Guilty no more! How to use DOOM boxes as your ally in decluttering with ADHD

DOOM boxes are not what you thought there were!

Ilona T.

4 min read

Did I hear you think: “Wait, WHAT..?! Aren’t DOOM boxes supposed to be the ultimate sign of my failure as a housekeeper and a decent human being..?!“

That’s how they are portrayed by so many organizing gurus and peer support groups and that’s what they were for me a while ago. So I totally get why you would think so, too!

We all would love to find the magic bullet that made our mess go away in the blink of an eye for good, but even if you get your house in the best condition it has ever been in, life is sure to happen and you’ll end up having a clutter pile somewhere that you’ll need to get rid of in a hurry before the guests arrive or something like that.

It’s just being realistic (and forgiving) to admit that we aren’t likely to ever totally get rid of clutter piles - or the DOOM boxes they become once you need to get them out of sight quickly (or don't know what to do with).

It’s so convenient to quickly scoop the clutter into a box and put it out of sight (and out of mind - except the nagging feeling in the back of your mind because of it…)

But it doesn't need to be that way! You know how the old saying goes: "If you can't beat them, join them."

It's like you can exhaust yourself trying to root out every weed in your garden but they'll grow back quickly and leave you burnt out, but instead if you pause to think, many plants that are conventionally considered as weeds, are actually full of vitamins and antioxidants (like stinging nettle or goutweed here in Finnish climate)- or they can be quite pretty in the right environment (they just can appear as clutter on a lawn that's conventionally supposed to show off perfectly smooth and uniformly lush greenery). And they are proven to bloom in your garden without special care!

So instead of weeding them out, you might have much easier time tending your garden if you cultivated and reaped them to your benefit. This may require you to know some hacks - like confining their roots in a bucket buried underground - but once you learn them, you can enjoy your garden more without spending your precious spoons on fighting against the inevitable.

What if we did the same to DOOM piles and boxes? What if you used a DOOM box intentionally to make your home more peaceful and less overwhelming and you had the right skills and tools to tackle it easily later - so you didn’t need to feel like a failure after creating a DOOM box? Nor would your anxiety levels go through the roof just thinking about sorting it through.

Everyone has their ups and downs - and we neurodivergent folks with our sensory issues and executive dysfunction have even more fluctuation in our daily energy levels and productivity than the average neurotypical. Some days our “best” is just 10% of the “best” of another day, and it’s totally fine and certainly not a reason to feel like a failure! Let’s give ourselves grace!

So - let's reframe the whole concept! Let me introduce you to a new acronym to replace the sinister DOOM:

BLOOMS = Buffer Location - Organizing Once More Spoons

Sounds so much more friendly and compassionate, doesn’t it?!

In addition to renaming the concept, there are small practical hacks that make the BLOOMS easier to come back to later. There are more than six of these hacks in the DOOM Box Tamer program and I'll share with you my favorite one so you can start using it right away.

It's the perfect hack for us squirrel brains, literally! Hide a small treat, something you're very fond of, in the BLOOMS box. (For me it would be nut chocolate, yum!) Even if your conscious mind may forget about it, your subconscious mind associates the BLOOMS with something worth getting back to.

Like you know when you're eating something and doing something else at the same time, and then you don't see the thing you were eating anywhere and you question yourself if you already ate all of it but you just have a weird feeling in the back of your mind that there's still some left and it pulls you to the area where you left it.

I guess that's a gift from evolution - your lizard (or should I say squirrel) brain keeps record whether there's still some food left and will keep you aware of it until you've eaten the last bite.

So what do you think - would you be willing to switch from daunting DOOMs to BLOOMS and give yourself grace from feeling bad every time you see or create a DOOM BLOOMS box?

DOOM Box Tamer is a gamified online course and a companion tool to give you the ADHD-friendly tactics and strategies to tame different types of DOOMs AND it also holds your hand all the way through as you implement them to tame the actual DOOM boxes and piles in your home.

Join the DOOM Box Tamer waitlist by signing up below!

DOOM boxes feel scary and it feels really hard to start clearing out one - all the decisions, not knowing what to do with everything, just making a bigger mess - UGH! Just thinking about it makes your brain hurt and the rest of the body paralyzed!

Even the word DOOM box (Didn’t Organize - Only Moved) sounds ominous and daunting. And accusatory when written out.

And it's no wonder that people with ADHD struggle with DOOM boxes; processing them requires a ton of executive functions, they remind us about our inability to see things through to the very end once started, and our eyes get accustomed to them so we only notice them when someone pops over.