Book Review: Organizing Solutions by Susan Pinsky

I enjoyed Susan Pinsky’s book, Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized (Fair Winds Press, 2006). I particularly appreciated the “before” and “after” photos, and wished there were even more of them.

For those who aren’t planning on reading the book, here are my take-away notes.

The most important tip is to undertake a “Brutal Purge” in all areas of your home, before trying to organize or tidy what you already have. (Something my husband has been advocating for years; I’m getting better at it!)

Always ask, when organizing: is it quick? Is it simple? Is it efficient? Is it sufficiently reduced?

Basic tips:
• Use standard-sized containers.
• Clear containers only.
• Use open-front plastic bins for easy access. Don’t stack unless necessary.
• Don’t overshop; shop to a list.
• Don’t buy novelty items/gadgets.
• Eliminate duplicates.

Tips for handling paper:
• Throw out the entire folder relating to a finished project.
• Don’t keep papers that aren’t immediately needed or for possible future projects.
• People retrieve only 20% of what they file. Throw out paid bills, greeting cards. Shred as appropriate.
• Toss junk mail immediately.
• Limit your magazine subscriptions. Throw out the old one when the new one arrives (read or not). Store magazines in an upright rack so all are accessible; newer ones at front.

Ideas for the kitchen:
• There should be no paperwork in kitchen.
• Eliminate appliances you don’t regularly use.
• Pots that you can cook and serve in are a good investment (enameled pots with covers).
• Avoid moving food and dishes out of the kitchen.
• Put napkins in a sizable basket, not a wire rack.
• Store plastic utensils in a loaf pan.
• Store recipes in a flex file folder with several sections. Handwritten labels could include: Appetizers/Soups/Sauces; Desserts; Fish/Seafood; Meat/Poultry; Omelets/Casseroles; Salads/Salad Dressings; Vegetables; Miscellaneous.

Keep a container of disinfecting wipes in the living room and another one in the bathroom for quick clean-up.

Put hazardous waste in an open tub, then drive it directly to your community waste station.

Use a tower caddy for projects such as homework: stationery, paper, workbooks. Then, if you have used the dining room or kitchen table for the project, you can more easily pack materials away and roll the caddy to another location.

Keep an open basket in living room for joysticks. (She is a big proponent of being able to chuck things into a container, whether it is remotes, joysticks, or laundry!)

Movies and music: don’t collect. Think pay-per-view, MP3, radio.

Don’t overwhelm ADD kids with large collections of toys and books, etc.

Your office drawer should include: tape, stapler, staples, pad of paper, paper clips, rubber bands, stamps, envelopes, extra file folders, scissors, pencils, pens, two colored markers (black and red). And use stick pens rather than pens with caps.

Tips regarding finances:
• Give money to one charity rather than many.
• Have only one credit card.
• Use automatic recurring payments.
• Use online banking.

Organizing time:
• If a career person, use one calendar for work and home.
• Family calendars should be large and centrally located with a pen ready-to-hand.
• Place 4″x6″ sticky pads by every telephone with a pen. Write To Do list and take the top sticky with you. Mark each sticky with name of the day of the week. Transfer to next day’s sticky if not completed.

There. Now, if I only follow these excellent suggestions, I’ll be set!

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