Tag Archives: ADD

5 Organizing Myths Banished

These are common myths that we tend to tell ourselves. They can hold us back, make us feel bad and make organizing harder than it needs to be.

1. I just need to try harder. This is a simple thing… Just do it!!

Not everybody is a linear thinker.  You need some linear thinking to do the process; getting the macro view helps to identify what to do first or second or last.  You might need some coaching help to identify your vision and how to prioritize things. It’s not about being lazy or industrious, it’s more about how your brain works and gaining objectivity about your own stuff.

2. I could knock this out in a couple hours if I just put my mind to it.

If you usually find organizing pretty challenging, it’s not reasonable to expect you can handle an overwhelming situation in a short period of time. And, if you think a week of solid work would do the trick, can you imagine how exhausting it would be to shift to “organizing mode?” and make it last for days? Be realistic about your time estimates and plan to work in stages.

3. My partner/spouse/children will be absolutely delighted when I get organized.

The fact that someone isn’t experiencing the clutter as a problem might mean they won’t be invested in the solutions.  Everyone has a different tolerance level for clutter.  If they don’t experience it as an issue, they might find it disruptive if you go and make changes independently.  It’s good to do some legwork, but try to get buy-in on what the solution will look like so you’re not imposing your vision on someone else and expect them to maintain it.

4. I need pretty (and expensive) bins to be organized…and bins will automatically make me organized.

Buying containers put the cart before the horse. You need to know what you’re storing, why, and where before you know how to contain it. A shoebox can work just as well as an attractive woven basket. First focus on the function that the container needs to fulfill and then buy or repurpose one that fits your budget and style.

5. If I’m not born an “organized person” I will never be organized.

There’s lots of way to get help: blogs, accountability buddies, or working with a professional organizer. Part of our mandate as professional organizers is to transfer skills to the client that they can carry forward.  Even though organizing can be easiest for those who naturally think a certain way, techniques can be learned by just about anyone.  Working with a professional can help you acquire those skills.

Give yourself a break and ask for a helping hand. It might not take as much as you think to get past your roadblocks.  You’re not alone in this, help is available.

 

 

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Filed under Decluttering, disorganization, General Organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Couples and Clutter – Conquering Contempt

marble-couple

Here’s more on the topic of helping couples manage clutter in a shared space using the wisdom of relationship researcher, John Gottman. This time we explore contempt and its antidote.

In our post about criticism, we addressed how blaming inhibits a couple’s communication and ability to work together to create a home that supports them both. Contempt takes criticism to the next level.

Contempt is poisonous. It is so threatening to communication because it comes from a position of superiority. It displays disgust. Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts.

If your goal is to get someone to change their behavior, you’re not going to get very far by putting them down.

EXAMPLE: Misplaced Items

Contemptuous Approach

Partner A: Where’s the packing tape? It’s supposed to be in the kitchen drawer!

Partner B: I left it in the office where I was using it.

Partner A: That’s so stupid, why did you put it there?! It belongs in the kitchen! You really like to make my life miserable (said with a sneer), don’t you?

The antidote is to describe your own feelings and needs. Actively use positive affirmations, building a culture of appreciation and respect. If you find yourself tearing down your partner in response to some transgression, stop yourself and consider how to turn that around.

Collaborative Approach

Partner A: I can’t find the packing tape in the kitchen drawer where we keep it, do you know where it is?

Partner B: I left it in the office where I was using it.

Partner A: It’s most convenient for me to find the packing tape in the kitchen. Would it be helpful to get a second roll of tape and keep it in the office where it would be more convenient for you to put it away? (said in a genuine tone of voice without irony)


Your desire to make your home functional and organized is legitimate. Modifying your approach may be more effective to get your needs met … and to meet the needs of your partner at the same time. Next up…Defensiveness.

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Filed under couples, Decluttering, home organizing, Perspective

Battling Boredom – Making Organizing Fun

Find yourself procrastinating?  Make a game of organizing!

Find yourself procrastinating? Make a game of organizing!

Does the thought of picking up and organizing your house bore you to tears or completely overwhelm you? Make a game of it to keep engaged!

Timer Games

Using a timer helps maintain your focus. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. See how many items you can put away before the timer goes off. Note that “put away” actually means that – not just shove out of sight into a random drawer, cabinet, or closet.

Need to purge an area? Set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Focus only on 1 area and see how many things you can get into a donation bag or trashcan. For example, focus on your sock drawer or hanging clothes or board games or colored markers or…you get the idea.

Engage the whole family and create teams! Have a simple reward for the team that gets the most points. The losing team has to do the dishes that night or take out the garbage.

Let The Cards Choose For You

This game requires a bit of preparation but helps conquer indecision.

Take a small stack of index cards and write out regular tasks that help keep you organized. If needed, you can be very specific. Here are examples of general vs. specific tasks:

General Tasks: do dishes, open mail, put away toys

Specific Tasks:

  • Bring dishes to sink OR rinse dishes OR load dishwasher
  • Open 5 envelopes OR throw out junk mail OR mark the due date on 5 bills
  • Put all loose Legos in a box OR gather crayons and markers into a bucket OR put books on shelves

To play the game, pick a card from the deck and work on it for as long as you have set aside to work. Use a timer if that’s helpful. A variation is to pick out 2 cards and then choose the task you want to do.

It’s useful to make task cards for areas of the house that regularly get out of order. If you don’t want to make your own cards, Time to Organize® offers a card deck you can buy.

Keep it simple, make cards for tasks that apply to you

Keep it simple, make cards for tasks that apply to you

Under the Sheets

This tip comes from an article written by Dana Rayburn in ADDitude magazine and works great to reduce overwhelm. For large areas of clutter, such as your desk, a table, the floor, or a counter — any place with so much stuff on it that you don’t know where to start:

  • Drape a sheet or a blanket over most of the area you want to organize, allowing only a small area of the clutter to show at a time.
  • Deal with that bit of visible clutter.
  • Once you’ve organized the first bit, slide the sheet over to expose another chunk of the clutter, and tackle it.
  • Keep moving the sheet, clearing and organizing as you go.

Organizing can be fun and satisfying if you adjust your perspective. Most people agree that housework and filing isn’t a “fun” activity.  But you can make it fun with these tips!  Do you have any games that work in your household?  Share them here!

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Filed under ADD/ADHD, Decluttering, General Organizing, Strategies, Time Management

Using a Timer to Get Organized

Use a visual timer to gauge progress on tasks

Time Timer lets you see time passing

Dana just got back from the National Association of Professional Organizers conference in Phoenix, Arizona. A product highlight from the conference is the Time Timer®. This is an ingenious timer that gives you a visual of time passing.

How do timers help you be productive and get organized?

  • Stay on task by working in short segments
  • Feel less overwhelmed by breaking larger projects down into manageable chunks
  • Give time blocks to regular tasks to create routines
  • Control time spent responding to emails or checking social media by setting a time limit
  • Help kids learn about time management

The Time Timer® is also available in a phone app and wristwatch.

Any kind of timer can work to implement these principles. The advantage of the Time Timer® is you actually see time passing and can see how much time you have left. For that reason it’s a great tool for people who have trouble conceptualizing time.

The "Pomodoro Technique" focuses on learning how long it takes to complete different tasks.  Click on the picture to learn more.

The “Pomodoro Technique” focuses on learning how long it takes to complete different tasks. Click on the picture to learn more.

Time estimating

One of the more critical skills in being organized is being able to accurately estimate how long tasks take. If you start using a timer around your daily tasks, make note of what you learn –

  • Did you allow enough time?
  • How many timer sessions did it take to get through a project?

The more you learn about how long things take, the more effective you will become at time management.

What tasks are you avoiding because they are overwhelming?  Set a timer for 25 minutes and see if that helps you make progress.  Let us know how it worked.

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Filed under Decluttering, General Organizing, Kids, Office, Perspective, Strategies, Time Management, Work