How to Aggravate Your ADHD, OCD and Binge Buying Habit All at Once

Want to test your mental health? Try cleaning out your closet.

If your ADHD doesn’t take you in 20 different directions before you collapse with not one thing completed, then your OCD will hyperfocus your efforts on organizing the most insignificant (and no doubt, not visible to the naked eye) area of your closet.

Before you binge on little plastic boxes at The Container Store, try these clutter-busting tips from interior designer Jennifer Adams. (I’d do it before The Container Store launches their new closet organization service coming soon. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of willpower.)

1. Stuck in the perpetual chicken or the egg of where to get started? Adams says always de-clutter first. “You can’t organize until you’ve de-cluttered, anyway, so why make it harder on yourself.”

2. Work on just one part of your closet, Adams says. Just one. “Start with the floor, your shoes, your dresses, or the top shelves.” If you don’t get through your whole closet (which you won’t), at least you’ll have one area completely done and checked off your list.

3. Assign three large boxes or laundry baskets as “donate,” “repair/clean” and “not sure.” For your clothes, don’t mess with your favorites and skip straight to the stuff you haven’t worn in a while. Making decisions on those infrequently worn items will be faster than weighing whether your favorite sweater has seen better days.

4. Next, move to your shoes, starting in the back or far top or bottom reaches of your closet. Adams says these are your least worn, and again, the easiest to decide whether you want to keep or donate.

5. Your “not sure” box is about to become a time capsule. Pack it up and date it. “If you haven’t opened this box in a year, donate it,” Adams says.

6. Organize your “repair/clean” box by what needs to be done. Place the shoes that need repair in one bag, items that need tailoring or buttons in another. Then time-capsule them: Set aside a time to drop those items off. “If they’re still in the trunk of your car in a month, donate them,” Adams says. “You’re not really that committed to them.”

So that bag I have to return to TJ Maxx, the bag to go to Goodwill, the bag to take to the upscale resale shop and all those other assorted bags in the trunk of my car—they’re time capsules. Yeah, that’s it, time capsules. I knew I had my reasons.

Jennifer Adams credits her success to a hardscrabble childhood. Find out how she went from housekeeper to home design maven.

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Shelby Skrhak

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