10 Proven Steps to Declutter Your Room with ADHD: Your Ultimate Guide to a Tidy Space

Do you need help with cleaning and organizing your messy and unorganized room? Does the thought of tackling this task make you feel overwhelmed and "stuck" due to ADHD paralysis or executive functioning deficits? If so, you're not alone. Cleaning and organizing are often difficult tasks for individuals with ADHD. However, you can overcome the overwhelm and make it fun with a few easy steps! In this article, you'll learn tips to increase motivation and follow a step-by-step guide to clean and organize your room. So say goodbye to procrastination and hello to a clean and organized space!

Prepping for Success: ADHD-Friendly Tips and Tools to Get Motivated and Tackle Room Cleaning Head

Step 1: Gather your supplies

Get five large containers (i.e., laundry baskets, buckets, or large boxes) and label each one:    
  • Clothes - for clean clothes only
  • Toys - any personal items of joy (games, figurines, picture frames, jewelry, knick-knacks, stuffed animals, etc.)
  • Books/Stationary - paper and literature (books, magazines, markers, pencils, paper, school supplies, etc.)
  • Return - Anything that belongs in another room (dirty clothes, tools, cups, towels, bathroom items, etc.)
  • Donate - If you regularly donate items no longer of use, add a fifth container for this or another trash bag.
Get a plastic trash can and draw or tape a line halfway up the inside the can.

Step 2: Motivation Maker

The Fun Factor
Cleaning and organizing are rarely fun activities for people with ADHD, but gamifying these less-preferred or tedious tasks can significantly improve motivation and overall enjoyment (think increased dopamine!). Brainstorm ways you could turn these steps into a game and make cleaning your room more fun. 

Pick Your Reward
It can be tempting for those with ADHD to underestimate their achievements and not feel deserving of rewards. However, according to research in neuroscience, individuals with ADHD may have difficulty processing dopamine, which can impact motivation for initiating and completing tasks. Incorporating enjoyable activities or rewards for finishing steps and accomplishing goals can support task initiation and build consistency. Don't hesitate to reward yourself for your hard work! You deserve it!

From Chaos to Clean: Tidying Your Room with ADHD

Step 3:  Create a Pile

Start at the door and work your way around the room's perimeter, grabbing items that are out of place. Put them into a pile in an open area of the room. It is going to look messy for now, and that is okay! 

Step 4: Get Organized

Place the containers next to the pile you created. Then, start putting each item into the basket the item most aligns with the labeled container until the pile is gone. If you have many things that don't fit, consider making another category. 

Step 5: Trash Time

Grab the trash can and go back to your starting place at the bedroom door. This time walk around, starting again with the room's perimeter and working your way inward. Grab trash items and throw them into the trash can. 

Step 6:  Give Everything a Home

Start with one of the first three containers and return all the items to their proper place in your room.  If you no longer need the item in your room, then move to the trash, donation, or return container.  

Continue until all the baskets are empty.

Have remaining items that are currently "homeless" with no dedicated place to put them?

If it is something you need, regularly use, or brings you joy, find an open spot in your room where you typically interact with it, and move it to this new permanent home.  

Step 7: Room Return Run
Grab the return basket and return all the items to their proper place in the house (dirty clothes in the laundry room, dishes/cups in the dishwasher, hairbrush in the bathroom, rarely used items in the home storage area, etc.). 

Grab the donation container/bag, and bring that directly to the front seat of your car (so you don’t forget it is there!) and drop it off at a local collection center next time you are out. 

Stack the containers and return them to their proper place. 

Step 8: Empty the Trash!

If the trash in the container exceeds the line you drew inside, empty it. If it is below the line, leave it for next time.

Step 9: Make the Bed!

Now that your room is clean and orderly, it's time to make the bed. First, pull up sheets, tuck them under the mattress, pull up the blankets, and smooth out wrinkles. Next, replace the pillows at the head of the bed. 

Sometimes You Forget So This Is Your Reminder: You're Awesome!

Step 10: Celebrate!!!

Congratulations, you've made it to the finish line! You followed your step-by-step plan and put in the effort to achieve a clean and organized room. Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment and reap the rewards of your hard work and success. You deserve it!

Final Thoughts

Cleaning and organizing a messy room can be daunting, especially for individuals with ADHD or Executive Functioning deficits. The overload of thoughts and uncertainty about where to begin can lead to procrastination and ADHD paralysis. However, by following the clear and straightforward step-by-step action plan outlined in this article and adding a fun factor and reward, cleaning and organizing can become enjoyable and rewarding. By incorporating these strategies into your routine, you can transform your messy room into a clean, organized sanctuary that promotes productivity and relaxation.

In addition to this clean overhaul, building weekly practices to maintain a clean space can help individuals with ADHD stay on top of clutter and prevent overwhelm. Do you need help creating or maintaining effective habits that work for you? Schedule your free consultation today and learn how life coaching can put you on a path of consistent stick-with-it-ness!


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