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ADD-friendly Ways to Organize Your Life


By Kathleen Nadeau;In the last issue of ADDvance News Online I have a little background about the partnership that developed between myself and Judith Kolberg, professional organizer, over the writing of this book. Although she had worked with many adults who have AD/HD, I still found that she, like most organizers and like most organizing books, sometimes recommended approaches that wouldn’t appeal to or work for an adult with AD/HD. Our goal was to write a very different organizing book that took into account the AD/HD tendencies that make organizing so challenging for many adults with AD/HD. Here are a few more….

AD/HD-friendly organizing strategies to work WITH your AD/HD….

Take advantage of “organizational moments”

Organizational moments are times when you take advantage of unplanned opportunities to organize. An example is filing a paid bill and then, while you’re at it, flipping through the file folder and throwing out any obsolete junk. Or it might be the opportunity to empty out your glove compartment when you’re stopped at a traffic signal. Or cleaning out your purse while you search for your nail file buried at the bottom.

Organize for reasons that matter to you.

Don’t try to adopt some else’s organizing values. If being “tidy” or “organized” has negative connotations for you (tedious, boring, uptight, perfectionist), motivate yourself by organizing according to your own values.

For example, if you value social service, put together coordinated outfits from clothing that you want to discard, then donate these complete outfits to a local homeless shelter or shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Your castoffs can be transformed into job-interview outfits for women with limited income. With this goal in mind, you’re not engaged in tedious tidying – you’re making a positive difference in the life of someone less fortunate.

If you value creativity, imagine an art project – a collage, a quilt, a sculpture, or braided rug. Then, just as some artists collect objects at the local dump, or collect discarded clothing at a thrift store for their art projects, go around the house with a collection bag looking for items for future art projects. You’ve had fun collecting materials and have de-cluttered your environment at the same time.

Clear as soon as you’ve cluttered.

Don’t view cleaning up as a separate activity. So often our clutter gets the best of us because we think of “straightening up” as a separate, distinct, and dreaded activity that we put off as long as possible. Meanwhile, our piles of clutter continue to grow.

Develop the habit of straightening as you go. Hang up your robe instead of tossing it in the pile on top of other clothing waiting to be put away. If you’ve got the inclination, hang up another item or two as well. Pretty soon, the clutter will begin to melt because you’re not adding to it and you’re slowly making it disappear – without having to go through the dreaded exercise of spending hours de-cluttering. Also, with this method, you’ll find that your home stays less cluttered. Making a “clean sweep” every now and then won’t help you develop the non-cluttering habits you’ll need to keep your environment more organized and liveable.


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