Everything in Its “Place”
One ADHD mom explains the organization system that works for her family, “places” in each room for important items. Here’s how she does it.
Each room needs a “Place,” or perhaps multiple “Places.” Each Place needs certain things, and unless everything is going to devolve into chaos and crying, you need to actually use these Places. These are hard truths. But they will up your sanity quotient immensely – especially for all of the “order-muppet” ADHD adults – when you get the hang of them.
A Place is a specific small area in which you keep, deposit, or otherwise organize vital items. You need a Place in every room, because people with ADHD will not walk somewhere else to get something or return. They’ll do it “later,” which means “never,” which means you’re opening cellophane with your teeth again.
You need to be like an old Catholic lady with rosaries, but for these key items. Each Place should contain, at minimum:
• a good pair of scissors. Your dental bills are high enough already. And yes, you need scissors in the bedroom. How else will you cut off your shirt tags? Ditto for the kids’ rooms.
• tape. You can never find tape. You can buy reams of tape and have it disappear a week later with no explanation. You will never find this tape again, because the angry tape fairies have come and stolen it all.
• pens – that work. You are not allowed to keep non-working pens. You need a minimum of three pens per Place, and you need to return them to their designated area when you’re finished with them. Discipline and control!
• an 8 pack of crayons if you have kids. Then they don’t get scattered all over the house.
• a Tide Stick (if you have kids).
• your phone, when not in use (this means you should have access to a phone charger).
We use those small storage caddies from Target to make a Place in each room. Each one contains scissors, tape, and pens (well, the one in the bathroom doesn’t have tape). Every Place also contains items specific for the use of that room. It means you buy a lot of extra stuff. But this will save you tons of hunting around and wondering where you put something this time. Stock each of these items in multiple rooms.
• Nail clippers. Don’t be prudish: You clip your nails in bed, in the bathroom, and in the living room. Keep a separate set of clippers for each place.
• Remotes: remotes always go in the Place. Period.
• Keys: how many spare sets of keys should you own? Several. Stock them in multiple locations to prevent frantic calls to AAA.
• Tissues: you always need something to wipe something. Make sure you keep a box of tissues next to your Place.
Then there are specific Places for certain items. There need not be one in each room, but these have to exist or you will go insane.
• Shoe piles: get a shoe rack. Divide by person. Always put the frequently-used shoes in this place, preferably by the door, where they are together and accessible. This stops shoes from migrating under the couch and being lost forever.
• Key Rack: get one of the master-key hangers that Pinterest raves over. Sure, it’s kitsch. But if you hang your keys there always and forever, you won’t need to call AAA.
• Beneath the key rack, store your sunglasses. You aren’t Prince and you don’t need to wear them indoors.
• First Aid: Put Band-aids and Neosporin, in a caddy, in each bathroom and the kitchen. No exceptions.
Do not forget to put a Place in the car, or overwhelm it with fast food trash. You can always put a trash bag in there as well, but that’s a lot to ask. In fact, you should have a trash can in every single room in the house, and make your kids use it, but this is a fantasy I dare not dream.
What else should you include in your places?
Updated on March 9, 2018