ADHD Friendly Tips for How to Declutter

 

Has a space become chaotic and cluttered in your home? Are you keeping a lot of unnecessary items just in case with no place to store these? Has clutter been keeping you in a funk? These are some of the challenges of ADHD and organization.  Here are some tips for how to declutter with an ADHD-friendly approach.

 

Getting ready

You have been thinking a lot about decluttering and have yet to start. It is overwhelming because you are not sure where to start or what to let go of. Start with what will create some urgency for you. That’s a deadline! Aim for an important date with a holiday, family event, or company coming. A deadline will make this task a real activity.

 

Gather your stuff together

Marie Kondo suggests gathering your same items together to be ready to declutter. I agree! Group items by category in order to see how many you have in order to make a decision on which items to keep.  Gather your stuff by category no matter where it is currently being stored. Start with a large group to gather, such as clothes, so you can make a big impact.

 

Make it fun

Organizing with a team or using an “organizing playlist” brings joy to your work. Find what is fun for you!

 

Conquering the clutter

  • Get going! Use a timer to set the amount of time you are working.
  • Make it a manageable task. Break your decluttering into chunks of work that work with your schedule. That could mean 15-minute organizing bursts too.
  • Here are twelve rules that my colleagues and I have shared about decluttering. These rules include rules for emotions such as do I love this item, physical space such as large items first, or a timeline with how recently did you wear or use the item.

 

Set up a system that works for you

Your goal should be not only to declutter but also to create a storage spot (“home”) for each category. That storage depends on your strengths. If you are a highly visual person, make sure your system plays well with your system. Lists and labels empower this strength. An auditory learner might talk through the system as it is being created. A kinesthetic learner might set up a system that includes movement and physical processes. Each of these systems amplifies the learning style and maintains the system.

 

Decluttering and editing end when it is easy to find the items in your house which make you happy.  Letting go of what is bogging you down, taking more energy, and taking time away will be your ultimate goal.

 

 

 

 

 

ADHD Friendly Tips for Successful Family Meetings

 

adhd friendly family meeting tips

 

Family meetings are a part of weekly organizing and productivity. Communicating what is coming up, preparing for activities and academics, and discussing family engagement are key reasons to be sure you host your meeting. At times the meeting gets bogged down or skipped entirely. Here are ideas on how to keep your family meeting moving forward and valuable.

Create a consistent agenda

Every meeting needs a great agenda. That is true for your family meeting.  According to Psychology Today, here are some valuable topics.

  • What happened last week and how did it go
  • What’s happening this week and future/holiday plans
  • Old stuff that needs a family decision
  • New stuff that needs a family decision
  • Money stuff
  • Family stuff
  • Taking care of our stuff

Pro tip: If your family loses interest, shorten the agenda to three topics.

 

Keep it short

Every meeting becomes yawn-worthy when it takes too long. You, your partner, and all your family will appreciate brevity.  Know the meeting priorities, keep a high level, and use visual aids as needed for your meeting.

Pro tip: Play Beat the Clock to energize your meeting. Set the timer and keep your session ahead of schedule. Everyone will stay on track with this tip. 

 

Add interest and fun

Just the word meeting can make this time together less fun.  Shake it up with fun! Fun can mean a special dessert or a family activity that concludes the meeting.

Pro tip: Use wacky ways to add fun, including Crazy Hats or a Walk and Talk meeting. You can meet at different locations inside and outside your home. 

 

Schedule regularly

Consistent family meetings help everyone maintain consistent communication. When you host this meeting weekly, you have more up-to-date information and better communication. Find the best time to meet and meet at that time regularly.

Pro tip: You may need to try different times of the week to meet or rotate the days of the week. The goal is to meet weekly. 

 

Rotate responsibilities

Share the responsibilities of leadership with your family.  You are building leadership with your children leading the meeting. One person can be a scribe to add information to the family calendar. When you share the responsibilities, kids also have more buy-in for the meeting. Your kids enjoy the fun of being in charge. One person can be the time keeper to be sure the meeting starts and ends on time.

Pro tip: Establish a pattern to share the roles between your family so everyone knows the expectations and when roles will change. 

 

Always remember that the goal of your family meeting is to connect. No matter if you complete the agenda or have an agreement on the next family event, you are modeling and nurturing connection.

 

 

5 Tips for an Easy, Organized and Productive Fall

fall organizing

 

Summer is wrapping up and fall weather is coming soon! While we are all hoping for an early dip in the temperature, we can get started organizing for fall. Here is a short list of 5 spots to tackle for fall organizing. Getting organized now will save you time this fall when you are busy with activities, sports, and more.

 

Edit summer items then bring in fall attire.

The end of the season is the best time to edit and declutter. What has not been worn this season is ready to consign or donate. Edit out bathing suits, shorts, dresses and pants so that you have less to store and more space for fall clothing. Once you have decluttered, bring in seasonal attire gradually with heavier clothing added in November. If you have not already gifted yourself with slim line hangers, now is a great time to switch up. An organized closet helps you get ready easily every day.

 

Refresh your pantry.

Fall brings more structure to our days and to our meal planning. Start meal planning with pantry-made meals that make dinner easy to get on the table. Pantry meals include beans, pasta, rice, and ramen. Refresh your pantry with staples, organize your snacks into bins, and decant your flour for upcoming baking. Labeling your pantry makes it easy for everyone to find items and put away groceries.

 

Update your medicine and first aid supplies.

Before fall allergies hit and while COVID continues, update your medicines and first aid supplies. Review your expired prescriptions and recycle these at a local pharmacy. Categorize your supplies by use so you can easily find what you need. Using 3-tier small drawer storage, you can group like items together and label the drawer.

 

Sharpen up your landing strip.

Busy people need a place for stuff to come and go from the house. That includes backpacks, bags, incoming packages, and returns.  Sharpen up your landing strip with hooks for bags and a bench for packages, with baskets below for shoes. Not only is it easier to get those packages out the door, everyone is ready to go and can grab their bags.

 

Get ahead for the holidays.

Look ahead to the holidays and lessen your stress by organizing spaces in your home and holiday supplies.

  • Start now by decluttering your guest room so it is “company ready” by the time the holidays arrive. Let go of additional supplies from finished projects and distribute items to where they belong.
  • Donate kids’ toys now to make room for upcoming gifts. Your kiddos will play more with a smaller number of toys and appreciate the new gifts. If there are unopened toys, donate those for upcoming holiday toy drives.
  • Check out your Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving, and Holiday decorations. It is time to let go of extra decorations that clutter the attic or basement. Rearrange decoration bins by holiday and label what is stored in each. You will especially appreciate this when you are setting up for each holiday.

 

Taking a proactive approach to your fall organizing helps you be ready for all the fun that is coming soon!

 

Top Ten Categories of Clutter in Your Space

Top 10 Clutter Categories

 

I recently saw a list of top common clutter categories shared by my colleagues on my National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals site. The list is compiled of categories of items in people’s homes regardless of socioeconomic status that causes clutter. It was interesting to see where many people have challenges with clutter.  Do you recognize these categories in your home?  Check out the list!

 

Common Clutter Categories

  1. The paper includes junk mail, catalogs, magazines, newspapers, and unopened mail.
  2. Empty boxes including shipping boxes, shoe boxes without shoes, technology, and product boxes
  3. Free condiments from fast food or other take-out restaurants including ketchup, salt, soy sauce, and plastic cutlery
  4. Free toiletries including those from travel and gifts with purchases
  5. Bags including zip locks, gift bags, and reusable shopping bags
  6. Cords, cables, telephone wires, and other outdated technology
  7. Linens including blankets, extra sheets, towels, and comforters
  8. Trash includes half-empty water bottles, opened junk mail, paper plates, and grocery sacks.
  9. Hangers including wire hangers and plastic hangers from stores where clothing was purchased
  10. Excessive quantities of any item, including plastic bags, shoes, clothes, and books

 

Now you are ready for change!

Now if you have identified any of these clutter-causing items in your space, you are ready to make a change. Take advantage of a power period for organizing and declutter your space. That is write an appointment with yourself for a time block to edit and let go of one or more of these categories. Allow time to drop off at a local philanthropy and you will already see a big difference in your space. Consider this a challenge for your organizing this season and share your successes with others.

 

3 Project Management Tips for an Easy Household Move

 

3 project management tips for an easy household move

Getting organized for a move requires a project management approach. What’s useful are a timeline, extensive lists and a team approach to help you keep your sanity. Here’s how to put that into action.

 

Your Timeline

Start with developing a timeline for your move. There is the actual move and the moving preparation.  Included in the move timeline are dates the movers will load the truck, packers will arrive, and time you will be between residences while packing occurs. Be sure to include when utilities and internet will be set up. Moving preparation includes decluttering and optional items you will sell or donate before the move. You may have offsite storage and need to assess items coming out of storage for your move. Work backwards on your timeline  and record this timeline in your planner. Review this timeline with your family to be sure they know what to expect.

How much time do you give to each step?  Start decluttering at least three months in advance. You can eliminate what you don’t use or need at your new residence. Ask your mover for how many days to pack and move. Add in those many days to unpack at your new residence.

Your check lists

Your timeline evolves to your task list.  Record each task on a check list to be sure you have completed each step. Create a list for what will be placed in each room so that the furniture can be labelled.  Use a packing list for what is in each box going into specific rooms. Write a list of what will be in your personal needs boxes to be sure to remember the details. Each evening update your check list with more tasks and check off what is completed. It is a time where there are lists of lists!

 

Your team

Moving is a project the requires a lot of help.  Add team members to your project. This includes movers, packers, professional organizers, childcare help and other resources. Price all these additional team members to add to your move budget. Ask for referrals for these services, interview three potential movers and get everything in writing from each of your team members.

 

Keeping your sanity

Keep your move organized with lots of labelling. Have plenty of markers available to write the contents on your box. You can label the boxes with a room name or assign a number to the room. Your movers will appreciate knowing that they can unload in the correct room without your direction because you have labelled the rooms and boxes.

Remember the last in – first out box and your own personal needs during this move. The last in- first out box contains all the hardware for beds and the remote controls. These are vital to your happiness during the first 24 hours in your new home. Your personal needs items include medications and stuffed animals that must be a part of your first night in your home.

Keep your most valued and valuable items with you. A valued item might be your daughter’s stuffed animal or the keys to the car. Valuable items include jewelry, guns and irreplaceable family keepsakes. Use specific luggage for these items so you can separate these from the moving boxes.

 

Keep calm and carry on. It will take a little longer than you like to settle in, even with every box unpacked. Happy moves happen with a plan!

How to Organize Your Kitchen (and get dinner on the table)

how to organize your kitchen

 

Kitchens are the heart of our home. We gather, connect and entertain here. Big or small kitchen, getting and staying organized is important for all of us. You might have a small pantry, narrow drawers, lack storage or have a lot of dishes. There is a lot to store including small appliances, dinnerware, cookware, “tupperware” and serving pieces. There are also those tricky items like cuttings board, and baking sheets that need to be stored. Keeping your kitchen items accessible and organized makes it easy to make meals and spend time together. These strategies are smart ways to make this space more user friendly.

 

Declutter your counter tops

Exactly what is stacking up on your counter tops? Likely it is technology and papers. Set up a command center on a transit way wall to be sure your counters stay clear. If backpacks are in your kitchen, add a landing strip to your entry area. And what about technology and your common charging spot? Gather these items in a location that makes it easy to keep devices charging and counter tops clear. A clear counter area makes your kitchen feel inviting and ready to cook.

 

Organize your kitchen cabinets

Follow this step by step process for organizing your kitchen cabinets (and your kitchen drawers too.)

  • Empty cabinets onto the counters in your kitchen. As you empty, sort your items into categories. Group items by use such as drinking, eating, or serving. Categorizing and grouping items used together make your space more efficient.
  • Decide what to declutter and what to donate. That may depend on how many items match, how many items you need of one category or how well used the item is. Give yourself permission to let go of more, rather than less.  Donate those items right away.
  • Determine the best location to store items by their use. Pots and pans should be by the stove, while plastic storage should be by the sink and refrigerator. If you want your kids to access these, be sure items are stored low.
  • Add shelf inserts and any other storage solutions to make it easy to access items and put them away after use.

Edit inside your kitchen drawers

  • Once done decluttering,  your kitchen drawers may need an additional round of editing.  Think about which tools are multi-purpose and more functional.  Group together tools that are used for baking, barbeque, garnishing, and grating. This last pass helps you keep only what you use and need.
  • There are many different drawer dividers that keep these spaces organized. Standard silverware trays are great for flatware. For drawers with a variety of tool sizes and dimensions, adjustable drawer dividers keep order intact.

 

Assess your small appliances

Small appliances have gained great popularity with Keurigs and Kitchen Aids. Placing these under cabinets where you can create a “zone” helps, such as the coffee area or baking corner.  Most cooks love showing off these appliances despite being counter top hogs.

 

The best maintenance tip for a kitchen is having a great dishwasher routine and coordinated chore chart. When you pair the timing for dish washing overnight, kitchens stay organized and tidy all day long.

 

 

 

How to Organize Your Bedroom (for a great night’s rest)

how to organize your bedroom

 

Your bedroom is more than a place to sleep. It is where you begin the day and end the day intentionally. It is where you take time for your self care and your preparation for work and family. It is your personal space to keep what is precious to you. This spot is restorative in an uncertain time. However, your bedroom might have turned into a storage space. It may be stuffed with papers, clothes, technology, returns, Amazon boxes and more.  Check out these tips to return to rest and relaxation in your bedroom.

 

Categorize

Typical organizing wisdom says to declutter first. In a small space with many different items, start by categorizing. This strategy will give you an idea of what you have and how much of each category. You may be surprised by what you have! Your categories could include jewelry, shoes, clean clothes, laundry to do, technology, papers, as well as returns and recycling. Making categories first gives you the opportunity to determine what to keep in your bedroom and what can be stored elsewhere.

 

Declutter

Even with the best of storage, it is important to edit and declutter. Make decisions based on what you love and what you use. If you have difficulty, use the tournament method to decide between two items at a time. How many you keep in the end of any item is determined by you, rather than a set quantity.

 

Organize

In a space with multiple uses like your bedroom, you can organize with zones. These are specific areas that you do different activities. For getting ready for the day, designate a vanity in your room or in the bathroom. Cluster items that you use like make up, hair accessories and jewelry in this area.  For night time, group items on your night stand or headboard for use getting ready for sleep. That might be glasses, books, and lotions. Move around your bedroom organizing zone by zone.

 

Maximize

Use of organizing products that add storage make better use of the space. Think about the best way for you to use existing storage and add more as needed. That includes storage on the back of doors and in dressers.

 

Decorate

Your space should be a reflection of what you love. Include what brings you joy in your décor, color palette, textiles and sounds. A beautiful space reminds you to make your bed every day and keep your space organized.

 

Keep in mind what you do every day in your bedroom to maintain it. Have adequate trash and laundry storage for these weekly routines. Be sure to give yourself time daily for resetting like putting away clothes and straightening your space. Give yourself the gift of intentional organizing and your bedroom will always be a spot for slumber and serenity.

How to Organize Your Garage (and park your car inside)

how to organize your garage

 

With spring is here now is the time to tackle the garage. Organizing the garage can be a giant project, but you will be giddy when your garage is clean and organized and you can easily park your car and find gardening tools, bikes, and other items you use in warmer weather.  Use these 6 steps to organize your garage this spring.

 

1. Make a Game Plan: Planning ahead makes every tasks easier. Write down what you want to accomplish in the garage and how you plan to accomplish it. What are my goals? How will things be stored? Will I use boxes or bins? Where will things be stored? Will I need to invest in a storage system?  When will I do this work? How will items be donated? How will heavy trash be picked up? Be practical and keep the end in mind in planning your project.

2. Enlist Help: Working as a team makes everything easier. It can be you and your family, you and a team of teens, or you and your paid helpers. Your team helps you decide what to toss out, helps you move large and heavy items around, and offer perspectives on how to best store and organize things. A team also makes the work more fun!

3. Move Everything Out: Plan to move everything out of the garage. You can use your lawn blower to blow out all the cobwebs and dust that have accumulated. This gives you a fresh start to your project.

4. Sort & Toss: As you are moving items out, determine what you will be decluttering and letting go.  Deciding what to keep and what to toss is usually the most difficult part. Decisions can be based on how often an item is used or if it is broken or unusable. Items can be donated that are still working to local philanthropies. Consider placing items that are to be given away on the curb depending on rules in your neighborhood or listing free items on local social media sites. Be sure your plan and timeline align for trash pick up.

5: Categorize: Once you’re left with your “keep” pile items, it’s time to group like items together. Some typical garage storage categories include:

  • Landscaping and yard tools
  • Power tools and repair tools
  • Automotive items
  • Holiday decorations
  • Sports gear
  • Children’s outdoor toys

Items that should not be kept in the garage are technology or photos. These deteriorate with non-climate controlled conditions.

6. Store:  Plastic bins are best for stacking and durability. Use clear bins so you can see what is in each. Add labels to the bins to be specific.

Choose a specially designed tool box for your tools. With drawers, you can categorize your tools. Label each drawer to know what is stored inside.

Instead of stacking bins and other items on the floor in the corner, take advantage of the vertical space your garage has to offer. Sturdy shelves with ample durability, large hooks, and ceiling racks are great for storing and hanging everything up off the floor, creating a clean, organized look and opening up floor space.

Place items back in the garage with an eye toward frequency of use. More frequently used items should be stored in a visible area and within easy reach. Less frequently used and seasonal items should be stored out of the way. Kids bikes and riding toys should be to the front of the garage, near the garage door.

 

Look back on your project and the work you have accomplished each day as you pull your car into your newly organized space.

Three Small Spots to Organize to Keep You Ahead

keep ahead of the game

 

Do you think about big organizing goals and not so much about the little spaces that need organizing? Here are three small organizing spots that will make your life more organized and productive, and most importantly help your peace of mind.

 

Your purse, satchel or man bag

What you carry with you should give you peace of mind to know you have what you need when you need it. Often your bag becomes where everything goes without order to it at all.

  • Divide your bag into useful categories and use organizing products to keep the categories together.  Use a wallet for money, a zipper case for medicine and makeup, and a glass case to protect your glasses. A small Ziploc can hold your receipts until you trash these or move them to your command center.
  • Pare down to essentials in your bag. The less you carry, the less weight on your shoulders. Remember that carrying papers back and forth may not be necessary if you can find that information online.
  • If you are carrying important documents or check books just so as not to lose these, purchase a small safe to keep at home and store these documents.

Once week clear out all the debris, paper and other items to keep your bag organized.

 

Your contacts in your devices

Communication with home and work is key in this new era of work from home and the uncertainty of daily life.

  • Sync your contacts across all your devices including your computer so that you can access these from anywhere. Being automated saves you time.
  • Determine a consistent approach to entering contacts. That includes entering the contact’s name, the company name, and the work of that business. You can enter multiple data to be sure you can find the information.  An example of that is Ellen Delap, Professional-Organizer.com, professional organizer. Or Professional Organizer, Ellen Delap. Choose the easiest way for you to find what you need.
  • Use your device automation to add contacts from email.  It’s the easiest way to add information and it takes just a few minutes.

Spend a few minutes every day entering information as you receive it in email, in text, or from scraps of paper.

 

Your self care, morning and evening supplies

Getting ready for the day and your night time routine can be much easier when you are organized.  Many times we have too many supplies in these areas to be able to get ready quickly.

  • Gather together what you use every morning and evening. You can store these in a caddy under your sink area or attractive tray on your countertop.
  • Store loose items like cotton balls and qtips in attractive containers for easy access.
  • Have a trash can that is very easy to access.
  • Edit ruthlessly. Toss out items that are six months old and unused. Share your partially used items with friends or colleagues.
  • Save the deep dive into bathroom organizing for a longer session. Keep everything else off the countertop.

Tidying your stuff daily gives you extra time to get ready and get to bed every day.

 

Each of these small organizing projects should take 15 minutes or less a day. Keep it simple and get it done.

9 Ways to Maximize Your Storage in Your Home

 

 

9 ways to add storage in your home

 

Have you wondered if there are more storage options in your home? We want to maximize our storage options with value, function and flair. The value of additional storage is to easily access what we need and have a home for all items. It is most functional when we use additional storage in an area where those items are needed. Of course we want an attractive option with flair.  Check out these 15 ways clever ways to be more organized and functional with the space you have.

A note of caution before we proceed. Having more storage space is not license to over purchase. Keep in mind realistic amounts of purchases with respect to your and your family needs.  It’s tempting to over stuff our space so refrain from creating a difficult to access amount of items in your home.

 

Go vertical

There is a lot of wall space in your home and your garage. Use taller bookshelves, add additional upper level shelving, and use over the door storage to add storage options.

 

Categorize

Group items you use together in the space these are used. When grouped together, you can consolidate the amounts in a clear container.

 

Find under, upper and lower space

You can store items that you need less access to in less accessible spots. Use shallow, under the bed storage with wheels or shoe organizers under your bed for additional storage. Add flair with a decorative basket for upper store.

Double up

Use furnishings as storage. Think ottoman with hanging files, dresser as gift wrap organizer, or closet as an office space.

 

Divide up

Use dividers in spaces to create function and access.  In your junk drawer have slots for each item stored there. In a room, use a screen or an IKEA bookcase as a room divider and storage.

 

Clever containers

Decant into your favorite glass container or use a favorite tea tin as storage in your spaces. These items turn visual clutter into attractive, functional organization.

 

Zone options

Segment spaces in a drawer or a room by thinking about zone options. A zone is a space or area dedicated to one use, within the space itself.  A kitchen is a great example with the zones for prepping, cooking, serving, and containing leftovers. By adding specific zones, you are grouping items you use together.

 

Store on the back of any door

The back of any cabinet or closet door is great to add storage with either a shoe organizer or rack.  It makes access super easy for any items. Use cabinet doors to store towels, paper towels or rubber gloves. Use any closet storage for toys, grooming items, jewelry or any small items.

 

Hire a professional

It’s not a luxury to hire a professional organizer, closet designer and/or installer for your home. It adds value to your home sale which sells your home quickly. You will enjoy your closet, most especially your primary closet, with more space dedicated to your personal needs. Professionals come to your home with ideas you can implement on your own.

 

Look around your space and see where you can add a little more storage with these clever ways to add homes for all your items.