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3 Tips You'll Wish You Knew Sooner for Moving With ADHD

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“I love moving!” Says no one ever.

OK, maybe someone out there loves moving, but I for one do not. There’s so many things to organize and pack, and on top of that you have to go through every single drawer, nook and cranny in your apartment to figure out what’s worth keeping and what’s worth throwing out. For someone like me with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), this is a hellscape unlike any other. 

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ADHD is known to impact processes and functionality. Additionally, usually an ADHD brain needs some form of dopamine reward to actually find things worth doing. Pair all that with the whole procrastination thing that ADHD folk tend to do sometimes…it’s a perfect storm.

That being said, as this is my fifth time moving in four years, I’ve learned a few things about making life a little bit easier when you’re moving with ADHD.

1. Turn your ADHD clutter boxes from enemies to friends.

Where is your ADHD clutter box? You know, that one box where all the random knick knacks and doo dads have wound up? All the times you were cleaning and said “Oh I’ll just put this here and figure it out later,” and you put something in a box, drawer, cabinet, or some other area that you never actually sorted through and organized? 

On an average day, that ADHD clutter box can be a little stressful to look at, but there’s a way to make it work for you, especially when moving and organizing your life.

First, get more boxes. Yep, you heard me. More! Cardboard boxes or plastic bins work the same depending on your preference. Put one in every major area. Think bedroom, office, living room, etc., 

From there use those boxes as your clutter boxes. Yes, it won’t be cute or pretty, but the idea is when you clean those spaces or you’re organizing, or when you’re simply looking at your counter at something random (which for me was a sentimental wine bottle) instead of trying to find a new place for it, you just throw it in the box. Out of site, out of mind (in a way that works for us)! 

The key is to set the boxes out as early as possible. If you wait to do this, there’s less of a point because then you can just physically pack things the typical way. So go get that worm, early bird!

2. Color coded sticky note flags. Trust me.

If you have ADHD, you may be a visual person like me. 

Depending on how much furniture you have in your apartment or home, it could be a little mind-boggling keeping it all together on a list (or a bunch of scattered receipts if you’re me). 

Introducing: The Stick Note Organizing Method 3,000!

Yes, that name is fake, but the benefits to this method aren’t.

The goal is to visibly see every single day what you’re throwing away or selling and what you’re keeping, without having to store it on a list or just in your mind. That way there’s a lesser chance of you getting overwhelmed trying to sort through it.

Get a pad of multicolored sticky notes. You need at least two colors, three preferred.

Make a color key for the sticky notes based off of the following:

  • Keeping
  • Selling
  • Throwing Away

If you’re only using two colors, you can do:

  • Keeping
  • Getting rid of

As you go through your place, just start putting sticky notes on things. You’re literally keeping tabs on your home inventory, in a visual and up front way. Right now in front of me I’m staring at a plethora of sticky notes, and while it’s not the cutest, I immediately know I’m keeping my guitar, french paintings, and reef, while getting rid of the TV stand in front of it.

3. Accountability buddies who will actually keep you on task.

Which one of your friends is the best at consistently being organized and productive? Call them and bring them in for help.

Moving can be so overwhelming that we go into ADHD paralysis, a state where nothing gets done because there’s either so much to get done or our brains simply can’t compute the task due to overwhelm.

Having a buddy there to help you process, sort, and figure out the moving process is so critical. I have about two people helping me figure this out as I go, and will have more people here in person on the heavy lifting days. We don’t have to do it alone, and besides, the only thing that brings people together more than reunions, birthdays, and family gatherings, is someone moving.

Be that person and phone a friend.

This is what works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, but it may not! At the end of the day, play to your strengths. You know your condition more than anyone else. Figure out how your brain works, and work in a way that aligns to it. If you can’t beat your brain, join it.

Getty image by Morsa Images

Originally published: June 10, 2022
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