"How I Got My Messy House Organized"

"We can't use the systems that work for other people. We must have systems that are ours." How one woman tackled her clutter creatively — and effectively — in her own ADHD-friendly way.

Wacky But Workable

I found my systems. An ADHD acquaintance told me about a revolving plastic organizer that she uses with great success. It worked like a charm for me. My most important papers were corralled, and I could always find the unopened mail.

Erica calls my filing system “creative.” She grimaces and frowns because I don’t file alphabetically. I file by topic. Sometimes, the associations in my head are one-of-a-kind. If my brain thinks of life insurance policies and bicycle warranties the same way, that’s how I file them. When I return to that folder, I’ll find them both.

Another system I use is what I call “Think Once,” also known as “Think Once Really Hard and Then Don’t Think About It Again.” I take on a knotty, persistent problem -- dealing with incoming mail, say -- from all angles. I spend a lot of time working through all the challenges and my solutions to them, but, eventually, I devise a workable system that will allow me to not think about the mail ever again.

One strategy that works for me is having duplicates of things I use often, like reading glasses. There are probably 15 pairs floating around my house, office, and car at any moment, each pair with a braided neck cord, so I don’t lose it. I have four sets of makeup: one for home, one for the car, one for work, and one for travel. Medication, pens, and measuring cups are a few of the other things I keep extras of.

While I doubt that I’ll ever be a professional organizer, I do think I’ve earned another title. How about “Professional Disorganizer”? There’s a label an ADHD woman could wear with understanding and good humor.

Now where did I put my brand-new Brother labeler?

Excerpted from Confessions of an ADDiva, by Linda Roggli (Passionate Possibility Press). Copyright 2011.

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TAGS: Get Organized at Work, Organization Tips for ADD Adults, Cleaning Up Clutter

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