ADHD ORGANIZING TIPS
Step-by-Step ADHD-Friendly Bedroom Organizing Tips
Who I am is a Southern California turned small-town, Midwest Mom. I am wife to Bruce and mom to my three girls. I am also dog mom to Ollie and Gracie, our quirky pups.
Back when I first started my professional 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 really successful professional organizers who have also learned to compensate for their ADHD the same way that I have.
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.
ADHD-Friendly Bedroom Organizing Tips: Step-by-Step
If you have ADHD, keeping your bedroom organized may be especially challenging for you. I have created this list of step-by-step ADHD-friendly bedroom organizing tips to help you succeed:
A bedroom SHOULD be a place of rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. But, I often see bedrooms that look more like storage areas than anything else. Bedrooms are often the messiest rooms in the house.
Why are our bedrooms magnets for everything under the sun?
I have heard this line many times, “I was in a pinch because guests were coming over, so I scooped it all up and stuck it in my room.” And once it lands there, it stays there. This is also where numerous things like unfinished projects, returns that need to be made, and purchased gifts waiting to be given, all end up.
Because the bedroom is not a public space, it becomes a magnet for everything that we may not want others to see. This is also where things end up that don’t have a home anywhere else.
But, you deserve to have a supportive and tranquil place to retreat to at the end of a busy day. And if you have ADHD, you are more likely to be distracted by the visual clutter you see in your bedroom than those who don’t have ADHD.
For this reason, I have created this list of ADHD-friendly bedroom organizing and decluttering tips to guide you:
Use this list to get your bedroom clean, organized, and clutter-free once and for all. After reading this post, and before starting your project, create a detailed to-do list tailored to your own bedroom.
Cross off each item on your to-do list as you make progress. This will give you a little dopamine boost and motivate you to keep going! It will also help you stay focused and help you see tangible progress being made.
Before you begin, you may also want to write out your vision and goals for your bedroom. Ask yourself, what is working and what is not working? Getting clear about your goals and how you want your room to serve you will help you stay grounded as you work.
I also recommend taking a before photo of your room before you start so that you can look back and see how far you have come.
Complete the following steps, one task at a time, and do not move on until each task is complete.
Step 1. Gather supplies and set up your workspace.
Gather trash bags, some empty boxes, and a laundry bin. You will also need sticky notes and a marker.
Clear off and make your bed so that you can use it as a workspace for sorting things. Label an empty box DONATE and use it to donate items that you no longer need or use. Also, set up and label a box RETURN for things that go into a different room.
ADHD can make it challenging to stay focused during the work process. Place anything that goes into a different room into this RETURN box as you work. Put these items away at the end of your work session. If you have to leave the room to put something away, you may get distracted…and forget to come back.
Minimize other distractions by turning off electronic devices, and informing others in your household about your task at hand.
In her book How To Keep House While Drowning, author KC Davis, who has ADHD herself and is a licensed therapist, states, “There are really only five things that need to be tackled in any given room: trash, dishes, laundry, things that have a place, and things without a place.” I agree with this concept.
Step 2. Use a trash bag to pick up any trash you see.
Step 3. Take any dirty dishes to the kitchen and put them in the sink if there are any.
Step 4. Pick up any dirty laundry and take it to the laundry room.
Once these 4 things are done you will already feel like you have made some progress and will feel less overwhelmed.
Step 5. Move on to clearing the clutter from your room, one section at a time.
Break the job into manageable chunks.
Have you attempted to organize your bedroom in the past but always end up getting overwhelmed and walking back out the door? If your bedroom has gotten significantly out of control, the key to doing it successfully is to break the job into small chunks. By doing this, you will start to make progress without getting overwhelmed. This will also help you clearly see your progress and build the momentum to continue.
I usually work in this order:
- Clear Floor Area, (start in one corner of the room and work your way to the opposite side of the room.)
- Clear off chairs and any other furniture.
- Organize Nightstand and Dresser Drawers one drawer at a time.
- Clean under the bed.
- Finish with clearing off flat surfaces (tops of dressers and nightstands).
Remember to be patient with yourself and celebrate the progress you make along the way. This post does not address organizing your closet, however, I have written a post to help you organize this space as well. You can find it here: 13 Simple ADHD Closet Organizing Tips.
Step 6. Begin the sorting and purging process.
As you work on each of these sections one at a time, use the top of your bed to sort your belongings into categories. For example, create piles of sorted clothes, books, gadgets, and miscellaneous items. This step helps you gain a clearer understanding of what you have so that it will be easier to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of.
Make only no-brainer decisions right away.
Do not attempt to put any items away or make difficult decisions about whether or not to keep or let go of anything at this point. However, obvious trash, items to donate, and items that need to be returned to a different room can immediately be put into those boxes or bags.
Step 7. Use sticky notes.
Use sticky notes to easily identify your piles of sorted items as you make them. You may think you can remember what is in each pile, but once you have got several piles formed you might forget…trust me on this one.
Step 8. Go Back and Evaluate the piles.
Once everything from a given space or drawer has been sorted, revisit each pile and decide what to keep and what to purge. Ask yourself, Do I use it? Do I love it? Do I have a place for it? If you can’t answer yes to some of these questions, consider donating it.
Remember, the goal is to create a space that promotes relaxation and restoration. Be decisive, and don’t hold onto items that no longer serve a purpose.
Step 9. Assign a home to the keepers.
Invest in storage solutions like under-the-bed bins, end-of-bed ottomans, or drawer organizers to keep related items together in containers. Items used frequently should be kept in easy-to-reach spaces. Things rarely used can be stored under the bed or in the back of a closet.
If your room feels cluttered, consider whether or not it makes sense to store rarely used items in your room, or if there is a better spot for it elsewhere. Better yet, if you rarely use it, can you do without it and free up space for other things?
Step10. Empty the RETURN box.
Once you have finished organizing and decluttering each section of your bedroom, it’s time to empty your return box. If you tend to stash items that belong elsewhere (or nowhere) in your bedroom, you may find that as you progress, you are placing many items into your RETURN box.
Do not undermine your organizing efforts by leaving a heaping full RETURN box sitting in your bedroom for 3 months. Believe it or not, I see this all the time. Push yourself to empty the box now while you are motivated to do so. If you put it off until tomorrow, the job may not get done.
Step 11. Find homes for your strays.
If you find that some of the items you find in your room are there because they do not have homes, now is the time to now to determine a permanent home for these things. And no… the home cannot be on top of your bedroom dresser.
Where you choose to store these things is less important than your resolve to assign permanent homes to these items. If you can’t find room for something, it might be time to do some deep decluttering of your storage spaces to make room for these things.
Step 12. Give your bedroom a good cleaning.
Now that your room is clutter-free, finish off your bedroom by giving it a thorough vacuuming and dusting to really make it shine.
Step 13: Maintain Regular Maintenance.
Once you’ve successfully organized and decluttered your bedroom, establish a routine to maintain it. Daily habits, such as making your bed or putting things back in their designated places, can prevent the space from becoming overwhelming again.
As a professional organizer with ADHD, I strongly believe that it’s our habits that are at the core of why some of us stay more organized than others. Our daily and habits and routines hold an enormous amount of power to help or hinder us from day to day.
Atomic Habits written by James Clear, is chock full of helpful tips for building helpful habits so I highly recommend reading this book. I have also written a helpful post highlighting my favorite Atomic Habit Take-aways that can be applied to those with ADHD.
Congratulations! It’s time to celebrate a job well done!
Additional general organizing tips for creating an ADHD-friendly bedroom:
Simplify your bedroom and make it more ADHD-friendly by keeping less stuff in it.
I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference this one thing makes. The more stuff you have, the harder it is to keep it all organized. For those with ADHD, clutter is even more overwhelming than it is for those with neuro-typical brains. So if you have ADHD, it is important to take a critical eye to every single thing that you store in your bedroom. If you do this one thing and do it thoroughly, you will greatly improve your ability to keep your bedroom organized from day to day.
How to make your dresser drawers ADHD-friendly.
Keep in mind that it is easier to maintain organizing systems if they are simple and functional but not overly complicated. For example, placing 3 open bins inside your sock drawer to keep basic colors separated is better than having lots of tiny separate compartments to keep each individual pair of socks in.
Complicated organizing systems may look impressive but they require too much time and effort to set up, use, and maintain. If you have ADHD, you may not have the patience to keep up with this. If any of your top dresser drawers will be home to things other than clothing, you may want to use drawer organizers to keep small items such as jewelry and mementos sorted.
T-shirts leggings and other clothing can be folded vertically as pictured below. Clothing folded this way will take up less room and wrinkle less. It’s also easier to find the clothing you are looking for when you need it, No more digging to the bottom of the drawer to put out a crushed t-shirt.
A note about flat surfaces.
Remember that the more stuff you keep on top of your dresser, and nightstands, the more cluttered your room will appear. This is because this is highly visual clutter and the first thing your eyes land on when you walk in the door. Be sure to leave plenty of empty space on the tops of your dressers and nightstands to give your room a clean and clutter-free feel.
Push past the inability to get started.
Task initiation is one of several executive functions that can be affected if you have ADHD. That might mean that while doing interesting tasks is not a problem for you, you just can’t muster the energy to get started on things you don’t enjoy. One way to get past this is to see if you can make the task more interesting for yourself. Can you inspire creative problem-solving or make the job more fun or challenging somehow?
Celebrate small achievements along the way.
Acknowledge and celebrate your progress as you complete each task. This positive reinforcement can boost your motivation and make the process more enjoyable. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. This will only slow your progress. Just pick back up where you left off and keep moving forward one step at a time focusing on your progress, not on what you have left to do.
As a recap, here’s an example of what your ADHD-friendly bedroom to-do list might look like:
- Determine vision and goals for this room…how do you want it to serve you?
- Take a before photo
- Gather supplies
- Clear off and make your bed
- Set up workspace
- Use a trash bag to pick up trash
- Take dirty dishes to the kitchen
- Pick up dirty laundry and take it to the laundry room
- Clear floor area from left to right
- Clear chairs and other furniture.
- Organize Nightstand(s)
- Organize Dresser Drawers
- Clean under the bed
- Clear flat surfaces
- Clean room
- Empty the RETURN box
- Place boxes and bags of items to be donated in the car to drop off at a charity
Don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done with a cup of tea or coffee, or a treat. Better yet, take a nap in your freshly organized bedroom!
Living with ADHD can present unique challenges when it comes to maintaining an organized and clutter-free bedroom. However, with the right strategies, you can transform your bedroom into a serene and supportive space.
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.
Schedule a coaching call, virtual organizing session, or a home assessment with me, and get the support and encouragement you need to move forward.
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