Tag Archives: prevent clutter

ADHD Clutter Clearing: Daily Habits to Prevent Clutter

Over and over people with ADHD have told me that when they get home from work they can’t make themselves do anything that requires brain power. I suspect that they “blow all their brain” at work trying to stay focused and be consistently productive — which can be VERY difficult for the ADHD brain that naturally bounces, seeking stimulation in things that are new, interesting or fun.

Job security and financial survival motivate people with ADHD to manage their ADHD DSCN0157symptoms at work. But, it takes all their brain power to do that, to work outside of what is the norm of the ADHD brain. With depleted brain power for decision-making and completing tasks, they arrive at home, drop their stuff and plop on the sofa or head for the bed. Over time the dropped stuff and incoming mail accumulate.

Having a blown brain at the end of a work day is very real for people with ADHD. So, thinking they can get a lot of work done once they get home is just a pipe dream. That takes brain power they don’t have. However, a tired brain can do habitual tasks. With practice daily maintenance behaviors can become habits that require little brain power.

Following are the 4 most important tasks that if done every evening can become habits and can prevent the accumulation of clutter:

  1. Hang up your coat — 1 minute
  2. Unpack shopping and other bags that come into the house with you — 5-10 minutes
  3. Sort mail to get rid of junk mail — 2-5 minutes
  4. Clean up after dinner — 15 minutes
  5. Hang up your clothes — 2 minutes

Those tasks will take at most just over 30 minutes to complete. They are tasks that require little brain power. Yes, they are not the most interesting or stimulating tasks, but enduring 30 minutes of boredom can prevent hours of clutter clearing in the future.

Put on some music. Fix yourself a beverage you love and invest 30 minutes in clutter prevention. Do those things to stay in control of your stuff and enjoy more peace at home. 

Put Things Away, Prevent Clutter

Clutter is created in many ways. One of the most common is for people to just drop things instead of taking the time to put them away. People with ADHD in particular tend to move through their lives with such a sense of urgency that they often drop things because their ADHD brain convinces them that there is something more interesting and important to attend to than putting things away.

In the ADHD Group Coaching to Clear Clutter series I am currently running, participants are developing new awareness about clutter, how it happens, and how to get clutter clearing done. They have learned that their ADHD typically results in self-awareness challenges, one of which is that they often aren’t aware of how they create clutter.

Each week participants tackle a clutter clearing project and come to group to share their experience, their learning, their successes and challenges. This past week one participant spoke about the process of unpacking his vehicle after a camping trip. Because in group he has been urged to observe himself and his habits, he was able to watch himself reflexively start to drop items without taking the time to put things away. When he was about to put firewood down where it didn’t belong because it was expedient to do so, he caught himself. His new commitment to

A place for everything and everything in its place.

A place for everything and everything in its place.

prevent clutter and his desire to not destroy the good work he had already done, caused him to pause and think about what he was about to do. He told himself, “The wood pile is within easy reach. If I drop this here, I will be creating clutter.” He then took the wood to the woodpile.

After processing that client’s experience, the group came up with a new reminder to help them prevent clutter in the future: “If I drop something, it becomes clutter. If I take just a few more steps and a few more seconds, it will be put away and I can prevent clutter.”

Watch how you create your clutter. When you are tempted to just drop something out of place, remember, you have a choice: create clutter or prevent clutter.

ADHD Self-Awareness Challenge and Clutter Creation

One way that ADHD shows up is in deficits in self-awareness. In other words, people

Hanging up clothes at the end of every day prevents clutter.

Hanging up clothes at the end of every day prevents clutter.

with ADHD move through life, but can’t clearly see the effects of their behaviors and decisions.

I first became aware of this ADHD challenge when I was helping a client clear clutter in her classroom. As I worked my way around the room creating order, she was working her way around creating new clutter. When I paused and saw what was going on, I pointed it out to her. She looked around and was totally baffled to see what she’d done. She was totally unaware that as she worked she was creating more clutter. Very often when I ask ADHD clients how their space got to be so cluttered they honestly answer, “I don’t know.”

When a person has good self-awareness, they are able to observe their behavior as they move through life. People with ADHD have busy brains, so much going on in their heads that paying attention to their behavior and how it’s affecting their lives and the lives of others doesn’t make it onto their radar very well.

In ADHD coaching, I partner with clients to help them learn how to be more self-aware. Together we look at situations and challenge areas and create awareness of habits and behaviors that affect outcomes. With practice over time, made possible by weekly coaching sessions, clients become more adept at observing themselves and what they are doing so they can better avoid problems and make progress to achieve their goals.

Got ADHD? Got clutter? A good first step is to create awareness of what you are doing that creates clutter. Watch yourself as you move through your day. What are you doing that creates clutter? Not putting things away immediately? Not cleaning up after yourself? Not hanging up your clothes? What are you thinking when you decide not to put things away immediately?

What are you doing that prevents clutter?  Are you sorting mail every day over your recycling bin to get rid of as much unnecessary paper as possible? Are you taking a few extra seconds every evening to hang up clothes you wore that day? With awareness of how you create clutter you can then plan strategies to prevent clutter.

If you find you can’t create awareness on your own or make necessary changes to prevent and clear clutter, email me to schedule a free 30 minute consultation to learn more about how ADHD coaching can help you address your clutter challenges.