Ways to clear out clutter when you have ADHD

Written by SM Team

October 1, 2023


October is Mental Health Awareness Month and celebrated each year to encourage us to think about and nurture our mental health and wellbeing. Happy Mental Health Awareness Month


Living with ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presents unique challenges in general everyday life.



Betterhelp offer excellent professional direction and explanations from the Betterhelp ADHD Advice page >here

So when it comes to managing clutter, the standard challenges of organisation, focus and decision-making means decluttering becomes more overwhelming for someone living with ADHD.

While we can never make living with ADHD or dealing with house cleaning easy, we can always get better at completing small house cleaning tasks. With the right tools and strategies, cleaning and decluttering can transform from an impossible task into a regular routine. The challenge starts with starting and prioritising tasks.

Living with ADHD may make it hard letting things go, especially if they’re attached to a memory or emotion. Items may be kept “just in case” for a future or hypothetical situation. If clutter builds up, this becomes another obstacle seemingly impossible to overcome.

With the right tools and tips, this can be reversed to get your house in order.

It always seems impossible – until it is done – Nelson Mandela

However, with tailored strategies and a compassionate approach, it is possible to overcome these challenges and create a more organised and serene living environment. In this article, we will explore practical ways to clear out clutter for individuals with ADHD, empowering them to regain control and cultivate a space that supports their well-being.

Effective ADHD strategies for clearing clutter

Do a little at a time

Decluttering feels overwhelming, especially when there are so many areas to organise or clear. You can avoid overwhelm while experiencing a sense of accomplishment – if you do a little at a time.

✅ Rather than trying to organise everything all at once, focus on smaller tasks 
✅ This makes it much more manageable and more likely to be completed
✅ Break tasks into smaller areas or projects  such as a closet, desk or single drawer
✅ Over time, these small actions add up to larger results.

Make a plan

The hardest part of getting organized is knowing where to begin. Making a plan and scheduling tasks helps.

✅ Start with a list. This needs to include rooms and areas of your home needing organising.
✅ Create specific goals so you know what you are working for and towards
✅ Set aside a specific decluttering time – and add to your calendar
✅ Schedule in a specific time each day or week for decluttering tasks. Your declutter time will help you focus
✅ Progress matters more than perfection.

🔥 Tip Spread these goals out over several days, weeks – or even months – to avoid any pressure

Set a timer

Decluttering projects don’t need to take hour. Sometimes, the shorter, more focused bursts of time help you get more done rather than setting aside an entire day. But giving yourself too much time can feel overwhelming too. It becomes easy to be distracted or procrastinate when you have more time to complete tasks.

✅ Start with small amounts of time such as 2-minute, 10-minute or 15-minute declutter tasks
✅ Set a timer and go to it – until the alarm goes off. You’ll stay focused without the task becoming too daunting.
✅ Time will fly, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment as you progress in your decluttering goals.

Use visual hints

Visual cues are super helpful – especially for ADHD- and helps to keep future clutter minimal.

✅ Use colour-coded labels, storage containers and decorative patterns to categorise and organise your stuff
✅ Clear labelling makes it easy to locate and return items to their places

Set up sorting guidelines

Simplify decision-making with clear sorting guidelines – and they come down to 2 simple questions to streamline the process deciding on what to Keep, Donate or Recycle.

✅ “Do I use this regularly?
✅ “Does this hold sentimental value to me?

Turn off the distractions

Create a focused and conducive environment with minimal distractions. Minimising distractions allows you to maintain attention and stay on task.

✅ Silence or limit notifications and alerts
✅ Find a quiet decluttering space – noise-cancelling headphones are amazing 

Do it regularly

Recognise decluttering is an ongoing process where regular decluttering will prevent clutter build-up and consistency is key to maintaining an organised home.

✅ Dedicate a few minutes each day to tidy up, put items back in their places and keep surfaces clear. At the least, make your bed.
✅ Work with 2-minute, 10-minute or 15-minute declutter task checklists so you know what you can fit in, and when.

Ask for help

Decluttering can be overwhelming, so asking for support helps. Don’t hesitate to seek support during your decluttering journey

✅ Ask a friend or family to help being your accountability buddy – someone to call when you’re not feeling motivated and can rely upon for direction or advice. Even invite them over to help you declutter
✅  A professional organiser helps get your space clutter-free and functional with tailored strategies and tips for keep order after their sessions are complete
✅  A mental health professional also assists with developing organising strategies specific to your needs.
✅ Reach out – whether to a friend, family member or professional who can offer guidance and understanding. Having someone by your side provides motivation, fresh perspectives and emotional support.

Reward yourself

Decluttering your space and getting organised takes work, so it’s important you celebrate your efforts.

✅ Create a rewards system
✅ After mapping out your goals, assign treats as a reward

Rewards help you recognise your accomplishments and motivate you to keep going.

Setting benchmarks for rewards could include
💖 Decluttering an entire room to treat yourself to a day in the park 
💖 Declutter the kitchen drawer to treat yourself to ice cream
No decluttering task is too small and no reward is too big.



If you’re going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill

Living with ADHD takes patience and understanding. Keeping your life clutter-free with ADHD means needing handy tools and strategies. But an organised living space supports your well-being. Just remember progress matters more than perfection. Celebrate each step as you work for a clutter-free and harmonious space.

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