Friday, October 15, 2010

Getting organized

Fall has always had more of a "New Year" feel to me than January. The combination of my birthday in September, that back-to-school mentality, and something about the crisp fall air never fails to bring back that desire to start fresh.

This fall I vowed to get organized, and stay that way. To that end, I went to the library and brought home a stack of organization books to add to the teetering piles of books I don't have time to read.

Hmmm, what's wrong with that picture?

At the top of the pile was The Messies Manual, written by Sandra Felton of Messies Anonymous. I'll tell you, this book made me feel like I had it all together! My life and house may feel disorganized to me, but boy could it ever be worse.

That's not to say that Felton didn't have suggestions that were useful to me. The main thing I took away from this book was the understanding that procrastination is not the same as laziness. It is simply a habit, and habits can be broken.

So, I need to break the procrastination habit and replace it with new, healthier habits such as hanging up my sweater instead of laying it on the back of the couch, keeping my keys in my purse or on the hook by the door, and putting the toilet paper on its holder instead of setting it on the back of the toilet to deal with "later." Got it. But before getting started, I thought I'd probably better read a few more of these books I'd piled up. (What? What's funny?)

So, I turned to Hannah's Art of Home. The fact that Hannah Keeley is a homeschooling mom appealed to me right away, and I loved her concept of different styles of cleaning to match different personalities. The first part of the book is a personality quiz. I love personality quizzes! I not only took the quiz, but also gave it to my husband, my two children, and the cats.

The cats refused to participate and my ten-year-old gave up on question 8:
If I were an outfit, I would be

a. a tailored jacket with clean-cut pants
b. snazzy overalls with a banana yellow t-shirt
c. an oxford shirt and khakis
d. soft blouse and bohemian skirt
If there had been an (e) oversized skateboard logo t-shirt and ripped jeans, he might have stuck with it for a few more questions.

For the record, personality quizzes intended for mothers do not produce valid results when given to 13-year-old boys. Basically, a 13-year-old boy would make a really wacky mommy. (This could be the basis for a great novel!) My own quiz was more accurate, and Hannah's take on how my personality would impact my efforts to organize my home was entertaining. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I felt another book was just what I needed.

Some of what I'd read in the previous books had led me to realize that even though I've never thought of myself as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), I have certain, shall we say, ADD-friendly tendencies. Like, getting out food to fix dinner at 5:30 but then remembering that I'd planned to pay the bills before dinner so I start to write a check which reminds me that I need to order new checks so I get on the website to order checks and I'm in the middle of choosing which checks to order (and checking Facebook and looking for a recipe for pasta with chicken and no tomatoes because we're out of tomatoes) when my husband rides up on his bike which means it's 6:45. Doesn't this happen to everyone?

So, ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life seemed like a good book for me. I started reading it, and it really is helpful. The only problem is that when my friend and I were at the sauna talking about this whole organizational thing and whether there's such a thing as adult-onset ADD, we got distracted and started talking about food. My friend offered to lend me her copy of Nina Planck's Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and so I started reading that and it's fascinating (more on this another day). Alas, now ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life is due back at the library, so I'm going to return it. Just as soon as I find my son's copy of The Zombie Survival Guide, which was due last week. And then? Why, then I'll get organized, of course!

by Alison Jakel


  1. Once you get organized, can you come to my house and organize me?

  2. Sure, Kathy, but it might be a while!

  3. LOL! I am the kind to get frantic distracted when I'm busy and do absolutely nothing productive when I think I've got a few hours to spare. And my org skills range depending on what it is! I have gotten worse now that I think I have 'more time', sadly. Best to you in your org goals!

  4. I have ADD and have read ADD-Friendly Ways To Organize Your Life. There are some really helpful hints in it, although, I don't like how hiring someone to help or enlisting a friend who is organized is one of the main coping strategies. Having to organize another person into my organization is an extra step in the process. Extra steps are my nemesis. :)

    There's a 10 Simple Solutions book for ADD adults that's super helpful. I finally have a purse that doesn't look like a bomb went off in it, thanks to reading that one!

  5. Allie, I skipped all the parts about hiring people. It's not that I can't see hiring someone to help with a major organizational task, but that's definitely not the kind of long-term solution I was looking for. I'll have to find the other book you mentioned.

    Care, I can so relate to getting frantic when busy and letting the time piddle away when not busy. Tough to find that happy mediuml, though.

  6. Care, Ali has noted how much more productive I am under pressure. It doesn't seem like a good way to live though.


  7. We need a disorganised club (but I'm not sure we'd ever get round to it). I so know the feeling of dealing with simple tasks, like hanging up a cardigan later - how hard is it to hang it up? Too hard afetr I get back from work it seems :)

  8. Jodie, I love that--the Disorganized Club that never got around to meeting. Too funny!

  9. Like comment about fall feeling like "New Tears!"