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What It Means to Stay Organized with ADHD

We’ve reached the end of our 28th season of Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, and the final part of our 3-part series on organizing and ADHD. In this episode, we discuss the important but often challenging topic of maintaining organization.

As Nikki points out, staying perfectly organized is unrealistic if you actually live in and use your space. Things will inevitably get messier over time. However, she emphasizes that re-organizing a space gets easier each time you do it, because you’ve already made key decisions about what to keep and where things belong. The frustration of seeing a space get cluttered again is normal, but it’s important to reframe negative self-talk that makes you want to just give up on organizing altogether.

We discuss some red flags that indicate when it’s time to dedicate a block of time to tidying up a space again – like when you can no longer find important items, have to re-purchase things you already own, or flat surfaces become covered in clutter.

I reflect on the importance of evaluating and revising the “rules” and behaviors around your spaces when you organize. For the system to work long-term, everyone in the household needs a shared understanding of where things belong. We commiserate over the apparently-universal experience of using stairs as a dumping ground for items that need to go to other levels.

Finally, we go over some general guidelines for keeping spaces maintained:

  • Doing a quick 10-minute tidy-up whenever you can
  • Purging unused items on a semi-regular basis, like every season
  • Having dedicated spots for items you frequently set down, like a bowl for your wallet and keys
  • Considering storage space before making new purchases

While we may not always follow our own great advice, reflecting on these principles can help you feel more in control of your space and your stuff. Here’s to progress, not perfection, as we continue to navigate life with ADHD.

Through Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast, Nikki Kinzer and Pete Wright strive to help listeners with support, life management strategies, and time and technology tips, dedicated to anyone looking to take control of their lives in the face ADHD.
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