Dealing with Symptoms of Adult ADHD - Losing Things

Eileen Bailey Health Guide
  • Last week we talked about one of the major symptoms of adult ADHD - being forgetful. This week we'll discuss another doozy - losing things.

    I know you have lost something recently. What is it? Keys? Wallet? Glasses? Remote control? My husband is constantly losing his reading glasses. Suddenly, life would stop and we would all need to scurry around looking for the glasses because he could not read whatever it was he was reading. I solved this problem: I bought about 10 pairs of reading glasses from the dollar store and put them everywhere. In my car, in his car, the bathroom, the bedroom, the kitchen. Now, when he announces he has lost his glasses we just need to look around. There is bound to be a pair lying around somewhere close by. I doubt that he ever ends up with the same pair he started with, and I am sure they are rotated quite regularly. When I see them running low (because he has left them at the restaurant, on the counter at a store, at the office...) I make a trip to the dollar store to buy a bunch more. It works and is a whole lot less stressful.

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    With adult ADHD you sometimes have to be creative in finding solutions to life's little mishaps. The "normal" solutions, like wearing your glasses on a chain, just don't work because as soon as you take your glasses off (to go to bed, take a shower or change clothes), they disappear.

    As with being forgetful, below are some tips from other adults with ADHD on how not to lose things, or, at least, how not to lose them quite so often.

    "I use a clear plastic over-the-door shoe holder. It is hung on the inside of my hallway closet. All the loose little items go in there. I do a quick sweep of the downstairs once a day and keys, wallet, glasses, notes, pens, etc, all get placed into the shoe holder. Since it is clear, you can quickly see everything. Chances are, if it is missing, someone picked it up and put it in the shoe holder."

    "I have a basket on my kitchen counter. All papers go in there, mail that I want to go through, papers that have come home with my kids, receipts, everything. Once a week (I try) to go through it and sort it out and throw away what isn't needed."

    "I have learned over the years to place my keys in the same place every day. Once in a while I forget and those are the days I am searching everywhere. Usually, though, I am disciplined with my keys."

    "Never hide something in a special place. You will forget where you put it. Always keep things in plain sight and hopefully, in the same place, but always somewhere you will easily be able to see it."

    "I used to leave my purse everywhere. Now I only carry ones that have a long enough strap for me to sling across my shoulder or use a fanny pack that is always attached."

    "I can't stress enough the importance of having one spot, preferably as soon as you walk into the house, that you put your keys, wallet, purse, etc. If you get into the habit of placing everything there as soon as you walk in the house, you'll save yourself lots of time later."

  • "Even if you can't find something, don't panic. You probably place things into certain spots around the house. We are, even though we have ADHD, still creatures of habit. Think about what you do when you first walk in the house (although once my keys were in the refrigerator)."

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    "I keep an index card box in my kitchen to put all those small pieces of papers with notes on them. If I put them anywhere else they would surely be gone in a flash."

    "I use the refrigerator. I won't buy a stainless steel refrigerator because I don't want to lose my ability to hang everything there with a magnet."

    I hope these tips help. If you have other tips, please post them here.

    Also, we'll be having a chat on Tuesday, September 28 with ADHD Coach Rudy Rodriquez on managing adult ADHD symptoms. Click here to sign up for an email reminder.

Published On: September 22, 2010