One Room at a Time

I mentioned finding my living room again. Now I’m busy at work cleaning out and organizing every room because oh my goodness does my house ever need it.

What IS it about a new year that inspires so many of us to re-organize…re-group…re- re- realize that we have too much stuff hanging out of our drawers and THAT is why they won’t close?!

Here’s a room cleaning organizational tip that my sister-in-law Kari shared with me several years ago:

Start in one room. Stay in that room. If something belongs in another room…just throw it into that room and go back to the room you are working in to begin with.

Otherwise…you’ll start in the living room…notice a dirty plate…take the plate into the kitchen…see all the dirty dishes…start to wash them…stop to pick up some dirty socks on the kitchen floor…take the socks to the laundry room…start sorting the laundry…pick up a stuffed frog sitting on the dirty underwear…take the stuffed frog into the kid’s room to put into the toy box…notice your best scissors on your son’s dresser…take the scissors into the craft room…see the wrapping paper all over the floor…

And you’ll never get to the living room.

It’s called Organizational ADD. I have this disorder if I don’t follow the advice of my sister-in-law and work on ONE room until I finish it entirely.

This method works very well. And it is SO nice to at least have one room clean when you start to tackle the others.

Anybody else out there struggle with Organizational ADD? Anybody else out there cleaning out and re-organizing like CRAZY lately? Anybody else think that January should really come more often so we will be inspired to get organized more often?  (ooh, except I don’t want it to be cold more often…


  1. says

    I’m a new commenter and I’d like to say thank-you for your blog. I need to do the same thing, spend 15 minutes at a time in each room of my house and resign myself to the fact that it will never be finished.


  2. Julie in Australia says

    Finished my seven year old son’s room yesterday. Next on the list is the laundry but that may as well wait until we return from our upcoming holiday.


  3. says

    Organizational ADD – LOVE that phrase! I have thought many times lately that I have it. I am totally distractible when picking up clutter … one thing leads to the next. I love this tip and will try implementing it today!


  4. Step says

    Amen! I used to have organizational ADD too, but have gotten better in my “old” age — lol!

    Another good decluttering tip is if something isn’t useful or doesn’t bring you pleasure, then pitch or donate it. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? Well, I started looking at everything in my house with this sort of critical eye and found that there were many things that I didn’t use and many things that I didn’t find to be beautiful or sentimental, so why in the WORLD was I keeping them (who knows???).


  5. says

    I sooooo have this. I think it’s kind of hard not to when you have children. My husband was helping straighten the living room last night before the inlaws got here and he said (All I seem to be doing is walking around and picking the same things up again and again) I said “welcome to my world” lol Keep up the great cleaning. angie


  6. says

    I have that problem too. It’s funny you posted about this because I just found a website called Maybe you’re familiar with it. Her basic idea is to do little things at a time that will eventually add up to a clean, organized home. Wouldn’t that be lovely!! Have fun cleaning!


  7. Jill Roper says

    I think most of us have this disorder! I found Flylady and she helped me organize. She takes one room a week and focus’s on that room. She gives you a morning routine and an evening routine that really helps get my day started out right. I have given each of my boys chores that have to be done each morning before we sit down to breakfast and that really helps on cutting down clutter. If you use a timer and race against the clock you would be amazed at how much you can get done in just 15 minutes. Having everyone race the clock is even more fun.


  8. says

    I have/had the Org ADD….. and I want to be an organizer! LOL!
    One more bit of advice….
    USE A TIMER!!!!! Even if you are cleaning… ex:
    I set mine for 10 min for each bathroom and then TRY TO BEAT THE CLOCK! it makes you STAY in that room and not get side tracked! When I organize something, I give it some time…. (just this weekend, hubby wanted to spend an hour in our storage area….) It looks great now and it only took an hour… we worked quickly because we knew there was a TIME LIMIT!
    Just my little piece of advice for the day!


  9. says

    Huh! I have organizational ADD-DDDDD-DD-D

    But your sister’s right. Ignoring the other rooms until one is done works for me, too. When I actually do it. ‘Cause when you’re ADD-(add many more D’s here), you are easily overwhelmed.


  10. says

    Great tip! I found you on WFMW…I think my husband and I both struggle with this:) And, we are both in organizing/decluttering/finishing projects mode!


  11. says

    My mom is here this week while Hubby is at NCYM…and we are tackling one room at a time. I have been getting organized b/c I have decided to homeschool. I will have pictures on my blog soon of my little “school”…ok it’s just a bookshelf next to the kitchen table..but our house is small. Sorry I called your house phone instead of your cell..which doesn’t exist. We should definitely talk sometime though.


  12. says

    I so have it too!!! I have found it best just to put a laundry basket or something at the door to put stuff in that goes to another room, that way I don’t even risk not coming back.

    It’s really frustrating to look back at the end of the day and have it feel like nothing got accomplished. Sometimes I feel like I have to defend myself by telling my husband I really didn’t just sit around all day, I did “stuff” it just doesn’t look like it.


  13. says

    It’s so great knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with being organized! Flylady is very helpful, but I never manage to keep up! I look forward to visiting your site more often.


  14. Emily Kay says

    I also have this “disorder”, but have learned a few tricks to help me keep it in check. I always put a laundry basket at the door of the room I am working in. Things that belong in other rooms are thrown into the basket. My 4 year old actually likes to take things out of the basket and find where they belong-this works fairly well and makes her feel like she is helping. I also set a timer. It really helps me feel less overwhelmed. I also like flylady…that is a great resource. Also, is very encouraging. She has monthly “round ups” where you focus on tackling a specific area. It is nice knowing there are a lot of other women out there tackling the same project as you. I love January-fresh starts are the best! Of course, I am in Florida so the cold is not a huge problem for me;)


  15. says

    I also have the same disorder. I have been working on my house this week. I have my daughters room fairly done. The closet still needs some work but I hate closets lol. My husband started our closet so I think I will make him the closet man. I have done some work in the living room but I am not done yet. That is a great tip about not leaving the room!


  16. says

    I definately have Organizational ADD and I am on a mission to get my house, car, finances and everything in order this year. One room at a time sounds like a good plan. I also just started reading kathy peel’s book desperate households so hopefully i am on the way to success.


  17. says

    This is the same system I use. But unfortunately it’s not seeming to work for me as well as it used to. Maybe because I have a toddler who destroys my progress as I go… I’ve been working on the family room this morning and have moved so much stuff into the dining room it’s ridiculous (still don’t have all the Christmas gifts put away). I’ll be working during her naptime to get at least one more room or two tamed!


  18. says

    Oh, I totally relate. I truly have organizational ADD. :)
    One thing that helps me is to set a timer for 10-20 minutes, and carry a laundry basket with me around the house. I simply pick up whatever doesn’t belong in a room, and toss it in the basket. When I’ve gone through each room, I go back through them all again, and start to put away the items in the basket.
    This really helps to keep me on track, and actually tidies the house really quickly! Plus, the timer is so good for my motivation. There’s nothing like knowing you only have to do something for 20 minutes and then you’re done!
    Btw, I just noticed your new design (the problem with reading through Bloglines, I suppose). It’s beautiful- so much fun!


  19. says

    Well, I think Organizational ADD was the reason behind the “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” etc. books! It is so true, and that is the reason why I’m reading other people’s solutions to organization/cleaning rather than actually doing it right now!


  20. Tania says

    One day I was sharing with my friend how overwhelmed I felt trying to clean the whole house–I felt quite silly when she said start in one room and stay in that room until it is cleaned. That was so obvious, but I never thought of it. I would get sidetracked and be cleaning the entire house at once, which takes 10 times longer. lol


  21. Jill Roper says

    I got to thinking after reading all the other posts about chaotic/cluttered homes. Is there a reason to aspire to a clutter free home other than impressing everyone? IF the only reason is to keep up with the Jones’ or impress people then it is a waste of time. However, if the reason for working on our homes has a higher purpose then perhaps our focus would be different. See, keeping our homes cozy and neat should be a goal so that our families are comfortable. Our husbands do so much better in a neat and tidy home to come home rather than walking into a bomb. We can be spontaneous having people into our homes if we dont have to worry about introducing them to a war torn zone! I discovered over the years that I want my home to be a peaceful haven for all who enter. It does NOT mean it is perfect. I tried that and drove my self and family crazy. However, I have learned that my home is a place of ministry that can be warm and inviting. People comment when they spend some time here that our home is very peaceful. My husband loves coming home to a neat and tidy home that has yummy smells coming out of!
    So, what is our motivation? Something to think about.


  22. says

    Simple yet inspiring advice! I am guilty of wandering from place to place all over the house instead of just getting one room done.



  23. says

    Yes, Yes, and Yes! I’m in an organizational frenzy and I definitely suffer from organizational ADD. Just today I had to practically chain myself in my living room to get it done because other rooms were calling out to me! It was painful but worth it to stay in there and suffer through! I think I’m easily bored and want to bail when things get hard. I used use my living room as a little office which was a bad idea because I’m far too messy to have my office be the first thing people see when they walk in my front door! Today I was moving the last of the officey stuff out and I kept getting bogged down with what to keep and what to throw away and was close to being completely paralyzed. But I made myself keep going and it’s done! I need to blog about this, don’t I?


  24. says

    Organizational ADD…who knew. I’ve got it bad. But really if something has been out of place for a while and gone unnoticed, maybe its time fot it to go far away, Things have been disappering from my place alot lately.


  25. says

    I have had an occasional bout of organizational ADD! :) In fact, it sounds a lot like your description! LOL

    Your SIL’s method of staying 1 room really works!! A good way to make SURE you don’t get side-tracked is to have a basket or box to put items that don’t belong in the room you are in. Then when you are done with that room, you can put them away or drag it to the next room, removing any items that belong in that next room. :)


  26. says

    that’s exactly what i do…the problem is when i finish the last room, the first room is far overdue. i have to make myself spend the first few minutes of my day straightening the “done” rooms before i go to the current rooms.

    great post! it really is the best way for us with “organizational ADD”!


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