Did you know I use to be a special education teacher?? That’s what I did in my previous life. So when I was asked by a few people for ideas on how to organize and declutter with ADHD, I put on my teacher hat and got to thinking. I implemented a lot of ideas in my classroom and the classrooms I worked in. So everything that I am suggesting I have used with individuals with ADHD.
How To Declutter Your Home With ADHD
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1. Start Small
The biggest piece of advice I have is to start small when you are starting to declutter with ADHD. Pick a small pile to go through or one drawer in the kitchen. This might not see like much, but a little does go a long way.
By starting small, you are also going to be able to gauge how long you can handle a decluttering task. Some of my students and clients can only last about 15 minutes on one task before we move to the next. While others can handle longer periods of decluttering.
Your goal is to find your sweet spot when it comes to decluttering. So, by starting small, you can see how long you can work before you need to take a break!
2. Make A Plan
Once you have selected a spot to start decluttering, make a quick plan. It might be to throw away 5 things. Or maybe it is to give a drawer a specific purpose.
By creating a plan, you are able to focus on the task at hand.
3. Set A Timer
Once you have created a plan, set a timer. But make sure you leave yourself 10 minutes at the end for clean up.
Let’s say you know you can work for 30 minutes on one task. Set your timer for 20 minutes. Use the last 10 minutes of your time to clean up the remaining piles you have created.
I do love using visual timers for tasks like this. It helps you visualize what needs to get done and how long you have to do it.
Start by removing everything from the area you selected. Just grab the first thing you see. Ask yourself if you want to keep it. Do you use this item? Would you buy it right now if you saw it at a store? Is there a reason you are holding onto this item?
If you have decided to keep the item, make a pile. If you decide to get rid of the item, make a different pile. Either throw directly into the garbage can/recycling bin, or into a pile to sell. Give yourself a deadline to sell by, then donate item. I typically recommend 1-2 weeks before donating.
5. Make Piles
As you are decluttering, I suggest making piles. These piles should be based on what the item is. Create more general categories. Things like manuals, which can include manuals from all items in your home. Or medical, which can be all medical bills/documents/etc.
Use Post-It notes to create your piles. This will help the overwhelm that occurs when you see all the stuff to go through and not knowing where it should all go. Your job is just to create piles with Post-It categories.
6. Create Storage
Once everything is sorted into piles, your timer should be going off soon. This is why you left the 10 minutes for the remaining steps.
All your piles you created need homes. So we are going to set them up based on keeping things simple to maintain. Some of my favorite things include magazine holders, using one holder for each category. I also like clear shoe boxes for things like cords and gift cards.
Not everything might have a home after the first decluttering session. That is ok! Your goal is to start small, not to complete everything.
7. Keep It Simple
The biggest thing to remember is to keep your systems simple. That is why I love magazine holders, because you can just toss the papers into the holder to keep things easily accessible and contained.
Keep your categories rather broad so you can easily find places to store your items. Plus, make sure you get rid of things as they come in. This is really important for mail. Open and sort as soon as it comes in. This is an easy and simple way to reduce extra clutter.
Now, use these tips for how to declutter with ADHD and use this FREE printable checklist to help keep you focused while you declutter!!
For a breakdown of room by room decluttering, check out this post: