October is ADHD Awareness Month
When you have ADHD you feel like you are the only who feels the way you do. I’m sharing a client story (with her permission) and maybe after reading it, you won’t feel as alone.
Angela discovered and communicated to me that she was diagnosed with ADHD when her son was diagnosed with ADHD. When a child has ADHD, typically one or both of the parents have ADHD. Angela was relieved to find out there is a reason why she is the way she is, and with medication, she was eager to clear her clutter and set up systems to keep her home organized.
Angela has a beautiful home, although most of the spaces are cluttered. Paper (years of it) was kept in beautiful baskets and bags. Every time the cleaning service came to clean the home, all surfaces were swept of paper into these baskets and bags and then never looked at again.
Angela and I spent several days sorting those years of bags and baskets of paper. Then I set up a prepackaged file system for her and taught her how to use it by filing the papers she kept into the system.
Once we completed that process Angela said to me, “Anne, I have a room I would like to show you that I think I want you to help me with.” I said, “Great where is this room?” Angela replied, “Upstairs. It’s the bonus room.” And therein lies the problem; it is an undefined, un-purposed space. The pictures below are of Angela’s bonus room before our work together.
I asked Angela what she wanted to do in this space. She gave my question some thought and replied, “Well, I like to decorate the house for the different seasons, so I want to store home décor here. And I like to create memory books and other craft projects. Maybe play the guitar and hang out.” Angela redefined her “bonus room” as her “creativity center” to give it purpose to help us determine the criteria for what would stay in the creativity center and what didn’t belong there. The next week, we sorted and purged her bonus room based on those activities.
Angela now has a place where she can create her memory books, work on craft projects, and play her guitar.
Angela has maintained the space since August 2003.
- She lost a significant amount of weight as a result of our work together.
- Angela teaches her friends how to set up a paper management system.
- More magazine interviewed Angela about the best investment she ever made in her life, which was hiring a professional organizer. A few quotes from the article we would like to highlight are:
“‘Give me a pile of mail, and you might as well strangle me,’ Angela Coel says. At least, that was the old Coel. For years, although she managed to stay ahead of the curve at work, Coel always felt as if her ‘tail were on fire.’ And when she quit her job to stay at home with her kids, her chronic level of disorganization overwhelmed her.”
“Then in 2002, Coel was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, began taking Ritalin, and started looking at things differently. Rather than seeing her problems as a moral failing, she began to view them as practical issues to be fixed. She decided to get help from someone whose skills complemented her own—a professional organizer.”
You don’t have to continue to feel alone. Get started on your organizing journey with us.
What a beautiful story. I love the “creativity center” idea instead of bonus room plus that means it was for HER. It must feel wonderful to have her own space and be able to use her creativity as often as she can.
A great point you make, too about this not being a character flaw or a moral failing. It can start to feel like that, taking on a life of its own, when you’re undiagnosed, and constantly letting people down. It makes it hard to make commitments to yourself or others. So congrats on this commitment, Angela !
Thank you for your insights, Sue. This was a pivotal project not only for the client but for me as a professional organizer. What I learned working with Angela has stayed with me and been instrumental in my work with other clients.
What an inspiring story, Anne! It’s beautiful how you were able to help her with the backlog of papers. But the real heart of this story is helping her transform her “bonus” room. You helped her to find purpose in the place and that in turn unleashed a space for her to express and explore her creativity. It’s stories like this that we keep close to our heart. How lucky for you to find one another.
Angela is a client who will stay in my heart forever. I learned so much working with her and reference that learning still today with new clients. It was heartwarming to watch her transformation both with her physical environment and her personally.