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6 Super Duper Packing Tips for ADHD Travelers

Posted on July 15, 2014



Next week, I’m heading to Orlando for the ADDA conference (you can still register HERE), where I’ll be presenting on “The Secret Lives of Women with ADHD.”

It’s an exciting time to re-connect with old friends, make new friends, network, but most of all, to be with my “tribe”- adults with ADHD. This is the only place in the world where we can be with hundreds of other adults, forgetting names, losing keys, wallets and phones, stumbling and knocking into things…without a single person batting an eye or saying something hurtful. It’s a time to rejuvenate, to laugh (and sometimes cry), sharing our ADHD stories- good and bad.

Of course, it’s also a time to learn all about the latest research and treatment and there are tons and tons of sessions that offer tremendous resources and tips for everyday issues of living with ADHD.

Though you may not be able to attend this year, I do hope you start saving for next year, because it truly is a life altering experience.

ADHD doesn’t go away, but it can be tamed. In fact, my ADHD comes out in full force when I plan my ADDA trip or traveling in general. It can take me a solid week to get everything together: materials for my session, papers printed, child care, pet sitting, etc., but…the hardest thing for me to manage is the dreaded packing.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

It taps into all of our ADHD challenges: planning, procrastinating, prioritizing, making decisions, and all the rest. As an ADDA family “member” (I was on the board for years and still serve on the professional advisory board), I’m involved in many activities. That calls for oh, about 100 outfits to figure out and pack.

I wish I had a simple solution to offer you- it’s rarely an easy task for us- but here are some tips that have helped me; maybe they will help you, as well, as you head out for a summer vacation.

  1. Keep Records of Past Outfits

For every travel excursion, I keep a record of what I wore, what the occasion was, location and season. This way, I can go back and get ideas for future outfits without having to start from square one. You can even take a photo of each outfit- or even you in the outfit.


  1. Essentials

Keep a file on your computer of essentials you need to bring with you, ie medications, toiletries, etc. If you tend to travel a lot, keep a small bag already packed with duplicate items so you can just toss it– or even keep- in your suitcase.


  1. First Things First

Pack items you cannot travel without: eyeglasses/contacts, medications, travel documents.


  1. Choosing Outfits

Open a computer file (or jot down on paper, if you prefer), listing your itinerary, leaving space to write in your outfits. Yours might look like this:


-   Friday night dinner

Navy suit/white blouse/red flats/pearl necklace


-   Saturday daytime sightseeing

Jeans/white tshirt/long sleeve white blouse


-   Saturday night wedding

Black chiffon dress/patent heels/silver purse/silver necklace


Start with the most important outfit. For example, in this case, it’s probably the dress for the wedding. By starting with the most important (or stressful) outfit choice, you will immediately begin to calm down once that decision is off your plate. As you go through your closet and your outfit files, begin to write in the other various outfits you need to pack. Remember to write down everything: shoes, purse, accessories. Be sure to try on everything, to make sure it’s clean and not in need of any mending or alterations.


  1. Simplify

Try to simplify. In my case, I’m all about black and white. So I tend to pack one or two black/white or other neutral outfits, then add different colored blouses to go with them, trying to find tops that can work with each outfit.


  1. Stop Agonizing

Remind yourself that in most cases, if you forget something, you can find what you need at your destination.




-       Upon your return, analyze what you would have done differently and add that to your notes. Did you pack too many things? Not enough? Wrong shoes?

-       I’m finding that a lot of people have the same laptop computer as me and during airport screening, it’s easy for someone to accidentally take your computer off the conveyer belt. Purchase a removable decal to identify your computer.

-       What is it with black/ugly luggage? To make yours stand out so it’s easy to find, apply a strip of brightly colored duct tape on each side.


How about you? What tips can you share for your fellow ADD travelers? Please share in the Comment section below.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind: How to Find your Stuff

Posted on June 30, 2014



Do you suffer from OOS-OOM?

My friend, Bob, a member of the Adult ADHD Facebook Group, coined that, which is short for “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” Don’t you love it? It sounds like a meditation mantra, doesn’t it? OOS-OOM…OOS-OOM. The only problem is, Out of Sight, Out of Mind creates stress and tension- not relaxation and peace- for those of us with ADHD. Often times if what we need is not IN OUR FACE, we have no clue where we’ve put something. And that “something” is often important, like…your cell phone, wallet. Stuff like that.

Drawers become evil. Cabinets are black pits. So we toss our stuff on THAT table or THIS nightstand, until things get out of hand and lost in the pile.  Don’t you just love it when you’re searching for some random thing and up pops Grandma Edith’s diamond brooch you’d inherited that you thought you’d put in the safety deposit box at the bank?

Yes…we’ve all been there. No need to hang your head in shame. I’m still looking for Grandpa Dave’s silver dollars he gifted me 50 years ago.

But what’s an ADD gal (or guy) to do?

I recently read a blog post by a non-ADD adult (as far as I know, but…maybe..?) who was so sick and tired of forgetting where she put things, that she developed her own strategy. She talked to herself out loud, like this:

I’m putting my watch on the counter (repeat 3 times). Or, I’m leaving my cellphone in the kitchen. (repeat 3 times).  You get the drift.

I actually think that’s a great tip, unless you’re at work or otherwise in a setting that could disturb people.

We know that folks with ADD do well with visual cues, and I’ve talked about this a lot over the years. One of my biggest ADD nemesis is paper, as in…paper, paper, everywhere. Bills, reports, documents, etc. For years, when I needed to find an important paper, I spent hours searching, to no avail.  Once I learned of my ADD and sought out help, I hired a professional organizer who helped me set up systems. She told me that instead of fighting my need for visual cues, to instead, find ways to make it work for me. So instead of putting things in drawers, boxes, closets, knowing I’d never retrieve them again, we set up a different sort of system. And I use this system to this day.

For important but temporary papers that need to be in my FACE, like invitations, renewal reminders, appointments or whatever, I have a large bulletin board in my home office, nailed onto the closet door so that I can easily see it while I’m working. I have 3 more, but smaller, corkboards, next to that for items that need to be in my line of vision long term.  Pinned on those are passwords, my daughter’s school schedule, important phone numbers, etc.

The downside is that keeping things in view can cause visual clutter. Which is a nice way of saying piles and piles. And I’m not innocent when it comes to paper mountains. I recently found some very cool vintage wire letter bins on Etsy (an example of some are here . I’m beginning to go through my paper piles and putting them in a “do now” bin. I’ll buy a few more bins and use them for later sorting/filing so that at least, the piles aren’t such an eyesore. Before the see- through bin idea, I used manila folders but found that OOS-OOM raged on. You can’t see what’s in a folder, though I suppose the clear plastic ones could work. But for now, I’m going with the vintage look.

What about you? How do you manage your stuff that can easily end up in the black pit? How do you retrieve it without having to use a mantra?

Share your tips in the Comment section below.

Help for your ADD Panic!

Posted on June 25, 2014

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The Queens of Distraction June Special!


Women with ADHD!

Do you want to:

  • Kick clutter to the curb?
  • See the surface of your tables again?
  • Get started on your projects and start feeling good about yourself?

Come hang out with me in a secret, private room with other women with ADD, who “get” your challenges and are there to offer support.

We meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to get a handle on what is driving you CRAZY. It’s all about taking charge and finally making that decision to dive in. Be a part of this special group- we hold each other accountable but with compassion and understanding. Because we “get” it!

 Register now at our special June rates! But hurry- this won’t last!  

If you’re ready to GET THINGS DONE with fun and support of others with ADD in a fast paced action-based “no looking back” system that works, then this is the group for you.  We’re also open 24/7 for peer support.

Are you ready to:

Tackle your clutter
Kill the procrastinating demon
File and organize your papers
In two words: Get Organized?

Come connect with other women with ADHD and feel safe, accepted and understood.

Register today HERE and feel the relief of getting your life back under control. 
Welcome home!

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