19 ADHD home organisation hacks you may not have heard of
ADHD affects executive function, which includes planning, task initiation, organising and completing tasks.
This often manifests in your living spaces. ADHDers love the dopamine hit of a new purchase (don’t we all?) but paradoxically find it difficult to manage their belongings, and difficult to function with lots of visual stimuli.
These ADHD home organisation hacks will minimise and tackle the chaos in your home and your brain.
1. Manage your beautiful brain. Get a diagnosis and medication where necessary, to calm the inner and outer mayhem.
2. Stay out of the shops, and the websites, and everything that tempts you to acquire. Turn off the tap of the stuff coming in.
3. Declutter and minimise your existing stuff. This ADHD home organisation hack is very important yet difficult for an ADHDer, so start small. Get help from us or just a friend. Having less stuff means less to manage, less to tidy, less mental load, and less decision fatigue.
4. Organise what remains by grouping like with like. Also, think about Point of Performance (where everyday items are used). If you drink multiple cups of tea every day, it makes sense to store your teabags and mugs near your kettle. If you don’t want them on display, pop them in the nearest drawer or cupboard. Your brain will want you to dump these items in the easiest spot, so you may as well systemise it so things are tidy.
5. Related to the above, put away items rarely used (once categorised and grouped) so they don’t crowd your space.
6. Clear storage boxes are useful, because you can see what’s inside. ADHD brains often forget what they can’t see. On the other hand, clear tubs may increase visual stimulation, so you need to find a balance. Also careful with your stacking. Don’t put frequent-use items at the bottom of a stack. It’s too many steps and a barrier to access and maintenance. Lids can also be a pest, so feel free to use tubs as drawers on shelving, without lids.
7. Another ADHD home organisation hack besides clear tubs is to label everything. This makes belongings easy to find AND easy to put away. Glancing at a label is faster than:
- asking yourself “what lives here?”, or
- opening that drawer to find the answer, or
- not bothering with either of the above and just dumping the item anywhere.
8. Problem solve. What is frustrating you?
- Is it the pile of washing on your spare bed where you strip off? Put a basket there. This works a lot better than trying to tell yourself not to dump clothes there.
- Is it the time taken to find everything you need for your bedtime routine? Put all those items in one tub or drawer, and label it accordingly.
- Is it the horrible sliding doors on your wardrobe? You could take them off. There are no rules for how a house should look. Be curious, harness that hyper-focus and look for answers.
9. An organised home is not self-sustaining. Things need to be put away or the systems fall apart. This is what ‘tidying up’ is – putting things where they belong. Decide for yourself how often you want to tidy. Once a day will mean it’s super quick, once a week will be a lengthier process. Shorter, more frequent bursts are a great habit to get into, and are much more achievable and less daunting than a big sesh once a week. Put on some motivating music or use the Pomodoro Technique to get moving. Or chat to a friend while tidying to keep yourself accountable. You WILL get a much-deserved dopamine burst once you are finished. Enjoy it.
10. Be careful of DOOM boxes, but it’s OK to use them in moderation. DOOM means Didn’t Organise, Only Moved and represents a random collection or dumping ground. One DOOM / miscellaneous box that enables you to clear surfaces quickly can be helpful. Make sure you deal with the DOOM regularly in line with the tidying system above. Don’t make multiple DOOMies or leave them for ages.
11. Checklists stored electronically or in useful places, is another ADHD home organisation hack. For example, a ‘go to work’ checklist, or a ‘get Olive ready for daycare’ checklist, or a ‘prepare for bed’ checklist. Brain dumping and then refining these repeated task-lists means you don’t have to think about them every time. A go zone for leaving the house is a good idea too, where you store your everyday essentials.
12. If your brain enjoys routine, schedule your week. Saturdays you do laundry, Sundays grocery shop, etc.
13. Outsource. Professional Organisers are experts at decluttering and organising, but you could also look at what you hate the most and pay for that. A window cleaner, a gardener, a tax accountant, pre-cut salads. Anything that gives you some breathing space to focus on what you CAN do, will help, if you can afford it. Even baby wipes are a shortcut to cleaning your house or yourself on less functional days.
14. Have a designated place for all the important things like keys, wallet and phone, and get into routines and habits. If these items are still getting lost, have spare keys cut and think about AirTags or tracking devices.
15. Wear low-maintenance clothes that don’t need ironing or even folding. Who’s got time for that? It’s okay to put on your regularly-worn garments straight from the laundry basket. Saves putting all the things in all the places, only to get them out again.
16. Donate regularly. Decluttering is a practice, not a project, so make it easy by having an op shop bag or box near the door. Make sure the container is donatable too, so you can dump the whole lot easily.
17. Get your bills emailed rather than mailed. Opening and dealing with paperwork is no fun for anyone.
18. Have a ‘forage day’ meal at least once a week to clear up leftovers and produce that need decluttering from your fridge. That saves food waste and precious dollars.
19. Use technology and/or sticky notes as reminders. Get it out of your beautiful busy brain and onto somewhere useful.
Read some other ideas in ADHD and tidying up.
Remember your brain has super-powers, and with these ADHD home organisation hacks you will be harnessing that brilliance and powering through your days.