Clutter is when items take over part of your home, workplace or car.
Although clutter looks messy, it isn’t always junk or rubbish. The objects creating clutter might be useful, valuable or have sentimental meaning. Yet if they aren’t in the right place, they become clutter.
Clutter is often created when you have too many belongings for your space, or you don’t put items away in their designated home.
For example, if the contents of your gym bag have been sprawled out on the dining room table for a month, that’s clutter. If your gym shorts and top are in the laundry basket or folded away in your closet, that isn’t.
Clutter might be visible to everyone (piles of stuff in each room) or it could be hidden away in drawers, a spare room or garage.
Clutter and ADHD Often Go Together.
Clutter often makes ADHD symptoms feel worse because it is hard to focus and concentrate with piles of belongings everywhere. Plus, a disorganized environment can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious and even depressed.
ADHD affects the executive functions of the brain (including inhibition) which can mean keeping an organized tidy environment is a challenge.
That is why tackling clutter feels daunting to ADHDers. You might find all your energy evaporates when it’s time to declutter. You might want to nap, or you distract yourself with You Tube videos until the time you put aside to declutter is over.
How can you declutter in a way that feels do-able, fun and energizing?
Declutter by numbers!
Numbers are a great way to monitor your progress. Anything you track improves. That is why people weigh themselves when they want to lose weight, count their daily steps when they want to be active and time themselves when they run a race.
Here are 3 types of decluttering by numbers.
40 Bags in 40 Days
40 bags in 40 days was invented by Ann-Marie Heasley as a project to do during Lent. However, you can do it any time. The idea is that for 40 consecutive days you fill a bag full of clutter. At the end of the 40 days your home will be considerably lighter of ’stuff.’
This project has two numbers: the number of bags you throw out and the number of days you declutter. Because the decluttering project has an end date, it can add a certain level of urgency and motivation which can be great when you have ADHD. You can learn more about this project at Ann-Marie’s website (LINK
Throw Out Fifty Things
Gail Blanke wrote a book called ‘Throw Out Fifty Things.’
If are thinking ’50 things doesn’t sound a lot,’ the idea is to throw out/donate 50 categories of belongings rather than 50 items. For example if you donated 30 books, that would count as one thing.
Gail suggests keeping track of your progress by having a score card.
Having a visual reminder of your progress is a great idea when you have ADHD because it keeps you motivated. Also, the goal of 50 things gives the decluttering task an end point.
The ‘Throw Out Fifty Things’ method makes parting with belongings easier because you are working towards a goal. Plus, Gail says when you reach 50, a “wonderful momentum takes over; before you know it, the throwing out thing becomes a habit, an ongoing mindset.” That sounds amazing.
27 Fling Boogie
The ’27 Fling Boogie’ was created by the Fly Lady aka Marla Cilley. The Fly Lady has created a whole housekeeping movement and she is also author of the book ‘Sink Reflections.’
The idea is that you grab a bag and run round your house, and fill it with 27 items to donate or 27 items to throw out. The Fly Lady reached the number 27 after she read a Feng Shui book that explained moving nine items around in your home, produces a different type of energy flow. Marla thought if 9 was good then 3×9 would be better. She suggests listening to music while you are doing your fling, to energize you and keep the task fun which is a great idea for ADHDers.
Which of the 3 decluttering by numbers ideas are you going to try?
De-cluttering by numbers is just one technique to help ADHDers have a clear calm environment. Clear and Calm, the ADHD friendly decluttering course is now available and comes as part of your Untapped Brilliance Club membership. If you would like some help with your decluttering you can learn more about Clear and Calm here.