Toss Five and Put Away Ten


I am not a naturally neat person. I tend to hold on to stuff and make a mess wherever I go. I leave things out after I’m done using them. You can tell where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing by the trails I leave behind. If I brush my teeth there is a 90% chance the cap will not make it back to the toothpaste. When I take off my shoes they tend to stay wherever that event occurred. Jackets and sweaters could be on the back of chairs or on the couch. I leave kitchen cabinets and closet doors wide open after I have found what I was looking for. I mean to put stuff away and close what I’ve opened but I get involved in other things and forget. I’m not chronically disorganized but I have far more in common with the sloppy than the neat.

My sloppiness wouldn’t be a big problem if I weren’t as clumsy as I am sloppy. There’s not a graceful bone in my body. If there’s something in my path that can be tripped over, or bumped into I will find it. I call it my klutz radar.

Other problems come up with being sloppy. I have a big family and many friends. I enjoy having people over without being ashamed of how messy my house looks. I get  anxious living in an environment that is cluttered and disorganized and I worry about losing important stuff.

The biggest problem is that my husband is a naturally neat person and he just doesn’t get it. He likes to ask me,” What’s so hard about putting things away, closing the cabinets, shutting the closet door, putting the cap back on the toothpaste?”

Out of necessity, I practice two simple strategies to accommodate my sloppy nature. I call them “toss five and put away ten.” These daily strategies help me stay organized and functioning and keep the peace with my husband.

You may want to try them and see if they work for you.

Toss Five.

Set a timer for five minutes.

  • Throw away at least five things every single day.
  • The five things could be five pieces of paper, five magazines or newspapers, five gum wrappers or five no longer recognizable items in your refrigerator. You get to choose.
  • After you have reached your quota you decide if you want to keep going or not.
  • When you’re done reward yourself with a cup of coffee, a stick of gum, a piece of chocolate or something fun.

Put Away Ten

Set a timer for 5 minutes. This will keep you moving quickly.

  • Pick a specific area such as the kitchen to concentrate on and try your best to stay in this area. If you drift into another room bring yourself back to the original area.
  • The goal is to put away ten things and count each item as you put away it away. Closing a cabinet or shutting a drawer can be counted as well.
  • When you have put away ten things you’re done unless you choose to keep going but keep counting.
  • Reward yourself for your progress.

If you practice these strategies on a regular basis things are bound to get better.

Kathy Sussell is an ADHD coach in Brooklyn, NY. She helps teens, college students and adults with ADHD with time management, planning and prioritizing, getting started with and finishing tasks, organizing paper and objects and improving social skills. She is the organizer of the ADHD Women’s Meetup Group that meets every month in downtown Brooklyn. For more information visit her website: or email Kathy at

5 thoughts on “Toss Five and Put Away Ten

    • Glad you liked my post and thanks for re-blogging it. I find that when I tell myself I don’t have to clean up everything but just put away ten things I don’t get overwhelmed and ten things going back to where they belong actually makes a difference.


  1. Reblogged this on Grief Happens and commented:
    So…in an effort to get more organized as well as prepare to move in the next year, I’m employing this daily strategy.

    I like that it’s catchy, memorable, and seems simple enough even for my disorganized, live-in-the-moment crowd.


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