I may be wrong about this but I think that when you have ADHD, you cannot process information efficiently when your environment is a mess. I think that when your desk, your car, and your house are big cluttered, disorganized ADHD disaster areas, thinking is impossible. Ok, maybe there are people who thrive in a mess but I am willing to bet that most people with ADHD do not.
The reason that I think this way is that my thinking process is much better since organized my home, my workplace, my car and my desk. I sometimes get home and before I can answer phone calls, questions from my children on spouse, cook dinner or accomplish anything, I must de-clutter and pick up the house. I must de-clutter my ADHD house so that I can think with my ADHD brain. If the house is a total disorganized mess, I simply cannot think about anything else.
My kid’s rooms have been a real challenge. Their rooms can get to looking horrible (about as bad as my room looked when I was their age) and I must admit that up until about three months ago I assumed that it was hopeless and I would just close their doors. Then something miraculous happened. I discovered these back of the door organizers that were really affordable and I hung them on the closet doors and bedroom doors of each of their rooms (I got some for our room too). I told the kids to put their stuff in the organizers and they did and all of a sudden I could see the floor in their rooms.
These organizers have about 16 pockets each of different sizes and hold everything from shoes to Pokemon cards to match book cars to under-ware. The pockets are mesh, see through, so the kids can see what is in each pocket. Heartened by my progress, I bought them each a file cabinet and told them to store their school stuff, wallets and prized books in these. We put up shelves and the stuffed animals, trophies, model cars and other books and toys went on the shelves.
I am happy to report that now even the kid's rooms are organized at my house and that makes both me and my kids happy because, thought they would never admit it, they can think better when their rooms are organized just like the rest of us.
I read this really sad story about this woman with ADHD whose house was a total wreck so she took to buying these "Get Well" cards and leaving them in places around her living room so that when people came over they would assume that her house was a mess because she had been ill. I cannot even imagine how demeaning this is to someone’s psyche but it really should never come to this.
Though people with ADHD tend to look at a monumental task such as organizing anything with loathing and hopelessness, de-cluttering your life does not have to be such a horrible task. A week's worth of 15 minute de-cluttering episodes several times a day will go a long way to making a great start and to getting your stuff in order.
It helps to have things like file cabinets, file folders, organizers and the like but even without these things you could make a fine start. By the way, you can see pictures of the organizers that I have found helpful at the Primarily Inattentive Store.
De-cluttering need not be done in a day or a week, it is a process. Start with one section of one room and work on it for 15 minutes at a time. If you have been holding onto something (clothes, kitchen gadgets, unnecessary plastic objects) because you think that someday you will use it and you have not used it for a year, take a good long look at it, determine if you really need it and then kiss it goodbye and send it to Goodwill.
If you have a desk full of all sorts of materials because you are trying to decide on something, make a promise to yourself that you will not ADHD procrastinate anymore and that you will make a decision within the next 5 days. Make the darn decision and then throw all that ‘research’ stuff that you have cluttering your life and your desk away (or if you must keep it, get a file cabinet and file it away). Stop hyper-investigating things that need decisions, decide, de-clutter and move on. Get a file folder for all your really important stuff and stick those things in there.
Do not hold onto receipts unless it is for a huge ticket item and even then, the proof that you paid is on your credit card so throw those receipts away. Do not even put the junk mail on your counter; sort it right into the recycling bin. Grab stuff that belongs in another room and move it closer to where it belongs until it is in its place.
Do not allow your kids or spouse to leave plates, cups, wrappers, etc anywhere, make them take them to the kitchen sink, dishwasher or garbage can. Throw miscellaneous things in a 'junk' drawer and periodically go through it and throw away or put away anything that does not need to be there.
You can do it and trust me you will feel so much better about yourself and your ability to think once it is done.
5 Habits of Successful Adults with ADHD
5 Habits of Successful Adults with ADHD
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