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7 Surefire Tips to Deal with Clutter Right Now

Posted on January 26, 2015



I was talking with a friend online who was in the middle of clearing off the major clutter on her desk. For those without ADD, that seems like a simple enough task. But those if us with ADD, it is a monumental endeavor. Where do you start? Where do you put stuff? Save? File? File where?

Decisions, decisions. What if I throw it away and find I need it someday?

What if I put it away and can’t find it?

How did this problem start, anyway?

Often times, clutter happens because of one of three situations:

  1. You don’t have time to put it away, so you dump it…somewhere.
  2. You have no idea where to put it because it doesn’t have a home.
  3. You figure you’ll do it later because there are more interesting things to be doing than putting something away.

Then before you know it, you’ve got piles. And more piles, and they grow each day, until you get completely overwhelmed.

Yet, with most people I know, including myself, we’re somehow able to find whatever it is we’re looking for, somewhere in the pile. Unless it’s something super important, like your tax form.

What to do? What to do?

When I hired a professional organizer many years ago to help me set up my home office, the first thing she taught me was to make a home for everything. Photographs, bills, receipts, etc etc.

Here’s what she did:

She held up one item at a time and asked me: where is the logical place for this to be? Filing cabinet? Linen closet? Office supplies closet? So little by little, we began setting up homes.

That made it a LOT easier to get things put away where they belong. But it didn’t solve the clutter issue because of the other two situations I mention above: You’re in a rush so put it off or you don’t want to be bothered with a boring task.

So let’s get down to the dirty truth that few ADD experts talk about:

You can get your stuff under control, but it’s might hard to KEEP it under control. And then we spin and spin, anguished over the piles we create shortly after having eliminated them. And that, my friend, can assault our self-esteem, make family angry with us and put us straight into a stinking depression, even.

Here are some tips to help you deal with the magical piles that keep re-appearing no matter what you do to tame them:

  1. Do your best to tame things as best as possible but do NOT expect perfection. Say it again: DO NOT EXPECT PERFECTION.
  1. Do not let your clutter define you in a bad way. It’s a microcosm of your brain, which is usually splaying thoughts and ideas all day (and unfortunately, all night for many of us). The thoughts, plans, poetry, inventions, worries, obsessive thoughts and more…swirling throughout your brain, plop down on your counters, dining room tables and more. It’s simply a symptom of how your brain works.
  1. Every time you enter the area that is upsetting you, put away 5 things. Or 3 if you don’t have enough time.
  1. Invite a friend or family member (one who’s totally non-judgmental) to help you. Or buddy with you: they can be paying their bills while you are filing yours.
  1. What I do when I get overwhelmed with a tableful of clutter is throw everything in one big box so that the surface is now less horrifying to look at. Then I choose a time to begin going through the box to put things away.
  1. Make a date with the clutter. Mark it on your calendar or planner. Then spend 15 minutes only on it. If you find you have the energy to continue, go for it!
  1. Take a before/after photo of your space. Tape it to the wall so you can remember that you CAN do it and also to remember how GREAT it feels once it’s done.

Purging is frightening for many. We hold our identities, our special memories in “things” so that it’s hard to part with them. For me, I have the toughest time throwing away purses or shoes because they’ve been so much a part of me for a long time. Try taking a photograph of something you know you need to get rid of, but can’t.

Lastly, think about how you feel when you see the piles and replace that thought and feeling with: HOW would I feel if that space was cleared out? Let that thought guide you into getting started.

You can do it!

Want more help? Join the Queens of Distraction so I, along with your fellow Queens, can help you stay on track all while cheering you on and offering support and strategies:

What areas are the hardest for you to keep tidy? Have you found tips and strategies that work for you?

Please share below in the Comment section.



Did you Miss My Webinar with Rick Green on Women and ADHD?

Posted on January 25, 2015



In November 2014, I was Rick Green’s guest (from and presented a webinar on women with ADHD titled, “The Queen of Distraction.” Did you miss it? Watch the archive HERE.


Today’s Funny

Posted on January 23, 2015


FREE webinar! From Chaos to Calm: Keys to Helping Your Complex Kid!

Posted on January 23, 2015



Elaine & Diane with really know how to train parents of kids with ADHD! If you want help getting this year off to a GREAT start, sign up for their FREE webinar, From Chaos to Calm: Keys to Helping Your Complex Kid! Learn 3 essential strategies for managing ADHD with calm and confidence. Register today.

Short Survey to Help Kids (and their Parents) with ADHD

Posted on January 19, 2015


PennyPlease read this note from my colleague, Penny Williams. Your participation could help many, many children with ADHD (and their parents):

My name is Penny Williams, I am the mom of a 12-year-old boy with ADHD, and I’ve published two books on parenting ADHD so far, “Boy Without Instructions” and “What to Expect When You’re Not Expecting ADHD.” My goal for my next book on ADHD is to help parents truly understand their child’s perspective, limitations, gifts, and view of the world. That means I have to gather what it is like to grow up with ADHD from adults with ADHD in order to succeed at this goal. This survey is the first step to learning more about being a child with ADHD. The survey will only take about 20 minutes and you can submit it completely anonymous if you’d like. Thanks for taking the time to help kids with ADHD be better understood by their parents! Here is the link:

Why is it So Hard to Stay on Track? Take the Challenge!

Posted on January 13, 2015



In my last blog, I wrote a humorous piece, titled Terry’s Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions. If you missed that, you can read it on my website HERE.

Why tongue in cheek? Because research shows (mine, anyway), that the vast majority of people who make New Year’s Resolutions never follow through on them. They are typically self-defeating which only makes us feel depressed at yet another failure. This is especially true if you have ADD, because, well…we tend to be super harsh on ourselves to begin with. If we can’t remember to buy eggs at the market, how are we supposed to remember- and follow through- on starting an exercise program?

Part of the problem is we either have too ambitious a plan (I will go to the gym every day) or we forget or procrastinate. The end result? Another reason to feel crappy about ourselves.

Stick with me here, ok? I challenge you- right now- to choose ONE small project, task, or mini resolution that you are pretty certain you can stick to and feel success with. Maybe it’s getting to work on time for a week. Or filing 10 pieces of paper away. Or finding that book that’s overdue at the library.

Are you on? Take Terry’s Mini Resolution Challenge and post your plan below, in the Comment section.  Then check back in a week (set a reminder on your computer or smart phone) and let me know how you fared, again in the Comment section. You can do it!

Need some extra help? Join The Queens of Distraction and watch your home and/or office become organized and enjoy daily progress with your fellow queens and me as you get your life back on track.


Only 1 Day Left to Sign Up at Special Rates: Clear Your Clutter with Me!

Posted on January 05, 2015



The Queens of Distraction ADHD New Year’s Special!


Tick Tock Tick Tock. Don’t let the ticking clock distract you from things you need to be doing, like:

  • Filing papers (after you find them, and we’ll help you do that!)
  • De-cluttering your living/work space
  • Working on projects that are due tomorrow (or today, or yesterday)

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

We meet throughout the week 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- we live it!

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

 Register today HERE and feel the relief of getting your life back under control. But hurry! Special rates end January 6! That’s tomorrow night!

Questions? Email me at  

Terry’s Top 10 New Years Resolutions for 2015

Posted on December 30, 2014



Happy New Year to all of you! Now, I normally don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions, for two reasons:

1. I never remember what they are

2. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.

However…this year I am sharing…

Terry’s Top 10 New Years Resolutions

1. I will return phone calls within 24 hours, not 24 days.

2. I will spend less time on Facebook, which really is like crack cocaine for those of us with ADD. Wait, first I need to make sure I didn’t miss anyone’s birthday.

3. I will play less Candy Crush Saga. Oh, what’s this Candy Crush Soda game all about?

4.  I will cook more than I carry out. (you don’t see my fingers crossed, do you?)

5. I will remember to take out the laundry from the washer and put it in the dryer.

6. I will TRY and remember to take out laundry from the dryer to laundry baskets.

7. I will purge my closets of clothes that are more than 10 years old. But what about the 20 year old stuff?

8. I will file away those two piles of papers I’m staring at right this minute. I am not even going to mention the other 4 piles next to those. That’s for my next year’s resolution.

9. I will clear out old food from the fridge every other day. If I remember.

10. Thank goodness for resolution lists like this- I just realized I have forms to fill out and send that were due last week.

How about you? Share your ADD Resolutions in the comment section, below. In the meantime, if you’d like to get a head start working on your list, come join me and other women with ADHD at The Queens of Distraction, where we get into action and out of our chairs. We have fun, too! Check it out HERE NOW- I’m offering a New Year’s discount only through January 6.


The Queens of Distraction: Special Holiday Rates! Get Organized Online!

Posted on December 23, 2014



The Queens of Distraction! Online group coaching for women with ADHD. Special Holiday pricing ends Jan. 6! Register at

The Queen of Distraction: Webinar with Terry Matlen

Posted on December 19, 2014

I recently did a webinar, “The Queen of Distraction” about women with ADHD and tips that work to help you stay organized. There was also a great Q and A. Check it out HERE, or just click on the graphic below.


QOD Webinar