ADHD and the Clutter Connection with Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365

ADHD and the Clutter Connection with Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365

Organize 365 is a concept that I want to introduce
you to today. It’s a series of little tiny steps that you
take every single day in order to create a life of harmony and balance. Pretty awesome. All right. I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House
Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house
cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. Now, today’s show is brought to us by This is a resource hub that has all things cleaning, so you’ll find books and podcasts
and supplies and uniforms and all different kinds of things, but there’s a podcast page,
and on that podcast page there’s a picture of a little orange and pink house. That is Organize 365, and that’s a podcast
that introduced me to Lisa Woodruff who’s our guest today. I know, it’s pretty exciting. She’s a bestselling author of two books that
you’ll find on Amazon. I’m going to link to those in the show notes. I’m also going to link you to her podcast
because that is also free, and I want you to become familiar with it. She does have a paid training program where
she takes people step-by-step on a hundred-day journey through every area of their home and
creates organization. It’s a private Facebook group. It’s a training series. She has a whole bunch of stuff that’s backed
up in this training program, and I wanted her to tell us a little bit about that today. I want you to be familiar with the Organize
365 concept because it is magnificent. All right, with that, please help me welcome
the amazing Lisa Woodruff. Lisa Woodruff: Hi, I’m Lisa Woodruff. I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have an Organize 365 podcast and blog and
books. I started my journey as a school teacher,
and then in 2011, I found myself with nine Schedule Cs, one of those being a house cleaner. I was a house cleaner, a tutor, a teacher,
a professional organizer. I didn’t know that was a thing. I had three different direct sales businesses. Then in January of 2012, I started Organize
365 and put all my eggs in the organizing basket so I could totally relate to everyone
who was cleaning houses. We could talk about today the difference between
cleaning a house and organizing a house. They are two totally different things. Angela Brown: Well, as a bestselling author,
you’ve written a couple of really interesting books. I know one is about the organization mindset
and the other one is about ADHD. There are a lot of customers where we go to
customers’ houses and they have ADHD. It creates somewhat of a problem because there
are lots of unfinished tasks. I know you wrote a book on this, and I’m hoping
you can jump in and give us some insights. Lisa Woodruff: I have two children who have
ADHD, and when I was an in-home professional organizer, I found that 50% of my clients
had ADHD as well. My kids went to a really cool school in Cincinnati
called Springer School and Center. I learned a ton about how ADHD actually affects
the prefrontal cortex of your brain. It’s eight executive functions, and that with
it, my teaching background, I broke those eight down. I only took six of them, and I equated them
to what was happening in the home for the female homeowner if she did have ADHD or suspected
she had ADHD. Here’s the thing, we all do. I mean, nobody has perfect executive function,
but there are different executive functions that really impact home organization more
than others. I took that education and what I was seeing
with my kids and what I was seeing with my clients and broke those down specifically,
like if it’s this executive function, this is what you see, and here’s the answer for
that. Angela Brown: Oh, my goodness. That’s so fascinating. Okay, so now I got a question for you. How about if you are a house cleaner and you
go to a customer’s house and you see lots of unfinished tasks? How do you help the customer get ready for
the house cleaner coming in? Lisa Woodruff: The problem for many people
who have ADHD is they never even call a house cleaner because they can’t clean up before
the house cleaner comes because organization and cleaning are two totally different skills. If you are the person who’s not calling in
a professional cleaner yet, what I would suggest you do is clean one room at a time, organize
one room at a time, and then call the house cleaner because they will maintain that room. They will maintain the cleanliness of it,
but the repetitiveness of that cleaner coming back every week, every other week, or even
once a month will make you clean up your messes. For people who have ADHD, they’re very visual. That’s why they have all the piles because
if they don’t see it, they forget it, and it doesn’t get done. Picking up those piles before the cleaner
comes helps you either get the project finished, gives you a deadline and a to-do, or helps
you eliminate projects that aren’t necessarily going to get done over time. The box you see behind me is called the Sunday
basket. I believe more of us are visual than we realize. Paper pencil actually works. Like the reason why writing down a to-do list
works is because you’re five to seven times more likely to remember things that you write
down. As an educator, I knew that when we went to
typing everything on the computers, our kids actually didn’t do as well on testing because
there is something about that motor memory. Now, I write down everything. I have notes for everything, but mine all
go in this box, which is visual, and then I pull it out on Sunday, and I could see all
my different notes. I sort them in different colored slash pockets. That’s how I pick my projects. That way I have like, they’re horizontal piles
instead of vertical piles. There’s a place for all those notes to go. I don’t forget any of my ideas, but my space
looks much cleaner because it’s really my external brain. Angela Brown: Tell us a little bit about your
organizer. I notice that you’ve got some paid training
and some paid coaching and paid organizing and all this stuff, but tell us a little bit
about that so that people that are making a commitment to declutter and to try to get
organized and find a balance in all of their haphazard piles, how do they go about doing
that? Lisa Woodruff: Here’s the thing. Organization is a learnable skill. I was born organized, and I just thought,
“Sorry, you’re not born organized, so sorry for your luck,” but over time, when I was
40 and I was professionally organizing people, I realized, “Oh, they can learn the skill.” I’d go a couple of times, and then they’d
say, “I don’t need you anymore.” I’m like, “Wait, no, your house isn’t organized. You need me,” and they’re like, “No, no. I finished it up on my own because what you
taught me I now did in other spaces.” I was like, “It’s teachable. Organization is teachable.” The Sunday basket is where I suggest people
get started. Eliminate your to do list and figure out how
to get your brain into a box. Then we do have a program called the 100-Day
Home Organization Program where we start in the kitchen, 21 days, you guys. 15 minutes a day, we go through every single
area in your kitchen, and I literally teach you how do you organize a drawer or why would
you put all your drink supplies together, some of these things that if you weren’t born
organized you wouldn’t naturally think. Angela Brown: Well, and super helpful because
there are a lot of people that have reached out to us, and they’ve said, “I don’t even
know where to start.” There are people that recognize there’s a
need to start, but they don’t know where to start. I know you’ve got a Facebook group that guides
people through this hundred-day challenge. Tell us about that. Lisa Woodruff: That’s part of the paid 100-day
challenge, but if you’re wondering where to start, start for free. Just go to, and there
you’ll do your laundry room. You’ve got all those great cleaners behind
you. That was the first space I was able to successfully
organize because nobody else went in there, like it was totally mine. Literally took me a month. I kept going back and going back and getting
it fully organized. Pick one space, get it fully organized, and
then move forward. If you are in the 100-day program, we do the
kitchen first, and then the master bedroom, bathroom, and closet, and those are the areas
you spend 80% of your time in. When we would organize houses, the number
one question we would get at the end was, “Do you have a cleaner to recommend?” Once you invest the time in getting organized,
hire a cleaner, even if they aren’t going to do your whole house, even if your whole
house isn’t organized. If you can get your kitchen, master bedroom,
and bathrooms done, just have them come do the bathrooms and the kitchen, and then once
you have your family room ready, add your family room, add the next room. Don’t wait until your whole entire house is
completely organized before you hire a professional cleaner. They will keep you on task, they will help
you stop procrastinating, and they will keep all the spaces that you have organized clean
while you keep working through the rest of your house. Angela Brown: That is amazing. All right, now I have a question for you. How about there are people that don’t know
they need organizing and they don’t recognize that their house is a mess? For example, let’s say social services comes
in and says, “Your house must be clean at a certain time,” and they’re completely unaware
that there’s a standard that is expected for everyday living. Lisa Woodruff: That’s a tough one. Usually I deal with women who are, their house
may not be organized. It may… We have dealt with women who social services
involved when I was in professional organizing. But it really is… you have to want to make
the change. You have to recognize that you want to make
the change. Now, if you’re living with someone like that,
you can make the change for yourself, but one of the things that I profess is that we
only organize our own stuff. Now, the caveat to that is you can organize
your kids and you can have your kids get rid of stuff, but I never have spouses get rid
of their other spouse’s items or organize their other spouse’s items. I just have you focus on yourself and continuing
to get yourself more and more organized, and really, usually, the family kind of follows
along. Both inside of your house and your extended
family tends to see the difference in you, and they start to make little steps as well. Angela Brown: I know that as a professional
house cleaner, we’ve gone to homes where we were required to come in and help families
clean up, and we weren’t even at an organizing place yet. We came in, and we would say, “Let’s just
pick up the trash, the bottles, the food wrappers, things like that,” and we would get the families
involved to pick up an item, and then maybe remove clothes. Then at that point, we were able to bring
in the professional organizers to fill in the gaps and help them figure out all the
emotional content that was trapped inside their stuff. Then once all of that was clean and everything
had a place and everything was in its place, then we could come back and actually do the
cleaning. Lisa Woodruff: That goes back to people who
have ADHD can maintain systems, but they often can’t create the system. You created the system for them. Also, organization is a learnable skill, but
if you never learned it or you grew up in a family that’s very similar to the family
that you’re living in now, where would you have learned those skills? We have the 100-day program where you can
go through the course with us. Some people just listen to my podcast and
that’s enough. They never buy anything I have. It helps them get organized. Then other people do need that one-on-one
tutoring type help, which would be a cleaner, a professional organizer, or social services
to come in. We have a whole group of professional organizers
who know how to organize paper and are used to the Organize 365 way that do come in just
like you do to come in and clean. I just view it as a classroom. When I was teaching math, sometimes kids would
fly through it and never even need my lessons. Other people would need the group lessons,
and then other kids would need one-on-one assistance, sometimes only with one chapter,
sometimes with the whole entire course curriculum. Angela Brown: Well, one of the things that
I like best about what you’re doing is you’ve built a community around Organize 365. One of the hardest things for people that
are just making that commitment for the first time or realizing for the first time that
there’s a need is “I’m alone, I’m by myself, where do I go?” To know that they’re not alone and that there’s
actually a community of people that have made the same commitment and are understanding
the same realization that life can be better and easier and less haphazard once it’s organized
and everything has a place, I just love that about you. As long as I’ve had my websites, which I’m
new to technology, so it’s been a couple of years, but your Organize 360 has been up on
our website on our Hall of Fame for the favorite podcasts-
Lisa Woodruff: Oh, my gosh- Angela Brown: … and then also we’ve recommend-
Lisa Woodruff: … how cool is that? Angela Brown: I know, it’s super-
Lisa Woodruff: Thank you. Angela Brown: … because I listen to it and
I love it. We’ve also recommended your books innumerous
times in the show notes of our programs. I’m going to recommend them again, and I’m
going to leave links in our show notes everything that you recommended because-
Lisa Woodruff: Thank you. Angela Brown: … this is super helpful to
people that are just first discovering the power of home organization. Lisa Woodruff: I find that is so true. Even for myself, you’re running your business,
I’m running my business from home, like we’re in my home right now. I do have a warehouse, but I don’t work there,
and I think, “Oh, I’m by myself in my business. I don’t know other people that are growing
their business like this.” We feel that way all the time when we’re at
home, like everybody else has it together, we don’t have it together. Look at their Instagram posts. Their whole house is organized. No, they organize like one cabinet, and they
showed it to you, and we feel like we are less-than and that we’re never going to get
it together and we’re never going to measure up and we can’t have that image of what we
see on TV. That’s what we try to demystify over at Organize
365, like there is no such thing as perfect. Pinterest is for decorating, not for organizing. You’re fine where you are. Give yourself more grace. Take another nap, and then just keep going. Thank you so much for recognizing that. We really want, especially women, to just
give themselves more grace. People say, “Why do you talk to women instead
of men?” I’m like, “Because men really do get it organized
in a weekend because they don’t have this hang-up like we do about this emotional investment
in all of our stuff,” and our space is not everyone, but it is much more of a woman’s
issue. What her house looks like, it is such a reflection
on her. Angela Brown: Well, and one of the things
that I love about coming to the admittance of having a clean home is that once you have
a clean home and stuff’s there, you can’t deny that you actually feel better when you
arrive home. It reduces stress. It’s just this feeling of peace. It’s harmony. It’s balance. Then you say, “Oh, my goodness, why haven’t
I been living like this my whole life?” Lisa Woodruff: Right, but it is a timing thing. It’s totally a timing thing when that is going
to happen for you. You just have to just grace. Just more grace. Why are we so hard on ourselves? We are so hard on ourselves. I will say that I have somebody clean my house
every other week. I do not do the cleaning, and I would not
be able to maintain this house if I didn’t, so I had somebody clean my house, then I became
a house cleaner, and now I have somebody clean my house again. It is a service. Angela Brown: Well, and I think that’s the
key because so many people want to go at it alone. The reality is nobody really goes at it alone. I’ve got a small business, but I don’t go
at it alone. I have an entire team of people that are way
smarter than I am, and they tell me, “Do this, don’t touch this, stay away from this,” and
they take care of everything. It’s so helpful because, like the organization
then, it frees me up to do what I do best. Many people who are disorganized, it’s not
what they do best, and so to be able to hire a professional organizer to come in, hire
a house cleaner to come in, that focus is on their home and their living space and the
balance of it all so they can do what they do best. Lisa Woodruff: Right, and it is a learnable
skill. If you do struggle with the ADHD, it’s going
to be very, very hard for you to implement the systems, so if you can get the systems
implemented for you, you can maintain them, especially if you hire a house cleaner because
if you try to do cleaning and organizing both, one will fall down. It’s just hard. It’s hard to run a household today and everything
else we’re multi-passionate and want to do. Angela Brown: Well, and I think families are
busier than they’ve ever been with all the sports and activities and travel and then
the social media. There’s time than we’ve ever had before, and
so some of the things get pushed to the back burner. No fault of anybody’s. They just get pushed to the back burner. Anyway, I’m super excited that you came on
our show today and that my audience is able to meet you because you have a wealth of information
and just gobs of resources that I know we’re going to be able to tap into. Lisa Woodruff: Angela, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure. Angela Brown: Alrighty, and that is Lisa Woodruff,
I’m telling you what, host, podcaster, YouTuber, consultant, coach, professional organizer. She’s a mom who wears all kinds of hats, I’m
telling you what. All right, I’m going to leave links in the
show notes to everything that we talked about so that you can find her and become more familiar
with her. If you found this helpful, please pass it
on to a friend, and if we’ve earned your subscription, please subscribe. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

6 thoughts on “ADHD and the Clutter Connection with Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365

  1. I have asperger and i canthink about the sgatem and com up with one including buing organizing tools and engebering spaces and solotions but implementing them needs time and management in terms of what to do first and when and i cant do it for long befor my brain gets tiered and my body starts berning hot and it kinda starts taking time and i constantly loos attention. It is especially hard that for example you should clean the back of your bed and drawers inorder to put it in its plase or clean serfaces befor you stik stuf to it and do things licke wiering and the complication gets to you

  2. I been diagnosed with ADD, ADHD & OCD. Yea, lucky me! I will definitely be looking this gal up. One of my biggest problems is that I'm ALMOST NEVER satisfied with the placement of things. (Oh did I mention that I'm an advid crafter as well) uggh…placement of things is huge for me. Like furniture. I'm constantly moving furniture. Not just moving from this corner to that corner or from that wall to the wall across, but moving furniture from one room to another. ALL THE TIME. For instance, I know what I want to do, but if one piece or one aspect of a project isn't there it won't get done. I hate it! For example, I wanted to do a gallery wall in the living room but because I hadn't painted, all the pieces for the wall sat on the floor in front of that wall. This disease is for the birds. I don't have the money to hire outside help like cleaning people or painters to come into my home to keep me on track. I live alone and work full time and have good intentions, but by the time I get home from work in the evening, I'm hit. Exhausted!

  3. Since you are lining up great guests, I would recommend trying to reach out to a man Paul Akers to see if you could give you tips for men or women and how to organize garages and homes. If you watch his videos about mean in the home or lean in the bathroom or lean in the garage you will see some amazing organizational skills

  4. I'm so excited to see Lisa on Angela's podcast! Found Lisa and about 1 year later found Angela. You both inspire me! Thank you so. I have for all you do.

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