Ask the Experts

Dear Organizing Coach: I’m Addicted to Buying Organizing Systems That I Never Use!

You believe in magic bullets. You’re sure that the answer to all of your problems is just one (expensive) organizing system away. But when you get it home, the overwhelm sets in and you just end up more cluttered than before. Sound familiar? Read on.

Q: “Every room in my home is in need of organization. So I buy every book under the sun regarding organization, flag and highlight every page, run out to Home Goods to add to my ‘organizing systems’… and get overwhelmed before I even touch my piles of crap! If/when I do get somewhat organized and I make labels to keep everything nice and neat, I still find things thrown around. How can I make things simple enough to maintain and also be helpful? Please help! I need to keep it simple, but my ADHD won’t let me!” —Mom2theKlee’s

Hi Mom2thKlee’s:

Your question is among the most common — and commonly frustrating — for adults with ADHD. It’s not only difficult to find organizing systems that work for you. But it is nearly impossible to maintain the ones you get going. Here are a few guidelines that may help:

1. Take Stock Before You Shop

It’s only natural to feel the urge to purchase your organizing supplies BEFORE you actually get organized. But until you know what you already own, how much space you can allocate, and what type of supplies you really need, any shopping trip is just going to add to the clutter. Do your homework, then your buying.

[Free Resource: 73 Ways to Organize Everything Today]

2. Everything Needs a Home

Ask yourself if you know where everything lives in your home. Do all of your belongings have a designated spot? And is that spot easily reachable? Once you assign specific “locations” for all of your belongings, maintaining your spaces becomes specific, simple, and easy.

3. Eliminate Road Blocks

We each have our own unique organizing style. Start by asking yourself, “What system is going to work for YOU?” If you need to see your stuff so you know it exists, then remove closet and pantry doors. If folding clothes isn’t your thing, replace your dresser with bins where you can toss shirts, jeans, socks, and underwear. If you detest hanging up clothing on hangers, ditch the closet rod and put up hooks instead. Bottom line? Your system needs to work FOR YOU!

And if you are looking for more tips and tools, please check out our website at We have tons of FREE resources, videos and materials on this subject.

[10 Ways to Bring Calm and Organization Back Into Your Daily Life]

Organization guru Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions here!