If your space is overflowing with unnecessary stuff, these strategies can help you clear out the clutter and get organized.
We acquire a lot of stuff over our lifetimes, from furniture to mementos. Over time, these items can pile up and take up space.
Keeping our homes clutter-free is a challenge many of us face. But for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), overcoming clutter can sometimes be an even bigger challenge.
If you’re living with ADHD, learning how to declutter can help you stay organized.
While an inability to focus is a common trait of ADHD, there are many other symptoms of this condition. Several of these symptoms can affect your ability to stay organized.
This can lead to having a messy house, heavily disorganized areas, or projects that have been abandoned long before they were finished.
People with ADHD often face challenges when it comes to starting or prioritizing tasks.
This can lead them to easily give up or become frustrated.
Those living with ADHD may also find it more difficult to let things go, especially if they’re attached to a memory or emotion. They may also tend to keep items “just in case” they may provide value or be useful in a hypothetical or future situation.
As clutter builds up, it can create an obstacle that feels impossible to overcome. Over time, this clutter may even become overbearing and overwhelming.
Decluttering when you have ADHD can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. There are several small but manageable actions you can take that will help you clear away the clutter.
Do a little at a time
Decluttering can feel overwhelming, especially when you have many areas to organize or clear out.
Rather than trying to organize everything all at once, try to focus on smaller tasks. Breaking your tasks up into smaller areas or projects can feel much more manageable and make you more likely to complete each one.
Over time, these small actions will add up to larger results.
Make a plan
Sometimes, the hardest part of getting organized is knowing where to begin. This is why it can be helpful to make a plan and schedule your tasks.
Consider making a list of all the things you need to declutter. This could include rooms or areas of your home you want to organize or even specific goals you want to accomplish. After that, try to set aside a specific time for these actions by adding them to your calendar.
Feel free to spread these out over several days, weeks, or even months, depending on how much you have to do and what your goals are.
You can also consider dedicating a specific time each day or week to your decluttering efforts. Knowing that this is your declutter time can help you focus on the task at hand.
Set a timer
You don’t have to spend hours on your decluttering projects. In fact, sometimes shorter, more focused bursts of time can help you get more done than setting aside an entire day.
Giving yourself too much time can feel overwhelming. It can also make it easy to become distracted or procrastinate when you know you have more time to get simple tasks done.
Consider starting with small amounts of time. This can be as little as 10 to 15 minutes a day. You might also consider setting a timer on your phone or a kitchen device and focusing solely on your task until it goes off.
Not only will the time fly, but you may also feel a sense of accomplishment as you make progress in your decluttering goals.
Ask for help
Sometimes, trying to clear away that messy pile of stuff or disorganized area on our own can feel overwhelming or impossible. Seeking support from others can help.
Consider inviting a friend or family member to visit for a weekend and help you declutter. You can also ask them to be your accountability buddy. This is someone you can call when you’re feeling less than motivated and are having trouble getting things done.
You can also try professional help, such as a professional organizer. A professional organizer can help make your space clutter-free and functional and provide you with tips for maintaining order after their work is complete.
A mental health professional can also help you develop organizing strategies made specifically for you and your needs.
Getting organized and decluttering your space can be a lot of work, so it’s important that you acknowledge your efforts in a positive way. Setting up a rewards system can help.
Consider which goals you want to achieve. For example, you could decide that every time you finish decluttering an entire room, you’ll treat yourself with your favorite dessert or a special item you’ve been eyeing.
You can decide what milestones to use and which ways you’d like to celebrate them.
Rewarding yourself can not only help you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment about what you’ve already done but can also help motivate you to keep going on your journey to be clutter-free.
There are a variety of resources available to help you on your decluttering journey, from YouTube videos to one-on-one coaching or therapy. Here are a few resources you can check out:
- organizing resources from Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
- Psych Central’s page on ways to get organized when you have ADHD
- podcasts such as ADDitude’s “ADHD Experts Podcast” and CHADD’s “Getting Organized When You Have ADHD” or “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast“
- YouTube videos on “tips for decluttering”
- books such as “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or “Clutter Free“
If you need additional help, consider working with a professional organizer or mental health professional. They can help you develop strategies designed specifically for your needs
ADHD can make it a challenge to stay organized, which can allow clutter to pile up.
While clearing out the clutter may seem overwhelming and impossible, try not to let yourself get discouraged. There are several strategies you can use to overcome the mess in your home and live a more organized, decluttered life.
You can try accomplishing smaller tasks instead of larger ones, working in shorter bursts of time, or even rewarding yourself when you achieve certain goals.
There are great resources to get you started or help you along the way, including podcasts, videos, and blogs.
If you continue to find it difficult to clear out the clutter, consider turning to a professional for help. Working with a professional organizer or even a mental health professional can help you learn techniques to declutter your space and keep it clutter-free.