The Forums Forums For The Non-ADD It Runs In Families How Bins Changed My Life

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  • Anonymous
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    #88178 |

    Hey, all –

    I can’t tell you all what it means to have such a positive, uplifting place to turn to for information, background and a sense of community – It’s made such a difference in the short time I’ve been visiting. The film, too (ADD AND LOVING IT?! – such a great title) is something I have loved watching with my family to further explore the issues that ADHD can bring to a family.

    Before I get to the bins, maybe I’ll take some time to fill in a bit of the background. In my personal life, I am wife and Mom to 2 vibrant, creative, genuinely happy fellas who are both diagnosed with ADHD. We are approximately 2 years into our family’s journey of discovery about ADHD, it’s impacts, causes and treatments. We are a very happy family, full of love and support for one another – probably our best defense against the hurdles we’ve overcome in our lives together. ADHD is not a “dirty” term in our home. It is a regular topic of discussion, something that we are constantly examining as a team and working to get the most out of. My son, who is nine and in grade 4 has been receiving treatment for his ADHD for approximately a year and a half and thriving. He is truly the light in my world and it thrills me to see him feeling good about who he is and his unique talents and gifts. Prior to his diagnosis and treatment, there were some extremely rough patches – he just wasn’t feeling okay in his own skin. Now, I can’t tell you the relief he shows. Singing in the shower before school, able to concentrate on his assignements and tasks much more fully. The other light in my world is a 36 year old man who is more ambivalent about his own diagnosis and treatment trials to date. He embodies the same love for life, sparkling spirit and genuine kindness as our son – he’s just not as ready to pull it all into another stab at treatment right now. I can’t say what a dull, dark place my world would be without them, and we’ve been visiting this site together to keep our dialogue going about what comes next.

    In my working life, I am someone who is in the “caring profession”; working with families in school and at home to educate, support and cheer them onto a more comfortable and successful place in their worlds. It’s my job to work with them to find viable solutions, and support their implementations ; sort of like a coaching role. It’s been 15 years that I’ve been providing this family support, and I could not be happier with my carreer choice.

    Okay, so here’s where the bins come in. As part of my working and home life, I am constantly challenged to find real-world, sensible and easy to implement solutions to many of the organizational challenges that come with ADHD. Often times, it’s the “thinking outside the box” mentality that makes these solutions evident. So…. after years and years of coming home each grocery day to the extra-daunting task of cleaning out a disasterous fridge and cluttered cupboards, I decided it was time for something new. I got my hands on some plastic (ugly) bins that I could use to organize each space. I have several in my fridge, and more in my food cupboads that organize the bread, the spices and crutons (and all the other miscelanious crap that seems to accumulate), leaving space for the cereal and rice boxes, the juice containers, the baking stuff, so that everything has a place. It has been since June that we’ve tried this, and I have not had to spend an extra minute tossing empty cracker boxes and searching for runaway salt shakers since. So, we took it a step further. Each family member has their own bin, (still ugly – gotta get me some of those fancy wicker jobbies), discreetly put away where our pocket brick-a-brac, cell phones, chargers, Pokemon cards, lip balms and whatever else you can imagine. It is all housed in an easy to locate, always predictable place. SO, when my son is frantically going in circles, trying to find that missing key chain that I found the night before nestled between the sofa cusions, I can tell him “did you check your bin?” and voila! Success. Or when I’m tidying, finding this and that laying about (this happens several times daily), I have a one-stop place to put them where they will be located. BRILLIANT! The condition is, once your bin is full, it’s up to you to empty it. This permits us to problem solve, and find permanent locations for the game cards, the cell phone charger, the current paperback novel you’re reading… so that everything has it’s place.

    The basic message I want to deliver here is the same I am coming across again and again in the posts, contributions and resources on this site. You can go bananas with your frantic mornings, your grocery days, your daily attempts to get out the door in one smooth motion. Yelling and panicking about where are the keys? The phone? The laptop? The homework assignment? The bag of cat food?

    OR… you can structure your environment to work with you. This strategy has saved us countless hours (not to mention a million episodes of frantic searching) and took less than 10 dollars and 2 hours to implement.

    I hope this post proves helpful for someone out there who is searching for answers. I hope, too, that there are similar contributions from those out there who have found viable, working solutions to make life that much happier and easier for our families. Please, if you have any ideas, share them. I’m always on the lookout for the next great thing that gives me more time to spend laughing, being silly and ridiculous with my guys.

    Take good care, everyone… and thanks again for your posts, thoughts and ideas.

    S.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92040 |

    Thanks for the great idea ideal124! I might just try this since I’ve recently demo’ed the kitchen to make space for our new stove. My only worry is that people who come over are going to think “What’s with all the bins, brother?” at which point I’ll probably have to explain it in great detail, referencing the minutia by which I came to organize everything in plastic bins, thereby categorizing myself as a “weirdo” (which they already think of me anyway) or a genius – depending on who you talk to. We have a real “Monica” in our circle of friends who would LOVE this. I can just see the glazed over look in peoples eyes as I describe how revolutionary your system is. Ten minutes later, I’m still pointing out the alphabetically organized cereals and chocolate bars by percentage of cocoa while they’ve left nine minutes ago! :D

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92041 |

    Bishop- glad you liked the idea. I enjoyed the “Monica” reference… maybe I have just a bit of Monica lurking somewhere in me….

    Nobody’s really noticed the bins at my place; except the kids who come over to hang with my son. I have a “guest” bin so they’re not leaving without their toys, phones, ipods, chargers, psp’s, gameboys and whatnot. Gotta love it.

    S.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92042 |

    I’m wondering where the best place for the personal bins would be? My husband, daughter and I are ALWAYS late getting out the door because one, or all, of us can’t find something. My daughter’s school is actually surprised when she isn’t late….poor kid. We also have two dogs that love nothing better than nosing around in back packs and such, so I would likely need to keep them off the floor. I’ve used the bins in my kitchen cupboards, and it’s wonderful, but I hadn’t thought of the fridge or in the bathrooms…another challenging room in our house. Thanks for the great idea.

    :-) Tanya

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92043 |

    Sorry so long getting back, Tanya

    I just went cheap; we had some extra shallow bins kicking around that I used for school. You could go as low or high end as you want. I know some of the fancier home stores have a wide selection of wicker and decorative bins (Peir 1, Wicker Emporium, etc.). I went for plastic, and found what I was looking for at WalMart or the DollarStore chains. Imagine the old in/out bins that would sit on the boss’ desk. I like having them small and shallow, so the clutter doesn’t get too out of hand. You can see what you have in there without a lot of rooting around.I had, like, 10 of them and put them to good use. I hope it all works out for you. Let me know what you find!

    S.

    PS – ooooohhhh! Bathroom! Good call!!!!

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92044 |

    Hi all…Ideal124..LOVE your idea..I use it…I have a ‘traveling bin’. One that sits on the passenger seat,,cuz I travel ‘heavy’ lol. Phone, notebook, notes, yadda yadda..books, ..it’s like my mini suitcase, cuz when I go out for the day..( I ‘thrift’ a lot), I never know what I’ll end up doing..Lunch(need books for that)…my point being it ‘contains’ my mess. Wherever I seem to make ‘piles’…I put a bin/basket or whatever works…I learned to ‘organize’ for a more permanent place from many of the bins! I also learned to get rid of a TON of stuff.. Clutter is the enemy. It’s distracting for me, and can start a myriad of ‘symptoms’ …just ask anyone in my life. lol What a great site this is..I just found it tonight, and I find the posts VERY positive!! THat is SOOOOO necessary. I have another site I visit,,,however, I was looking for ppl who are regularly working on improvements..victories…tools to help them manage and SUCCEED with ADD,,,in spite of, in conjuction with,,or whatever…my ADD is something I have finally accepted in a POSTIVE light…that was after reading Hallowell’s literature…I’m ‘apology’ free. Anyways…thanks for sharing tips, stories..I’ll be back for more!!

    #92045 |

    Another trick is to make containers more than just simple boxes. When you’re out at yard sales or funky stores, keep an eye out for containers that have some personality, colour, or shape. A simple example is keeping all your Christmas stuff in the same kind of red and green tubs. And instead of labels, print off pictures, like clip art stuff, and put that on a box. We’re often really visual and it’s easier to pick out the box with the picture of the bicycle on it, than to look at a shelf full of boxes and read 30 different titles.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92046 |

    Great ideas! Another good one I have heard is one of those things that hang on your door that holds shoes. Hang it on the door that goes out to the garage and put in it what you need when you leave. Lower pockets for kiddos and top pockets for taller folks.

    Hope this helps someone!

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92047 |

    Hi All!

    We had tons of books stuffed into every possible spare nook and crannie of the house, attic, bedroom, under stairs, etc.. not realizing just how many we had and never knowing what was where…. always hunting and hunting and hunting…

    My house is tiny.

    One day went into IKEA and BAM! There was the answer to everything right at the front of the store! The angels began to sing!

    A display of floor to ceiling bookshelves that had transformed a corner (!) into a gentleman’s library and display area!

    We did this at home (used glass doors to enclose so no dusting needed) and de-cluttered the house into one corner of a small back bedroom. This bedroom is 8 feet by 9 feet.

    Used exactly the same bins as the display on the top shelves for memory boxes with small (loose) keepsake items. I just copied what was in the store, placed a curved chair in front and voila! It looks just like a gentleman’s reading area, taking up no room at all!

    At the bottom behind the chair, I put Scrabble games, books with ratty covers and jars with loose change in them. Stuff you want to hide.

    The middle of unit we used a narrow bookcase and stored all our CD’s and videos there.

    IKEA was made for us!!!

    All I did was copy their display.

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92048 |

    Bins? Yes, they’re a great idea! Me, the ADHD mom, organized my son’s bedroom with bins many years ago to simplify his life. Toys were sorted into the appropriate categories and placed into separate bins. Clothing? Same thing! Socks in one, short sleeved shirts in another, long-sleeved in another, shorts/pants got separate bins, underwear, pj’s into others.

    Did they work? Umm, not so much. He’s an adult now and still can’t handle any organization system for more than a day or two. The bins work great for me. I still use them!

    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #92049 |

    Great idea, ideal! I’m more of a plastic-chest-of-drawers enthusiast but bins would make a lot of sense in my fridge, pantry and car. Thanks for the tip!

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