Happy Spring! This is a great time of year—the days are longer, the colors are brighter, and we tend to have a lot more energy!
It's also the time of year that many of us look around and actually want to get our physical environments in shape…and that means getting rid of clutter!
So many adults with ADD are plagued with clutter. Our desks are covered with papers. Our sinks are full of dishes. Our floors and counters are covered with "stuff."
Where Does Clutter Come From?
Clutter builds up easily for many ADDers. Sometimes, we get distracted and just place a paper or an object wherever it's convenient. Other times we find that, despite our best efforts, we just don't know where to put something, so we put it anywhere. And then there are times when we just don't care what goes where and why, and we shun the idea of "organization."
How Clutter Affects the Mind
No matter why your clutter builds up, one things is clear: clutter affects the mind in a bad way.
Sometimes just looking at your clutter can zap your energy and motivation. You get angry with yourself for letting it get to this point…and then you feel bad.
You want to clean up, you want to be organized, but you just don't know where to start…and that makes you feel bad, too.
Because you don't know where to start—and because cleaning and organizing is not your favorite activity—you procrastinate…and that makes you feel even worse.
The result is that your clutter sticks around, and continues to build. And if you do manage to make some headway, chances are you'll be feeling bad again when the clutter quickly comes back. What an awful cycle!
What to Do
There is a proven, ADD-friendly method for dealing with clutter, and it's a 3-step process:
1. Sort your stuff.
This means going through all that clutter and figuring out what you have, what you need, and what you can get rid of.
2. Create the systems.
After you've successfully sorted all your stuff and you know what you need to keep, you'll need to figure out where to put it all!
This is the point where you start thinking about how to work with your ADD to keep your stuff organized. It means developing systems based on what will work for you, and NOT based on that organizing show you saw on TV.
3. Plan the follow-through.
No matter how great your organization systems are, your clutter will come right back if you don't put a plan in place to use your systems consistently!
And there's one more missing piece to this puzzle that trips up many ADDers: To make this process work, you must step back from the problem in order to create the solutions.
It's nearly impossible to find a lasting solution to your clutter challenge when you're standing in the middle of it. You've got to detach—both physically and mentally—to keep from getting overwhelmed by it.
Don't Judge Yourself
Lastly, don't judge yourself because you tend to accumulate clutter. It's a common problem and it does NOT indicate a character flaw! Just know that when you are ready to deal with it, you can successfully get rid of your clutter!