By Stacie Frank, LMHC, NCC
Like most people, when spring time finally hits I get the urge to hit the “reset” button and refocus my energy on cleaning and organizing. And while there’s nothing wrong with a good purge session, I’ve found that this process can quickly go south when you take on more than you anticipated, or get lost in the chaos. This is particularly true for those with the gift of ADHD- who can have the tendency to want to dive in to everything all at once.
Below are some tips and tricks to make the spring cleaning process enjoyable, as well as ways to keep the benefits coming for months to come!
1. Set Realistic and Specific Goals (or assign them accordingly)
With the excitement we get from the season change, accompanied with our new view of dust a debris, it can be easy to set unrealistic expectations and timelines. Before you get your hands dirty, set some specific goals and prioritize what needs to be accomplished. Golden Rule: You can’t move to a new goal until the previous one has been completed. This prevents the overwhelmed feeling that often accompanies having several projects going at once.
2. Break it Down
Once you’ve established realistic goals, it’s helpful to break down all of the little tasks needed in order to complete the goal at hand. This helps with both time management and executive functioning skill building. For kiddos, I recommend creating a visual checklist like the one below to aid in the process.
3. Remember the Beauty of Simplicity
During the reorganization process, make sure to prioritize simplicity over aesthetics. People with ADHD are often visual processors, so although it might be “prettier” to put all your bathroom supplies hidden in the hallway closet, it is at the expense of providing the visual cues that help them maintain organizational systems over time. Try having an open cabinet in the bathroom!
4. Give Everything a Home
We often do this without even thinking about it (sock drawer, silverware drawer, etc.), and just think about how effective it is! Having a designated name and place for items is a great way to build organizational habits for everyone in the household.
5. Stick to the Basics
I get it; it’s tempting to stock up on the big items at Costco. But while this may save you financially, it’s important to keep in mind that the more crowded a space is, the more difficult it becomes to spot the organizational systems in place. Stick to the basics, and maybe establish a “extras closet” to store the other goodies.
If you’re reading this post and feel motivated to get to work, we highly recommend Susan Pinsky’s “Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD.” It not only breaks down the method to success, but it also gives concrete examples of ways to organize all the different areas in your home.
Stacie is a Coach/Therapist with a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health at Seattle University. She works with children, teens and young adults to develop self-awareness, identify strengths, and transition towards autonomy. She also is well-versed in collaboration among schools and providers alike.