"And the day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to BLOOM…This is the Element of Freedom"

-Alicia Keys

14 June 2010

Always on a Mission: Part 1

I am always on a mission to find something that will hold the magic key to organization.  If I find or create the perfect (there is that evil word again!) system, then *Poof!* I will be wicked organized and live happily ever after.  So far, I have found no such key.  But I have started and created numerous organizational systems.  Color-Coded file systems, accordian files that I painstakingly labeled (and even made inspirational labels to motivate me to keep using the system), bulletin boards with different sections for all of my To Do Lists: Bills to Pay, People to call, Dreams & Goals, ect.  I joined the Fly Lady website (she is really lovely and I did learn some kind & gentle ways to teach yourself how to get organized.)  I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People & tried to use the Time Management Quadrants, which included me making more file folders and labels.  No wonder I am frustrated! Have you ever seen the the Quadrants (also known as time management matrix)?  Now add in the ADHD factor, with one of the hallmarks being the inability to prioritize...When everything seems important, how do you decide what to do first?  Even just looking at this quadrant below sort of gives me anxiety.  It is so black & white and quite frankly, it is so boring that I know now that there is no way in hell I will ever use something like this.

Recently, I was at a local bookstore, The Tattered Cover {a wonderful independent bookstore here in the Denver area} and I came across this book: Life's Too Short to Fold Fitted Sheets: Your Ultimate Guide to Domestic Liberation.  I didn't end up buying it that day, but it is on my list of books to read.  I flipped through it and loved the layout of the book, the way that the author writes is totally up my alley {I spotted a couple of F*bombs, and any book on organization that uses colorful language is a book that I want to read!}

On the same shelf as the book above, was this book: One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good.

I opened this book & almost had an anxiety attack right there.  I literally shuddered in the bookstore.  Now, let me preface this:  I know that I committed a crime here.  I judged a book, not by the cover {I mean who doesn't like rubber duckies?} but by its interior layout and writing style.  Both of which were quite boring.  If I am going to read another book about organizing, please let it be funny, teach something & swear like a sailor.

I have learned / am learning a few things about: Organization: When it doesn't come to you naturally}:

  •  Don't beat yourself up about it.  Don't let anyone make you feel inferior because you haven't figured out how to get all of the laundry washed, folded, hung up & put away or you know that piece of paper is "in that stack somewhere."  You know what?  IT IS OKAY. You have other gifts to share with the world.  Life is too short to worry about things like this, but I totally get how hard it is to feel good about things when there is a massive pile of clean laundry waiting to be folded, hung up & put away or you can't find a bill that needs to be paid because it wasn't in that stack somewhere.  I totally get it.  The most important thing that you can do is to brush yourself off & spend some time finding out what system will work best for you.

  • Find a system & STICK WITH IT.  This is where I really struggle.  I will find a new planner or notebook or whatever, and try it for a couple of weeks.  It is usually too much work or too confusing {see Time Management Quadrant Matrix above}.  I have found 2 websites that I really like and they are both run by women, who are both mothers.  Let's face it.  Life is complicated and it is just more complicated when you add little people and all of their laundry, diapers, food, toys, ect. to your life.  These women have come up with some great ideas to help manage all of these things.

  • I would be lying if I said that I have one system and I have stuck with it.  The truth is, I haven't.  I must have committment issues with organizational systems.  I have been burned one too many times, damn it!
So, here is the first of  two sites that I have found to be helpful.  Today we will talk about Hannah Keeley and her website.  She has a variety of pages that you can download for free here.  She wrote a post about "Trudging through Mud" and I commented and she actually commented on my comment!  Seriously, this woman is the mother to 7 children!  What I like the most about her site is that she is funny, she gets it and she doesn't pretend to be perfect.  The H.E.L.P downloads that she created are really easy to use.  I especially like the chore chart sheet.  She kept the spaces small so that you aren't tempted to fill them in with things that you won't possibly get to.  Check out the rest of her site for ideas and recipes and inspiration.

Damn.  This is one long post.  That happens when you write about something that means something to you.  I will keep it a little shorter tomorrow.  Thank you for reading!


  1. I am with you on the endless search for better organization. I wish dishes would clean themselves, the toys would put themselves away and the meals would cook themselves :) I have found a couple of sites that have really helped though. One is an online chart that helps organize family chores. and the other is a site done by a lady that is obsessed with organization and has a lot of good ideas. Her site is www.simplyorganizedonline.com.

  2. Dear Elizabeth,

    Although I can't give you specific names, I know there are organizing books dedicated to folks with ADD. You might find your solution in one of these books.

    I'm so sorry you think my writing style and the layout of my book are boring. My sincere wish is that you find the book/system that meets your needs.



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