ADHD ORGANIZING TIPS | Cleaning
25 ADHD Cleaning Tips To Help You Keep Up At Home
Who I am is a Southern California turned small town, Midwest Mom. I am wife to Bruce and mom to my three girls.
Back when I first started my organizing journey in 2013, I had what I thought of as a dirty little secret. I have ADHD and although I am organized, and enjoy the process of sorting, and tidying. I knew that there were many others with ADHD who really struggled with staying organized. I had a case of imposter syndrome and mostly kept the fact that I had ADHD to myself. That is until I learned that there are other successful professional organizers who have also learned to compensate for their ADHD.
I eventually realized that my need for order and simplicity actually stems from having ADHD as a way to compensate for my short attention span. So my gifts and my challenges are all ironically tied together to create who I am, and I am able to relate to and help others as a result of this coping method that I have developed for myself.
I help women and moms with ADHD, but I also help those who struggle with clutter without having ADHD. Because simplicity and less clutter are always at the heart of staying organized, there is much overlap when it comes to finding solutions to clutter and disorganization.
I am dedicated to keeping my life as simple as possible and to helping others do the same by teaching them how to declutter their homes, simplify their lives, and manage their busy families better.
I have been helping others stay organized since 2013.
It is my deepest hope that you will find resources here that will bring you closer to living a simpler, more intentional, and more peaceful life.
in your space…
…but let it be
as a daisy
in a vase.
25 ADHD Cleaning Tips To Help You Keep Up At Home
I can attest that many of these ADHD cleaning tips are effective because they work for me, and I have ADHD. While some of these tips are exclusively helpful for those with ADHD, many are simply hacks for cleaning faster and more efficiently… and they work for everyone.
When my children were young, the company I worked for changed ownership. So, I knew it was a good time to quit my desk job. I decided to clean houses part-time for a short time to spend more time at home.
A short time turned into 7 years of cleaning houses. I came away with lots of great cleaning skills. Instead of going back to a desk job, my organizing business was born and the rest is history.
For those with ADHD, cleaning struggles have nothing to do with laziness.
If you have ADHD, cleaning tips for neurotypical brains may not always work for you. Struggling with house cleaning has nothing at all to do with laziness. If anything, those with ADHD often have more energy than those without.
The struggle with cleaning has more to do with how our executive functioning is affected, and though it is different for each individual, many tend to struggle with similar issues. Staying on task, getting overwhelmed, losing interest, or not having the motivation to get started are some of the common ones.
These ADHD cleaning tips will make cleaning easier and keep your home more clutter-free:
1. This one ADHD cleaning tip will have the greatest impact on keeping your home clean overall.
If I were to give you just one cleaning tip that would have the greatest impact on your ability to keep up at home with ADHD, it would be to reduce your home’s overall inventory. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to clean, organize and maintain everything you own.
Those with ADHD tend to get overwhelmed with Visual clutter more quickly than those who don’t. For this reason, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference this one thing makes. Less stuff, means less work, less cleaning, less clutter, and less visual overwhelm. Take a critical eye to everything in your home and only keep it if you truly need and use it.
2. Store things simply.
Store things so that it would be just as easy to put them away as it would be to leave them out. You want to make clean-up as easy for yourself as possible. That way it is more likely to get done.
Storing things so that they look beautiful is great, but not at the expense of your time and effort. In other words, if you have ADHD, efficiency comes before beauty. For example, storing all of your pantry dry goods in matching containers may look lovely but that system requires a lot of work to maintain.
If you keep laundry detergent in a beautiful glass jar in your laundry room, will you realistically take the time to keep it filled? Keep things stored simply. Don’t micro-organize your underwear drawer because that will require too much effort to keep up.
3. Place things in locations to make clean-up easy for yourself.
If you struggle with emptying the trash can, put the dumpster right outside your back door so that you can easily dump your kitchen trash into it. If laundry on the floor is an issue, place hampers in all those areas where laundry accumulates.
If you struggle with keeping the kitchen swept, make the job easier by storing a broom and dustpan nearby. If you do crafts in the dining room, storing the supplies in the back bedroom will require too much effort at clean-up time. Instead, store everything in the dining room to make cleaning up quick and simple.
See what else you can move around in your home to make cleaning and putting things away easier.
These ADHD cleaning tips will help you clean your home smarter and faster:
4. Keep all of your bathroom cleaning products in one cleaning bin.
Rather than storing several stinky bathroom cleaning products underneath every bathroom sink, keep everything in one handy cleaning caddy.
Be sure to choose a bin with a handle so you can easily carry it when you clean. Also make sure it is large enough to hold everything you need for cleaning the bathrooms. This will allow you to reduce how many cleaning products you need to buy and store.
5. Organize Your Cleaning Products.
Store all of your cleaning products together in one location and keep all similar products grouped together. That way, you will know exactly how much you have and where to find it when you need it. This makes cleaning easier and faster because no time is wasted looking for things.
6. Keep related items together.
When you have multiple bottles of the same things stored in multiple locations, you risk losing track of how many you have. Once you lose control of your inventory, you start guessing when deciding whether or not you need to buy more. When you guess, you end up with a lot of duplicates. Keeping similar items together in one location will help you stay on top of knowing exactly how much of everything you have.
7. Minimize your inventory of cleaning products.
In the spirit of keeping things simple, use caution not to get carried away and purchase large quantities of cleaning products from bulk membership stores. Sure, that 6 pack of bathroom disinfectant seemed like a good deal, but now you have to find a place to store it all for 6 years because it will take you that long to use it up.
8. Vinegar and baking soda are super-powered cleaning products.
I used smelly, harsh, chemical-based cleaning products for years before I discovered that vinegar and baking soda will clean just about everything in your home and do a better job! Vinegar and baking soda are gentle, natural, more environmentally friendly, and less costly. I now use these two products on nearly everything in my home.
Baking soda is perfect for anything that needs a porous scrub like bathtubs, and kitchen sinks. White vinegar diluted with a little water in a spray bottle creates a powerful multi-surface cleaning product. I use 2 parts vinegar – 1 part water. This vinegar solution can be used on sinks, mirrors, cabinets, floors, showers, and much more.
Since vinegar and water are gentle and effective on so many surfaces, you can buy less of all those other products and save more storage space.
9. Clean your microwave quickly & with minimal effort.
Stop scrubbing your microwave all the time with two effective solutions: 1 – Keep a microwave splatter cover in your microwave at all times so your family will remember to use it. 2 – To clean it, spray it down with the above-mentioned vinegar solution and wait 5-10 minutes. It will instantly wipe clean with no scrubbing required.
10. Let time do the scrubbing for you while you do something else.
Speaking of putting time to work for you, you can use vinegar and water, and/or baking soda on many stained surfaces such as your stovetop, pots and pans, showers, bathtubs, toilet bowls, and faucets, just to name a few. Spray liberally and let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes. It will loosen the stains and hard water deposits so that you can wipe it clean with minimal elbow grease.
11. Get your bathroom and kitchen sinks super clean, super fast.
Spray the entire sink and faucet with vinegar and water solution. Let it sit for a few minutes to loosen stains and hard water deposits. Use the porous side of a scratch-free sponge to scrub the sink and faucet. Rinse with water. Wipe the sink dry with a clean cotton cloth and revel at how sparkling clean it is!
If your sink is extremely soiled, you can use a small amount of baking soda and the porous side of a scratch-free scrub sponge to scrub it clean before spraying it with vinegar and water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse baking soda with water before moving on to the next step.
12. The dishwasher can wash more than just dishes.
Save time by washing knick-knacks, bath toys, and glass light fixtures in the dishwasher. Your glass coffee pot and coffee filter cage can also go in there. Dishwashers generally wash more gently on the top rack so keep this in mind for delicate items.
13. Get your hardwood floors sparkling clean.
You can use vinegar and water in a bucket, and a mop to safely clean your hardwood floors. Use half a cup of white vinegar and a gallon bucket of warm water. Use a mop that allows you to easily access nooks and crannies. I prefer to use a Rubbermaid self-wringing mop because it is durable, long-lasting, and cleans well.
Make sure you don’t get your wood floors too wet, as water can remove the finish or potentially cause warping or deterioration. I avoid using disposable floor-mopping products. They may be quick, but they don’t do a good job, are costly, and they’re not environmentally friendly.
14. While we focus primarily on ADHD cleaning tips in this article, laundry deserves mentioning.
Keep up with the laundry by reducing your load. As I mentioned above, the more stuff you own, the harder it is to manage it all. The same rule applies to keeping up with the laundry. I have seen this many times with my clients who own a large quantity of clothing.
Because they can afford to get behind on washing without running out of clothing, they inevitably do. Once they get behind, it’s hard to get caught up again. Owning less clothing requires us to keep up with washing it all. And keeping up is always easier than trying to catch up.
These ADHD cleaning tips will help you to stop forgetting or putting off cleaning tasks:
15. Figure out your cleaning style and use it to your advantage.
Are you an ‘all or nothing’ person or would you prefer to proceed bit by bit? If you are more likely to succeed if you dedicate an entire day to cleaning your home twice a month then do that. Is it easier to tackle one quick task a day? Figure out what works best for your style and your schedule and stick with that. It doesn’t matter how the work gets done, as long as it works for you.
16. Use a system to remind yourself to do household cleaning tasks.
Put cleaning tasks on your calendar so that you remember to do them. This is especially helpful for tasks you don’t enjoy, or forget often. I use my Google calendar and have it linked to my email so that I also get an email reminder. Once you get something on the calendar, it is more likely to get done.
You can also use a system like Alexa to remind you to do household jobs. For example “Alexa – Remind me to take out the trash every Wednesday at 7:00 pm.”
17. Sticky notes placed in the right locations can also help you to remember to do things.
This little trick seems too simple to be effective but it does work. We struggled with remembering to put the toilet lids down, (to prevent the dog from using the toilets as a water dish…yuck!) so I posted a sticky note on the underside of the lid. We finally stopped forgetting and the dog stopped drinking. Sticky notes are especially effective for establishing new habits.
Here are a few examples: Keep your car clean by placing a sticky note on your dashboard as a reminder to take trash and other items with you as you get out of the car. Place one by the sink to remind family members to put dishes in the dishwasher instead of in the sink. Place one on the bathroom vanity to remind yourself to tidy up before you leave the room.
18. Name your cleaning or other household task days.
Susan Pinsky, the author of Organizing Solutions For People With ADHD suggests naming your household chore days to stay on task; designate a laundry day, bill paying day, food prep day, bathroom cleaning day, etc. What this does, is create a routine, which makes getting things done on certain days, automatic for your brain.
19. If you see a quick job that needs to be done…do it now.
If you see something that can be put away or cleaned up in less than two minutes, do it now. Since most people with ADHD are highly visual anyway…we have to see it to remember to do it…doing it now is an excellent method for getting things done.
If you notice that the top shelf in the frig is getting pretty grody, give it a quick wipe down. In less than 60 seconds, you just wiped a chore off of your to-do list.
20. Push past the inability to get started cleaning.
Task initiation is one of several executive functions that can be affected if you have ADHD. That might mean that while doing interesting tasks are not a problem for you, you just can’t muster the energy to get started on things you don’t enjoy like maybe… cleaning the house. Knowing this, try to push past the urge to procrastinate and just get started.
These ADHD cleaning tips will help make cleaning less painful:
21. Don’t be afraid to delegate cleaning tasks to other family members.
Kids benefit from doing chores in many ways, so you can lighten your load guilt-free. It encourages self-sustainability and responsibility and also teaches them the value of teamwork. Families function best when everyone within the family unit contributes and does their part.
22. Find ways to make cleaning a more pleasant experience.
Another way to get past task inertia is to see if you can make cleaning more interesting for yourself. The use of earbuds today makes it possible to listen to a podcast or to some music while you work.
You could also call a friend and chat with her while you clean. Another idea to give yourself the incentive to get the job done is to reward yourself with a well-deserved treat when you’ve finished. A cup of tea, a favorite TV show, or a nap (my favorite) are all good examples.
23. Break cleaning tasks into small chunks to build momentum and avoid overwhelm.
Another effective way to push past getting started is to build momentum. Start by only focusing on completing one small task. For example, just pick up all the trash. Once that is done, just put all the dirty laundry into the hamper.
Keep moving forward with one task at a time. By doing this, you will make progress without getting overwhelmed. Written to-do lists are also effective. This way you can check each task off the list as you go. I love to be able to cross items off my list as I make progress.
24. If you hate to vacuum, consider investing in a Roomba.
Why not make cleaning a little easier for yourself and let Roomba do the vacuuming for you? Depending on what model you buy, it can do a surprisingly good job. I can say from experience that these things are game changers. I have one and LOVE it. While the Roomba vacuums, you can be getting something else done. I was skeptical until I witnessed it doing a good job in my clients homes.
Be sure to invest in a good model like the Roomba i4 which has the technology to avoid issues. The one I have vacuums the entire upstairs of my home beautifully and returns to its base without getting stuck or running out of charge. They can also be set on a start-up timer so that they get to work without you having to even think about it. By getting help with this weekly cleaning job, you’ll have more time to keep up with everything else.
25. Clean your house task by task, not room by room.
It takes less time to apply a task to your whole house than to clean one room at a time completely. For example, when you vacuum, vacuum the whole house. When you mop, save it until last and do the whole house.
When I clean, I do it in this order: 1. Pick up any trash and/or clutter. 2. Clean all the bathrooms. 3. Clean the kitchen. 4. Dust the whole house. 5. Sweep and vacuum everywhere. 5. Mop all of the floors including the bathrooms. 6. Walk around the house and feel fabulous because the whole house is clean!
Now…go take a nap.
To learn more about getting customized virtual help with organizing everything in your home, visit my VIRTUAL ORGANIZING page. Get expert help from a professional organizer at a fraction of the price of hiring one in person.
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