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  • Neyir Urminsky


Yesterday I quit my part time job of 4 months, ok 3 months and 3 weeks but who's counting? The job I quit, well the job I was sharing with my husband and kids but during the week was doing often most of? Washing dishes by hand, which for a family of 7, who cooks nearly everything from scratch, is about 2 hours a day! Yesterday after countless service calls, parts ordered and installed and then more service calls our dishwasher, which stopped working in May, was finally fixed. It was only 6 months old so the whole thing only cost us time, you know that very, very precious resource.

These are the dishes from a fast & easy breakfast for 5 of us out of 7

This morning after spending an onerous 5 minutes loading the dishwasher (haha) I glanced around the kitchen and realized how disorganized it had become in the last 4 months, particularly in the drawers! I mean who wants to spend a lot of time making sure the kids are putting everything away properly after spending 45 minutes cleaning up after dinner.

15 weeks, 2 hours a day of dishes....210 hours!

I also started thinking about a podcast that I had been listening to about neurodiversity and clutter, the guest, who specializes in minimalism and ADHD in particular, didn't have a pat answer for why ADHDers have so much stuff around. I have been pondering it for a few days now and I really think that in addition to our things often serving as a touchstone for our memories that some of it is certainly an executive function issue. I mean sorting, cleaning, all that stuff has so. many. steps! Also I know it isn't just the neurodiverse community, many neurotypical people also feel like there have too much stuff! So what to do?

So say you get super frustrated with something, a drawer, a closet, your kids toys, so you start sorting and even if you complete the whole space you are then left with a bunch of stuff. Some things that belong somewhere else, some things that need to be thrown out or recycled (recycling is a whole other topic depending on the item, batteries I am looking at you & your specialized drop off), then there is that other pile, the donation pile. But some of it is surely 'too good' to donate right? So I contemplated how to make this 'easier' or at least more successful aka likely to get done! What if we started with the end in mind, What if we started by knowing how we would finish? Here is my proposal to you, neurotypical/diverse or not. Try this experiment with me!


Step 1 - Find an area/drawer that bugs you, something smallish aka not the entire play area

Step 2 - Don't sort or tidy!!!! Rather survey the space, what is in there in general, what should maybe be somewhere else?

Step 3 - Gather anything you are going to need to re-organize the drawer/space, measure first!!! I know traditional advice says to sort first and then get dividers, bins etc but I worry that we might forget, not bother or decide it is good enough & just dump it all back in. You do not need to buy anything, cardboard boxes lying around the house can be a great way to start & you can cut them to fit.

Step 3b - You may need to add in this step if you had extra 'stuff' that needs to be moved somewhere in your home, don't move them now. Where will these items be re-allocated?

Step 4 - Find options for the stuff that is leaving your house & make that plan now! Where can you donate? Can you schedule a pick up or if you drop off put it into your calendar, consider it the appointment it really is, this is 100% an appointment in self care! Have a neighbourhood FB or freecycle group you can post in? When will you snap those photos and post? Neighbourhood groups can be great for items you are having difficulty parting with as you might feel better handing them over to an actual person rather than dropping them off. Want to sell things? Plan those steps as well but first reflect, is it worth your time?

Step 5 - Choose you time to attack, better alone or do you need a partner in crime? Fav music, a podcast?

Step 6 - If sorting/cleaning/tidying isn't your thing then plan a reward!!

Now we move on to the actual job & we are already set up for success!

Step 7 - Gather five containers/boxes/bags for;

garbage, recycling, re-organise, donate, re-allocate (things that belong elsewhere).

Step 8 - Go item by item, as much as possible try to not take everything out at the beginning as this can be disastrous if you are somehow interrupted or run out of time. **You'll notice there isn't a section for things that need repair, for those items see below.

The baking drawer


Start sorting things out in this manner;

A. Obvious garbage.

B. Recycling

C. Items that need to be elsewhere in your home, ideally do this now before anything else! This way if you aren't able to finish you have already improved your space. Besides you already know where they go, right? See step 3b.

D. Donations

E. Organize, whenever possible I wait until this step to take everything out, clean and re-organize, though sometimes that isn't possible.

Step 9 - Tidy up & put away the garbage & recycling, put the donations wherever they need to be, the best case scenario is you donate them right away otherwise you should already have your plan in place to dispose of them. .

Step 10 - Reward! Survey your handy work!!! Hopefully you get a nice dopamine hit from all your hard work, regardless move onto your reward! This is really important if you really, really hate organizing/sorting etc, it is imperative that you reward yourself for getting this done!!!

Notice less stuff & nothing is stacked so anyone can put things away!

**I suspect that if it was that important you would have repaired it by now or it would be sitting out somewhere so that you wouldn't forget to repair it & it wouldn't be in this drawer/closet/corner. If you do come across something that is truly vital (this happens to me in my jewellery box) and you really, really want to repair it then take it and put it somewhere you won't be able to avoid it and put an appointment into your phone to have it repaired (by yourself or someone else).

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