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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Gigler

The Coffee Closet Conundrum


With ADHD, solving problems can require custom solutions


Have you ever wanted something to be different, but you weren’t sure what that looked like? This quandary can lead adults with ADHD to put up with less-than-ideal situations for far too long, simply because they can’t see the solution. Sometimes, we all need a little help and encouragement to pursue a solution that is right for us. Let me tell you about my coffee closet conundrum.


I had coffee in a closet that was truthfully a disaster. I would open the door, say “That’s too bad,” and close it again. The coffee closet got messy because I didn’t like taking the time to roll and fasten the top of those one-pound bags, and coffee grounds would sprinkle on the bottom of the closet.


A neuro-typical member of the family suggested that I put the coffee in some of those functional plastic containers for storage. Nice idea, but they were just too boring, not to mention ugly. (OK, admittedly, that might have been better than having the loose bags with the designer coffee spilling out, but really?)


I remember asking an organizer that I had hired if she knew about any containers that weren’t of that cloudy plastic variety. The organizer acted surprised and said that no one had ever asked her that question before. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, as a highly visual and creative person, I was looking for something both beautiful and functional…and in that order!


The answer came at Christmas that year. My kids got me a beautiful set of hand-painted canisters that were just stunning! The matching lids were just as beautiful. They lifted off easily, allowing me to scoop coffee into a waiting pot in one fluid motion. The moral of the story was this: I could have order without sacrificing beauty. Every time I open that closet—which is often—it makes me smile! There was a solution, after all. My solution.


Lessons from the Coffee Closet


Just because you can’t picture the outcome of something doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you want. Many of us have been so busy hanging on for dear life as we navigate life with ADHD that we haven’t had the time or energy to pursue other options. Here are some suggestions for finding out what you truly want.

  • Value your unspoken needs. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. One size does not fit all.

  • Explore your options. Sometimes we need to see alternatives in order to discover what we really want. What resonates with you? What are the possibilities?

  • Be open to new ideas. We know what we know, but we also don’t know what we don’t know.

  • Trust your gut. You will know the solution when you find it.

  • Look beyond the surface. Just because things look disorganized doesn’t mean that you don’t care. You may have a high level of expectation for yourself, but you’re not able to achieve it yet. If an organizing method resonates with you, you will maintain it.

  • Solving problems takes time. If a “simple” task were that easy, you would have done it yesterday! No one is good at everything. There’s a reason why you haven’t yet solved a particular challenge.

  • You can do this! You will get over the finish line, but you may do it in a different way than others do.


It’s Your Turn


Identifying a problem is much easier than finding a solution. It’s important to work with a coach or an organizer who “hears your voice,” as opposed to someone who believes that one size fits all. Good solutions are ones that are customized to fit you.


What challenges are you facing today? What would you like to be different? Identify your obstacles and ask yourself: “Who can help?”


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