One of the most frequent ADHD organizing questions people ask me is how to clear clutter. The other day I got an email from a woman who wanted to know how to break your emotional connection to clutter.
It’s a fact. If you are going to learn how to get organized with ADHD you simply have to learn how to get rid of the papers and possessions cluttering up your life. You’ll find an entire chapter devoted to clearing all types of clutter in my book, Organized for Life. This week, however, I want to focus on a more specific area of clutter: getting rid of things you’re emotionally attached to.
From my years as a professional organizer and an ADHD coach, I think the most challenging clutter predicament is getting rid of sentimental stuff. That’s because it’s not a matter of not knowing what to do, it’s a matter of the heart.
I admit it. Getting rid of sentimental clutter is hard for me, too. I have experienced the heart wrenching pain of having to getting rid of a favorite toy from my childhood, a treasured item that belonged to my grandma, or my daughter’s baby clothes. And though I’ve gotten a lot better at it, I still battle this on some level. When someone comes to me and says, “I can’t get rid of such and such because I’m emotionally attached to it,” I get it.
Why get rid of things you’re emotionally attached to at all? Because if everything is important than nothing is important. Saving everything that might be special to you is avoiding tough decisions which adds up to clutter. Purposefully deciding which things are special enough to save and weeding out the rest frees up physical and emotional space and makes the things you do keep more meaningful.
You’ll find specific tips on getting rid of sentimental stuff in my next post. Today, I want to get you to start by building your awareness of the problem.
Your first step is to notice what types of things you can’t get rid of because you’re emotionally attached. Is it stuff that belonged to your kids or parents? Papers from old work projects? Things from your childhood? Gifts someone gave you that you don’t like or need? Your old clothes?
Make a written or mental list of the sentimental things you need to get rid and start noticing what keeping them does to your house, your life and your energy.
Check back next Tuesday for a blog with specific tips on how to clear out clutter you’re emotionally attached to.