Staying Focused to Beat Clutter

  • By birdie@getorganizedcolumbus.com
  • 14 Jun, 2016
Messy room
As organizers, we work with clients who are overwhelmed with belongings for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there are challenges with space or challenges with time, there might be illness or family circumstances that require shifted attention, some may simply have acquired more than is desired. To tackle our overgrown piles, we have to dedicate several […]
As organizers, we work with clients who are overwhelmed with belongings for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there are challenges with space or challenges with time, there might be illness or family circumstances that require shifted attention, some may simply have acquired more than is desired. To tackle our overgrown piles, we have to dedicate several blocks of hours to sort, remove, repurpose etc. But for some, such an exercise is impossible. It is not for a lack of effort or desire. Decluttering often gets to the heart of the problem for those who have challenges with focused attention.
The act of sorting and decluttering requires the repetitive and focused actions of reviewing and categorizing items for long periods of time. In addition, there needs to be a plan and follow-through for the things which remain. For those who struggle with focus, the ability to perform unilateral repetitive tasks and to remain undistracted through completion is especially challenging. For clients with attention deficit conditions for example, usually after 25 minutes or so of sorting, clients will tell me they are feeling overwhelmed and are having difficulty remembering the sorting categories we established. Some will exhibit frustration and a lack of desire to continue, others may get sidetracked and spontaneously start doing a different task, others will complain of boredom.
This is because the ADD/ADHD mind is an active mind, capable of multitasking and moving along many activities in quick succession. The slow, observant pace of sorting is understimulating for minds seeking constant activity. The most important way to help friends or family members with focus challenges complete a sorting exercise is to allow them to talk through items being sorted. Telling stories or recalling memories associated with the items helps keep fast-paced minds engaged and active. As professionals, we use the stories being relayed to determine where items belong or whether items are important enough to save. We provide the sorting direction, and our clients provide the context.
Once the process of sorting is achieved, you will want to follow-through with finding homes for kept items. This type of follow-through is difficult for most clients–not just those with focus challenges. Logical placement and easy access is key in determining proper homes. Labelling and coding practices will be important reminders for those who struggle to remember placement. And I like to create a placement key as a written reminder of where we left things. As professionals, we hope to help you stay mindful and undistracted so you can achieve your goals and get your time back.

Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
By Tera Harmon 16 Nov, 2017

For even the most novice cooks, between now and the end of the year, many kitchens are about to get a workout. We may be hosting parties, holiday meals, trying a new recipe or two, participating in pot lucks, or baking with friends and family. Would't it be great if everything we need is at our fingertips--clean and functional for when we need it?


So often the tools and items we rely on at this time of year are somewhere in the back of cupboards, sideboards, or stored on basement shelving. I recommend gathering, cleaning, and staging the items you know will be needed in the coming weeks. In last week's post ( https://www.getorganizedcolumbus.com/the-ready-made-pantry ) we talked about a well-stocked pantry for the holiday season; for now, let's focus on the items we will likely need in the kitchen and dining areas.
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Get Organized Columbus

By Tera Harmon 16 Jan, 2018
Ever have that feeling after your home has been cleaned that things still don't seem put away and tidy? Or maybe you get that nagging sense when you walk into a room that things still need a "once over." Even in frequently-cleaned homes, we can feel like there is more to do when our clutter is the first thing that catches our eye in each room. Well the clutter itself may not be the only culprit. Our house habits can help highlight the things we use in a way that is not flattering.  Can you recognize any of these hotspots in your home?
By Tera Harmon 08 Jan, 2018
Photo Credit: Jay Wennington
By Birdie Brennan 04 Dec, 2017
Photo Credit: Kari Shea
By Tera Harmon 27 Nov, 2017
I always look forward to this cooler time of year to review coats and to decide where best to donate them. So many times when we hear about making a donation, we feel pressure to give financially. But giving something once owned and loved can be a fulfilling part of holiday tradition. I especially love involving kids so they can learn the idea of thinking of others at this time of year. Showing our kids how to prepare an item for donation teaches them how to care for others, but it also shows them to consider how their belongings can be useful beyond their own toy box. The act of cleaning up a gently used truck or putting new batteries into a remote control car to donate demonstrates to kids that our items are valuable to others--and that condition matters. This donation ritual is also an important purge ritual before the influx of contents that are about to enter our homes. 
More Posts
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