by Karen Sampson Hoffman,
THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE. The
big questions, such as “which traditions does our family want to
celebrate and continue?” have been answered. It’s the little
things that are snowballing that need to be addressed now. Such as
cleaning the house.
Maintaining a home is such a big project that a few generations ago,
almost every family had a full-time home manager. Today, it is more
common that single and partnered adults work outside the home. The
challenge can still be met, even with AD/HD as part of the mix.
A secret resource for many CHADD members, keeping in mind that CHADD
doesn’t endorse products or websites: FlyLady. So named for her love of fly fishing,
FlyLady is all about “baby steps” and routines. She explains
how to develop a routine to tackle the holiday season and the rest of
the year, and her plans and control journals work well for anyone
affected by AD/HD. Since you design your own routine with her guidance,
it will fit the needs of your life. Other helpful websites
include ServiceMaster and Queen of Clean.
Make a plan
Scout your dwelling and note what needs the most work, what needs the
least work, and the best hiding places for stuff. (That includes
cramming things under the bed—but only for quick cleanings during
Set the timer
Once there is a plan, set the kitchen timer for five, ten or fifteen
minutes, and attack the first room. Pick up, stuff away, clear out of
sight. When the timer dings, reset it for the next room, whether the
first is done or not. Repeat the picking-up in the second room.
Ding; same for the third. Set the timer again, grab something
to drink or nibble and sit. Rest for the fourth round. Ding,
and you’re back to the first room. Repeat until each room is
picked up, dusted, and vacuumed, and any additional scrubbing is
completed. Breaking it up over a couple days or a week is a good thing,
Leave a second garbage bag at the bottom of the pail, under the current
one. That way you have one handy in a pinch without having to hunt for
Keep one extra of whatever—laundry soap, can of soup, package of
paper towels—on hand. Don’t fill your cupboards with more
than you need, but make sure you have a back-up at the ready so you
don’t lose your stride.
Keep all cleaning supplies together—a mop bucket makes a great
container to stick everything in so you can move from room to room
If you use it in that room, find a place for it to live in that room.
That goes for brooms (kitchen pantry), vacuums (living room closet),
laptop computers and accessories (family room entertainment center), and
tablecloths (dining room china cabinet). This works well with cleaning
supplies, too (though if there are small children in your life, perhaps
up high in a cabinet).
Get out of having the celebration at your house. Consider co-hosting
family events at another relative’s house.
Make running lists—notebooks and personal data assistants are
great for this. Make a list for everything from groceries to library
books, and keep lists in one place for easy reference.
Limit your number of guests. A dinner party of six is more manageable
than twenty-six. Since this is a holiday season, make use of the time by
having two small dinner parties with different guests or one intimate
party and then making reservations for the larger group at a favorite
Call your favorite grocery store and find out about its holiday meals.
Many prepare the entire meal at a reasonable cost. Order ahead, pick it
up the morning of your holiday meal—and serve in your own
Online shopping is good. If the online store includes gift-wrapping, go
for it! Have gifts sent to their recipients rather than to you. One wise
member pointed out that wrapping gifts as soon as you get them helps to
avoid the 3 a.m. crunch before the big day.
As one CHADD member wrote to us, “Change the expectations so the
holiday works for you, not the other way around.”
If all else
One CHADD member wrote that he once had a stack of newspapers
piling up in the dining room, evidently for a couple of years. As
company was coming rather soon, he struck upon a plan: He placed a board
across the tops of the piles and draped a holiday tablecloth over it.
The piles were successfully hidden and the set-up “didn’t
look bad, really.”
Except that it stayed that way for another four years before finally
being cleared away.
Karen Sampson Hoffman, MA, writes from Hanover, Maryland.
This article originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of
Attention magazine. Copyright © 2007 by Children and
Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). All rights
reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission
from CHADD is prohibited.
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