If you or someone living in your home has attention issues, you know that they can leave a trail of clutter and chaos in their wake. I affectionately call this a “clutter trail.”
It is tempting to pick up after our absentminded loved ones, but that is honestly not the best approach. It is most important for them to learn to pick up after themselves We are doing them a disservice when we avoid teaching them this critical life skill.
Hopefully, you already understand why your loved ones are the way they are. They are not inconsiderate, disrespectful, or lazy. They are wired differently. They become so focused on what they are doing that they fail to recognize the clutter or mess. Even if the mess is pointed out to them, the task may seem too large to tackle.
The key is to set simple and realistic household rules that apply to everyone living in the home.
Rule #1: Pick it up
Clothes cost a lot of money and, as parents we cringe to see thousands of dollars lying on the floor. We want them on hangers. However, it might be easier for you and your child to use buckets instead of coat hangers in the closet for PJs and play clothes.
Use pegs for backpacks and coats so they learn what is truly necessary to hang up. Make everything else easy to put away and it will get put away. Create a bucket for each item and label it: shoes, pajamas, play/athletic shorts, and play/athletic shirts.
Rule #2: Throw it away
Do you find areas of your home littered with wrappers, old papers, clothing tags and other bits of things destined for the garbage? Look closely at each room. Is there a wastebasket? If so, is it big enough? For a brain with ADHD, out of sight is truly out of mind. Make sure they can see it. Make it big and bright.
Rule #3: Put it away, your way
Your home contains innumerable things that need to be put away. Look for ways to get a buy-in from your family. Give each family member their own color for lots of things: toothbrush, drinking cups, and towels.
For important things, attach them to something that is already important to them. School shoes should be grouped with jackets and backpacks so they are ready for the morning. Keep toothbrushes in the kitchen so they can be brushed when the child is finished eating.
Remember to set realistic goals. While we want a beautiful home, showing love to those who live there might be more rewarding in the long run.