Like a Gazelle Through the Mess

Many people with AD/HD and learning challenges also struggle with organizing their possessions. Add to that the difficulty with time management that often accompanies disorganization, and the result can be extreme clutter and cringe-inducing messes. Unfortunately for those of us who like to have things neat and orderly, the cringing is usually emanating from us, not those who created the clutter fest. Another unfortunate fact is that the organizing strategies used by those who are naturally organized do not typically work for those who tend to be clutterbugs. (I think I made up a word there, but if you are one or live with a “clutterbug” you’ll know what I mean.) Because the messes and the clutter bothers me, I have spent a great deal of time trying various strategies to conquer the piles and bring order (and may I add, inner peace for me) to my surroundings. My ways do not work for my family. I have tried methods that made no sense to me, but promise to work for the naturally disorganized – but they, too, have failed. My daughter has a very messy and cluttered room, but she does not struggle with it because it genuinely doesn’t faze her. Once I pointed out that she should at least have a clear path to her bed instead of a few cleared off patches on the floor. “Doesn’t it bother you to be surrounded by all the mess?” I asked her, trying not to appear as appalled as I felt. Her reply was “No, not at all! I just leap like a gazelle through the mess to get to my bed.” She said this quite proudly, as gazelles are truly admirable in their graceful maneuvers and Beckie is truly athletic and probably capable of some gazelle-like moves. I couldn’t think of anything to say at that point, so I withdrew to regroup and try again another day. My husband, Scott, also tends toward cluttering things up and not noticing them so his solution is to wait until things get really bad and then grab a trash bag and start stuffing things into it. While the initial result is less clutter, it is followed by weeping and gnashing of teeth when the kids find their prized possessions mixed in with trash. Not to mention they are even less likely to sort through a trash bag than things that are out in the open in their rooms. My son, Josh, who has the most severe AD/HD in my family, has been the one to conquer his disorganization with the greatest degree of success. His room is the neatest of the three children’s rooms. He figured out what works for him, and now he is the one taking up the challenge of helping Beckie. I am standing aside and letting Josh work with Beckie on this. I’m hopeful that she can still be like a gazelle without all the mess and clutter.

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