The benefits of organization in life with Angelman syndrome

Maintaining a clutter-free home makes life easier for the mom of an Angel

Sabrina L. Johnson avatar

by Sabrina L. Johnson |

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Organization has always come easy to me, and it plays a big part in improving my quality of life as a parent to a daughter with Angelman syndrome (AS). When the clocks sprang forward last weekend, it made me think about spring cleaning. I always do some things to freshen up our house when the temperature starts to rise.

But organization isn’t just for spring cleaning. I rely on this skill to make my life more manageable and to keep important items from falling into the hands of my 13-year-old Angel, Juliana.

There is a direct correlation between health, well-being, and clutter, according to an article published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2016. Simply put, clutter has a negative impact on our state of mind. Juggling the many facets of life with Angelman syndrome is stressful enough. I don’t want a lot of extra stuff making my life worse.

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So much is remedied

I also rely on organization for activities that require a little extra planning, such as preparing Juliana’s lunch. Juliana has been on a low-fructose diet for many years, so assembling a good lunch for her requires the right food purchases, prep, and packaging for school. When you’re not organized, it can be difficult to handle alternative meal planning like this.

Organization matters in bigger things, too. In typical Angel fashion, Juliana can be very hyperactive. This means that she doesn’t sit still for long, and exploring items around the house can become an interesting pastime. In most cases with Juliana, exploring means damaging. It’s easier to dampen this inquisitive trait if there’s nothing for her to get into.

In our house, everything has a home. There are no junk drawers to rifle through or piles to scatter. In Juliana’s room, the decor is simple and minimized. When she’s in her room, she plays with her toys or iPad. There are a few baskets of her favorite things. Clean-up is made easy by tossing the toys into the baskets. This is also the case in our TV room.

If an object is truly important, it has a permanent place — typically a cabinet or closet that Juliana can’t open. With dangerous or fragile items put away, there is a very small risk of her getting into them.

Well, almost everything

Of course, when Christmas rolls around, it’s not always easy to keep Juliana out of the Christmas tree. One year, she stalked my favorite ornament and took it apart so that she could enjoy the bell inside. However, we don’t have many occurrences like the ornament swiping. I attribute this to keeping objects put away and off Juliana’s radar.

Living with the challenges of Angelman is difficult enough. I do myself a favor by getting rid of broken parts and donating items we no longer need. This keeps clutter to a minimum and frees me up to focus on the important areas at the forefront of my life.

I may not be able to change how AS affects my life. But I can certainly keep the rest of it organized to handle whatever gets thrown my way.

Note: Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angelman Syndrome News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Angelman syndrome.


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