brain dominant people to understand how creative people think. By understanding each other, hopefully there will be less conflict.

On March 15th, at capitalistchicks.com there will be my first monthly column called "The Missing Link" between art and business. The first article is about the keys from this book called Organizing for the Creative. Drop by for some more insight into the creatives' brain and for practical organizing tips.


  1. I love organizing! I already knew I wasn't very creative but I am definitely left brain. I like things out of sight for the most part, and I don't like clutter. Isn't it funny how we all are different!

  2. I read this book a few years ago and absolutely loved it. It explained all kinds of things, like why piles of things in plain view work better for me than sticking things away, hidden in file cabinets. I hope lots of creative people get the chance to look at this book after readiing your fabulous post :)

  3. Very interesting. I'm going to have to think about that for me and my husband and kids. Thanks! Lisa~

  4. You just described all the things I've learned about myself that have to do with my ADD! Maybe creative people all have a bit of ADD. :) I'm going to have to check out that book. It might help me get organized.

  5. I read this book a while back. The main thing I got from it is that I'm not wrong in how I prefer to organize - everything in plain sight.

    I need to reread it to get some of the actual organizing tips. Thanks for your review.

  6. Nice review. You might also like Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain by Lee Silber. Great photos too!