I am always on the lookout for easy ADHD housekeeping hacks. Because every day, I walk into my closet to choose what to wear, and I see it. It’s always there – staring and mocking me as it grows bigger and bigger each day. I hate it so much. Laundry. Why does it never end??? The laundry basket is never empty. I haven’t seen the bottom of the laundry basket in over a decade. It is hard for my ADHD brain. It never gets checked off my to-do list.
Do you have any household chores you struggle with in the same way? Keeping a clean and tidy home can be a challenge for anyone. Still, for those of us with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), it can often feel like an insurmountable task.
Difficulty with organization, procrastination, and distractibility make maintaining a clean living space overwhelming. However, we can achieve a clean and clutter-free home with the right strategies and a little practice.
These are proven housekeeping tips tailored to those with ADHD, enabling them to conquer the chaos and create a more peaceful environment.
One of the first steps in managing housekeeping for individuals with ADHD is to adopt a minimalist approach. You’re laughing at me now, saying, “Emily, I have kids.” And I get it. When I use the word minimalism here, I’m not talking about having perfectly bare walls, counters, etc.
No. What I mean is use the space you have. For example, I stuff clean kitchen towels into their drawer every week. Every week, my drawer is overfilling, and it stresses me out. Therefore, I need to get rid of the excess of kitchen towels. Or, I need to find a different place to keep them that is the appropriate size.
Clearing out excess clutter creates a less visually overwhelming environment and promotes focus. Additionally, for me, a messy house with lots of clutter leads to increased anxiety and even panic attacks.
Start by decluttering one room at a time, keeping only essential items and belongings that bring joy or serve a purpose. I know that can feel like a daunting task. So, if that feels overwhelming, break it into smaller steps. Start with one drawer. Do you really need so many spatulas?
Develop a Cleaning Schedule
Creating a cleaning schedule is one of the best ADHD housekeeping hacks. We need structure. We need routine.
Cleaning schedules and routines have looked different for me depending on the season of life I’m in. When I had babies and toddlers, I did the bare minimum and was thrilled! I didn’t have much time, energy, or capacity to do daily chores or have a perfectly clean house.
And you know what…Even though my kids are older, I still go through seasons like this. But it is less often. Now, I have more time and energy to devote to a clean house. Cleaning routines will ebb and flow for those with executive functioning struggles. So, make sure you are honest and giving yourself grace for what you can and cannot complete tasks like you’d like.
Ok. Let’s do this. Plan out everything you want to include in your cleaning schedule. Label daily, weekly, or monthly tasks, assigning specific days for particular chores. Breaking down tasks into small, manageable chunks can help prevent overwhelm. Consider using visual aids, alarms, or smartphone apps to remind you of your cleaning schedule.
Utilize Checklists and Visual Prompts
Checklists are indispensable tools in aiding those with ADHD in keeping track of their housekeeping tasks. Break down larger cleaning activities into small, simple steps and create a chore chart.
Additionally, visual prompts like colorful sticky notes serve as gentle reminders and help with task initiation (something I really struggle with!).
And don’t forget the most crucial part of your checklists. The reward system! How will you celebrate? A great way to encourage us to get moving on our daily routine is to have something to look forward to when we are finished.
It can be small, like having a brownie you’ve had your eye on after vacuuming the living room. Or something big like a new set of pots and pans after decluttering the entire kitchen. Whatever it is, give yourself something to look forward to.
Time Blocking Technique
Time blindness is often a struggle for individuals with ADHD. It is incredibly helpful to utilize the time-blocking technique. Wherein you schedule a specific time for cleaning tasks. Allocate a fixed amount of time for each task, ensuring you don’t get hyperfocused and lose track of time.
I set alarms on my phone. For example, I am going to clean bathrooms for 20 minutes. Whatever I get done with is excellent. If I don’t finish everything, I will circle back to cleaning the bathrooms according to what my cleaning routine says.
Break Tasks into Smaller Sections
Large cleaning tasks can be overwhelming for individuals with ADHD, causing procrastination or avoidance. And things that don’t necessarily seem like a big deal to neurotypical people create a crushing feeling of overwhelm. Then, we get stuck.
Breaking chores into smaller sections increases the likelihood of completing them. We do them when they are more doable. Small, frequent efforts are often more manageable than tackling it all at once.
If you are reading this thinking, “Emily, I can barely get myself out of bed and brush my teeth every day, much less clean my house.” I hear you, and I see you. I have been there. Sometimes, homemaking and housekeeping take serious mental fortitude, and everything becomes an impossible task.
If you don’t know her already, I want to introduce you to KC Davis, the creator of Struggle Care. She hosts one of my favorite podcasts, and her website has the best tips and resources for when care tasks become difficult.
Make Cleaning Fun
We love a good dopamine rush to ramp up our executive functioning. Incorporating fun elements into a cleaning routine is one of the best ADHD cleaning tips. Fun elements combat boredom and encourage motivation.
I love to listen to interesting podcasts and captivating audiobooks while cleaning. Sometimes, it’s the single motivator to do my day-to-day tasks.
Blast energetic music throughout the house or slap on a detoxifying face mask, then wash it off when you’re done. Remember those brownies? Mix them up and clean while they bake – then enjoy that reward.
Additionally, you can call a friend and do some body doubling. This is when you are both cleaning while chatting. Turning cleaning into an enjoyable activity increases motivation and extends our short attention span.
Seek Help and Delegate
Remember, you don’t have to do it all alone. Ask for help. I know how difficult it can be sometimes, but do it anyway. Seek assistance from a spouse, family member, or friend.
We all need a little extra help sometimes. If you would go to a friend’s house and wash dishes or pick up dirty clothes if they felt overwhelmed, then trust that they would do the same for you.
Another option is to hire professional cleaners to share the workload. Hiring help is great when you feel your best efforts won’t be enough to do the most simple task. It is a great choice when you need an extensive deep cleaning.
Lastly, the most essential ADHD housekeeping hack is to be kind to yourself. Give yourself grace. It’s important to practice self-compassion throughout the housekeeping journey.
Recognize that ADHD can present unique challenges, and it’s okay if you occasionally struggle to meet all your goals to maintain a clean home.
Be kind to yourself and celebrate small and large victories along the way. Sometimes, the little things are hard work, and that’s a big deal. Every step counts towards a more organized and peaceful living home.
Maintaining a clean and organized home can be daunting for those with ADHD. But with these ADHD cleaning hacks, I know you will be on the right track.
By embracing minimalism, establishing routines, breaking tasks into smaller sections, and utilizing tools like checklists and storage solutions, we can conquer the chaos and create an environment that supports our well-being and mental health.
Remember, progress over perfection is the goal, and by implementing these housekeeping tips, we can transform our homes into peaceful sanctuaries.