Organizing Spaces for the ADHD Mind: How to Optimize Your Wellness

Spring is time where I utilize the surge of energy that typically comes about during this time of year where the signs of Winter have begun to dissipate. It’s also the time where I tend to purge and tackle the corners and baskets of things I have acquired over the months, which can be significant as a busy career woman who just so happens to be diagnosed with adult ADHD.

Home organization is a skill that can be learned by anyone at any time, however it took years for me to understand its purpose in my life outside the of the obvious benefits of a well organized home. Sure, its great to know where to find things, and lets not forget the aesthetics of it all where people have capitalized on it like The Gals of Home Edit who had a YouTube Series thanks to Reese Witherspoon.

Check Out Other Series: 9 Shows That Will Help You Be More Organized

And while these are popular I often feel like its easier said than done if you don’t have an ADD/ADHD mind. You see ADHD is a spectrum disorder that manifests through the eight executive processes of the brain:

  1. flexible thinking
  2. working memory
  3. self-monitoring
  4. task initiation
  5. planning
  6. organization
  7. impulse control
  8. and emotional control.

Basically, the executive functions of the brain help you plan, organize, and complete tasks.

If you have ADHD, and are trying to organize your home, it’s likely that you are struggling with one (or more) of these executive functions, which makes home organization especially challenging. Challenging, but not impossible. These processes at any point in my day are activated, and consequently working to grab hold of the the reigns, often switching direction. at the drop of a hat

So not only is it important that I nurture good habits such as scheduling my days; often down to minute detail in order to stay productive and on top of things, I also need the order visually to get it all done. But there are only so many hours in the day, and lets not forget we need to allow time to live and have a good time. This was mentioned in Attitude Magazine-Inside the ADHD MIND, where JUDITH KOLBERG suggests to Ditch perfectionism when organizing one’s home.

Judith states “I have not researched the link between perfectionism and ADHD, but I have seen it many times. Perfectionism appears to exacerbate executive function deficits. If I have two clients with the same ADHD symptoms, and one is a perfectionist, it is harder for the perfectionist to get organized. Start a project with the understanding that perfection is not the goal, progress is.”

While I am guilty of getting fairly hyper-focused on a task at hand, the fruits of those tasks can help to decrease the anxiety that comes along with feeling flustered or chaotic in my brain. This is not true for all as everyone is different, and perhaps do better with an entirely different strategy to mitigate the spiraling that can occur in our busy minds.

For myself mornings are particularly important as I need to physically and mentally set the tone for the course of my crazy day in the world of Child Protection Social Work. At any point in my day, it can take a drastic turn, whether I have a pile of new assignments, an emergency apprehension, court appearance, or stuck in a snow bank on the side of rural road with no cell service. So if at 7am my blood pressure soars through the roof because I can’t find that one pair of pants that goes with the boots that I’ve already decided upon were going to make me the Boss Ass Bitch I need to be that day. It could be, and has been my unravelling all before I’ve even managed to eat my Cheerios.

This weekend I planned on Working Out, Cooking a Good Meal, Going to Home Depot, Fencing in My Garden Beds, Taking the Dog for a Walk, Maybe See a Friend, and Planting my Herb Garden. Oh…and Write a Blog. What I actually did was a mish mash of a few of these things, some half done, as new shinier options presented themselves. Who knew all it would take was the need to make more space under my sink for my dollar store haul. And if wasn’t for the repeated explosion of make up sponges, costco size q-tips, and every self tanning bronzer known to man under there falling out, I’d think it was time for a purge.

So as I added more stuff to my hidden stock pile lair, it was a reminder that if I can’t see it, I think I need it, and often forget I already have it most likely by the dozen. Let me remind you that the ADHD mind is forgetful as all hell, so its no wonder I forgot the treasures that were unearthed. It felt like Christmas again, in fact much of my Christmas stocking stuffers were still in there unopened and neglected. As I mentioned before, having things in front of me in a way that corresponds with the sequences in my mind makes things more streamlined.

Lets start with a couple spaces I tackled today, and see if you can relate!

Cosmetics

  1. Dump it all out & Clean Them– Not only will they look better once you put them back, but think about the oils, bacteria, and just overall grime that build up on items that get tossed in your purse often. I know my lids get the gucked up mess on them, random hair, sand, and lord knows what else caked at the base of the lids. Don’t be that person that grows a knew mutant strain of mouth herpes on their lip gloss.
  2. Clean Your Brushes– I know we shouldn’t be having this discussion by now but besides bacteria, brushes also accumulate dead skin cells and oil, which can clog your pores and lead to dull or broken out skin. Clean brushes apply makeup better. Even the best makeup can become streaky and patchy when applied with a dirty brushClean bristles will assure a smoother application.
  3. Proper Cosmetic Storage/Organizers– While you are on a disinfecting streak by now don’t forget to Clean Your Storage/Acrylic Cases too, and perhaps you need more if you find your stuff overflowing. I like to not only organize my cosmetics by type but also by size as to ensure I can fully see all that I have available to me. This is important again for the ADHD mind like mine as I forget often what I have unless it is directly in front of me. Some may say, why have to many options then, and I say MInd Your Business.
  4. Get Rid of What You Don’t Use– This goes for samples, palettes with obnoxious colors that may work for a YouTuber or Make-Up Artist. But if you are like myself, I stick to a pretty basic look, and stay in my lane when it comes to being adventurous with make up and my limited talents. That’s not to say others won’t love some of those impulse buys (another ADHD trait). I’m an Ipsy Subsrciber who has somehow not been able to figure out how to cancel my subscription for two years. Which has left me with an abundance of small make up bags that I like to fill with the make up I don’t use, or didn’t like. Once cleaned/disinfected they make great little gifts for the teens I work with, or alternatively cool donations for Women’s Shelters, Trans-gendered Programming, or Outreach Centers.
Final Product

Closet SPace

  1. Switch Out Seasonal Items– I personally do not have a Kardashian Sized Closet Space, however my shopping habits would suggest otherwise. Which is why its even more important to make room and space in my closet to reacquaint myself with the Spring/Summer Clothing I have before I decide to go buy more. It also helps me get rid of stuff too that perhaps is on its last days, or has seen brighter days. I may have been too distracted to notice a stain on it when it went into hibernation or a hole that needed mending. So when one is reacqainted again we can assess its current status as in Keep, Donate, or Toss.
  2. Assess What Basics You Are Missing -These are the core element of almost every outfit, and because they get worn a lot, prepare your wardrobe with your fave go to’s like my personal favorite, the Alix NYC Essex Bodysuit in a few essential colors. You can stack an outfit on top of these staple items whereby I’m often using my busy mind as I shower to organize the next step of my morning.
  3. Color Wheel Your Clothing/Accessories– Maybe its from all the years of working in retail, but there is an element of pleasure attached with the synchronization of colors. Much how we respond fondly to a rainbow when we see it in the sky, I get the same Dopamine response to rainbow in my closet. Not only that, but when I need a black shirt, my visual orientation isn’t pulled in 20 different directions. My ability to make a decision is made much more simpler when I can see what it is I’m looking for in that moment before it may be pulled in another direction that could very well turn into a pile of clothes on the middle of my floor and a layer of stress sweat forming under my boobs.

Hopefully you found this helpful, or at least relatable- You are not alone in that crazy head of yours. If you liked this post make sure you like, comment and share!

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