How to stay organised for people with ADHD

How to stay organised for people with ADHD? It’s totally frustrating living with ADHD in the house. Chores seem to take 5 times as long, occur days later than requested, or just don’t happen at all. It can mean stuff spread everywhere, on every surface, and not a clean sock in sight.

So, I read “Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD” by Sysan Pinsky. It was incredibly insightful and made me realise several mistakes I was making in setting out the house for my ADHD family. So, I now have a bunch of tips for how to stay organised for people with ADHD.

People with ADHD can struggle with executive functioning, including things such as:

  • motivation to start and stick with tasks
  • distraction and a desire to seek entertainment rather than boring things
  • the effort it takes to do non-motivating and boring tasks can be feel huge

Motivation, distraction and the effort it takes to complete tasks all contribute to making chores and organisation really difficult.

But there are many hints in the book on how to make things:

  • easy and effortless, with a minimum of steps and mental effort required
  • quick, with a minimum amount of time required
  • visible, so they aren’t “out of sight, out of mind”

Think about your house set up – are all organisational chores easy, effortless, quick and visible? If they aren’t, there’s a likelihood that this is why your ADHD family can’t complete them consistently.

Consider some of this advice from the book, for each room of the house.

How to keep the laundry organised

Make the chore of cleaning, sorting, folding and putting away washing easier, quicker and more visible.

  • Have a dirty clothes hamper for each family member and only do loads of washing for one person at a time – no sorting required.
  • Go and buy socks in the same style and colour. When they are clean, just chuck them all into an open basket – no need for matching pairs, rolling and careful storage. When you need a sock, just grab any two and you’re good to go.
  • Have less clothes. Go minimal and it will be easier to see all your clothes in the wardrobe, easier to wash smaller loads of items, and easier to pick your outfit for the day.
  • Use open baskets for your clothes, rather than drawers where items might be unseen and hiding at the back. If you have t-shirts, just chuck them into an open basket for shirts – no folding, so super quick to put away.
  • Have a washing basket for each family member -only their clothes go in that basket so no sorting required, and the basket only needs to travel from the laundry to their room (not all over the house via every bedroom).
  • If you’re on your own, put dirty washing straight into the washing machine. When the machine is full, run the load. This avoids a massive pile of clothes in a hamper, piling up until it’s overwhelming. It also helps with making decisions of when to do washing – whenever the machine is full.

Bathroom organisation for people with ADHD

Have you ever thought about how many steps it takes to change your towels? Do you need to go into the bathroom, remove the towels from the racks. Then take them into the laundry to wash them. And then go to the hallway linen cupboard to get new towels and take them back into the bathroom? That’s a lot of walking around the house and steps to follow for someone with ADHD. Instead, try to:

  • have open shelving that contains spare toilet paper, a spare set of clean towels, and any other spare items like shampoo, soap etc. Keep it visible so it can be seen and easily accessed. Don’t store bulk toilet paper and other items in hidden locations around the house, in cupboards in the garage or the back of wardrobes. Out of sight means they will be forgotten, and storing them far away from where they are needed means too much effort to access them.
  • keep a set of cleaning cloths and spray bottles in the bathroom for cleaning the bathroom. This avoids having to walk to elsewhere in the house to find the cleaning bottles, carry them to the bathroom, only to get distracted along the way.

Kitchens for ADHD organisation

While kitchens can be small rooms, they are also frequently used and can get messy quickly. Some hints for ADHD living include:

  • Only have a small number of plates, bowls, cups etc. This not only means less to wash (and incentive to wash when you’ve run out of clean things), it also means you can keep them visible and easily accessible. Don’t stack bowls on top of plates – when putting items away you’ll have to take off the bowls, put the plate down, put the bowls back on top… that’s too many steps and too much effort!
  • If you have visitors, use paper plates. Don’t bother with washing up if you can avoid the effortful chore of tons of dishes.
  • Take the doors of cupboards if you need to be able to see what’s inside and not forget what’s there.
  • Arrange the pantry so everything can be seen – no more tins hiding at the back forever. Have a narrow shelf one can deep, or use glass jars to be able to see what’s inside, or use organisational tools to help arrange items so they can all be seen.
  • Only buy food that you need for meals that week. Shop online to a list for your meal planning and stick to it. This helps avoid food going bad at the back of the fridge.

Keeping surfaces clear in the ADHD house

For a digital society, we still get lots of paper come through the door. From bills, to mail, and kid craft, it’s tempting to make a pile in the kitchen and let it stack up and grow. But no longer! Here’s some tips for how to stay organised for people with ADHD:

  • Avoid the pile of papers on the kitchen bench. Have a one look policy. If you don’t want or need it, chuck it out (or recycle). Just put it in the bin – don’t worry about shredding or anything else. If it needs an action, aim to action it right away then get rid of the paper.
  • If the dining table gets piled with projects, papers and other works in progress, help clear them out with a tray or trolley. Transfer the items to a trolley that sits in the dining room away from the table. Now you have a clear table to eat at. When you want to work on your project again, just wheel the trolley or tray back in.
  • Be ruthlessly minimalist. The easiest way to be organised as a person with ADHD is to have less stuff!

So there we have it – some guidelines for how to stay organised for people with ADHD.

Oh hi there superstar 👋
It’s nice to meet you.

Sign up to the Capybara Crew to get 10% off, and go in the draw for a free planner- there's a winner every month.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top