Reply To: Mess in Home

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Penny Williams

I am the frontal lobe for my entire household, the only one in a family of 4 who thrives on tidy and organized. I fought their chaos for a long time, but found that I was just making myself (and everyone else) miserable.

I recognized that they don’t have the same internal need for order that I do. I realized that they often, truly, didn’t see anything wrong, out of place, or amiss when it was glaring to me (like the scissors on the kitchen counter, when they have a home in specific drawer, where they found and retrieved them. I started with nagging, and that didn’t make a difference. Then I cleaned up behind everyone and fell into resentment. Then, I accepted each person for who they are, and that helped me let go a bit.

As John said above, the key is find the compromise that honors each person’s truth.

Your wife’s truth is that she isn’t good at organizing and tidying up, may be a collector of things, and likely doesn’t see anything wrong with the mess/clutter.

Your truth is that your mind likes order. (If you’re like me, you even need symmetry to feel comfortable and at peace — that’s how important order is to me brain). You have a need for organization.

So, how can you blend your individual truths? Is there a way to bring more order to her chaos (bins for different categories maybe)? Is there a room that can be your orderly sanctuary, and a room that she can use for collections or piles, if she’s a pile-er?

Clear bins and lots of labels can help.

Here’s more strategies on organizing with ADHD:

Perfect Is Pointless: 16 Organization Rules You Can Follow

The Ultimate Room-by-Room Organization Guide

33 ADHD-Friendly Ways to Get Organized

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism