Tag Archives: disorganization

Pantry Design Creates Clutter

Not all pantry designs are created equal! I can honestly say that this pantry is the

The least functional pantry I've ever organized.

The least functional pantry I’ve ever organized.

worst design of any pantry I have re-organized in my 18+ years working as a professional organizer.

First, I was shocked at how narrow the space was. It was like a dim, dark tunnel. I immediately felt irritable and claustrophobic when I stuck my head in it. It’s the kind of space most people would want to avoid.

To make things worse, the shelves were set back from the door about 18-24 inches, enough space to necessitate putting my whole body in the closet to access the shelves. Plus, the shelves were very deep — a recipe for terrible visibility and losing sight of half of the shelves’ contents. The only truly useful space, where items could be easily seen, was across the front of each shelf. The narrowness of the pantry made that space very limited.

The least functional linen closet I've organized.

The least functional linen closet I’ve organized.

This pantry reminded me of the least functional linen closet I have ever worked in. It seemed like a left over space that the builder decided to make a pantry. Clearly it was designed by someone who had little or no experience with food storage.

The whole time I was reorganizing this pantry I was thinking that the work I was doing was almost pointless. It would take no time at all for it to again become a disorganized mess. Why? Because it’s too hard to access the supplies and easily replace them where they belong. It would be pretty understandable that people putting things away might be inclined to pitch things into the space and slam the door shut hoping that nothing would tumble out before the door closed.

Why do I share all this? This pantry was a “Can you believe this?” experience for me. Sometimes I just need to tell others about this kind of experience. In this case it was not a nightmare created by a client. Rather, it was a nightmare created by poor design that left my client with few options for improvement.

ADD: How Coaching Helps 

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is a neurobiological disorder that occurs because of deficits in

Coaching helps ground you and helps you learn to manage ADD symptoms.

Coaching helps ground you and helps you learn to manage ADD symptoms.

executive functions in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain that result in problems with time management, prioritizing, impulse management, decision-making, and task management. People with ADD have challenges with self-regulation — regulating time, effort, feelings and moods, productivity. Coaching is a process that helps people get to know how ADD is affecting their life, and helps them learn how to manage their ADD symptoms.

There are many misconceptions about what coaching is and how people benefit from it. After several years of coaching people with ADD I have been witness to how coaching helps people with ADD. Below is a list of  some concrete results that I have observed in my clients.

ADD Challenges and Opportunities

Challenge: lack of and/or faulty awareness

Opportunity: with a committed coach who knows ADD, you will develop awareness of ADD challenges, how they show up in you, and what works to address them

Challenge: difficulty pausing to think

Opportunity: coaching is a pause in your life to process life experience to create new awareness and learning

Challenge: difficulty engaging in action

Opportunity: with your coach identify the cause(s) of avoidance of starting tasks and identify ways to engage in tasks that work for you; practice engaging in tasks between sessions, and process your experience in the next coaching session

Challenge: completing tasks

Opportunity: with your coach identify barriers to completion and strategize ways to complete tasks, getting support for completion with accountability (coach will check in about attempts at completion the following week)

Challenge: decision-making

Opportunity: practice making decisions with the support of your coach; identify thought patterns that make decision-making difficult, and developing new strategies for decision-making

Challenge: getting stuck in negative thoughts and negative self-talk

Opportunity: create awareness of the habit of slipping into negative thinking and negative self-talk with the help of coach feedback; explore how to get unstuck, and generate other more positive perspectives

Challenge: regulating emotions

Opportunity: bring situations where you have had difficulty regulating emotions to coaching sessions to identify what leads to heightened emotions; strategize ways to be more aware of feelings, and learn how to manage them

Challenge: disorganization

Opportunity: work with your coach to identify organizing challenges and strategies and resources to address disorganization

Challenge: setting priorities

Opportunity: clarify priorities in conversation with your coach

Challenge: time management

Opportunity: practice being on time for coaching; develop better time awareness with your coach; and, learn how to use time in a way that works with your ADD brain

Challenge: low self-esteem

Opportunity: identify your gifts, passions, values and needs

The support of a coach makes ADD management and long lasting positive changes

possible for a person with ADD.

Conquer the Paper Challenge! Process Paper Daily!

Some of you are thinking, “Duh! I already do that. Doesn’t everbody?” And others of you are going, “Ewww, I’d rather die! It’s overwhelming! It’s boring!”

For those of you who already have the good habit of corralling paper daily, keep up the good work! Being conscious of the daily flow of paper and deliberately controlling its flow is the only way to win the war on paper.

A casual approach to paper is a guarantee that you’ll create your own personal paper nightmare. Paper is relentless in its flow into your space. You need to be relentless in your handling of it.

Do it daily! It really only takes minutes! Minutes of agony are better than hours and hours of excavation that will be required if you procrastinate and let paper accumulate.

Here’s what I mean by PROCESS PAPER DAILY:

1. Make sure paper follows a specific route. For example, papers may arrive from a mailbox or kids backpacks to all many different locations in your house. Teach family members that papers either go to their space to be dealt with (like homework or the spouses business papers) or they should end up on the kitchen counter to be sorted and deliberately distributed to places where they will be acted on, stored or referenced, like the desk, filing cabinet or home office. Paper should not float from room to room. It will take over if you let it stray from a defined route.
2. Sort incoming papers into categories. I recommend these categories: trash; refer out to someone else; action; filing; reading; holding for later reference or action; and possibilities of things to do, buy, etc.
3. Distribute papers by category to their appropriate locations. For example, trash goes to the recycling bin or trash can. Action papers are moved to the desk or countertop where action will take place. Filing is filed or stored in a filing tray until you have time to file. Reading is taken to the location where you do your reading, perhaps a basket on your desk or next to your sofa.

You’ll notice I don’t recommend that you complete all the tasks associated with those papers on a daily basis. That would take more time than you have every day. I am just recommending that you control the flow of paper coming in, sort it and distribute it to the place where it will be acted upon or stored. If you do that much daily, you will find your stress goes down and your productivity goes up.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.