10 Organizing Principles for the Organizationally Impaired


NOT Your Mama’s Organization

by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
In support of the Challenges Inventory™ & ADD Coaching Series
my edited reposting of a five year old article

If at first you don’t succeed . . .

I know.  I’m right there with you.  You’ve read all the books and made a good stab at following their advice, and you still live in what might affectionately be called a pig stye if only it were that neat.

Give it up!

Those books were NOT written for you and me.  They were written for fundamentally organized people with relatively reliable follow-through skills and abilities.

They simply needed a little how-to help and advice.

I don’t work their way.
Do YOU work their way?

How DO you work?

If you don’t get real about how you work, you will never be able to determine what YOU need to do to to keep from spending half your life looking for things that were “right here a minute ago” — and the other half tripping over dirt and detritus.

As I began in an even earlier post (ADD & Organized?) . . .

Yea verily, even YOU can learn to be organized
just as soon as you understand
the reasons why you’ve been stopped in the past.  

Those of us who struggle with any of what are referred to as Executive Functions work a bit differently than those neurotypical folks.  We do not have vanilla-flavored brains.  We’re more like the ice cream with the mix-ins.  Our stoppers are not their stoppers.

HERE’S the KICKER: it’s a different mix of stoppers for every single one of us.  

So much for helpful hints and tidy lists!  

That said, I’m going to go w-a-a-y out on a limb by offering my top ten organizing principles that I now call, collectively, The Executive Functioning Organizing Manifesto — a summary of some basic concepts that need to be embraced and understood if you want to have a shot at working out what you need to do for YOU to be organized.

In future posts in this series, I will expand on some of the points below.
For NOW, print ’em out and hang ’em up and follow them!

The Executive Functioning
Organizing Manifesto
 

#1.  Organizing for effective Executive Functioning has more in common with organizing for the physically challenged than organizing for the neurotypical.

  • It makes no difference if “prime real estate” is between the head and knees of a standing person if the person who is using the item is in a wheelchair.
  • It makes no difference if “it only takes a minute to walk to the next room to retrieve those tax files you only need a few times a year,” if walking to the next room is exactly the stopper that makes the taxes overdue every year.

#2.  All organizing must take continued FOCUS into account first:

  • How important is ease of retrieval to accomplishing the task at all?
  • How important is rapid retrieval?
  • What modality will the retriever be likely to use to locate the item?
  • How important are the kinesthetics of the retrieval?

And finally, rather than first, as with vanilla-brained advice:

  • How often is it used?

#3.  For those of us struggling with EF issues, ease of storage is primary

Conventional wisdom states that storage must be thought of first in terms of ease of retrieval.

  • If you don’t put it away in the first place, not only is it impossible for you to retrieve it, the unconscious knowledge that you won’t be able to find it when you need it becomes a disabling distraction — one more invisible ball to juggle.
  • If it isn’t easier to put it away than to “put it here for now” — or at least AS easy — don’t kid yourself! It won’t get put away AT ALL.

#4.  All organizing must be thought of with a systems focus

  • What gets used with this item?
  • What gets used next?
  • How does the task of putting away this item (or the item prior) impact the next phase of the system?

#5.  All organizing must take the usage by others into account

  • Whenever possible, don’t share.
  • Whenever possible, don’t tempt others to borrow.

#6.  DUPLICATION is your friend – especially for “in order to” items

Oh how the organizing gurus love to encourage us to get rid of duplicates!

That’s a lousy idea for me – and maybe not the best idea for you either, unless you particularly enjoy scavenger hunts.

  • If everybody in the house uses a stapler, everybody in the house needs a personal stapler – MONOGRAMMED (okay, at least marked for identification in some manner – and words work better than colors, btw).
  • If a single, solitary ADD/EFDer living like a hermit uses a stapler in several different places, every PLACE needs a place-specific stapler – marked for identification.

When s/he stumbles across the office stapler in the bathroom, s/he won’t waste cognitive resources wondering if it belongs in the kitchen … or maybe the craft center … or . . .

“Oh, never mind, I’ll come back to the bathroom the next time I need it –
at least I’ll know where I left it.”
Sure you will.

How many trash cans does one living space really need?
As many as there are locations where trash accumulates!

#7.  When organizing for best executive functioning, everything must have a home
and a vacation home

  • Any home must be able to be located kinesthetically, as for a blind person.
    No thinking, no remembering, no looking — you’re body simply knows where it belongs and where to grab it.
  • Kinesthetics are especially important if you are highly visual (which makes just TOO much sense if you’ll think about it!)

Which means, if you really DO think about it, before you can set up housekeeping, the location of everything in the neighborhood must make sense cognitively.

Everything must ALSO have a vacation home 

  • Sometimes taking the fifteen steps to escort the handy-dandy velcro-enabled TV remote back to it’s velcro docking-station in the cabinet under the television is simply going to be too much effort to fathom.
  • THAT is why you have a basket on (or under) the coffee table where you can house those little friends who refuse to go back home the moment you are tired of playing with them!
  • The next time somebody needs the remote, they only have to look, at most, in TWO places.

Note to neurotypicals: would you rather be right, or
be able to change channels with relative ease?

#8.  NOTHING spends the night outside – ever!

  • You must teach yourself to dedicate a “hateful half hour” to rounding up the renegades and sending them back to one home or the other – EVERY night — sometime before you are allowed to go to bed. Set an alarm.

You will DESPISE this principle every evening, and LOVE it every morning.

  • Remember, you always have the option of sending things to one home or the other in real time.  Eventually you will find yourself needing increasingly less time to round up the run-aways.
  • The first night you get to skip the hatefulness, you will be on your way to becoming a convert.

#9. You must make friends with “The Penicillin Principle”

  • First corollary of principle number eight: never inject viruses into the petri dish once you have hit it with the penicillin dropper.

Once penicillin creates a clear spot in the center of a teeming mass of virus,
only an idiot reinfects it. Don’t be that idiot.

  • IN OTHER WORDS: once an area is decluttered, use your “hateful half hour” to keep it that way.  Every single day.  It’s the ONLY way to break free of the much more dramatic “mess it up/clean it up” situation.

#10.  Life without a broom closet is no life at all

  • Your utility closet is the ONLY exception to the vacation home principle.

You MUST have a place to stash brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, dustpans, and backups of ALL of the products you [will] use to keep some modicum of sanitation in your home!

  • If you don’t have ONE dedicated closet for cleaning tools, cleaning will always have too many tiered tasks to navigate often enough to please the Board of Health.
  • EVEN if you have to set up a rack in the corner to free up space in a clothes closet, you MUST have a place to store the dirty, ugly realities of cleanliness!

You might also want to take a look at
the beginning of my Clutter-Buster Series:

Stuff and Nonsense
OHIO – OMG!
Domino Problems

© 2012, 2017, all rights reserved
Check bottom of Home/New to find out the “sharing rules”
(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this article (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page).

Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

 As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.


You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)

Related Articles ’round the ‘net
(Warning: mostly neurotypical, but each with with a few useful tips for us too)

BY THE WAY: Since ADDandSoMuchMore.com is an Evergreen site, I revisit all my content periodically to update links — when you link back, like, follow or comment, you STAY on the page. When you do not, you run a high risk of getting replaced by a site with a more generous come-from.

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

120 Responses to 10 Organizing Principles for the Organizationally Impaired

  1. Pingback: Emergency Prep for lives that have A LOT of them! | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

  2. reocochran says:

    This was so humorous but helpful, Madelyn. My favorite part was everything should have its home and vacation home. 🙂
    My closet space is limited and if someone were to look inside, they may have stuff fall on top of themselves! Yikes!
    My kitchen and art supplies are organized. I think we each decide to “pick our battles” and clean what we most need to be organized and neat. Thanks, Madelyn! I need to get a few garbage bags and take clothes I don’t wear to Goodwill. Now, my oldest daughter’s new, unworn wedding dress will have to stay in the closet, too expensive to discard and have hope it will be worn with her newest man in her life. Hugs xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robin – if we can’t laugh about it, we’re doomed, right? 🙂

      I’m with you on organizing by area – for me, some areas are hyper-organized, others look like I’ve been tossed. 🙂

      I prefer it ALL organized but it seems that the moving gods seem to have me on a quest. If things continue to play as they have, ust about the time when my current digs are getting close, I’ll likely have to move again and I’m right back to “picking my battles.” ::sigh::

      As for that wedding dress, if you plan to have your oldest daughter wear it with guy #2, for heaven’s sake never mention that it was supposed to be worn with guy #1. lol Men (and their families) can get *really* funny about that. 🙂

      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  3. driftyness says:

    Wow, I’ve never thought to think abiut organizing this way. It’s an effort for me to get & stay organized–sometimes it feels like I’m fighting my brain. Seems like your tips might really work for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a great comment! If you are trying to do it like many organizers and books suggest, you may well BE “fighting your brain.” That’s the entire point of this post and this blog – we all need to find ways that work for US (whether we have a diagnosis or have simply been “quirky” for most of our lives).

      There IS no “one size fits all” where Executive Functions are concerned. Like I always say: take what works and throw the rest in the garbage where it belongs. BUT – before you do, figure out where it breaks down and why it’s not working for you. That’s the point at which you tweak to figure out what WILL work.

      Last thing: organized doesn’t mean “neat.” Two different things – both in the eye of the beholder.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I pretty much run my life this way, evolved from a chaotic childhood where I could never find things that I need. I’ve sometimes wondered if there’s something wrong with me–that I need to be this organized to function. Thanks for relieving some anxiety concerning a need to be organized. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting comment, Cathleen. AS long as your life is *relatively* balanced, you’re probably fine.

      Few of us function well surrounded by chaos, but we all have different “levels” of order that work for us. The problems usually result primarily when that level is impossibly stringent – or when general functioning is SO impulsive or oppositional it won’t support keeping things ordered enough to develop habits that serve.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha! Madelyn, if you only knew just how much I’m feeling this post! 😀 If I could just get a good dose of Satisfaction (cue the Stones) or a hearty dose of Happy (cue Pharrell Williams)… maybe I could actually do something. Anything. 😉 But now I at least have some theme music for the day.
    Have a wonder filled new week. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teagan, it sure sounds to me as if you are grappling with ACTIVATION – the gettin’ up and going part of the equation vs. the ‘wanting to’ be up and doing (motivation).

      On the other hand, you may just hate to clean, declutter and/or organize – or find it too boring to contemplate. 🙂 There’s an epidemic going around, I’m told.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, I actually do enjoy organizing things. My closets and shelves have baskets to separate things. My writing — every large story has an Excel matrix, and I use the features in Word in such a way that I can see a running outline with notes in the sidebar. Getting a big set of clear stackable storage boxes was like Christmas morning.
        I’m just wallowing in all the defeats with work and trying/failing to get a job in another state for 5 years. But as they used to say where I grew up, “It’s all good!” 😀 More hugs.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I so wish you could find a job that suited your talents, Teagan – and left you alone to USE them. 5 years is a long time to look without success and remain as positive as you always seem to be. I could use some of whatever you’re on (kidding).

          I’m with you on the organizer goodies – always among my favorite presents, even when I buy them for myself.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

  6. dgkaye says:

    OMG, totally brilliant anecdotes! 🙂 🙂 ❤ Love it. So relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Debbie. I doubt you struggle with much of this, so I’m honored you took the time to read the post.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye says:

        You’d be surprised! LOL 🙂 🙂 xo

        Like

        • As long as you function as well as you do, I doubt I would consider whatever I were to see were I to visit a surprise at all, Debbie. 🙂

          There are only so many hours in a day, and every one spent cleaning or straightening is one you can’t spend writing, editing, marketing, blogging — or living your life.

          There’s a lot of truth in the old saw that nobody ever said, as they were dying, ‘I WISH I’d been a better housekeeper!’ I won’t, in any case – and you should see MY house!
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            LOL, I could think of better things to wish for at that stage! No, I’m not anal like I used to be since I started writing full time. But I have to say, I do breathe better when I do a sweep off my desk every so often. Sometimes I feel the clutter gives me claustrophobia. I can’t live with dirt, but I can endure paper disarray for a period of time. 🙂 xo

            Liked by 1 person

            • lol – I am more likely to shut down with clutter than dirt (thanks to eyesight that focuses only on the big stuff as time goes by). 🙂
              xx,
              gm

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              Lol, ignorance is bliss! 🙂 🙂 x

              Like

            • In this case, absolutely!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              x 🙂

              Like

  7. Excellent advice! I wish it worked for my husband, but I got him spoiled, I am afraid. He makes a mess, and I go and organize it because I can’t stand it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m betting you keep him around anyway because he has good qualities that make up for his mess-making — and he can certainly mix the cocktails and celebrate with you when all’s well once again! 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • All is well – I don’t mind his mess-making; it’s not his fault. Besides ADHD, he is auditory and not visual, so it is really challenging for him when he needs to sort things out, categorize, and prioritize, whether it’s tasks to be done or papers on his desk. If I can help, why create extra pressure for him?

        Liked by 1 person

        • What a great attitude! Your husband and I function similarly, though for different reasons.

          I wish I’d had an understanding partner. Mine all tended to make things harder in my areas of challenge, basically thinking gender not person.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • I doubt that a male partner could exhibit this kind of flexibility, although I know one such specimen, one of my friends’ husband, but he is unique.

            Liked by 1 person

            • and taken – as in “all the good ones are already…” 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Oh no, everyone has his or her half, or so said my grandmother!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well if your grandmother was right, I wish mine would show up before we are both confined to our rocking chairs! 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • That’s in His hands, and He knows better, and so did my grandmother. Whenever both you and your half are ready, He will make sure you meet.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Wise words. Of course, unless he knocks on the door, I probably need to get off the computer more often – lol.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I am not sure about that – my husband and I met online, and not on any dating sites either. Actually, I don’t even think there were any dating sites then, and I wasn’t interested anyway. You never know!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Online? Interesting. One more thing for our list of things to discuss over drinks on your patio someday.

              And maybe some day a follower and I will meet, our eyes will lock and the theme music will start . . . ya’ never know.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • There is really very little to discuss. In the early days of AOL, when it was charging a fortune for time online, I was working on my dissertation and had to spend lots of time doing research. So I hired myself out to AOL as a tutor-on-call, paid in free time online. While hanging out in cyberspace, I discovered a few people, from all over the world, who spoke Russian, and together we started the first Russian-speaking chat room on AOL. My husband was one of those people. With a few of them, we became very close friends, to the point that four of our friends traveled to Miami for our wedding.
              Funny you should say it, but the first time my husband and I met face to face, our eyes locked, but there was no music…

              Liked by 1 person

            • What a great story! And how clever a solution for the fees. I think Thom Hartman worked a similar deal with another online platform – he founded a couple of SIGs over there (ADD was one – I think the other was tech-related).

              I was active in the AOL ADD community back in the day, but it was established before I found it. I seem to remember a reasonable monthly fee, but I don’t recall being charged for online time. Perhaps it was a bit later?

              A group of us met face-face at an ADDA convention, but I never heard of any romances blooming, much less a wedding.

              Your life is unusual in many respects and would be fodder for a very interesting book – fact or fictionalized. I’m sure I’m not the first to say that. Thanks for sharing.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • It was in the early 90’s, and believe me, most of us who came out of the former Soviet Union have stories to tell. I don’t think I am so unusual in that respect; I think I am just a magnet for trouble because in any situation, I somehow find a strange way of dealing with it.

              Liked by 1 person

            • CREATIVE not strange – lol.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Creative IS strange, out of the box!

              Like

            • It certainly is not the normal approach, but I do believe it is there to be tapped in most of us. You are unusual in that you’ve lived your life “outside the box.” That’s what makes you – and your blog – so special.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Dear Madelyn, we have lived “outside the box” for more than 2,000 years. During those short periods of time in some countries when we were allowed “in the box,” it led to assimilation and diminished creativity. A spring develops tension when it is squeezed!

              Liked by 1 person

            • I’m sorry to read how it developed – but grateful and inspired that it did.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • It’s the same with every persecuted group – dynamics of social psychology. Thank you for your empathy!

              Liked by 1 person

            • I probably have experienced the least persecution of any subset of the populace, even in High School, but just a taste – as a female and with the unthinking and sometimes cruel comments of the ADD naysayers, was more than enough to give me a personal experience of how it feels to be dismissed as human being, along with an entire “classification” of others like me, for no other reason besides bias.

              I can only imagine more, and to a greater degree, but it makes me angry as it saddens me – for you and for every person who is stigmatized because they are part of some “group” someone else wants to demean. It breaks my heart.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • I am sure that you can relate to that to a great extent! In my Ed Psych course, I have an activity that I usually try to conduct in February, which is a Black History Month, and I make sure it coincides with the unit on ESE. I prepare identical squares of paper, and have students draw them out of a paper bag. Several squares have a black circle in the middle. Those who draw a “black mark”(remember Long John Silver and the Treasure Island?), sit at the back of the class and are not allowed to participate. Other students are instructed to ignore them. If they raise hands or otherwise try to get my attention, I make a big show of ignoring them. After about 10 minutes of this, each one of those “blackmarked” individuals is invited to describe his/her feelings to the class. Now they are able to empathize with special needs people, as well as victims of discrimination and persecution. It’s an eye-opener most of them, believe me!

              Liked by 1 person

            • GREAT exercise! I once heard of a teacher who divided them by blue eyes and brown eyes and did something similar. Then she made them switch – whichever group started out the favorites became the shunned and vice versa.

              I think I prefer your version because putting feelings into words underscores the experience in a more conscious manner – more likely to stick, I’d be willing to bet.

              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you! I am very much in favor of experiential learning. Years ago, I was presenting workshop on it at a conference at MIT, and I had one of the Harvard deans climb under a table and play a caveman. I didn’t know who he was! But between us girls, even if I did, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

              Liked by 1 person

            • And I’ll bet there is not one single person in that room who will EVER forget that lesson. The dean sounds like he was either a great sport or afraid to cross you. 🙂 🙂

              Just listened to an older podcast about a study of youngsters struggling to learn to read who improved 2 standard deviations when the learning was underscored by having them “act out” the stories with toy animals, etc. Apparently they were stuck on the words themselves and didn’t absorb the underlying concepts. Once the experience was integrated, they taught the kids to imagine the toys – and before that they were all reading at grade level.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 2 people

            • The dean was a great sport, but I also didn’t know who he was, and it wouldn’t have mattered to me anyway because when I teach / present, I must have total control of the situation. If I tell students to stand on their heads and wiggle their toes in the air, believe me, they’ll do it!
              The method of using “peg words” to attach a signifier to a signified is a very old one, but implementing it experientially is fairly new and very effective.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Apparently so, and I’m not surprised you know of it already.

              I’d love to watch you in front of a room – and if you said jump, I’d be in the air.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Dear Madelyn, I learned this trick when I was still in elementary school: if you are absolutely confident that people will do what you tell them to do, they will. It’s called presence, and it’s something royalty is, supposedly, born with, but that’s bs – it’s a learned skill.
              I have 45 hours of myself in front of a room and TV cameras, but it’s in VHS, and I have no ideas what to do with it.

              Liked by 1 person

            • With time and money you can convert VHS to a format you can post online – but that, too, is above my pay grade. 🙂

              I learned that confidence trick young as well – as the new kid at least every year, if I didn’t have “followers” I’d have been eating alone in the cafeteria, nose pressed against the wall. As it was, I was usually pretty popular.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

  8. Such a great article, simple but requires work. With this formula it will accomplish great things. Nicely done Madelyn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. Developed for self and clients – missing principles that kept getting us in trouble.

      Developing that follow-through part is a bear – but not as time-consuming as digging out from under. 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ain’t this the truth Madelyn. We are still working it to accomplish things but with diligence and hope we’ll get there. Its so important. Some would call us OCD and that’s okay but we just think of it as being able to find our lives amidst all the chaos.

        Liked by 1 person

        • As much time as you guys dedicate to exploring outdoors, I doubt that anyone could seriously believe either of you are candidates for an OCD dx. I’ve known a couple with the diagnosis, and dragging them away from cleaning is like pulling teeth!

          As with anything else – know your level (i.e., what you need to be able to function with relative ease). One man’s total clean-up is another’s first pass.
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

          • LOL. Were you watching us clean the van the other day… lol. You are so right about knowing our level and then being able to function within it. Its always fun and the bestest part is we love laughing at ourselves and each other.

            Liked by 1 person

            • The BEST part is that you found each other and had the good sense to hang on!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Amen. So much joy and like all things with it comes responsibility that is also a joy. The question is why it took so long, lol.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Dolly would say that God was getting you ready to appreciate each other. Someone else might say that you both had a few more wild oats to sow – lol.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • LOL. We believe the former. We both needed some growing up to do inside of ourselves and learning who really was in control. Once that wrestling match was done everything just happened. Really learned so much in that wilderness experience.

              Liked by 1 person

            • And now you are happily ever aftering it – well worth the wait, right?
              xx, mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Amen. Each day is a happily ever after.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I love stories like yours. I think everybody does.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Its fun to be hopeful in every relationship and the rewards are immense. Surely you have encountered this wonderful experience?

              Liked by 1 person

            • Many times, actually. But it takes TWO to keep that going, and I never met a man willing to dedicate the time to keeping those good feelings alive. 😦
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • You are so correct Madelyn about it taking TWO on the journey to a healthy, happy, fulfilling relationship with ones mate. What joy there is in the process.

              Liked by 1 person

            • None like it, IMHO. But both halves must be equally willing to give as well as take. Even identical twins will tell you that, in order to remain close, each spends time doing activities with the other that they would not have chosen themselves.

              Why is that such a tough concept for so many couples to grok?
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • Sometimes what seems to be such common sense really isn’t to all. I know for us God be the glory.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Many with loving marriages of many years say exactly the same thing!
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  9. I love that mantra! I’m forever attempting to rid my couch(where I do my ‘admin’) of stuff. And staplers? You’re weird! I have sizzors in several rooms for convenience. (Should mention one of my favourite stores in OZ is called Officeworks!😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • lol – I could also have used scissors as my example (I have those everywhere too – ALSO in my bathroom) – but the illustration wouldn’t have been as easy to locate, and probably not as colorful.

      Staplers were more common before people used their phones as mini-dataports – much less paper needing stapling (but I still have staplers in several places in my apt. as did more than a few clients attempting to declutter by “neuro-rules”).

      It makes me nuts to have to clear a space to sit, so that’s not one of my particular challenges. I don’t use chairs or sofas as surfaces. I have a large dining room table in my office, piled with paper — and a large coffee table with two shelves underneath in my LR where all ‘admin’ (and magazines) go, in baskets large enough to hold a sheet of paper without folding – but the table surface still lives cluttered most of the time. A snap to clear, however. THAT I can tolerate.

      Office and hardware stores – love ’em both! MUCH cheaper than the dedicated “organizer” stores.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  10. lwbut says:

    Just heard about the shooting in Cincinnatti. Hope you and your loved ones are all safe?

    My prayers are with you and your city today.

    love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for caring. Love. I’m fine and I believe that everyone I know even a bit probably is as well.

      I don’t have the details (no TV), but apparently there was one death and 15 or so injured in a shooting at a nightclub or disco (or whatever the clubs are currently called). Nobody I know hangs out in places like that these days, so I’m sure they are fine – but prayers for strangers is never inappropriate.

      Sad and crazy world, huh?
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • lwbut says:

        True. I’m glad to hear no-one you know was involved. I was quite surprised to learn that this was the 71st mass shooting in the US this year!!! I was waiting for the ‘first’ to see what not-your-president had to say on the subject and how hypocritical he would sound offering his condolences to the victims (that he’d probably try to blame somehow) or what he would do to make American’s ‘safe’ from such gun attacks??
        The silence is deafening…

        Stay safe,

        love

        Liked by 1 person

        • Gun-totin’ cowboys in America – enabling the violence of gangs and thugs – standing on their 2nd Amendment rights to form a citizen militia (as if that’s gonna’ do much against drone strikes and bombs).

          This is supposedly the worst mass shooting in the history of Cincy – by far. Last I checked, several of those injured were hanging on to life by a thread, so, although I hope I’m wrong, I doubt the body count is all in just yet. Nor were they close to finding the shooters responsible, according to the online Cincy reports.

          But you do know the mantra, right? “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Hard to believe a knife or fist fight would have similar injury statistics however.

          Yeah, Orange hasn’t tweeted anything in response that I have heard about. Probably busy lining up ducks to “spin” the latest coming out about Russia’s involvement in our last election. 😦

          You stay safe too. We live in an age of violence and terrorism anymore – look at what just happened in London. Scary times.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • lwbut says:

            Thanks Madelyn, I am pretty safe here – but not as safe as it used to be. Last week a gang broke into a gun range in my city and stole 130 firearms! 😦

            I see that the European Union is looking into the possibility Putin is seeking to affect French and German Elections after the suspicions and evidence of the US one. Seems old Vlad is none to happy with the free world for placing sanctions on his country for invading The Ukraine and helping shoot down a Malaysian Airlines 767 (23 Aussies coming back from holidays died along with another 260)

            Nowhere is truly safe anymore. Not even a plane at 30,000 ft.

            love.

            Like

            • Well THAT’s scary! Why, I wonder? Sending a prayer for your safety. Stay low.

              It will be interesting to see what shakes out here as increasingly more details of Putin’s involvement in the last election come to light. In the US there’s finally talk of treason. I’m sure that will be spun with ‘alternative facts’ so that it doesn’t stick, but perhaps we’ll see how the Pencil does in the big chair after all – I doubt they’ll both go down for it. Unfortunately, Orange has stuck us with a cabinet that is likely to follow in his footsteps FAR too closely for my comfort (or the good of the country).
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • lwbut says:

              Why is a mystery, it was a professional job however, avoiding security and cameras and cutting through brick walls and a shipping container to get to them. At up to $5000 per gun on the black market money is the most likely motive. There are no groups that would use over 100 handguns for any reason here, using just one is a rarity, fortunately.
              I think t-reason is the closest Orange is likely to get to having his name used in the same sentence as the word reason! 😉

              The world is watching! 🙂

              love.

              Liked by 1 person

            • CRAZY, but only some of my approvals and replies to comments are posting today. Sorry – I’m trying!

              Money is the motive for a lot of nasty things in the world today, unfortunately, but $5K per gun blows my mind. How in the world do they fence the darned things? Who buys them over there – and for what purpose?

              LOL re: comment about Orange.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • lwbut says:

              Sorry to hear of your WP troubles – lets hope it behaves itself soon?

              As for the guns – of course i am no expert on the subject but guns are most commonly held by the criminal element, few regular citizens own handguns although there are some who mainly use them for target shooting. Farmers tend to own rifles for pest control and there is a small minority of people who hunt wild boar and deer or kangaroos, some for fun some for food. This was probably the work of a biker gang and they would most likely fence them to local drug dealers – My state has the highest proportion of crystal meth (Ice) users in Australia it’s estimated 1 in 9 people are regular users. 😦 Dealers and back yard labs to make the stuff are relatively common. It’s a sad world sometimes.

              love

              Like

            • Thanks, Love. Blogging with WordPress reminds me most of trying to get rid of a bubble under plastic. You can move it, but it always seems to pop up somewhere else. After a while I just hope it will stay on the edges of functionality.

              1 in 9 are regular users of crystal meth? That’s HUGE! Sad, yes, but mostly scary – these aren’t the calmest of drug users. My mind is simply blown. Watch your back, my friend – and I will pray for your continued safety.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  11. I read your article with great interest (and some inward amusement as I recall being told last year that my desk at work was a fire hazard and that I had to clean it up). I am very orderly in some respects and can find everything on my computer and remember the detail of jobs I worked on 15 years ago and find the stored working papers but the physical. Oh dear, that is another story as my comment above indicates. I will try some of these tips and see if it helps at all although a big dollop of more time would also help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fire hazard, lol! I told on myself about the state of my office in one of the comments on this post: extremely organized computer, totally trashed surfaces most days.

      Still, as long as we know where things are, can keep up with our workload, think clearly and (for me) can still locate a clear space to set down a cup of coffee and find it again, “neat” is not the objective. Nor is it the point.

      I use that “time” excuse too – but if given an extra hour in every single day I seriously doubt I’d use it straightening up my office – unless there were a clear benefit to ME (no pun intended) 🙂

      My kitchen and my closets, on the other hand, MATTER to my ability to function (and my willingness to get out of my pajamas). I’d love to have more time to keep those always ship-shape.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally agree about the extra hour, I would spend it on reading more blogs, writing or baking but not tidying up [smile].

        Liked by 1 person

        • We’d either be wonderful roomies, or candidates for an episode of Hoarders. 🙂
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • SOUL JA says:

            HELLO, I WAS JUST WONDERING, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO MASTER ALL THESE TECHNIQUES? I MEAN, YOU MAKE IT SOUND SO EASY.

            (angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Master? No way! It took years to figure things out and what would help – more years to develop habits that served me. I’m not speaking to anyone as if my own life were perfect – but I know from experience that things can be a whole lot better.

              That’s why I blog (and coach) – to shorten the learning curve for others. Once you have figured out how YOU work, it’s that follow-thru part that’s the toughest. STILL, If you’re not sure what’s tripping you up, you don’t stand a ghost of a chance of changing much of anything.

              Don’t go nuts – pick ONE thing that seems like it might work, try it out and tweak from there. Add another when the time is right, and so on. Enroll a friend to keep you accountable – or hire a coach, if you can afford one.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • For some reason, WordPress is not posting my attempts to reply or your subsequent comment under this article (tho’ it is saying I replied when I check the notifications dropdown).

              I’m not sure what that’s about, but it may be why you ended up sending one comment twice perhaps (which I still have not located OR approved, btw.) I’m trying another screen to let you know that I’m not ignoring you, and appreciate your interaction.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • SOUL JA says:

              THANKS, I REALLY APPRECIATE THE EFFORT.

              QUICK QUESTION; ARE YOU WORKING WITH YOUR CLIENTS ONLINE, OR IS BLOGGING JUST A HOBBY?
              AND IS IT A BAD THING TO BE ADD?

              DON’T MIND THE CAPS, THAT’S JUST THE WAY I NORMALLY TYPE. I’M NOT REALLY SCREAMING.

              (angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)

              Like

            • Here’s my favorite answer to anyone asking me about ADD: In heaven, EVERYBODY gets to have ADD.

              Blogging is my way of sharing my expertise to support anyone who cannot afford coaching – with me or anybody else – so more mission than hobby. I work by phone only, so I’m not limited to clients in my town — and I have also found, over the past 25+ years, it actually works better for clients. They have to TELL me what’s going on, which brings it to consciousness, don’t have to drive to an appointment when they suddenly notice the time, are never distracted by “looking” appropriate and MORE!
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

          • SOUL JA says:

            I’M SORRY FOR THE TYPO IN THE FIRST MESSAGE, WAS A COMPUTING ERROR; I DIDN’T MEAN TO SEND THE SAME MESSAGE TWICE.

            (angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Not to worry – I’ve made mistakes of all types. I think most people have.
              xx,
              mgh

              Like

            • There seems to be something screwy about comment replies today – I just answered this, but it hasn’t posted on the page yet – although my drop-down notification box tells me I have replied, nor do I see your first comment twice.

              In any case, as I said, don’t worry about it or feel you must apologize. We all make mistakes – *especially* WordPress – lol. 🙂
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

            • SOUL JA says:

              LOL

              (angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)(angel)

              Like

  12. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Second thank you – the first disappeared into the void, so I’m glad I checked. Thank you SO much for the reblog.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  13. robjodiefilogomo says:

    I am quite the organizational freak…but even I have areas & times that it becomes a mess! But I’m one of those strange ones that then loves getting it back in order!!
    But it’s true—it’s probably as individual as raising kids—each person needs their own system??
    jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Why am I not surprised, Jodi? 🙂 We ALL need to do what works for us individually, along with what makes for happy lives. You underscore my point from an important perspective: different strokes for different folks.

      I haven’t met anyone personally who doesn’t have to deal with a mess once in a while, for a variety of reasons. I think happy people whose houses look practically magazine-shoot ready at all times have time and money unavailable to most of us, many of whom have household help – although I also know there is a subset run by shoulds where their homes are concerned, who are rarely very happy about it (or much fun to be around).
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Preaching to the choir here. I have been often criticized for my overdeveloped sense of organization. Clutter, in any form, just hurts my brain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL – the principle exactly – we all have uniques levels of acceptability. If it hurts your brain, fix it, at least to the degree that it hurts LESS. 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Organising issues? You too? Madelyn Griffith-Haynie gives us 10 principles we can apply to fit our own needs in this helpful post. Go ahead… read on… don’t be shy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks again for helping me spread the word, John — especially since you introduced it by underscoring my underlying objective: *principles*to fit our own uniques challenges and needs.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure, Madelyn – I do strive to be accurate. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

        • A habit ingrained during YEARS of practice in the toughest environment. 🙂
          xx,
          mh

          Like

  16. -Eugenia says:

    Superb post. I consider myself an organized person and I can’t stand clutter. My hubby, on the other hand, is a scatterer. Every now and then, he will do a clean sweep and everything will be put away – that is if I don’t get to it first. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • And he is still alive? lol? 🙂

      I broke off an engagement to a man who behaved as if he believe that the TV show Hoarders demonstrated what TO do, vs the opposite. I also overheard him comment to a buddy that I *liked* to organize and neaten. Hate it, actually – but I love the results when I do it and I simply can’t function when the mess reaches a certain point, so I don’t actually have much of a choice about it.

      I never continue to think well of anyone who UNdoes my work repeatedly and who refuses to put things back, effectively stealing time from my life to make things more convenient in his — which is why he is now an EX! (teen aged boy behavior, and I don’t sleep with teen aged boys!)

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to ring in.
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

      • -Eugenia says:

        Yes, he is still alive 🙂 I guess some things I just learned to live with. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        • lol You did say he cleaned in spates – saved his life! 🙂
          xx,
          mgh

          Like

  17. mistermuse says:

    Being long-retired and too old to care about appearances or what others think, I do just the organizing necessary to function efficiently (as I define it). In that sense, old age can be a beautiful thing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You GOT it! Organizing doesn’t mean “neat” – it also doesn’t mean “clean” (or winning Good Housekeeping awards – lol) It means being able to put your hands on what you need when you need it so that you can live your LIFE without being so disabled by clutter you can barely think at times – or living on the chronic mess-it-up (agonize over it) clean-it-up roller coaster.

      These “tips” are what most folks who can DO that tend to do already — without spending more of their lives in the organizing endeavor than makes sense to them. They’re also concepts I’ve noticed are generally missing in the lives of many of my clients through the years for whom it’s always a source of agita, embarrassment, and/or procrastination.

      Some people actually enjoy cleaning and neatening (???) – many despise it. I fall more toward the avoidance end of that spectrum myself. The more mess I can prevent, the calmer, happier and more productive I am. But I have never in my life been accused of being a “neat freak.” 🙂
      xx,
      mgh

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Madelyn so informative and inspiring for people who r working and how in a meticulous way they need to work so that things can be easily done on time and they need not get ruffled and work can go smoothly. Great 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you liked it, Kamal. We all have our own levels of what works and what disables, but I’ve worked with a lot of folks whose functioning improved considerably once they followed a few procedures and developed a few habits like the ones in this article – even some who maintained that lack of organization wasn’t a problem for them.
      xx,
      ngh

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great Madelyn it is so good to appreciate and improve people of their thoughts and put them in the way one has to function in life. You r doing an awesome job.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kamal, you are always so encouraging – and I always so appreciate it.
          xx,
          mgh

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks Madelyn

            Like

            • Thank YOU, Kamal.
              xx,
              mgh

              Liked by 1 person

  19. that was the post written for me ;o) I will stick with the penicillin-principle… and I like this name… penicillin is made from rotten bread and it became a helpful thing. so I think even my horrible wardrobe mess can become a good thing too…. a gps to find my way through is no solution, and I will not use breadcrumbs to find the way out but organization ;o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You sound like me. There’s a post in the queue that shares a few products and systems I use to keep wardrobe things organized for ME. Each of us is different, however, so the key is to check out what disables you and set things up so they work for YOU! I’m big on “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — and my definition of broken is that it creates problems with mood or functioning for the person who needs to use it.

      My Dad was always complaining about my mother’s “lack of organization” in the kitchen, for example. It was perfectly fine for HER and he rarely cooked, so even as a teen I advised her to tell him that he gets to vote ONLY if he agrees to cook all the family meals (not that she listened, lol).
      xx,
      mgh
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  20. Pam Augspurger says:

    You know me so well! Lol My desk looked like something post-natural disaster. It happens. Then I clean and, well, you know the cycle. A couple of weeks ago I tackled it and every other pile throughout my shop and our house. I felt liberated! I’m talking stuff I had ignored for a couple of years. I’m proud to say I can still see my desk! I made file labels as I created piles. Perhaps some are unconventional but they work for me! I have a file cabinet right beside my desk and now that I’ve added those new folders, everything has a home within reach. I’m trying!

    But here’s a question. Why am I so disorganized in certain aspects of my life yet anally organized in others? Labeled storage containers and all! This organization overload lives in the same space that my use to be disorganized desk lives. I’m quite the paradox. What gives?

    Thanks for the great tips!
    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good question, Pam! I believe it all has to do with what each individual needs to think and accomplish, along with how much time and interest they have to dedicate to remaining neat and organized to begin with. (NOTE: two words because they are NOT the same thing). Most people with crowded, disorganized closets, for example, are the ones who complain they have nothing to wear – or have piles of clothing on chairs, etc. or struggle to keep up with the laundry. Women, especially, tend to keep up quite well when the closet helps vs. making things tougher.

      I can’t cook if my pantry isn’t organized, all utensils aren’t where they belong and make sense with how I use them, and my spices aren’t alphabetized, for example (first letters only). I usually ruin the meal or burn things while I’m looking for something otherwise.

      I also have to keep up with the dishes regularly – which means that dish storage has to be organized in a functional manner, right? During times when dishes have gotten ahead of me (illness, etc), I’m a mess, eating peanut butter of out of the jar and practically in tears because I just can’t handle it. I know my level.

      As a result, my kitchen is usually in pretty good shape, and I practically ALWAYS get groceries put away immediately as part of the grocery shopping experience, even though I tend to shop for a month or more at a time. If that were the only room you ever saw you might think I was an organizing Wonder Woman.

      My office, on the other hand, frequently looks like it was tossed! I spend 99% of my working hours on the computer (where everything IS organized) – with my back to the mess. While I LOVE to have everything neat and pretty, it doesn’t negatively impact my functioning when it is not, so that’s the first area that gets neglected when time gets tight (which is practically always – lol).

      Even though I truly feel better about my space and about myself when there’s an AH factor as I enter the room, ONLY when getting work done includes a scavenger hunt (or I need the big table for something else) do I – resentfully, btw – take a day to make everything neat, clean and pretty again. And I’ve finally taught myself that when I’m looking for something, I can’t make things worse – I must put things where they go as I put my hands on them or I’m setting myself up for something I will barely be able to do.

      Thanks for ringing in here – always love your comments.
      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  21. Pingback: 10 Organizing Principles for the Organizationally Impaired — ADD . . . and-so-much-more – Powers That Beat

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: