This time of year, people start looking ahead to the New Year and making plans for improving their lives. I think one of the biggest things on many people’s lists is getting organized. (Unless you’re my former neighbor who sharpened and organized her daughter’s crayons alphabetically.)
I know that having people over during the holidays really made me think about the state of my own home, and about getting my act together a little bit more. (There’s always room for improvement.)
In case you’re in the same frame of mind, I thought I would do a couple of posts about ways we can organize our lives, especially when we have ADD. I’ll try to keep the ideas general enough so that you can see their usefulness whether you’re organizing your home or your office.
I’m going to start with the biggest, most important tip of all: eliminating clutter. Perhaps eliminating stuff would be a better description, since many of live with things that we don’t recognize as clutter.
Too much stuff is one of the biggest reasons people (whether they have Attention Deficit Disorder or not) have a hard time keeping their homes neat and organized.
Another misconception is that organizing is taking all that stuff and putting it away neatly. First, it’s possible to be neat but not organized – remember the last time you had to speed clean cause someone was coming over? The house looked good, but where was all your stuff? How long did it take you to find something you needed after the company left?
Here’s a simple way to begin decluttering your space:
- Start small – really small. Think a desktop, a table top, a corner.
- Be prepared to spend a little time each day (like 15 minutes), every day for a week or more, depending on how cluttered your space is. A little at a time will be less overwhelming and ultimately more successful.
- Have some supplies ready: a trash bag or two, and several containers like cardboard boxes. If you don’t have them, make (temporary) piles on the floor. You will need a container for stuff to keep, stuff to give away, and stuff to relocate. Remember – stuff you keep are things you use on a regular basis, and most of the time, you don’t need more than one or two of them. Things that are useful but no longer useful to you can go into the donation pile. Things to relocate would be the golf clubs in the living room.
- Put on some great music, get someone to help you, or think of a small reward for when you finish to keep you motivated.
- As soon as you finish an area, throw the trash away, put the things you are keeping away, relocate the others, and take the donation items directly to your car.
Once you start clearing away the piles, you’ll be amazed at how good it feels. It’s almost as good as losing weight!