Today we are going to examine the challenges The Filer pet owner might have in getting their home ready for a new dog. The Filer, the 4th and last Organizational Personality Type (OPT) will be the most “organized” about bringing home their new puppy. The Filer would rarely say they have clutter or need help getting organized. After all, as their namesake says, they file! Indeed a lot of their identity centres around having an organized home and being on top of things. It is only when you take a closer look that you start to see how their clutter manifests; it’s subtle but, it has the potential of becoming a mammoth problem down the road. With the Filer, it is not so much how they organize information (they excel at it!) but, how much information they store.
The Filer Pet Owner
There is a reason why some of us spread our clutter and others file it. While developing the OPT system over the years as a Professional Organizer, I have seen time and time again how individuals struggle with keeping their office or home organized. They made heroic attempts in gaining control of their clutter, only to fail when it comes to maintaining the beautiful “solution”. I wanted to help people understand why they have the kinds of clutter they do and, through that avenue of discovery, help them how to find organizational solutions that truly “fit” them and stick, saving them time, money, and stress.
When organizing your home for the arrival of a new dog, this OPT approach will help you create storage solutions that the whole family can respond to and maintain.
They store, collect, index, and package all before they ever think about why, for whom, how many, or for how long.
The home of a filer will look very organized. Let it be said, however, that they do not pile and spread this information – they store and file it, meticulously. They gather, sort, and organize information, supplies, and events. By keeping something, they give it meaning. Because it now has meaning to them, an official residence is then assigned, and “presto” a permanent storage system has just been created for it. And when something has meaning and importance it, therefore, follows that it must be kept. And this is the trap they fall into. They store, collect, index, and package all before they ever think about why, for whom, how many, or for how long. And in no time at all their living and work environments have more space assigned to storing than what they have for actually living or working.
An example of how this might manifest as a Filer dog owner could be with dog grooming supplies; let’s say specifically towels for the new dog. They will start, for example, with one towel which is used to dry the dog’s paws when they come in from the wet. Another towel will then be added so that one can be at the front and back doors. Then 2 more towels will be purchased so that there is a rotation with cleaning them. Now there are 4 towels. A fifth towel will be added – a bigger one for bath time. Then as the family towels come up for retirement they will be added to the “dog towels”. They are all kept, all cleaned, all folded, and all put together. Do you get the idea? In no time at all, the dog will have more towels than any family member! The same can happen with storing all the dog toys. They start with a couple of toys and purchase a lovely basket for the toys. In a few months time, the dog’s toy storage has reached capacity and, rather than culling, they purchase another basket for toys.
Filers can justify everything they have. They will always have more than one reason and one person for which they are keeping something. The longer they have it, the more connections are created and the more important it becomes. If they start to run out of space their response to dealing with the problem will be to create more storage. And when they run out of space to store? Then they are faced with an even bigger dilemma – making a decision to let the item go. However, decision-making is difficult at the best of times.
Research shows that the closer a decision looms, the more likely you are to make choices based on emotions rather than objective facts. So, decision-making can be very emotional. They have to calculate how many other things are connected to this one thing, how it will affect the meaning and value of it and everything else connected to it – the memories and importance of it. Then, they have to make a decision about whether and how to let go of it. It’s just easier and less painful to keep it.
So the challenge a Filer faces when creating storage solutions for the pet’s supplies is all about putting controls in place around capacity/limits. They need to set a limit on how many towels, how many leashes, how many and types of dog toys etc. And most importantly, what the criteria will be for letting go of an item.
When choosing storage solutions for pets, as a Filer it is important to create enough space and also to commit to not going over that space allowance. That is why I like to suggest to Filer pet owners that the storage solutions they choose have lids or, in some way, set the capacity on how much can be stored. Here is a link to a dog toy storage basket on amazon. I also like the following storage unit as it allows for flexibility in the types of food to be stored, and also a Filer pet owner will love the chalkboard on the door for notes etc.
Here are some useful rules for Filer’s to think about putting in place before they start getting prepared:
Filer Pet Zone:
- Capacity: Decided how many (toys, towels, treats, etc)
- Choose a storage solution that fits the size and quantity of what needs storing. For example, choose a toy basket for the dog’s toys that will fit all the toys. If dog toy storage basket is full then one has to be let go before you purchase a new toy. Buying another basket is not the solution.
- Establish criteria for letting go of items: For example, if the dog has not used the item in 6 months let it go, if its damaged, if it’s threadbare and if it’s expired.