Organizing For People With ADD {Five Favorites}

. . . And For Those With Small Children

Readers, I am on fire.  I  found this book at the library.

And it is awesome.  The best.   (Just in case you needed a third opinion after Jen Fulwiler and Modern Mrs. Darcy endorsed it.)

My theory is that having little kids is the functional equivalent of having ADD.  And if you’re like me and already had a somewhat short attention span even before having kids . . . well.  You know.

The basic gist of the book is to work around a short attention span, instead of trying to change it.  If a family member always drops his coat on the floor by the door, don’t make yourself miserable trying to get him to walk down the hall, open the coat closet, and hang his coat on a hanger.  It’s never going to happen.  Just hang a hook on the wall next to the door.  And if he doesn’t use the hook, stick a basket on the floor.  Then when he drops the coat at least it will land in the basket.

The author of this book recommends lots of ways to use shelves, hooks, and clear, open bins.  It makes sense.  If you’re waiting to, say, cover cereal boxes with wrapping paper before you get organized:

It’s never going to happen.  At least not for me.  And not for most people I know who have little kids.

But if you can live with this:

I recommend this book.

And in the spirit of shelves, bins, and hooks for the attention-impaired, here are a few little things I’ve implemented in our house:

— 1 —

Before, the corkscrew was in one drawer sometimes, the other utensil drawer other times.  Now, it has its own 3M hook, right next to the wine glasses.  It’s the little things, folks.


— 2 —

Our linen closet:


Are you impressed by all that open space?  Mainly, it’s because lots of towels were in the wash.  But, you see this little shelf on the door?


In all the five years we’ve owned it, our poor heating pad never has had a home.  Sometimes it was in one of our bedside table drawers, sometimes in the other.  Mostly it was on the floor somewhere collecting dust bunnies.  Now it has a place to call home.

— 3 —

Before, when I needed a screwdriver or tape measure, I had to unstack my little tool kit from where it was wedged in with some other bins in the linen closet.  I think I procrastinated on projects, subconsciously, because getting tools out was such a hassle.

Now, my tools are easily accessible in an open lidded bin.  I amaze myself sometimes, really I do.


— 4 —

And for my daughter with an extremely limited attention span, who is in a big artistic phase at the moment: an open-topped bin for crayons and markers.

organizing art supplies for kids with attention deficit

It wasn’t until after I read Jen’s post, Amelia’s post, and this book that this occurred to me.  Before, we used one of those little pencil cases with attached, snap-on lids for her crayons and markers.

Getting her to clean up her art supplies was like pulling teeth.

Now, she just drops her markers in a bin.  We still have to coax and remind her, but clean-up is much easier now.

— 5 —

Finally, I bought bins for Girl 1’s ballet and soccer stuff (top shelf) and shoes (bottom shelf).  Little Sister probably still will pull everything off the shelf, but at least now everything has a home where Girl 1 easily can put them away.  Also, I put a hamper in her room.  The main hamper is only three steps from her bedroom door, but those three steps were enough to distract her from getting dressed.

organization for attention deficit kids

I am really, inordinately excited about all of this.  I’ll stop now before I embarrass myself.

Thank you, Jessica for hosting What We’re Reading Wednesday and Hallie for hosting Five Favorites this week!


23 thoughts on “Organizing For People With ADD {Five Favorites}

  1. Love it.

    I read this book back when Jen first linked to it.

    It’s great. Just having a place where everything has a home is monumental. You are never stuck in that place where you are standing there holding something going “where in the heck am I supposed to put this?!” And then giving up in frustration.

    And gush away! nothing is more energizing than having a functioning non cluttered house! My house is just about exactly where I can put every single thing away and get the house neat in about a half hour (this was an 8 year process that involved a lot of purging and putting some built in storage in our very small very old home.

    I just need one more bookshelf for homeschool books. That may happen this week.

    I can’t believe I am actually a neat person. My mom and sister come over and just about have a heart attack in disbelief. I have been a slob my entire life and I honestly thought I was ok with it andvthat clutter didnt borher me, but i think i was hust habituated to it.

    My personality has totally changed by getting the house organized and banishing the clutter. It’s astonishing. I have so much more energy and I am so much happier and, bizarrely, confident.

  2. I love the thought that living with children is functioning with a short attention span. It’s so true. I remember Auntie Leila of LMLD suggesting similar ideas of putting items used often and together in one spot, in the kitchen specifically. Taking this approach throughout the house is great!

  3. I cracked up when I saw the corkscrew! We are always losing ours, seriously. The last time it was in my five year old’s play kitchen in her bedroom. So I guess that’s how you play mommy!

  4. I love it! I have a real struggle with perfectionism and I always procrastinate until I can do things the ‘right’ way–i.e. color coordinated and covered in wrapping paper–which I get to….um…..never 🙂 Thank you for sharing what organizing looks like in real life when you are seriously outnumbered in a house full of littles.

    And I completely agree that having a bunch of little children gives you temporary ADD. Maybe if we could get the APA to recognize ‘Children Induced Adult Onset Attention Deficit Disorder’ as a legitimate diagnosis we could get our insurance companies to start covering necessary expenses like mothers’ helpers and maid services…….

    • Thanks Cristina! I have just two so far (“just two” ha ha) for now but still feel waaaay outnumbered. … And I’d sign a petition to the APA to get that condition recognized! Mothers helpers, maid services hey, With Obamacare the sky’s the limit!

  5. Love this…great job! I find that for me…having an *easily accessible* place for everything is really key to organization. It can’t just be in a has to be easy to get to, require not too many steps and not require a lot of effort to put things back. I love the corkscrew too…we are always rumaging around looking for one.

    P.S. Thanks for the link! 🙂

  6. Great stuff! Ideally I would love to have a specific place for every single thing and toys sorted meticulously into the right bins…but then I realized I would be the one doing the sorting and organizing 10,478 times a day. Jen opened my eyes w/ her organizational hacks post- now my view is more, “there’s a bin, throw it in”. I’ve also resorted to using one of those over the door shoe organizers in our hall closet to hold umbrellas, Lysol cans, etc.
    And I love that example you gave at the top about the coat and the basket- genius!

    • I hear you. When my first daughter was a toddler I had ALL her toys in the living room, Separated by type in little baskets (animals here, toy food here, play phones here) and I would try to put it all away that way every night. A LOT has change since then!

      • Ugh. I hear you. After i reached my limit with this, i made a rule that has been very very successful. My rule is, if they cant put it away by themselves easily and with only minimal complaining on their part, they cant get it out by themselves. I then got rid of most of the toys that required sorting or were hard for the kids to put away and made the ones we wanted to keep mommy access only.

        2 keys, 1: We have way more bin space than things that will fit in it so it is easy for the kids to toss their big dinosaurs or robots or whatever in those bins.

        2: There are bins in every room so no matter where they go with those toys they can put them away in that room.

        If they can’t put it away easily it goes way up high or locked up in the closet. Then they have to ask to get it down and I make them clean up everything else first. Then we all put that thing away together at the end of the day or when they are done with that thing. That way there is only ever Legos OR puzzles OR some game board game OR toys with acessories and little tiny pieces out. Not everything at once.

        It’s a little bit of a pain, but not NEARLY as much of a pain as having to put away every single toy they own every single day. Plus, I consider it a valuable life lesson in focusing on one thing at a time and taking care of your stuff. The one exception is crayons and paper which can stay out on the work/homeschool table all day until before dinner clean up.

        The hardest part about implementing this system is the mental block. realizing that you simply don’t need all that many toys for your kids and getting people who love you to stop giving you toys will seriously free you. It can be done if you have fortitude.

  7. I own that book!! Thanks for reminding me about it, it is still packed in the one box I need to unpack… currently under my desk. I was just moaning about how to better organize our sheets in this new place (under 3 months counts, right?). I think I have adult ADD in the sense that I have baby brain, am in a new place/state/region of the country, and a whole new schedule. I am reading it again tomorrow!

    And I’m mildly pleased that so many awesome people also endorse the book… I had no idea! I found it and bought it while going through an organizational frenzy. 🙂

Feel like commenting? Please do. I usually respond here in the comment box.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s