Do you find yourself getting organized over and over only to have the clutter return? How frustrating is that!! Staying organized with ADHD is the most common ADHD organizing problem I hear about.
There’s a big difference between GETTING organized and STAYING organized. ADHD Adults often tell me they can get organized, but they just don’t know how to keep it that way.
Getting organized is about appearances; clearing out the clutter so your office or home looks better. But, it’s often superficial.
In my old messy days people thought my home was organized because I had great hiding places for the clutter. On the surface the house appeared neat, but the closets and drawers were a disaster, and I could never find anything.
Staying organized is about function. The clutter may return in small doses, but you can quickly and easily clear it. Your home or office rarely looks perfect, but you can find everything when you want to and clean it up in a matter of minutes.
Why Staying Organized with ADHD is Hard To Do
Here are the primary reasons I believe ADHD adults have a hard time staying organized.
- They got organized by clearing off surfaces instead of clearing out the clutter. Just moving unneeded stuff around merely transfers the mess from one area to the next. To stay organized you have to get rid of the things you don’t love, need or use. As FlyLady says, you can’t organize clutter.
- They made the wrong homes for their stuff. Staying organized with ADHD means being very creative in thinking how and how often you use things. If something is too hard to put away you won’t do it. This is a make or break organizing issue. Without the right kind of homes for your stuff you won’t be able to stay organized. Period.
- They don’t have a clear, simple system for doing routine tasks and chores. People with Attention Deficit avoid unclear and overwhelming tasks. Without a simple plan or system many everyday tasks such as planning your day, paying bills, doing laundry or washing dishes are overwhelming and left undone.
- Most of the adults with ADHD I know (including me) are consistently inconsistent. Even with the best intentions we don’t do something 100% of the time. I tell my ADHD coaching clients that if I can get them to do something 90% of the time I’m happy. Your expectations and organizing systems need to allow for this inconsistency.
- ADHD Adults lack awareness. Unless we train ourselves to see the clutter we will happily overlook it. That’s why we can walk over the unpacked suitcase for months until it’s time to get ready for the next trip, cook around a sink filled with dirty dishes or work around a desk piled with papers. Though the clutter disturbs and frustrates us, we aren’t aware of it enough to do something about it.
Staying organized with ADHD isn’t rocket science. Most ADHD adults just need to learn how. If you’re ready to get organized and stay that way, you might find my Organized for Life ebook useful.