If you are like many people dealing with the symptoms of ADHD, you may live with a lot of clutter. Clearing your environment can help you find what you need, live with less stress and just function better. I know that de-cluttering is easier said than done, but there are ways to make the job more interesting and less overwhelming.

When you have AD/HD, one of the keys to completing anything that is tedious or boring is to feel motivated. One way to feel motivated is to think of some good reasons for clearing and de-cluttering. How will the end result improve your life? Will you stop being late for work because it will be easier to find things in the morning? Will you end up with better clothes to wear because they won’t be hidden among all the clothes that you haven’t worn in years? Will your bills get paid on time because they aren’t buried under piles of who knows what? Think of all the late fees you’ll save. Once you come up with good reasons to clear and de- clutter, write them down and post them where you can see them every day.

Another helpful approach to the process is to make it as interesting and stimulating as possible. “Ha,” you may say. “That will never happen.” But with a little imagination, it can. I know someone who plays music she loves and dances around the room while she clears. It’s pretty funny to see her throwing her arms in the air and bobbing her head to the music while she picks clothes up off the floor and tosses crumpled papers away. Someone else might find de-cluttering more interesting with a “clutter friend.” Invite a non-judgmental friend over to talk with you while you go through drawers or clear off surfaces. After a half hour or 40 minute session, go out to dinner or a movie. Rewards are always motivating. Make a deal with yourself that after you work on a section of a room for a specified amount of time, you can eat some chocolate, watch T.V., play on the computer, take a bike ride, go shopping, or do something else special for yourself.

After you’ve figured out techniques to make the process less boring, here is an idea to help.  Start with a small, visible area that would make you feel great if it were clear.  For some people, it may be their coffee table.   For others, their dining room table.  What is an area that would improve the quality of your life if you were to see it uncluttered? Bring bins or containers to the area that fit with your goals:  containers for recycling,  things that belong somewhere else, items to give away, and trash.

And if you are having a hard time letting go of stuff, you are not alone. Here are six questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not to keep something:

Am I saving it because I may need it someday, even though I can’t remember the last time I used it?

Is it broken and I’ve been planning to get it fixed for more than six months?

Do I have duplicates of the same item, and could really get by with just two of them?

Does it have special significance to me – does having it enhance my life or make me feel good?

How would I feel if it were gone?

Would it be easier to let it go if I gave it to someone who could really use and appreciate it?

Remember Ecclesiastes 3.1: There is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to hold on and a time to let go.” Hope these ideas help!

Mimi Handlin, MSW, is a certified Life and ADHD Coach. She has been coaching in Seattle and nationwide since 2003 and has a special interest in coaching women, college students, and young adults to help them live with more direction and success.

As well as helping her clients gain more control over the practical aspects of life, she is also a certified stress reduction coach and teaches interested clients skills in self-care, self-awareness, and relaxation to improve their well-being and better manage adult ADHD symptoms. Mimi is compassionate, non-judgmental, supportive, and flexible in her approach to coaching. If you are interested in learning how ADHD coaching can help you or a loved one, please schedule a free consultation below.
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