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Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder

Finally, a book that offers expertise based specifically on the barriers that having ADHD brings to organizing.

Organizing Solutions for People with Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized, by Susan C. Pinsky, is the best book I’ve come across for offering expertise that is based specifically on the barriers that having ADHD brings to storing and organizing. That’s what I’m talking about!

In the book’s introduction, Pinsky writes about working as a professional organizer with a bright but terribly messy artist-type. One week, they’d set up an organizational system that worked for Pinsky’s other clients. When she returned a week later, all of their work was undone. What was wrong with this seemingly intelligent adult woman? Why couldn’t she maintain this simple system, especially given the time, energy, and money she’d sunk into it? Well, Pinsky discovered, it’s because she had ADHD. Pinsky realized that a system for organizing for a woman with ADHD would have to be based on the way the ADHD mind functions.

First Pinsky developed expertise in this area, then she wrote a book about it. And, she wrote a book that’s concise, direct, even designed to work visually for folks with ADHD.

Here’s an examples of how Pinsky relates her tips directly to ADHD, as interpreted by me:

Even the smallest daily task, like taking a shower, is, if you think about it, made up of many steps. For people with ADHD, each tiny step is another chance to lose focus. It takes a lot of energy to complete any multi-step task, and nearly every task is multi-stepped. So, eliminating as many steps as possible will help a person with ADHD succeed.

Now that I learned that, I’m going to apply it: watch me go! Eliminate the need to open a cupboard by using open shelving. Use clear storage bins, so you don’t have to open it to see what’s in it. Leave the lid off, so you don’t have to open it. Forget about hangers — use hooks. Don’t put the hooks in a closet with a door, put them right on the wall, or use a coat rack. Don’t put the coat rack five steps away from the door, eliminate those five steps and put the hook right by the door.

Pinsky emphasizes letting go of wanting stuff to look pretty, and go for real functionality. That’s a tough one for me, but if it works, I can do it!

I spent most of the afternoon yesterday putting the same stuff away in Natalie’s room that I’d put away a million times before. As I did so, I started thinking about why that happens — why I spend hours cleaning up a mess she makes in 10 minutes, just to do it all again, over and over.

Pinsky gave me a new way to look at the situation. I have a long way to go, but I understand Natalie a little better.

Thanks. That’s exactly the kind of expertise I’m talking about.