By: Kelly M., senior clinician at South Bay

According to, a circuit is defined as a roughly circular line, route or movement that starts and finishes at the same place or an established itinerary of events or venues used for a particular activity. Beautiful! What does that have to do with decluttering, you might ask? Well, before I get to that, we need a bit more information.

The first thing you want to consider when setting a decluttering goal – what needs decluttering? Perhaps you struggle with Hoarding Disorder and want to declutter your home or perhaps you want to declutter your lifestyle by placing restrictions or limits on people or behaviors. Regardless of your specific answer, this technique can be useful, but it’s important to have a clear idea in mind.

The second thing to ask yourself – are you willing to dedicate the time and energy to accomplish this decluttering project? If it seems like the universe is out to get you, it might not be the right time. This doesn’t mean you cannot work on this, but you may need to be creative with your timing and attention.

Let’s segue into attention now. Maybe you have a goal. Maybe you have the energy and time to accomplish this goal. As I have run South Bay’s hoarding group over the years, I have often heard, “I just can’t focus on one task. I jump from room to room, and I never get anything done so I get frustrated and give up.” Okay. That makes sense, but this is where circuit cleaning comes in handy.

Circuit cleaning works with the same design as circuit training. You do a set of reps on one machine, then another, then another and eventually work your way back to the first one and start the circuit all over again. So, instead of forcing yourself to try to focus on one task at a time, pick a very small project in each station of the circuit and work on it a little bit at a time. For example, if we use a hoarding situation: Create a small decluttering goal in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room, etc. until you have done at least something necessary in each room. Then circle back around and start the circuit again. The hope is that eventually you will start accomplishing the small goal you set out to finish in each room.

Other additions would make this technique more effective, as in a timer for each station or a post-it or dry-erase board in each room with the goal on it. But, this technique works with the struggle of focusing and also avoids the potential for boredom.

So, if you’re trying to clean your house, your inbox, sort through old photos or whatever decluttering goal you set upon and other techniques haven’t worked, maybe you’re fighting inattention or boredom. Instead, change it up and give circuit cleaning a try.