Getting Organized

You can personalize the Getting Organized resource by downloading it HERE, and adding your own responses, or continue to view it below.

Have you ever wondered why people may say, “A place for everything and everything in its place”? Perhaps Benjamin Franklin, who came up with the quote, was super organized...or maybe he originally had trouble finding something and realized this saying could help him stay organized. In any case, setting up an organizational system can help alleviate some common mental health symptoms. For example, for those with ADHD, it may prevent losing important items; or for those with anxiety, decluttering the external environment may help to “declutter the internal environment” of the mind.

Step 1

Choose two separate areas that you use for work, completing tasks, or has become overly cluttered (e.g. desk, kitchen counter, tables, etc.). Once you have identified them, write them down in a notebook, or in the worksheet version of this resource here.

Step 2

Go to the first area to be organized and stand or sit at the location. The key is to observe everything in the space you chose.
Tip: Taking a “before and after” picture can help create a visual.

Step 3

In your notebook or in the worksheet version of this resource, write down the items that do not belong or are not currently necessary for any tasks.

  • Note: when we begin to rationalize or make excuses to ourselves as to why certain items are present but unused, chances are these do not belong
  • For example, if you have a broken toy on your desk that has been there for three years, waiting to be glued, it likely doesn’t belong

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Step 4

Identify what items need to remain for the immediate task at hand (e.g. if you are cooking a meal, leave only what is necessary for that meal) and put away everything else on the list.

Don’t have a place for these items?

  • Place them in a box temporarily until you can find storage space
  • Or create “3 boxes” for the items: one to throw away immediately, one to donate when you can, and one to keep for later use

Now repeat Steps 2 - 4 for the next area:

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Reflection

Taking some time to get curious about our experience, in a non-judgmental way, can be helpful in building a new organizational habit. Use the questions below to reflect on your experience.

  • What did you notice about the items that didn’t belong?
  • How did you feel during the process? Any embarrassing or challenging moments?
  • How did you feel after removing the items? Tip: allow any positive emotions to sink in
  • What have you learned that you may want to remember? Tip: discussing this with a therapist, trusted love one, or accountability partner can help solidify the habit

References

Boissiere, P. (2018). Thriving with adult ADHD: skills to strengthen executive functioning. Emeryville, California, Althea Press.

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