ADHD ORGANIZING TIPS | Cleaning
30 ADHD Friendly Organizing, Laundry, and Cleaning Tips
Create an ADHD Friendly Home With These Laundry, Cleaning, and Organizing Tips.
As a professional organizer who also has ADHD, I can attest that the secret sauce to having an ADHD friendly home, is to simplify. Have less stuff, keep tasks simple and figure out how to get things done with as few steps as possible.
I used to think that I took shortcuts because I was lazy, but this was actually my way of coping with my ADHD. But here is the thing …the lazy method works for me, and it is effective for my clients with ADHD as well. The following tips will help you on your way to simplifying your household inventory and chores in order to create an ADHD friendly home for you and your family.
LAUNDRY TIPS FOR AN ADHD FRIENDLY HOME
1. Stop losing, sorting, and folding socks and underwear.
Purchase a small mesh laundry bag for each family member and use a black permanent marker to initial each bag. Then have each family member get into the habit of placing their soiled socks and underwear into the bags. Once they come out of the dryer, just hand the bags over to each family member to put away themselves. I love delegating this job because I hate messing with folding socks and underwear!
2. Eliminate the need to fold sheets.
Remove your bed linens and put that same set back on the bed once you have washed them. No folding needed. Keep a second set you only use for company or emergencies in a linen closet.
3. Wash bedding every other week rather than weekly.
Just because your mom told you that you had to wash your sheets every single week, every other week will suffice and might help you to manage the task better if you are struggling to keep up.
4. Wash bath towels weekly instead of after each use.
Bodies are clean when we come out of the shower so why not use a towel a few times before washing? Assign specific colored towels to each family member and have them use the same one or two towels all week.
5. Establish the habit of doing laundry on the same day each week.
Designate a laundry day and make it your goal to get all laundry done on this day. Then you don’t have to think about doing laundry for the rest of the week. Once you get in the habit of having say… Saturday be your laundry day, it will become more automatic.
If you tend to forget to keep your laundering process moving, throughout the day, use a Timer Cube to help you remember. Set the timer to go off when it’s time to put a load of laundry into the dryer.
6. Simplify the pre-sorting process.
Divide all laundry into only two baskets, darks, and lights. To drastically simplify, don’t sort at all and just wash everything on the cold cycle with cold temperature detergent. You can also use your washing machine’s soak setting to help release soil and stains. If you have older children, you can do one load per family member, keeping all of their clothing together. Once it’s clean, hand it over to them to fold.
7. Don’t wash laundry until it is visibly soiled or does not smell clean.
Not only will you save time because you will have less laundry, but your clothing will last longer. Washing less is more environmentally friendly as well, using less water and electricity. Kids are notorious for tossing mostly clean clothing into the hamper (at least mine are) so communicate the rules clearly to them. Does it still smell fresh? Does it look clean? If so, don’t wash it.
8. Do you get stuck when it comes time to fold?
While I normally don’t recommend multitasking due to the stress is causes, folding clothes is the exception because it can be done with minimal thought. Talking on the phone or watching television will help make the chore more interesting. If you can’t fold before wrinkles set in, toss a wet towel into the dryer and let it run for 10 minutes. Presto..no more wrinkles!
9. To get drastically simple and reduce folding time, eliminate folding young children’s clothing altogether.
With very young children, they have such small-sized clothing, folding is not always necessary. Simply sort it into piles by category; tops, shorts, pants, etc. Then simply lay the sorted clothing in dresser drawers, PJs in one drawer, pants in another, etc.
10. The less clothing you own, the easier it will be to keep up with the laundry.
Often, my clients who struggle the most with keeping up with the laundry also happen be the ones with an excessive amount of clothing. This happens because they can afford to get behind on washing without running out of clothing. But when they get behind, they get overwhelmed. So having less clothing requires us to keep up, lest we run out of clothing and have to go naked.
ORGANIZING TIPS FOR AN ADHD-FRIENDLY HOME
1. Store things simply.
Focus on organizing things so that they are super easy to find, access, and put away quickly. When organizing closets, bedrooms, kitchens or other spaces, leave tops off of bins, labels, and clear containers. Avoid stacking things on top of each other or placing frequently used items in hard-to-reach areas. Overcrowding and over nesting makes things hard to put away and retrieve. You want to make everything as easy to use and maintain as possible…fuss-free.
2. Less stuff always equals less clutter.
For those with ADHD, visual clutter is overwhelming. So, it is important to guard against clutter by keeping only the things that you truly love and/or serve you in some way. If you don’t use it but are keeping it because you think you might use it someday, consider letting it go. Keep in mind that the more stuff you have, the harder it will be to keep everything organized. On the flip side, the more decluttering you do of the things that you don’t really use, the easier it will be to keep it all organized.
3. Establish as many routines and habits as possible.
Habits and routines are our helpers and they can keep us on track to get things done. Routines and habits also make tasks more automatic, which allows us to do things with minimal thought or effort. Before you know it, you will have formed a habit and won’t need to be reminded. Habits and routines help us not only to be more productive at home, but they help with productivity outside of the home as well.
4. Avoid Micro Organizing.
It is easier to maintain organizing systems if they are simple and functional but not overly complicated. Using a sock drawer, for example, place three bins inside your drawer, toss all dark socks (folded or unfolded) into one and light socks into another bin. Use the third bin for other items, such as heavy winter or dress socks. This is better than having lots of separate compartments to perfectly organize each individual pair of socks. Complicated organizing systems may look impressive but require too much time and effort to use and maintain. Easy in, easy out, is best if you have ADHD.
5. If you have hot spots in your home where clutter accumulates, lean into it.
See if you can find a way to store things where they tend to land rather than constantly moving things to a different location. Use large bins, or shoe organizers for shoes, hooks to hang coats or backpacks, and decorative baskets or bins to hide paperwork, mail, keys, or other clutter.
6. To avoid overwhelm, organize one small space at a time.
Focus on one small space at a time and break up large rooms into small chunks. Breaking a project into small manageable chunks will help you to see your results as you go. At the end of the day, you can open your pantry or closet and see the fruit of your labor.
7. Store things where you use them.
This organizing hack makes sense for everyone but is very important for those with ADHD. You want to make it really easy for yourself to access and put things away quickly so that you are more likely to do it. For example, don’t store your knitting supplies in your bedroom if you do your knitting in the living room. Instead, place a decorative basket next to the chair you do your knitting in to toss everything into.
8. What comes in, must go out.
Put decluttering and donating on your calendar at least twice a year. Stuff comes into our homes on a constant basis, so be sure that you are getting rid of the things that you are no longer using just as often as you acquire.
9. Create a donate box to encourage automatic decluttering.
You will be amazed at how much clutter you can eliminate by employing this one trick with your family. If you set a box labeled DONATE in an accessible but out-of-the-way location and let your family know that this is where they can put the things they no longer want. The box will start to fill up magically and before you know it, you’ll have a full box to take to a charity.
10. Get into the habit of automatic tidying.
Never go up or down the stairs without something in your hands that belongs in another spot. Every time you walk out of the kitchen or living room to head to the bedroom or bathroom, take something with you that belongs in that room. You will be surprised at how effective this simple habit is in keeping your home tidy.
CLEANING TIPS FOR AN ADHD-FRIENDLY HOME
1. Use your calendar to remind you to do household cleaning tasks.
This is especially helpful for tasks that you don’t like to do or don’t need to do frequently. Once you get something on the calendar, it is more likely to get done.
If you have an Alexa device for your home, you can turn it into a helpful tool for reminding you to do important household tasks. You can ask your Alexa to remind you to vacuum the house, take out the trash or to do a 10-minute tidy session every day.
2. Organize Your Cleaning Products.
Keep your cleaning items accessible, labeled, and grouped together. Keep everything in one handy basket or bin with a handle so you can carry it around the house with you. This allows to you reduce how many products you store. You won’t need to have disinfectant and toilet bowl cleaner stealing space underneath every bathroom sink in your house.
3. Vinegar and baking soda – are super-powered cleaning products.
I used smelly, 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! Baking soda is perfect for anything that needs a porous scrub, then rinse with vinegar and water. Vinegar diluted with water in a spray bottle creates a powerful multi-surface cleaning product. (I do 3 parts vinegar – 1 part water) Use this vinegar solution on sinks, microwaves, floors, showers, and more. Bonus…no more breathing chemicals when you clean. Double bonus…no more need to buy multiple, less natural, more expensive products that end up stealing storage space.
4. Stop wasting time and energy scrubbing surfaces.
A microwave, for example, will instantly wipe clean 10 minutes after it has been sprayed down with the above-mentioned vinegar solution. Let time scrub your shower, oven, or stovetop for you, while you do something else.
5. The dishwasher can wash more than just dishes.
Save time by washing knick-knacks, bath toys, glass light fixtures, and more in the dishwasher. Just place them on the top rack.
6. Invest in a robotic vacuum.
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.
7. Figure out your cleaning style and use it to your advantage.
Are you an ‘all or nothing person or do 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. On the other hand, if it’s more manageable to tackle one quick task a day, get into the habit of doing that. Figure out what works best for your style and stick with it.
8. Skip using single-use, disposable cleaning products.
They are expensive, not environmentally friendly, and do not clean as well as traditional cleaning products. Nothing replaces a durable Rubbermaid self-wringing twist mop, it allows you to get into all the nooks and crannies of your floor and cleans more thoroughly than other mops. Mop your floors with vinegar and water and they will come out squeaky clean. The cleaner your floor gets when you mop it, the longer it will go before it needs to be cleaned again…saving you time in the long run.
9. Practice the two-minute rule: If you see a quick job that needs to be done…do it now.
This tip actually applies to both cleaning and tidying up. 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, why not quick wipe it down?
10. 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. Assign age-appropriate tasks to each child. It encourages self-sustainability and also teaches them the value of teamwork. Families function best when everyone within the family unit contributes and does their part.
Want Room-By-Room Guidance with Decluttering and Organizing Your Home?
My Complete Step-By-Step Home Makeover Tutorial for Those with ADHD is now available. Click below to learn more about how you can get support from me just as if I were working there with you in your home.
I am 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.
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