Lowering Muddle Struggles With Children With ADHD
Blessing in disguise
Growing up as an inattentive ADHD child of a non-ADHD mother, I learned some important lessons about how NOT to do things in an ADHD home. But coping with my mom’s ADHD mess didn’t come overnight.
Although it wasn’t much fun then, I now realize that these lessons were a hidden blessing. Learning what not to do shaped my approach to creating effective organizational systems for both my customers and myself.
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Inattentive ADHD and a cluttered bedroom
Since I was a lazy kid, mom and I usually got along pretty well. Sure, my grades were always an issue, but that wasn’t our biggest issue. The biggest battlefield between Mom and me was the mess in my bedroom.
Toys, books, and other stuff pile up on every surface. The floor is littered with dirty clothes. I had no idea how else to function. I don’t even want to think about dust and spiders. They know how hard it is to clean when you can’t find a surface.
My poor mother I frustrated her to no end. We didn’t know about ADHD. Mom was just trying to organize me the way it had always worked for her focused brain. As you can imagine, they didn’t exactly work for my distracted brain.
Giving up a life with ADHD clutter struggles
When I finally had my own home, I decided to give up my life of clutter and chaos and become an organized person. I didn’t know about ADHD. Fortunately, my instinct led me to come up with an ADHD friendly approach to organizing!
The main organizational principle of ADHD that I discovered, a method that will keep people with ADHD floating through their day with less clutter, chaos, and conflict, is to play detective first. First, examine the clutter to see why it is building up. Then invent creative, topic-specific, ADHD-friendly organizational solutions.
The Truth About ADHD – It Has To Be Easy
Before attempting to create a system, you must accept the truth about ADHD: if something is too difficult, we’ll avoid it. We like the idea of complicated systems, but we’re not going to follow through with them consistently.
For the organization this means:
- Make it quick and easy to put something away because if it’s too heavy we’ll toss it in a pile or leave it on the nearest flat surface.
- More importantly, make the things that are most needed the easiest to store.
(Of course, we all know that when it’s easy to put something away, it doesn’t always happen. But the odds will be better.)
Now for your investigation
Start by investigating what is being thrown or left on the floor and see if you can make it easier to put it away. Use these questions to guide you in your clutter investigation:
- Are drawers difficult to open?
- Do cabinet doors hang?
- Can your child reach the hangers?
- Is there a lid on the laundry basket or trash can?
- Do you need to go to another room to put the laundry in the laundry basket or put away something that is often used?
- Is it easy to tell where things are going?
- Does everything have a place where it belongs?
- Are favorite toys in clear containers or open baskets?
- How can you make it easier to make the bed?
- Where can you use hooks on jackets, clothes, and towels instead of closets, hangers, and rails?
- Where can you use an open mug or glass to store pens, pencils and scissors instead of keeping them in a drawer?
- How about pump bottles for toothpaste, shampoo, and lotion so the lids don’t get tossed aside.
- Do books fit on the shelf? Is it easier when you stack them?
Pay attention to the seemingly unimportant things that can have a big impact on the mess: a drawer too full to hold clothes; Hangers that get tangled; a laundry basket with a lid.
There is one more thing that you need to investigate. Where are you part of the problem? Insisting on standards higher than necessary can make the job difficult, making clutter more likely.
- Do you expect beds with military precision?
- Are towels folded in three sections?
- Are clothes folded according to department store standards? Or on hangers instead of hooks?
Understanding what is good enough will reduce the ADHD clutter in your home.
Focusing on making it easier for your ADHD family members to put things away means more than just creating a cleaner house. It also reduces stress and frustration for everyone involved.
Ultimately, that’s the REAL reason to get organized!