Organizing The ADD Tween; What You Must Know

I'm thrilled to welcome today's guest poster, Erin Kelly of Organizing with Erin, a great ChicagoNow blog. Erin is a professional organizer whose organizing business has been helping people get organized for 8 years, and one of her specialties is ADD.  You can find her on Facebook at Arranged by Erin Professional Organizing. I'm so grateful that she's sharing her wisdom with Tween Us.


Organization is a challenge for anyone with ADD/ADHD. It’s important to help your child/tween develop these skills at an early age. Here are some important tips to help with the process.

1. Watch what you introduce. Tweens with ADD tend to be very attached to their belongings. Don’t give them knick knacks and loads of stuffed animals and expect them to purge. ADD individuals tend to add to their space not subtract.

2. Stop clutter before it starts. Daily maintenance is essential. Set rules for the condition of the room. Use the 15 minute timer trick if needed.

3. Clear as soon as you clutter. Due to a different neurological makeup, people with ADD can’t break down piles. They see the pile, not the individual items. Don’t let the piles begin.

4. Enablers ... Shelf space, surface area, and baskets, all of these can be enablers for stuff. Too many systems can make things worse.

5. Categorize. Keep like with like and don’t overstuff drawers or closets. ADD Tweens have a great fear of not being able to find things.

6. Very Visual. Store items in clear bins and label everything. With short term memory being an issue, labeling is a gentle way to help your Tween remember where things should go.

7. Purge. Purge on a regular basis. Before birthdays, holidays, and the new season, the room should be cleaned out.

8. Simplify Environment. If it’s not age appropriate, or they don’t play with it anymore, remove it from the space.

So how do you start this challenging process?

First of all form a game plan. Define what needs to be done in your child’s room or space. Break it down into little projects. Have someone assist your child. Whether it’s a family member or friend, they will need a “body double” to keep them on task. Don’t expect it all to be done at once. Make it a positive experience, so your Tween with be open to repeating the process in the future.

I can’t stress the importance of helping your ADD/ADHD Tween develop organizational skills. I work with a multitude of ADD/ADHD adults who have severe struggles with organization. Being severely disorganized not only affects your home life, but work as well!!

Leave a comment