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Clutter is one of the biggest problems that we ADD Moms face.

We have too much stuff and nowhere to put it. We’d like to get rid of some of it, but knowing where to begin is sometimes overwhelming. And often, we just plain have trouble letting things go. We might need it one day or it has sentimental value.

Getting rid of clutter in your home will make it easier to clean and easier to live in. It will make you feel better too, once you actually do it.

So how and where do you begin?

Begin with the area that is causing you the most pain or aggravation; the one that is negatively affecting your life the most.

For a lot of us, the thing causing is the most trouble is either papers or laundry.

Whatever yours is, start small.

For something like a closet, desk, or table, choose a 2 x 2 foot area and work on just that. If you can isolate certain things, like your bills, start there if it’s not too overwhelming.

Laundry is a little different. It’s going to take you a bit longer to get started but then the follow up steps are easier to remember.

For ADDers, back up plans are essential. Our lack of back up plans means we get stuck with no clean clothes or food in the house.

Your first task with laundry is to sort through it and find the following for each person in your household:
1 pair of socks and underwear
1 pair of pants or skirt
1 shirt or top
1 towel and washcloth

If your washer will hold it, up the amounts to 2 each. Wash that load of laundry and dry it. When it is done, put aside one of each thing as your backup.

Tomorrow (or the same day if you can) do another load the same way. Now you have clothes for everyone to last for 3 days, plus a backup. Keep this pattern up each day until you have a week’s worth of clean clothes.

Now you can begin to do loads by category, like towels or socks.

If you’re working on paperwork, find a shoebox or other container that will store any papers coming in from now on. This separates the current bills, etc from the ones strewn about your desk.

Your next task is to begin sorting through the piles. You should have a trash can and 2 spare boxes or containers on hand. One will hold papers to be filed and the other will hold papers to be shredded.

You can approach the next step in one of two ways, whichever works best for you.

1. Work for 15 minutes and stop. You can go back later if you choose. The point is not to overwhelm yourself and to stop long enough to notice what else needs tending to, like dinner.

2. Take as many papers as you can hold in your hand – maybe a pile about 3″ thick. Go through those and sort them and then stop. Throughout the day whenever you find yourself with some spare time – or when you notice you’re wasting time – go do another 3″ stack.

Once you’ve sorted through the papers, it’s easy to handle them from there.

Clutter can be tackled. The point is to do it a little at a time. Attacking it all at once will usually burn you out before the job is done. Doing it a little at a time not only keeps you from being burnt out, but helps you develop good habits for the future.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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One Response

  1. I find my kitchen counter to be the one place in my house that causes me the most anxiety when cluttered. We hosted friends for the Super Bowl last night, resulting in a marathon cleaning/straightening session all throughout the house.

    I do one room at a time, and in each room, I do one section at a time. In the living room I dust first, move things that are out of place second, vacuum third, and put back in place last. I make a pile outside the room of items that no longer belong in that room. When I do more than one room a day, I make one pile in the hallway of items which no longer belong in a room, or which need to be relocated for any reason. That one pile then becomes a task of its own, and I leave that for another day.

    I feel such a sense of calm and peace now that the house is cleaned and better organized. Now I’m actually looking forward to spring cleaning, including closets and the garage! One thing at a time, that’s the key!