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If you have ADHD, home organization is likely something you need help with. One of the challenges of having ADHD is the cluttered home environment. Yes, we are MESSY! I have yet to meet an ADHDer that hasn’t struggle with this challenge in at least one place in their life, so if that’s you…you’re in good company here.
There’s nothing worse than someone popping by your house and seeing it. The papers on every countertop, every dish you own in the sink, and clothes all over your floor. Or giving someone a ride and having them see the war zone that lives in your car. It’s…awkward…
ADHD Home Organization is hard
I tried so hard to hide it from people because it’s a bit embarrassing; it feels like you’re failing the whole adulting thing. It was a huge relief to find out that I wasn’t just a lazy slob– It’s that whole executive dysfunction thing that we ADHDers have the joy of wrestling on a minute by minute basis.
Home Organization tips Aren’t Really for ADHD (even when they say it is)
Finding resources for ADHD home organization–that actually work–hasn’t gone well. Most of the advice out there seems like it’s geared toward neurotypicals but branded for ADHDers. Any time I see an article saying, “do this organization thing and then keep it like that” I just want to slap someone.
Getting your ADHD home organized is only one small part of the problem. It’s often the “keeping it that way” part that causes the whole thing to fall apart. Am I right?
Lucky for you, I have found some ways help you conquer the clutter and get your ADHD home organization on fleek. (yup, I said it!)
The Two Guiding Principles of ADHD Home Organization
- Things must be as easy to put things back where they belong as it is to just leave them lying around. It makes it easier to keep it organized.
- Maintaining ADHD Home Organization is just about impossible if you have a lot of stuff. You don’t have to get rid of everything, but be prepared to purge.
My Alternative to “Does it Spark Joy”
If you’ve been following the Konde Marie method, you know her framework for getting rid of stuff is whether or not it sparks joy. It may be the ADHD talking but that I could see myself overthinking.
My framework is a bit different so in case you need someting different, here goes:
If I made myself 100% take care of this item exactly as I’m “supposed to” (for clothes think wash, dry, fold, put away…along with all the other clothes) every single day, would it be worth all the effort? If the answer is no, I get rid of it.
Using this framework has significantly cut down on how difficult it is to tidy my room. It’s easier to put my clothes away when I’m not overwhelmed by a mountain of them.
And my floor is no longer covered in clothing, which is a huge win!
If you take nothing away from this post, the biggest things you could do is reduce the amount of stuff you have to keep your ADHD home organized. Seriously…
Home Organization for ADHD is About Making things Easier on Yourself.
When I started trying to overcome clutter, the first step for me was to notice the areas that created the biggest problems for me.
Examples of those problems:
⏩In my house, we have a tendancy to leave our trash wherever we are. Eat a yogurt while watching tv? The empty yogurt container tends to stay on the couch or end table. That makes for a lot of trash just sitting around.
⏩ We also have difficulty with leaving clothes wherever we are when we change. That means there are clothes everywhere.
⏩ In the kitchen, we have difficulty leaving the coffee and accessories all over the place, creating clutter on the counter tops (along with the discarded plastic wrap of various things like yogurt containers). So the countertops stay pretty messy.
Applying that first guided principle (which is alot easier to do when you’ve already followed the second guiding principle), I asked myself, how can I make it easier on myself?
Strategies to Keep Your ADHD Home Organized and Clutter Free
⏩ To minimize the trash problem
I looked at the places in the house that tended to collect the most trash. Then I made sure that there was an open face trash can there. Now, when we’re watching tv, it’s just as easy to throw away the empty yogurt container as it is to leave it on the end table. That’s cut down significantly on the clutter created by trash and helped me keep my ADHD home organized.
⏩ To minimize the clothes problem
Use over the door clothing hooks for clothing you plan to wear again before you wash. I place these in the areas I’m most likely to change clothes. That makes it almost as easy to keep the clothes off the floor as it is to just leave them there. This has helped calm the ADHD clutter.
Dirty clothes tend to pile up in the floor. Keeping a laundry basket in the areas you are most likely to change clothes helps keep them off the floor. I keep a basket in my room, bathroom and laundry room. Those are the areas I’m most likely to need them. I keep a few specifically for clean clothes before I fold them to prevent them from finding a home on the floor or with dirty clothes. That winds up being more than a few laundry baskets but clear floors, chairs, beds, etc…
⏩ To minimize the kitchen counter top clutter
I created a coffee basket that sits beside the coffee pot which holds the coffee and all accessories that we need. Now, instead of just leaving everything out on the counter, it’s just as easy to put it back in the basket. Plus, for the other trash, I have an open top trash can that sits (uncovered and out in the open) beside the counter top.
An important ADHD Home Organization tip: Keep your trash can out in the open, no lid. Putting your trashcan away in a cabinet or closet takes that extra step to use and makes it less likely that we will consistently do it.
With these examples you can see how I’ve identified my biggest clutter problems and answered the question how can I make it easier on myself?
Now it’s your turn. Follow the steps:
- Look around your house. What makes up the majority of the problem? Clothes? Trash? Shoes? Random stuff without a home? Paper? Junk mail? Rank in order of what is causing the biggest amount of clutter. (I suggest writing it down). Next, you’ll tackle each problem one at a time.
- Pick an area and start getting rid of stuff using whatever framework works best for you in getting rid of the most significant amount of stuff. Joy, ease, whatever principle you prefer.
- Now, with the stuff you have left, ask yourself, What could I do that would make this problem easier on me to keep uncluttered?
Make sure whatever strategies you implement are only one step as much as possible (so use a laundry hamper without a top, because having to open the lid adds an unnecessary step that lessens the likelihood of consistently using it). To keep your ADHD home organization working for you, this piece of advice cannot be overstated.
For More GREAT Cleaning Ideas for ADHD homes, check out this book:
Many of the strategies here were inspired by this book but she’s got A LOT more! I definitely recommend it.
Tools to Make Cleaning with ADHD easier
⏩ A Roomba for those who hate sweeping and vaccuuming or an iRobot Floor Mop if you hate moping can really help put those tedious tasks on autopilot. are some of the most tedious household chores out there.
⏩ Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner can help take the (sometimes disgusting) bore out of keeping your tub from looking like a green swamp.
Even just one of these can make a huge difference if some of your problem areas are floors and showers (and mine are). They work for the ADHDer home organization needs by taking this (very boring) chore off your list.
ADHD Cleaning without Tools
If tools aren’t an option, try negotiating chores with other members of your household. If you have difficulty staying on top of cleaning the showers but you do alright with dishes, see if others in your household can take over the floors while you focus on the dishes. It works best if you swap a chore you hate with a chore they hate.
ADHD Speed Cleaning Checklist
Want to get the cleaning done as quickly as possible so you can get on to better things? You need to check out the ADHD Speed Cleaning Checklist! Get the house presentable in record time.
Above all, remember your two guiding principles for conquering the clutter:
- Get Rid of Stuff and
- Make sure keeping the rest of what you keep organized is as easy to maintain as it is forget about.
These will guide you to a more organized life that you can maintain even when you have ADHD.
Get Motivated to Organize Your ADHD Home
If you’ve found “clean house” on your to do list for a month but haven’t gotten around to it, you may need help with that to do list. Make sure you check out my posts on Mastering the ADHD to do list and Being More Productive help get more done (including the house work!)
What are some strategies you use to organize your ADHD induced cluttered environment? Any challenges you need help overcoming? Post it here or, for more timely feedback, join the “That ADHD Life” Facebook group! Here’s to you, your ADHD cluttered environment, and learning how to CONQUER THE CLUTTER!