Ask the Experts

Q: Should I Hire a Professional Organizer?

Professional organizers are trained and skilled specialists who help create customized systems as well as guide you through the tough decluttering decision-making process. Here are organization steps you can take on your own, and resources for finding a professional organizer to help you finish — or get started.

Lots of brightly colored clothes on hangers in the closet. Decluttering the cabinet. Second hand

Q: “I am constantly misplacing and losing things. I feel very disorganized and struggle with time management, procrastination, and clutter. I just don’t know where to begin. It’s overwhelming and I feel defeated. Where do I begin?” – Overwhelmed Wilma


Hi Overwhelmed Wilma:

There is a lot to unpack here. And since I don’t know the details of your circumstances (what is causing the disorganization, who else lives in your home with you, what systems you have already tried, etc.), I’m going to give you some general organizing tips that I hope will spark some solutions for you.

#1: Everything Needs a Home. It’s been said that clutter is delayed decision making. So if you don’t know where something lives in your home, you’re more apt to let it sit wherever it lands. Start by designating specific “homes” for all your belongings. And, if appropriate, clearly label those areas so you take the guesswork out of where things live. When you are tired after a long day, visual reminders make cleaning up that much easier.

#2: Set Daily Goals. Trying to organize everything in one day will lead you to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and unmotivated. Try specific daily intentions instead. “Thursday night I’ll put away the clean laundry.” “Saturday morning I’ll tackle the weekly mail.” In other words, make your goals short, simple, and specific. When we break down our tasks into manageable parts AND assign them deadlines we feel more in control.

#3: Make it Fun. Crank your favorite music and throw yourself a dance party. Set a timer and play “Beat the Clock” by seeing how much you can get done before it goes off. Grab your favorite snack and “have a treat while making it neat.” Infusing energy and play into your organization routine is a wonderful way to get your ADHD brain moving and energized.

[Read: 33 Ways to Get Things Done — Consistently]

#4: Pair Up to Pare Down. Grab a friend or partner and work together. Sometimes “body doubling” (being in an environment where others are doing what we’re doing) helps us to initiate and stay on task. Plus, hard or boring work goes faster when we do it with someone else.

#5: Bring in a Professional. Have you ever thought of working with a professional organizer? Professional organizers are trained and skilled specialists who help create customized systems as well as guide you through the tough decluttering decision-making process. They can also help you discover organizing options you might not have known about on your own. The truth is that most people think organizing and managing time are things everyone should just be able to do; and they’re simply not.

There are two wonderful professional organizations that can help you find the right organizer, too. The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) are two that I recommend. Finding an organizer is a very personal decision, so feel free to ask questions to find the perfect fit.

Good Luck!

If you are looking for more tips and tools, please check out our website at orderoochaos.com. We have tons of FREE resources, videos and materials to help.

Professional Organizer for ADHD: Next Steps


ADHD Family Coach Leslie Josel, of Order Out of Chaos, will answer questions from ADDitude readers about everything from paper clutter to disaster-zone bedrooms and from mastering to-do lists to arriving on time every time.

Submit your questions to the ADHD Family Coach here!


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Updated on April 23, 2021

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