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Decluttering + Organization as a Mom with ADHD

decluttering mom

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If you've met one person with ADHD, you've met one person with ADHD.

And by that I mean, some of us struggle with clutter a lot more than others.

Which means, some struggle with organization and need help creating systems for putting things away. So we can't remember where we put things and end up buying multiple versions of things.

Some of us struggle with impulse control and online shopping and end up buying more than we need and have a lot of extra stuff around that we don't need or even want.

Some of us struggle with task initiation which means we might know what needs to be done to tidy and declutter out home, we might struggle to actually get started and then take the steps to deal with the clutter and chaos of our homes.

And some struggle with time management which means you know what needs to be done and you want to do it but you struggle to make time to make that happen.

Deep breath....

So when someone tells me they need help with decluttering their home, I know there could be a lot of different factors at play.

I think we'd all agree that we all function best in a tidy, clean and well organized home.

And yet why is it so complicated to actually do that thing?

I'm sure you've tried the 30 day declutter challenges only to get distracted or overwhelmed.

I'm going to share a few things that have helped both me and my husband move forward with organizing and decluttering our home.

First of all, you need to know that I personally really impacted by clutter. I hate it and it really stresses me out. I have a big need for my home to be clean and tidy and aesthetically pleasing.

I am also married to an Audhd man who hates change and finds it very distressing when I move things around. He took likes things to be clean and to have systems but he needs the time and space to organize his things the way that makes sense to him.

I'll be honest, it's taken us 15 years of marriage to really understand that about each other and to find ways to help each other get our needs met.

In general, here are the headlines of what's really helped me move forward in decluttering and organizing our home.

Accept that it's an Ongoing Process

It's easy to watch the netflix shows and think that all of a sudden you will master organization and clutter and your house will be perfect. But decluttering and organization is an ongoing part of home management. It gets easier with time for sure but will always need to be maintained. Accepting that has allowed me to focus on progress in every room, every closet, every drawer, every cupboard over time. I don't have to get it perfect with each edit but have focused on making the habit part of my life.

Focus on Function

Let's be honest, I drool over the Home Edit instagram feed and would love that level of beauty and perfection in every drawer of my home but that's just not realistic. For me, I've learned to focus first on function for my family. What works best for others on the internet, might not work for us. Focusing first on function then gives me time to work on the aesthetics as I go. I try and use what I have and have slowly replaced some containers always thinking about what works best for us. I'm not trying to achieve instagram worthy perfection today but I also can work towards that in time which is motivating to me and more realistic.

Clear Containers

Overtime I've realized that clear containers are way better for my brain. I also really like labels and though I've spent my fairshare on dumb fancy etsy labels, I've recently opted for just printing them out on the label maker and on my own printer. Clear containers mean that I can see what we have and I don't forget what's inside. For my pantry especially this has been hugely helpful. We don't have a walk in pantry and use the upper cabinet storage so clear containers at eye level are so helpful for me to know what we have. The containers from target are my favorite for food storage. I've slowly invested in these containers over time because I realized that this solution made my life so much easier.

My current "Pantry" situation. I actually prefer this to my walk in pantry from my last house.

Label Everything

Everyone in my home struggles with memory and we need lots of reminders of where things go. Having clear labels also gives everyone more autonomy. I've found that using white bin labels is really helpful because I can move things around. If the label is on the container that's harder. I tend to print out a bunch of labels every few months and update a bunch of things at one time.

Declutter One Thing a Week

There are so many declutter strategies out there and seeing the before and afters is really inspiring but for me slow and steady has been the most effective strategy. I try and declutter one thing a week and think about that on Saturdays. If I get the motivation and energy to tackle something during the week than that's great but I try and tackle one thing each weekend and give myself flexibility on what and how much. The one thing could be a drawer or an entire closet.

Keeping the expectations flexible and low has made it a lot easier to maintain and stay consistent. And that has also set the expectation that organization is an ongoing thing that I don't plan to tackle or conquer anytime soon. In fact, I'm not trying to conquer it. I'm just trying to make it a consistent part of my life and to make my home more peaceful, functional and organized a little at a time.

Another key piece of this is giving myself the flexibility on what I tackle. Having a regimented plan for what I need to do and in what order feels very stressful to me which means I'm likely to want to rebel and throw it all out the window. I need flexibility and autonomy to choose what gets my time and attention and over time it's worked out that my whole home has made huge progress.

Celebrate Each Step

If decluttering and organizing is hard for you, celebrate each small accomplishment. Learn to be proud of yourself for what you HAVE done as opposed to beating yourself up for what is still undone. I love a good before and after picture and we even post them regularly in the Master the Mundane community feed because celebrating is so important. A time lapse video is another fun way to capture your progress too!

Capturing before and afters is so helpful! Celebrate each small step.

Accountability + Support

I have to admit that I actually really like decluttering and organizing but for my husband it's a lot more complicated. He doesn't exactly hate it but getting started is harder for him and it's very taxing. I've learned that the best way for me to help him organize his spaces (his office and the garage and yard stuff) is to help him uninterrupted time alone. I ask if he needs help and will take things to Goodwill or whatever needs to happen but planning time and then giving him whatever support he needs without nagging is key. I've also found that sending him pictures or making visuals for organizational ideas is very helpful. He needs to know where his things are and be actively involved in finding the solutions that work. Me inserting myself in to his things and creating a system that works for my brain but not his is not helpful to him in the long run.

Removing the Stigma

I have three kids with ADHD and they all have different struggles with organization. One in particular struggles with letting things go and is things seem to be everywhere at all times. Helping him to find systems that work for him over time is going to be a challenge. But the first key part is to remove the stigma and this starts now with how I talk to him about his room and his things. I'm not going to lie. I get frustrated and I struggle giving him grace even when I know this challenges are outside of his control. But I had to remind myself that this inability to manage his things is not a personal attack on me though it often feels like it is. I try and remind myself that he needs my help and remove the "shoulds" that sneak up when I feel like he should be be able to keep his room and things more organized.

Raising neurodivergent families isn't for the faint of heart!

But I'm cheering you on as you make progress with your clutter. :)

Here's a round up of my favorite organizational goodies from Amazon that I've used in my house in case it helps.



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