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.