I have been hosting live decluttering sessions via Zoom for the last few months for one reason: decluttering can be really freaking hard. My sessions were designed to help give people an “accountability buddy” as well as a fool-proof system for clearing through clutter quickly and easily without getting distracted. This was a method I created based off what works best for me when it comes to cleaning or decluttering my space. Imagine my surprise when I began to realize that this method is actually perfect for people who want to declutter but struggle with ADHD! I’ll share the video that gave me this AHA moment as well as my super simple 5 step plan for helping you declutter with ADHD.
I came across this video from @the_dadvocate on TikTok and was blown away to realize — maybe I have ADHD — but also that I had designed a declutter program that specifically catered to people with ADHD!
You can check out the video here as it might help you understand why certain tasks are more difficult for you and then keep reading to get my 5 step system for effectively decluttering even if you struggle with ADHD.
I love how she shares in the video that people who have ADHD do much better simply having a “body double” present. This reminds me of when I was a kid and I would drag my feet and complain about having to clean my room.
My step dad would tease me that all I needed was someone to offer to “help.” That person would need to merely sit in the room and watch me as I quickly and easily cleaned my room.
I was so psyched to learn that this may be a benefit to people with ADHD because this is a large reason why I started my Less, Please live decluttering sessions. Just the idea that someone is there decluttering or cleaning with you can be so beneficial in helping you get more stuff done.
Unless you have an in-home family member or roommate who is willing to sacrifice their time to help you tidy up all of the time, finding a buddy might be difficult for day to day tasks. However, if you have a larger task to undertake, like a major declutter or even a move, it might be worth it finding a friend to hang out with you just to help you stay focused and on task. Of course, if you can’t find anyone, you can always check out my live decluttering sessions. Click here to find a time that works for you!
The idea that setting a timer can help you effectively clean or declutter your space isn’t really all that new of a concept. Making sure you set a reasonable timer based on your past habits is going to be the best way to give you a reasonable amount of time to accomplish your tasks. A good baseline to start with is usually 20 miuntes.
However, I like to make sure this goes hand in hand with focusing on a small area.
Have you ever had that random burst of energy to tackle a major cleaning project only to lose steam a quarter of the way through? You look around and find yourself left with a room that was even messier then when you started? Yeah, me too. That’s why starting small and setting a timer can really come in handy.
Starting with a smaller space to declutter or clean allows you to really hone your focus so you don’t get pulled off task. When you combine your small space focus with my 4 bin method (which I’ll share below), you are guaranteed to have a far more successful declutter method.
It also helps to think small because you are more likely to feel accomplished and therefore continuously energized.
Take these 2 examples:
Ex. 1: You decided to clean your entire room. You organized the closet a little, a little bit of the dresser, checked under the bed, tidied up your nightstand…but after an hour you have random stuff thrown everywhere and a sense of doom that sinks in taking all of your energy with it.
Ex. 2: You give yourself 20 minutes to clean ONLY the dresser — or maybe even a single drawer. You hone your focus and stick to your zone and when the timer goes off you’re actually done. You have a single clean, organized area of your room! You are a badass! All of a sudden you feel proud and accomplished and get an additional burst of energy that encourages you to keep going!
Which one of these sounds better? Probably example 2.
Because I have alway struggled with staying focused on cleaning or decluttering any one area of my house, I have created an easy to follow 4 bin system that helps me easily sort everything without getting pulled off task.
This 4 bin decluttering system is one that I use in all of my Less, Please: Live Decluttering Sessions for the simple reason that it has been proven to be an effective decluttering method for everyone!
Sticking with this system will help you someone with ADHD easily give all of their items a home and avoid overwhelm while still making sure everything gets tidied up and taken care of.
Read: 4 Bin System for Effectively Cleaning and Decluttering Quickly
As you work through your small space, take the time to tidy each smaller space as you go.
For example, if you have decided to declutter and tidy your dresser, take the time to remove everything from each individual dresser drawer. After you have emptied each drawer, vacuum out any dust particles and give the area a quick wipe down before putting all of your items back.
Taking the time to do a quick clean-up of each newly decluttered area can help deepen your sense of accomplishment and give you an overall deep-clean feeling when you are finished. Cleaning away excess dust is one of the things that can help clear negative energy from your home and bring you a little more peace. Read: 8 Steps to Declutter and Clear You House of Negative Energy
After your timer has gone off, and all of your items have either been sorted into one of your 4 bins, or has neatly put away in your home, give yourself an additional 5 minutes (set a timer again, if this is helpful), to finish up the job.
This means taking the time to throw out the garbage, take your Put Back bin throughout your house to put away items in their correct spots and lastly, put donations in your trunk. If you are someone who carries around donations in their trunk for years at a time, take a moment to schedule a donation drop off day.
I like to schedule donation drop off days for dates and times when I know I will already be near a donation center. For example, during the summer months my kids are in karate classes near a donation center. To make sure I don’t forget, I will add “Donation Day” to my calendar and set a reminder!
Getting all of this put away and prepped usually takes a lot less time than you think and adding those additional 5 minutes can really help give you a sense of completion!