AD/HD: Dealing with the Mess

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One of the problems with Attention Deficit Disorder is our tendency to be overwhelmed. Given too many choices, too much unstructured time, or too much information, we freeze, unable to move or make a decision.

As I write this, I am sitting in my living room, which is an absolute mess. The tree is still up, as well as the holiday decorations. The coffee table is full, partly with the remnants of a craft project I am doing and partly with things belonging to my daughter. Over by the front door is a jumble of shoes, as well as a rather large pile of miscellaneous clothes and “stuff” belonging again to said daughter. There are two 5 gallon bottles of water there, too, awaiting transport to the closet in the kitchen.

Now, I have excuses for this mess – really, I do. I hurt my back a couple of days ago, and so the tree and decorations will have to wait until I am well enough to put them away, hopefully this weekend. The craft project is a rarity, but one that resulted from having to spend so much time seated due to my back. (I could have put it away, though. I have no excuse there.)

The water arrived this afternoon as the men in the family were headed for work, and will be put away as soon as one of them returns. Those bottles are heavy!

Most of the rest of the mess is my daughter’s, who has recently moved back home. Since we have no bedroom for her until her dad finishes it, she is forced to sleep on the sofa and store some of her belongings in the living room.

Here’s my point in telling you all this: the average ADDer would look at this room and be overwhelmed, partly because of the way it looks and partly because of the circumstances that created it. The room really is a mess. The truth is, though, that it won’t take that much to clean it up.

There are a number of lessons here that people with ADD can learn from:

  • It’s not as bad as it looks.
  • Don’t focus on the big picture, but on one little part of it. Put the water bottles away, then the shoes. Straighten the miscellaneous pile. Better already.
  • Just begin. Don’t worry about where, or what would be the best place, just begin. Choose the place closest to where you are.
  • Break it up. Don’t start with this whole side of the room. Break the room down into little bite sized pieces and do one at a time.
  • Don’t do it all at once. You’ve lived with it this long; a little bit longer won’t hurt as long as you’re working on it. Do 15 minutes at a time and then stop.
  • Maintain. Don’t mess up what you’ve already cleaned while you’re still doing the room.

So here’s how brave I am – how committed I am to helping you – proof:


I’ll post another when it gets clean.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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