For many with ADHD (hyperactive attention deficit disorder), cleaning can be more than a chore–it can feel like a downright impossible mission, with a laundry list of steps that need to be repeated day in and day out. It drains our time and energy and can thrust us into a state of indecision paralysis if we procrastinate on much-needed housekeeping: where do I even begin, and how can I make myself do it?
We may beat ourselves up avoiding that full sink or neglecting a dirty counter, but it helps to treat ourselves with the compassion we deserve and recognize the fact that our brains are uniquely wired. Some tasks come easy to us, while others don’t. If cleaning is one of those things that give you more trouble than it’s worth, I’d like to let you know that it doesn’t always have to be a struggle. Give these ADHD-approved cleaning hacks a try below, and remember–messiness has no moral value.
- Clean in Increments
If you have trouble focusing on one task, such as folding laundry or cleaning the dishes, try cleaning in small spurts at a time. A few shirts here, a few bowls there, and the rest can be left for later.
For those who do their best performances under pressure, you can even try challenging yourself with a timer. Set it to 15 or however many minutes you want, and clean as much as you can before time’s up. When that alarm goes off, you’re done!
- Designate a Junk Box
Finding homes for old CDs and treasured knick-knacks can slow down the decluttering process, which is why ADHD experts recommend having a designated “junk box” to throw any miscellaneous items into.
If you find your box(es) getting full, really take the next few minutes to sort through it. Use what you can, and discard the rest.
- Labels, Labels, Labels
Packing stuff away into closets and cases often leads to an “out of sight, out of mind” problem, so taking a few minutes to slap some labels on your boxes (even if they have to be made with notebook paper and tape) will save you a lot of time when it comes to finding what you need while keeping your space more organized.
- Get a Cleaning Companion
Neurodivergent people (those with ADHD, autism, and other neurotypes) often benefit from the practice of “body doubling”, or having a companion to accompany us on certain tasks. Having a friend or family member nearby helps to engage our brains in whatever we’re doing, and they might even be willing to join in and help!