I am in a facebook group dedicated to followers of the Flylady. A woman posted this morning about one of her rooms, looked like a garage maybe. She said she felt way too overwhelmed to start. I know exactly how she felt. You take one look into that room and know you don’t have enough energy to make a dent in that large pile so you just walk away.
I had the same situation with our home office a year ago. I couldn’t deal with it. One day I made a pact with myself. I would walk away from the mess without feeling any guilt but I had to deal with 5 items in the room. Everyday. So everyday I would walk into the room and somedays I did actually feel like working on it but most days I didn’t. So most days I walked in picked up 5 items, put them in their rightful place (trash, donate bin or just put back in its correct spot) then walked away. I never felt overwhelmed because it was just 5 things and I was able to walk away feeling successful. It made me feel good and not like a failure like I so often did.
It allowed me to come back the next day, still feeling successful, and do the same thing. Before I knew it a week had passed and I had picked up 35 things and believe it or not I actually saw a dent! Then a month passed and two months and the room actually had a floor again!
Everyone has a number that works for them. FlyLady suggests 27 things. Thats crazy overwhelming for me. Some people set a timer and do 15 minutes, or 5 minutes. The point is pick a number that works for you. Of course the higher the number, the quicker you will see progress but don’t pick too high a number that you never want to do it. Pick a number that seems TOTALLY doable for you. Ideally that number is higher than 1 but if 1 is all you can handle, then that is certainly better than zero. So start with 1 and go for it. Maybe on some days instead of picking up 1 item, you go for 1 minute! One is better than none!
I’m 33 and am only now finally getting a handle on how to keep myself organized. Am I perfect at it? Not even close. In fact the other day I bounced a check and paid a $35 returned check fee. Yikes. But I’m getting better and better and each time I make an error like that I have the space in my life to fix it so that I don’t allow that to happen again. In fact, I’d like to talk about this “space” concept in more depth.
Feeling inadequate in any area of your life can lead you to buy things to fill that void. Boy oh boy did I do that. For years I pressured my husband to buy a bigger house because surely, not having enough storage space in our 1300sqft home was our biggest problem. Not the fact that we were storing all kinds of stuff we didn’t need.
I wish I had a better sense of the timeline of my decluttering process but if I had to guess I’d say I started about a year ago. Once my twins were 3, and in preschool two days a week, I had some more time to reflect on my home and really got cracking on making it into a livable home for my family.
If my experience can help anybody struggling with ADHD in keeping their home clean or their life more streamlined then sharing my story will be worth it. For so long I have held the ADHD badge in shame. No longer.
(our trip was cut short due to a sick child and it certainly was nice coming home to a clean house!)
We are going away this weekend. I love traveling. We haven’t been able to do it as much lately so its such a treat to get out of town and change up the routine every once in a while. Prior to most trips I’m usually in a fog, depressed or just stuck in whatever muck my brain is swimming in. We usually leave with the house a complete nightmare.
As I have been going thru my routines this past few days, our house is actually floating somewhere right below clean. If I dusted and fully cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen it would almost be completely clean. Wow.
It’s not just the routines that have gotten me to this point. A major part of it is all the decluttering I’ve been doing. When you have less stuff there is simply less of a mess to clean.
Back to my point. The best part of traveling….is coming home. Not only that but coming home to a CLEAN home. Coming home to a complete disaster isn’t nearly as fun. It occurred to me today that we leave in less than 48 hours. There is only so much my kids can tear apart in 48 hours. If I don’t bring down the toys with the small pieces, clean up will be even easier. Of course we have a tiny home. I did a 15 minute hot spot pickup this evening. I was able to pick up all the toys in the living room and dining room and get them back into the playroom. Are they put away? No. They are scattered about all over the playroom floor. But I let that go a long time ago. As long as I am not constantly tripping over their toys, I do not care how the playroom looks.
I’m very optimistic about this homecoming being a delightful one!
Watching my girl at gymnastics the other day, the thought hit me that she will probably be a lot like me.
She has energy like no one I’ve ever met. And I have a 3 year old boy so I know what a lot of energy looks like. She has more. I think I probably did too at that age. Girls don’t have ADD, or so popular culture thinks. But I do. And she might. And thats okay. My road was a treacherous one. I felt stupid, shamed, alone. I never want her to feel like that.
Okay, probably getting off topic here. My point is this, she’s a mover, a shaker. And in my adult life I have discovered that I think A WHOLE LOT more clearly when I’m active. When I discovered running I felt a sense of clarity in my mind that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before.
So I want to tell my future self this, let her run. Make her run. Quiz her on test subjects while she is running. Get outside. Go for a bike ride. Do whatever it takes. But I promise you she will do better if she is moving. Make her run around the block then come and sit down for homework.
I’m writing this so I don’t forget what it was like to be that age and struggle so much just to remember a single line from a textbook.