Maintainers and Overhaulers

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Midterm season, spring sleepiness, and to top it all off, the potential of finally returning to in-person classes. Amidst the change, organization is what we need most, but ironically, it is the thing we may do last. If you are an organizationally challenged individual, here is one strategy I learned from Seth Perler, Executive Function, ADHD, and 2E—twice-exceptional—coach.

First, determine if you are a Maintainer or an Overhauler. Maintainers find it easy to get into a habit and stick with it; they like to have their materials and living space in their own order and consistently organize daily. On the other hand, overhaulers will completely redo their space and materials periodically. Overhauling is just as effective as maintaining when done regularly on a weekly basis.

If you overhaul inconsistently, Perler suggests a “weekly overhaul” approach: one day a week for thirty minutes, go over every piece of work you did that week and what you need to do for the next. Take all your school-related belongings (including trash), put them in one place, and organize them. Update your planner, throw away the trash, and put your materials in their homes. The first time you do this, you will need to do a decluttering reset by overhauling everything related to school, just like you would do at the beginning of the school year. Make sure to give everything a “home” or place where that object belongs and can return to when needed.

The key is to make this a part of your routine; no matter what day of the week you choose, make sure it is the same week to week. Remember, overhauling is not about perfection; instead, this thorough check will help you ensure that you are not leaving any important things undone. Over time, as you become more familiar with your routine and materials, this process will go by quicker until it only takes you five to ten minutes a week. I hope this strategy helps to give you time to go forth and be your amazing self!