At some point in the past year I acquired a copy of a book called The One –Minute Organizer by Donna Smallin, a professional organizer. Reading it seemed urgent at that time, and then it faded from my consciousness. Like an omen for an organized new year, it resurfaced this week, and I started reading it. When I found myself exclaiming, “This is good stuff! My readers might need this. I definitely need this!” I knew that a review was on the horizon. For people with Attention Deficit Disorder, and others who need help organizing, this is an easy book to read and use.
Do you struggle with organization? What’s your biggest challenge? Is it finding the time to just organize? When that is the problem, Donna Smallin has some solutions. Divided into two parts, Getting Organized and Staying Organized, this little book breaks organizing down into manageable chunks. Here is a quick overview of the book.
Introduction Rocketing from task to task is the way some people with ADD spend their lives. Disorganization can bring havoc to all areas of your existence. This book brings to life the idea that it is important to be consistent in your efforts to organize your time and space. That being said, you don’t need to spend hours every day. If you spend just 5 minutes daily, it accumulates to 35 minutes per week and 2 hours and 20 minutes per month. Using just 15 minutes a day will triple that to 7 hours per month. Be patient. You did not get disorganized in a minute or a month. It took you a while to get to where you are today. Know that it will take time to dig your way out.
Part One: Getting Organized
Chapter 1 Getting Started Donna Smallin wants you to feel committed to changing the disorganization in your life. Through Chapter 1, she gives you various ways to show commitment. We’ve all heard them: set deadlines, give yourself rewards, tell people what you are doing, feel proud of yourself, and write it down. All of these seemed a bit trite. If these affirmations worked for me, I would already be organized. However, as I flew past these bits of ‘wisdom,’ I found a real gem. Use television commercials to organize drawers. Pull them out. Dump them and categorize the contents. Put the items where they need to go. Donna Smallin also makes the point that you should keep the items that you love. Later in the book, she tells you how to prioritize this.
Chapter 2 Clearing Clutter This is a gold mine of information on how to fight clutter. Before you can really organize, you must deal with the clutter. By deal with, I mean get rid of it. She tells you what to say to yourself to help you let go of those precious items that have become an anchor around your neck. She gives you questions to ask yourself and detailed instructions on how to effectively sort items.
Chapter 3 Paper Stuff Guidelines are given telling readers what papers are necessary to keep and which to pitch. She explains categories and sub-categories for a home filing system. A list of what should be in a safe-deposit box is included. Would you believe that there is a better place for your will than in a safe-deposit box? Details for keeping records for tax purposes are given. I found myself turning down the corners on pages that I wanted to refer to.
Chapter 4 Spaces and Things Of course, Ms. Smallin has ideas about how to box up that which you aren’t using and don’t want to pitch. She tells which kinds of boxes work best for different items. One great idea that she had was to number the boxes and store the list of what is in each on your computer. Then, when you want an item, just use your word processor’s ‘find’ key to locate which box it is in. Nifty! This section does give a few tips that are out of date, like making a tape of a child’s birthdays. Just use your creativity to figure out the 21st Century way to do techie things!
Part Two: Staying Organized
Chapter 5 Everyday Strategies This is the chapter where she helps you figure out what to do with those things where you struggle on a daily basis. Tips are given for streamlining your life. For people with Attention Deficit Disorder, this is a key reason to read this book. She gives ideas for remembering to do those often forgotten tasks.
Chapter 6 Clutter Control This chapter adds information about specific instances where you can fight clutter before it happens. Prior to shopping for kids’ clothing, or adult clothing, go through the closet. If an item hasn’t been worn for a year, it either does not fit or is not well-liked. Get rid of it. Donate it to an organization where it will find a good home. Donna Smallin even gives a suggested list of when to purge those belongings that might have outlived their usefulness in your household. Your discards may be somebody else’s treasures. Don’t hang onto things that you no longer need.
Chapter 7 Home Management The point is made in this chapter to set up your management system to suit yourself. If it is working, don’t change it. If it’s not, then figure out a different system. There is a lot of trial and error here. She does give ideas for helping children develop habits of organization. There are also ways to work with your family so that everybody pulls together in building an organizational structure in the household.
Chapter 8 Schedules & To-Do’s Time saving tips are given in this chapter. Attaining your long-term goals is discussed.
Index If Chapter 2 is a pure gold, this index shines like a diamond. When you want to find out how to learn to throw out items, you can find that easily under ‘throwing items.’ Use the index to make your life easier!
This is a very useful book and I highly recommend it. With this book you don’t have to find whole days to organize. Just go step-by-tiny-step and find more organization and control in your life.
This copy of the book was provided to me at no charge by BellaOnline for my consideration in writing this review.
This highly recommended book was published in 2004. There are many used copies available. For the price of shipping, plus less than a dollar more, you can put this helpful tool in your organizational toolkit. Here is a link to it.
The One-Minute Organizer Plain & Simple: 500 Tips for Getting Your Life in Order