Organization — It's in the Bag

What's in your purse, ADHD ladies? If you said, "Everything!" you need these tips for lightening your load.

A see-through purse with all its contents displayed. Amazingly, it is clutter-free.

A cluttered purse could be a diagnostic criterion for possibly having ADHD.

It's said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. But for a woman with ADHD, her cluttered purse is the window to her ADHD brain. When I speak at large ADHD conferences, I ask the women in my group what the current state of their purse is. Nearly 100 percent will say it's a mess to behold. A cluttered purse could be a diagnostic criterion for possibly having ADHD, I say, jokingly.

But is it really a joking matter when you can't find your keys, your medication, or your checkbook? And is it funny that you feel angry with yourself when items are spilling out of your purse every time you open it? Follow these steps to de-clutter your purse or bag:

> Remove all items from your purse.

> Choose only your must-have items and place them back into your purse — your wallet, checkbook, keys, medication, brush, reading glasses, makeup. Add back only the items that are absolutely necessary. Use small accessory bags to store like items — makeup, hairbrush, barrette, nail files, tweezers.

> Place the un-packed items that are seasonal, or that you feel you might need at a later time, in a Ziploc or accessory bag near your purse at home. Switch out things as needed.

> Coins add clutter and make your purse heavy. Place 90 percent of the ones you're currently carrying in a small baggie and place it in your car's glove compartment for parking and tolls.

> Replace heavy items, like skin lotions, with travel-sized containers. While you're at it, examine your key ring and toss keys that are no longer needed.

> Remove from your wallet all credit cards and IDs that are not used at least once a month. Remove family photos that are over three years old and file them away. Substitute a brightly colored wallet for a beige or black one, so it's easier to find in your purse.

> Toss items you no longer need in your purse in the garbage or keep them at home. Think of your purse as a way to carry essentials, nothing more.

> Once your purse is de-cluttered, add a note/reminder to your planner or to-do app to repeat the process each month.

TERRY MATLEN, ACSW, is a psychotherapist, writer, and consultant specializing in adults with ADHD. She is the author of Survival Tips for Women with AD/HD and director of ADDconsults.com.

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