Attempting to Organize an Out-of-Control Apartment

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    • #40160
      Penny Williams

      This discussion was originally started by user PJ Parkwood in ADDitude’s now-retired community. The ADDitude editors have included it here to encourage more discussion.


      I found out today that there will be a code inspection in my building by the end of the month (about five to six days from now).  My apartment is overly cluttered (no trash and litter boxes are cleaned every night) and I’m beginning to panic just a bit.

      I have written a list of what needs to be done and I am able to visualize what to do, but actually doing the organizing is another thing.

      I have, over the past five years, contacted every agency (including Adult Protective Services) in two counties for some type of help, but I’ve been told that, because I am high functioning, I don’t need any help.  (According to the agencies, high functioning means I am able to live on my own, save money, cook, bathe, shop and have been to college.)  However, if code comes in to inspect, I’ll be given a warning about being evicted, which has happened many times.  My landlord is aware of my situation which is a plus.

      At present, I’m not on any meds — dextro-amphetamine oral 5mg/4xday has helped in the past, but I haven’t been able to have them prescribed recently.

      Sorry about this being so long.  I just re-read what I wrote and found my mind beginning to wander.

      Anyway, any suggestions?  Thanks.

    • #42311
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      If a professional organizer isn’t an option for you, what about having 1-2 friends of family members come over and help you a day or two? Maybe you can treat them to dinner to show your appreciation?

      As for the method, I would work on one room at a time and don’t move on until that one is acceptable. Get rid of as much as possible — the more stuff you have, the more you have to organize and manage. Many charities will come and pick up donations at your home.

      Here are a few other helpful strategies:

      Don’t get too caught up in the planning of improving your clutter — that’s time better used actually working on it.

      ADDconnect Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #42312
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user befree in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      I do one thing at a time. Take something in your hand and ask yourself:

      1. How often do I need this? (and just keep that in mind)

      2.Is there a place for it already?

      If yes: put it there right away. If no: put it on a pile labeled “no place for it yet”

      Then go through all your stuff like that.

      Don’t let yourself get distracted! Don’t start reading that book that you wanted to read! Keep forcing yourself to just go on to the next thing, putting it away and putting it on the pile. If you’re afraid you’ll forget about it, then write it on a list for later.

      Then, when there is nothing left but the pile, find a big big box or a storage room for it and find a place for it one thing at a time, later.

      You’ll be surprised at how much better your place will look after just doing that!

      🙂 I really hope it works out for you!

    • #42313
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user Mitzi McPike in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      Another tip is use a timer. Set it for 15 minutes and just focus on one task at a time. You would be amazed at how much you can do in 15 minutes if you are focused. It may help you feel less overwhelmed and more empowered to get the task of decluttering your apartment done.

      ps and something I always do when I have to get chores done or other projects is put on my favorite music. I always clean the kitchen to The Cars 😝


    • #42314
      Allison Russo

      This reply was originally posted by user AnnieOz in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

      When I get overwhelmed sometimes it comes down to telling myself I will get rid of one item. That item can even be a small piece of trash. I also tell myself (and mean it) that if I do nothing else it’s ok.
      Sometimes I just need to see that starting the task will not totally overwhelm me and I won’t fail at it.
      Remember, as wonderful as our brains can be, they also lie to us.

      I see in your post that you may feel you can’t do it, that this will take the path it always has. You may have thought this so many times that it’s almost an unconscious thought. Start telling yourself different things, even if you don’t believe them. I can do it. I will do it. If we hear something enough sometimes we actually start to believe it. This can be for good and bad things.

      Also, if you do have a nice friend or relative don’t be afraid to ask them to help, and don’t compare yourself to them. Clutter is visible, but everyone, no matter how functional and mentally healthy, has something.

      If someone is truly a good person they will not judge you and will help.

      I ended up hiring the teenage daughter of an acquaintance. I told her what I wanted moved and what to look for going thru things. She was not judgement and was happy to get some extra cash. She was also cheaper than a professional. Which would be my first choice.

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