ADHD: Spring Cleaning Tips

Eileen Bailey | May 26, 2017

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Spring cleaning might seem like an insurmountable task for people with ADHD. But it can get done. The following are tips to help you get started and stay motivated.

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Define what is important

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Decide what is important to you. The phrase “spring cleaning” doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Maybe you want to organize the hall closet that has become a household catch-all, or maybe you want to reorganize your kitchen cabinets. Focus on the jobs that matter most to you.

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Make a list, check it twice

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Write a list. Some people find it helpful to make a list of the three tasks they feel are priorities. Others prefer to write down every task they would ideally like to accomplish. Either way, choose one or two items from your list as your starting point.

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List all steps necessary

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Break it down. List all the steps necessary to accomplish your goal, for example, if you decide to clean your closet, you might list: take everything out, sort in piles of “keep,” “donate” and “trash,” organize items being kept, put back in closet, take others to trash or donation box.

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Ask for help

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Share the task. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself when working alone, offer to share a task with a friend. If she helps you organize your closet, you will help her with a task she finds difficult. Working with someone makes the job easier and more fun.

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Hire help

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Hire an organizer. If you find it just about impossible to organize what is going back into your closet or to declutter your home, consider hiring an organizer to help you create a system to not only organize but maintain the sense of order once the task is done.

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Hire a teen

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Hire a teen. Hiring a teen for a couple hours can help you finish the task. Have the teen bring things out of the closet, do the heavy lifting, take out the trash and run the items for donation to the local thrift store.

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Forget perfection

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Don’t worry about perfection. Adults with ADHD often procrastinate because they want the finished project to be perfect. Settle for doing an okay job — but finishing it. Focus on what you did accomplish, such as getting rid of the trash and donating items you no longer need.

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Set aside time to do it

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Set aside time. When you plan a project, set up a schedule, such as “I will work on this closet from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday." Put it on your schedule. Plan your other commitments around it.

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Unplug

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Unplug during your scheduled time. Phone calls, emails, and texts all become a distraction that will take you away from your project. When you set aside a time, commit to turning off your phone and tablet and minimizing distractions.

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Make it fun

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Find ways to make it fun. If you keep your task interesting you have more of a chance to get it done. Have a friend help, play loud music, challenge yourself to complete a portion of the task in an allotted time, use timers, or invite guests to come over after to see your accomplishment.

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OK not to do it, too

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It’s OK to not do spring cleaning. If you are spring cleaning because you think you should, think about why you feel the need. Remember it is okay to not do spring cleaning. Keep up with regular household chores if that works better for you.