Simplicity 101: Why Be Organized (for Adults with ADHD)

Being organized is not about being perfect or being better.  It's not about self-worth, either, even though most of us messy people do think that we'd be more worthy people if we'd just clean up the place.  Perhaps you've been told this before in your life.  Perhaps many times.  But it's simply not true.  Your house is your house.  If others don't like it, they don't need to come over.  

I once had a friend who I'd visit every single week who was one of the messiest people I knew.  And every single time I went over there, she'd tell me the story of every single pile and how it was someone else's fault it was there.  We messy people tend to deflect our own issues with organization by putting it on someone else.  Because if it's not our fault, then we aren't the defective ones.  Then we aren't the ones who should be judged.  But we shouldn't be in the first place.  There is no shame in not being organized.  

Did you know there is no such thing as laziness?  There really isn't.  There is always a reason someone "looks" lazy.  They could be tired, depressed, anxious, and a billion other things.  And for us ADHDers, we could be just plain overwhelmed.  Our brain runs on insane amounts of speed (not drugs...I hope), and we tend to not even see our messes because we're so busy doing other things.  But if we were to stop and look at it all, we'd get so overwhelmed we wouldn't know where to start.  That's an issue with executive functioning, which is what regulates reasoning and problem-solving, among many other things.  So while everyone else sees laziness, we're stuck spinning our wheels because we have no idea how these Type A personalities even attempt to get things done.  

So, why strive to be organized if our ADHD brains don't work right?  

Because, organization can help our executive functioning work better.  Sounds crazy right?  Like you need executive functioning to organize, but you need to organize to have better executive functioning.  But you really can force it work better by getting better control of your brain through organization. When we are relaxed and calm, our EF actually works better.  When we are overloaded and overwhelmed, it works worse.  

It also helps you save time and money.  It helps you save time, because everything becomes fluid, like water flowing through a crevice, as it just knows where to go and how to get there.  When your house is organized, you know exactly where things go and where things are stored and they easy to get to and put away again later.  That's your biggest time saver right there: never looking for your keys or your cell phone again.  And it helps you save money because a) you never buy two of something because you can't find the old one and b) you won't lose your items you need anymore.  Recently, I found our new Paypal card that gives me so much percentage cashback on EVERY purchase I make as credit (instead of using it as debit).  So I was technically losing money by not using it!  Goodness knows how long I had lost it in my room.  

Your mind can be calm and centered and slow down when you aren't surrounded by masses of stuff everywhere.  A clean house equals a calmer mind.  And a calmer mind remembers more and has more time for relaxation without worrying you're forgetting something.  

An organized house leads to higher self-esteem.  Granted, it shouldn't, because we should not feel ashamed of being messy, but we do anyways.  This is most likely due to growing up with a clean parent who shamed us, and others who did as well along the way.  My ex-husband used to say to me all the time "You are home all day!  Why is this house always such a mess???"  Even though he was dirtier than me, and when he lived on his own after I moved out, he got mice because he'd store dirty dishes under the couches.  The house was way messier than when it was only on me to do it.  So many people are like this, too.  They are ashamed of their own messy tendencies and use us as a scapegoat for their self-shame (which is what my mother did to me, too, as she was extremely messy, which she hid from people, yet always shamed me for being outwardly messy).  But when I keep things clean, I feel so much better about myself, as though I deserve these people's approval (and I honestly don't need it, but something in my psyche still craves it).  

You can be more productive when things are in order.  Again, not that we should base our self-worth on how productive we are (something else that instilled into us from childhood), but when your house  or space is organized, you don't feel like you're wasting time doing a project in a messy space when we could be cleaning it.  Also, we can find the things we need for our projects so much easier.  

A less cluttered space makes you feel lighter and freer.  This could be a combination of feeling calm and centered, self-esteem, and everything else on this list, but when you have a non-cluttered space?  You feel instantly lighter, which makes you feel happier.  You feel happier when you come home, when you wake up, when you go to bed, and every other part of your day.  And I think this one is one of the most important things on this list because happiness is important in life.  You feel so less bogged down by your stuff, or your mess, and now feel like you can give yourself permission to do things that your clutter may have stopped you from doing before.  It's weird how much clutter holds us back in life.  We don't even realize just how much until it's gone.  Don't take my word for it, take a look at the picture below and tell me how it emotionally makes you feel.  

Now, look at this one, and tell me how it makes you feel.  

Which office space do you think would make you feel more productive?  Which one makes you feel lighter or freer and happier?  Which one would save you more time?  Which one would make you feel less ashamed of showing it to others?  I am not shaming the first picture, I used to have a boss who's office looked like that (and unfortunately, she was fired over it).  I get that ADHD unorganized, overwhelmed brain.  But I tell you what.  I would rather strive for the second picture instead, because the first one makes me feel overwhelmed just looking at it.  

This is why getting organized has nothing to do with being a "better person" for others to judge, and everything to do with helping our executive dysfunctioning brain work better.  Because it helps us and nothing to do with what others think of us.  I don't keep my house clean for guests, because I don't invite guests to our house.  I keep it clean for me.  So I can feel better and do better for myself and my family.  That's it.  

And that's why you should, too.  Give your brain the best chance in life to do it's best work. 

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