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How can adults with ADHD organize their homes to make their lives easier?

It is 7:45 on a Friday night, and you were supposed to meet your friends at the restaurant at 7:30 pm. You are late because you’re waiting for your favorite pants to finish drying that you meant to have cleaned before you left for work this morning. As you wait for your pants to dry, you start tackling the mountain of dishes in your sink from the past 2 weeks. To help yourself get motivated to wash the dishes, you turn on the television to find a youtube video to put on in the background; meanwhile, the kitchen sink is left running. As you search for a youtube video to put on, your dog is asking you to take him outside, so you grab their leash and head out the door with the tv remote still in hand. You return from walking the dog to realize it is 5 minutes to 8 pm, and you still must get dressed. You decide you will finish your dishes later. The timer goes off for your dryer, you put your pants on to finish getting dressed, and as you put on your shoes to head out the door, you realize you don’t know your car keys. You try to retrace your steps throughout the house and grab your phone to let your friends know you are running late, only to find that you have 8 missed calls and 5 text messages from them asking where you are because you were supposed to be there early to set up the balloons for your friend’s birthday dinner….

Does this sound like you or a loved one?

Folks with ADHD tend to have difficulty with tasks that involve executive functioning. The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University describes executive functioning as “mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully.” ADHD symptoms often make organization and planning more difficult, impacting relationships, occupations, and self-esteem. In short, ADHD symptoms can make “adulting” that much harder, especially when it comes to home organization. Keep reading for some helpful hacks to make your life easier at home.

  1. Creating designated areas for everyday use items such as keys, wallets, phone.-It can be helpful; keep a key rack or entryway table next to your front door so that as soon as you come home, you drop these things off and keep them there until you leave again. Pro-tip: If you accidentally bring your keys with you into another room, make it a point to place them back in your designated area immediately.

  2. Invest in an air tag- Using locator devices can be helpful for folks who need to be reminded and misplace their items.

  3. Keep items visible- Organize your kitchen and bathroom cabinets/drawers, so all items and their labels are visible. Folks with ADHD can have trouble remembering where their products are and even that they have them, which can cause food to expire or buy multiple items you already have.

  4. Bins, bins, bins-Invest in containers and baskets of various sizes to keep in all rooms of your home. These bins can quickly reduce clutter and organize laundry more efficiently. Pro tip: Use clear or acrylic containers to see what is there.

  5. Visual Timers- Keeping a timer next to your washing machine/dryer can remind you to switch the laundry when the timer goes off. Timers can cue you to move on to a new task or take a break when hyper-focusing on a current one.

  6. Invest in Kitchen items-instant pot, electric tea kettle-Adults with ADHD can have difficulty remembering and be motivated to make themselves food, so investing in appliances that do most of the work for you can be a time saver.

  7. Keep frozen foods in the freezer-Keeping low maintenance foods to throw in your convenient kitchen appliance.

  8. Keep things within arms reach of what you need them for- For example, keep coffee and coffee filters next to your coffee maker and closest to your cabinet that holds mugs and next to your sink. The fewer steps you take to make the coffee, the less likely you will get distracted.

  9. Be kind to yourself- Because living with ADHD can impact your everyday life, showing yourself forgiveness and compassion as you navigate the trial and error that comes with identifying what strategies and practices work for you is essential.

Did you find these tips to be helpful? Comment below.

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