An inside of a very organized wardrobe

14 Helpful Tips to Overcome organization Challenges as an ADHD Mom

Embracing the Chaos

Life as an ADHD mom can often feel like juggling too many balls at once. From managing household chores to keeping track of appointments, the struggle with organization is real. The situation is worse if you have to juggle your work from home career or business. It’s not just about having a messy desk or forgetting where you left your keys; it’s about how these challenges impact your daily life and productivity.

Personal Story

Let me share a few stories that might sound familiar. Picture this: it’s Monday morning, and you’re in rush to getting ready for school. As you frantically search for your backpack, you realize you forgot to buy stuff for your science project or you just can’t seem to find your maths notes. This chaos isn’t just a one-time occurrence; it’s been a daily battle since my childhood. I remember misplacing my books so often that I had my notes from all the subjects written in 1 book.

The struggle only worsened after I became a mom. As a mom I was always the last to leave the house as I keep remembering stuff that I forgot. Did I switch off the iron and the stove, where is the matching sock? Where are my blue sandals? I realized how messy my life is. But the battle kept continuing. Another time I would forget to bring my kid’s water bottle or a spare diaper, as I forgot to replace it after using the one I had.

My spouse had the same battle as ADHD gets the best of him too. Finding his car keys or the wallet before leaving is another struggle. But he was never as bad as I am. I always had to find my purse before leaving the house. Most days, I just left it at home. I kept losing my bank card and ID so had them in my husband’s wallet most of the time. Same goes to my mobile phone. Finding it in the chaos of my house was just too difficult. So, how did I manage to turn around my extremely disorganized self?

A kid in a very messy room covered in clothes

Understanding Organization Challenges: Navigating the Maze

First, let’s look at why it is so hard for ADHD moms like us to stay organized. Well, there are a few reasons. First, there’s the ever-present executive dysfunction, making it difficult to plan, prioritize, and execute tasks effectively. Then, there’s the constant bombardment of distractions, pulling our attention in a million different directions. It’s like trying to focus on writing an email while someone is playing a loud drum solo right next to you.

Executive Dysfunction: This refers to difficulties in the brain’s executive functions, which are responsible for tasks such as planning, organizing, and prioritizing. In ADHD moms, these functions may not work as efficiently as in neurotypical individuals, leading to challenges in managing tasks effectively.

Task Breakdown and Anticipation: ADHD moms may struggle to break tasks down into smaller, manageable steps, making it hard to approach tasks systematically. Additionally, anticipating and preparing for future events can be challenging, leading to difficulties in planning ahead.

Distractibility: ADHD is characterized by a heightened distractibility, where individuals find it hard to filter out irrelevant stimuli. This constant influx of distractions can make it difficult for ADHD moms to maintain focus on tasks, further complicating their organization efforts.

Impulse Control: Individuals with ADHD often struggle with impulse control, leading to impulsive decision-making and difficulty in resisting immediate gratification. This can interfere with organizational efforts as ADHD moms may act on impulses rather than sticking to planned routines or strategies.

Effectiveness of Traditional Strategies: While conventional organizational strategies may work well for neurotypical individuals, they may be less effective for ADHD moms due to their unique cognitive differences. ADHD moms may need to explore alternative approaches that accommodate their specific challenges and cognitive styles.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: ADHD individuals often struggle with maintaining organization because they operate under the mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.”. Items or tasks that are not in their immediate visual field may be easily forgotten or overlooked. Messiness may result from the need to keep items visible as reminders, as ADHD individuals are more likely to forget about tasks or responsibilities if they are not in their immediate visual field. Also tasks or items hidden away in drawers or cabinets may be forgotten or ignored, contributing to overall messiness and disorganization.

Need for Tailored Support: Recognizing the differences in brain function is crucial for providing effective support to ADHD moms. Tailored strategies and interventions that address their specific needs can help ADHD moms manage organization challenges more effectively and improve their overall well-being.

An organized play area with toys

Practical Tips: Charting a Course to Clarity

But fear not, fellow ADHD moms! While the journey to organization may seem daunting, there are plenty of strategies to help us navigate the maze.

Absolutely! Here are 14 tips tailored to help ADHD moms organize various aspects of their lives:

  1. Implement Daily Tidying Routines: Spend a few minutes each day tidying up common areas such as the living room and kitchen. Establishing daily tidying routines can help prevent clutter from accumulating and becoming overwhelming. But routines don’t stick with us right? Use themed days instead, it has been a game changer for me/
  2. Use Visual Reminders: Utilize visual cues such as color-coded calendars, sticky notes, or digital reminders to keep track of appointments, tasks, and deadlines. Visual reminders can help compensate for difficulties in memory and attention. I love Google Keep for this reason. It allows you to create different labels and you can sync across all devices. I have my Google Keep on the phone, laptop and smartwatch.
  3. Streamline Paper Management: Develop a system for managing paper clutter, such as sorting mail immediately and filing important documents promptly. Consider digitizing documents to reduce physical clutter and improve organization.
  4. Rotate and Refresh: Regularly rotate seasonal items and refresh decor to prevent spaces from feeling stagnant or cluttered. Donate or discard items that are no longer needed or bring joy to free up space and maintain a clutter-free environment.
  5. Break Tasks into Smaller Steps: When faced with large organization tasks or projects, break them down into smaller, more manageable steps. This approach can make tasks feel less overwhelming and increase the likelihood of completion. Never pull out a whole cupboard, instead start with the smallest area. Complete that task and use the dopamine hit to fuel the next task.
  6. Designate Specific Spaces: Assign specific places for commonly used items such as keys, wallets, and children’s belongings. Having designated spaces for items can help reduce clutter and minimize the time spent searching for things.
  7. Use Storage Solutions: Invest in storage solutions such as bins, baskets, and shelves to help keep items organized and easily accessible. Label containers to make it clear what goes where, reducing the likelihood of clutter buildup.
  8. Create “Drop Zones”: Designate specific areas near entryways or high-traffic areas as “drop zones” for keys, bags, and other essentials. Having a designated spot for these items can prevent them from being misplaced. I also keep drop areas in the kitchen and the entrance. This allows me to plan the ingredients needed for the next meal and keep ready things that I need to take when I am leaving the house.
The words "Drop off zone"
  1. Declutter Regularly: Set aside time each week to declutter different areas of your home. Start with small tasks, such as clearing countertops or organizing a drawer, and gradually work your way through larger spaces. The more you declutter the less you have to organize. Just as much as decluttering, remember to buy only what is absolutely necessary. Me and my husband both are impulsive buyers which worsened the issue. Now, we have learnt to control our impulses at such a great level.
  2. Utilize Vertical Space: Maximize storage space by utilizing vertical space with shelves, hooks, and wall-mounted organizers. This can help free up floor space and keep items within easy reach. Also this will help make items more visible and reduce the possibility of “Out of sight, Out mind” happening.
  3. Establish Cleaning Zones: Divide your home into cleaning zones and focus on one area at a time to prevent feeling overwhelmed. Set a timer (you can use 1 or 2 Pomodoros here with a music playlist) for short cleaning sessions to maintain momentum and prevent burnout.
  4. Involve the Family: Encourage family members, including children, to participate in home organization tasks. Assign age-appropriate chores and make organizing fun by turning it into a game or competition. Sharing responsibilities can alleviate stress and free up time for other priorities.
  5. Review and Adjust Regularly: Periodically review your organization systems and routines to identify areas for improvement. Be flexible and willing to adjust your approach as needed to better meet the needs of your family and lifestyle.
  6. Seek Support and Connection: Connect with other ADHD moms or support groups to share experiences, tips, and encouragement. Having a supportive community can provide validation, understanding, and motivation on your organizational journey.

By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can create a more organized and manageable environment that supports your well-being as an ADHD mom. Remember that progress takes time and patience, so be gentle with yourself as you navigate the challenges of organization.

A set of kitchen cupboards which shows whats inside

Celebrating Progress, Embracing Imperfection

As we get on our journey through the tangled web of organization challenges, remember this: progress, not perfection. It’s okay to stumble along the way; what matters is that we keep moving forward. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. So, fellow ADHD moms, let’s celebrate the small victories and cheer each other on in our quest for better organization. Together, we can embrace the chaos and turn it into something beautiful.

So, are you ready to take on the world, one organized step at a time? Let’s do this!

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