Manage Your House

Q: “I Want to Clean, But My Organizational Mojo is Fleeting!”

“Don’t move on to another project until the first is done. And once it is done, stop and think: ‘Do I have enough oomph to complete another task?’”

Q: “When the clutter gets out of control, to the point of not inviting anyone over because the mess is too much, I go to war on disorganization. The problem is, I lose motivation quickly. How can I maintain my motivation to clean and be a steady organizer?”


Anyone, with ADHD or not, can become overwhelmed by taking on too much at once. The trick to maintaining your motivation to clean is breaking down tasks into discrete steps, and then completing just one step before moving on.

If the goal is to organize a bedroom, and the bedroom is too much to tackle all at once, choose just one component of that project. I usually recommend doing the floor first. Organizing bureau and bedside table surfaces is a good second task. Or you could just tackle your shoes.

[Get This Free Download: Clean Up and Get Organized in One Weekend]

Don’t move on to another project until the first is done. And once it is done, stop and think: “Do I have enough oomph to complete another task?” If not, stop there for the time being.

The same method can be used in your office. Purge your emails or sort/weed one file drawer — and get that one task done before moving on to another. If necessary, do one task a day until the project is complete.

Organizing creates more mess before it gets better, so it is wiser not to start that next step if you might run out of energy or time halfway through.

Maybe you need a large organizational project completed within a limited time period. In this case, I recommend getting help. A spouse, friend, assistant, or professional organizer can focus your efforts and keep you on task.

[Read: Don’t Organize It, Purge It: 10 Things to Throw Out Now]

No matter how large the cleanup, know that by completing just one task, your life has been marginally improved — the floor is clear (or surfaces reclaimed, or shoes organized), and you set yourself up for another win.

Motivation to Clean: Next Steps


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