Book Review — “Conquering Chronic Disorganization”


Don’t judge this book by its self-published-looking cover. It’s an excellent resource for folks who are chronically disorganized, and the people who live or work with them.

There are strategies for actually getting and staying organized, as well as insight into the phenomenon of chronic disorganization itself. I really appreciate this resource and will definitely be referring to it in the future. I really recommend it.

A few insights I gleaned:

  • I’ve read this before, but here again it says that understanding why you hoard isn’t the key to dealing with the behavior. Hoarding behavior doesn’t yield well to psychotherapy.
  • Set up a signal to let you know when it’s time to (re)organize. People with chronic disorganization may not respond to “because there are stacks of books all over the floor” or “because the couch is covered with papers,” but they may register “because the dog knocked over the stacks of books again” or “because my daughter has run out of places to sit and color.”
  • “The positive act of searching for treasures is a more effective method than the negative act of throwing junk away.” (p. 34)
  • If you are drowning in memorabilia from a particular chapter in your life, it might be useful to create an intentional “shrine,” or memorial to that important part of who you were. Set aside a few items and set them up so you can really see them, then consider boxing up the rest or giving it away.
  • If you have a hard time giving things up as you pick them up and consider their value, you may be suffering from “kinetic sympathy.” Sometimes we just become overly connected to things to which we’re physically connected. Try having a friend hold things up or point to items for you to consider and see if it makes a difference.

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