You Have to Learn to be Ruthless in Order to Declutter

You Have to Learn to be Ruthless in Order to Declutter An ADD Woman

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Can You be Ruthless Enough to Declutter Your Home?

Meet the ruthless queen.

That’s me.

You Have to Learn to be Ruthless in Order to Declutter An ADD Woman

I am a master at throwing stuff out, especially other people’s stuff.

And I’m pretty good at throwing out our stuff too. Sometimes too good.


What about you?

Are you ruthless?

Can you let go of sentimentality and just get rid of the stuff?

Do you have what it takes to declutter your home?

First You Have to See It

The thing about clutter and those of us with ADHD is that we don’t see it after while.

We leave things out because:

  • they don’t have a home
  • we don’t want to forget them

But after a while, after you’ve left several things out, you can no longer see them – it’s all clutter – nor can you find what you need.

Now I’m pretty sure I can look around my home and see the clutter (my desk, for instance), but I bet it really looks worse than I think.

Here’s a brutal way to see the truth about your house: choose a room and take a series of pictures of it with your phone.

Now upload them to your computer, so you can see them nice and big.


Once you’ve seen it, it’s hard to unsee it.

So now we need to do something about it.

Get Ready to Declutter

When you are ready to get started decluttering, you need to gather a few things first.

Lots of garbage bags, preferably those big, heavy duty, black ones.

A couple of containers: boxes, baskets, whatever you have. Make sure they’re a good size.

I should add that you should have already chosen the room you’re going to declutter, or the part of the room, if it’s big or really cluttered.

If you need some motivation, try:

  • finding a helper
  • adding some good music
  • setting a timer (30-45 minutes, tops)

Ready, Set, Go!

Pick a spot in the room and work your way around from there. Most suggestions say to work clockwise, but that’s just a guideline.

You’re aiming for one of three options:

  1. the trash bag
  2. the box of stuff that gets relocated
  3. the box of stuff that stays in the room but needs a home

I suppose you could add another box for donations, but let’s keep it simple for now.

Ideally, you want to make decisions as quickly as possible, then act on them.

Have you seen Marie Kondo on Netflix? She wrote “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“.

She says that if an item doesn’t “spark joy”, you should get rid of it. (Well, she says you should thank it first, then get rid of it, but….)

You can read a review of her book here.

By the way, my daughter uses her method of folding and storing clothes and loves it. She wouldn’t do it any other way now.

The Stuff in Your Head

So you probably already knew about how to declutter, right?

The hard part isn’t the physical work; it’s the mental and emotional stuff.

Some of us are good at that, and some of us are not.

When my mom passed away, my dad wanted the house purged immediately.

So, whether or not it was a good idea, I helped him do it. (I’m an only child, so there was just the two of us at that point.)

I found that I was good at getting rid of her stuff: too many punch cups, no punch bowl. I was even able to sort through her pictures and throw away the ones of people I didn’t know (and people I didn’t like).

But 6 months after she passed, I started having dreams about her asking what I did with her clothes.

And I (finally) realized a couple of things:

  • I had kept a few of her clothes for myself
  • at age 50, I had no business wearing my mom’s old clothes (she was 87 when she passed)

So, yes, I get that some things might be hard to get rid of.

Do the best you can.

And maybe get another box, for things you can’t bear to part with. Box those things up, tape the box, date it, and put it somewhere you won’t see it all the time. Maybe the basement or the attic or garage.

Maybe the next time you see it, you can throw it away.

When my husband and I moved out of our first home, 5 years after we bought it, there were boxes that had moved with us from our apartment in the attic, still taped shut.

I threw them out without looking.

But then, I am the ruthless queen.

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Lacy Estelle

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

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