Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts in my car going to and from clients’ homes. My favourite podcast is Happier by New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin. She has so much insight on what makes people tick!
Gretchen has done a lot of work researching and writing about personality and people’s working styles. So much of her work on personality tendencies resonates with the types of clients we come across.
I’m a big believer in adapting the work to your working style. So, in case it helps you with your downsizing project, I’m sharing my modified version of her work on personality types.
Here are the types of downsizers we commonly come across (with thanks to Gretchen Rubin!).
Internally Motivated vs. Externally Motivated
Does it help you to have something external to motivate you towards a goal, or are you able to keep promises to yourself?
Most of us are externally motivated, so benefit from being accountable in some way, whether it’s doing a group workshop, meeting a deadline, or working with a personal trainer.
That’s why my externally motivated clients often find it really helpful to have one or more of our ladies come around for a weekly session to keep up progress. Once we tackle the downsizing project area by area, it becomes less daunting and people start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Even internally motivated clients say they appreciate outside help to speed the process along a bit!
Marathon Runner vs. Sprinter
You can probably anticipate how this one is going to go. If you’re a Marathon Runner, you prefer to chip away at a project over a longer period of time.
So you might put in 15 minutes or so a day, sorting a box at a time.
This is my hubby down to a tee… on the other hand, I am a Sprinter. A Sprinter identifies a project and then gets stuck into it, working like a whirling dervish until it’s done. In my case, this borders on the obsessive, which is no bad thing in my job!
Doer vs. Delegator
Some people are hands on and find it hard to let go of tasks. Other people prefer to organise and then hand tasks to others to complete.
I meet both types in my work. Doers prefer to get stuck in with us while we sort through possessions. They might find it hard to let go of personal possessions or paperwork but find that talking it through with someone helps.
Delegators call me in to do the jobs that they’ve already mentally organised. That’s when I can spend an afternoon sifting through somebody’s cupboards, with our notes and instructions in hand…
It’s also pretty common for clients to be Doers for one area of their home and Delegators for another.
Decisive vs. Needs Time to Decide
We all understand that it’s easier to be decisive about functional objects like pots and pans, but need more time for items with sentimental value, such as old letters.Some people are pretty decisive no matter what the object (and have undoubtedly given the it thought ahead of time). But most people benefit from having time to decide what to do with their things.
Having a “maybe” pile is so useful for when you need more time to decide.
Also, this is where breaking up the work into different sessions are is valuable, enabling everyone to take a break after having made great progress, which gives everyone more time to make decisions.
No “right” style of downsizing
When it comes to these types, there’s no right or wrong: different people work in different ways. The good news is that you can approach downsizing differently once you know which tendencies represent your preferred styles of working.
I feel the process goes so much smoother if you, and the people who help you, don’t try to work too far outside your comfort zone. Downsizing is stressful enough already!
I hope the above helps you to think about how you’d like to approach your downsizing project. Did you see yourself in the above descriptions?