Feeling Overwhelmed with Clutter? Try the Cleaning Piles Strategy

I recommended this strategy to my recent Seeing My Time family group class. A student went home and used the strategy right away on some piles of paper that she had lying around. Here is what she reported back:

I got this much paper out of my room yesterday. Some of it is stuff from before I was in high school!

I made my binder yesterday too. Put some cute stickers on it so I will be more motivated to use it.

Thank you so much for class! It is really helping me.

Here is the Cleaning Piles Strategy:
1. Set a timer for 20 minutes.
2. Take a picture of the pile.
3. For each item ask: Do I want you or need you anymore? If not, recycle it.
4. For keepers, find the item’s “home” and put it away.
5. When the timer goes off, take another picture of the pile.

Celebrate the accomplishment. Stop if you want and schedule time to work on another pile later.

This activates the dopamine reward system of the brain. You feel good, and get to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

What are your systems for working through clutter? We’d love to hear about them.

Cleaning Piles Strategy

PicMonkey Collage


About the Author Marydee Sklar

Marydee Sklar is the president of Executive Functioning Success and the creator of the Seeing My Time Program® and the Set Up Success and Seeing My Time® planners. She is an educator and author of three books on executive functions, as well as a trainer and speaker. Marydee has more than twenty-five years of experience working with students and adults with executive function challenges.

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