Have ADHD? Do These Tips to Stay Organized at Home


Chatty, restless, messy, and lazy may be the four words people often use to describe individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is not without reason because people with ADHD often show such behavior as judged by society. However, the reality is that ADHD is much deeper and more crucial than society makes it out to be.

The homes of people with ADHD are often found in very messy conditions, with lots of things scattered on the floor. This, of course, will have a very negative impact on the occupants of the house because it can increase the risk of domestic accidents, such as slips, falls, and serious injuries.

Therefore, it is essential to develop organizational skills for individuals with ADHD so they can live independently and safely in their homes. Furthermore, the role of the family is also crucial in supporting family members with ADHD.

This article will help readers understand more deeply about ADHD, its impact on home organization, and possible strategies to help people with ADHD live safely and comfortably in their homes.

Understanding ADHD and its relationship to disorganization

From now on, please keep in mind that people with ADHD are not lazy. Sometimes they have difficulty doing household chores because perhaps the home organizing system is too complex.

This causes them to have difficulty deciding which tasks must be done first to keep the house in order. In addition, too many items in the house also cause difficulties in determining where these items should be placed.

Also, problems with working memory cause people with ADHD to have difficulty focusing attention and absorbing information on a task. This causes them to experience problems in the process of planning, anticipating, and setting goals, which are all three things that are very necessary in an effort to keep the house in order.

Difficulty concentrating also causes people with ADHD to pay less attention to the things around them, such as belongings and where they are stored. As a result, they often forget their belongings and have difficulty finding them when they need them.

External influences can also impact the ability of the person with ADHD to organize the house. Lots of misunderstandings and wrong treatment for people with ADHD can lead to the notion that giving punishment is the best way for people with ADHD to be able to do their housework independently.

In fact, the reality is that giving punishment and insults to people with ADHD will actually lower their self-confidence, so they will feel that every effort they make is not right.

Recognizing chronic disorganization in ADHD

Disorganization can significantly impact someone with ADHD; however, it’s challenging to precisely define or identify it because it manifests differently for each person. Here are some common signs that are easily recognized to identify whether a person has ADHD or not include:

  • Difficulty in organizing and completing responsibilities
  • Struggle to concentrate, especially on small things around them
  • Having trouble understanding instructions, especially directions that are too complicated
  • Easily get distracted and forget about activities that should be a priority

As previously stated, these behaviors arise due to problems in the part of the brain known as working memory, which plays a role in temporarily storing information in a very short time. This causes people with ADHD to have difficulty focusing attention, receiving, and processing information. In fact, that ability is very important in supporting individual skills to keep the house tidy.

In terms of home organization, problems with working memory cause individuals difficulties in planning activities that must be carried out to keep the home in order. For example, determining a cleaning schedule and which room or part of the house should be cleaned or determining where an item should be placed.

The planning process will also be more difficult if the organizing system at home is made too complex. If that’s the case, in the end, the individual with ADHD decides to let the home remain messy because of difficulties in understanding the organizational system that is set.

Moreover, the lack of attention to their surroundings makes them often forget the activities they should be doing or have difficulty finding things because they forget where to put them.

Ways to overcome chronic disorganization caused by ADHD

Overcoming chronic disorganization caused by ADHD is not an easy journey. This can be a lifelong task that requires consistency and cooperation between the person with ADHD and those around them. Therefore, developing organizational abilities for people with ADHD can be started by taking the following small steps.

Use an inventory strategy

Provide a special room in the house to store things. Please remember to make the room accessible and concise and avoid filling it with unnecessary items. You can also make an inventory list to remember the items you store in the room.

Make everything easy to access

If you don’t have more room at home to be used as storage space, you can use wall storage to organize your things. You can also use other storage areas, such as drawers or shelves.

The purpose is to make it easier for you to access your belongings when you need them. Avoid placing things on the floor, as this will only make the house more cluttered and increase the risk of slipping or tripping.

Let go of unused items

Immediately throw away items that are no longer needed in the future, such as letters, brochures, and grocery bills. If letters are still considered important, store them in their proper place, for example, on a shelf, and throw them away immediately when they are no longer needed. This is important so that the stuff is not accumulated, which will make it more difficult for you to sort them out.

Use a labeling strategy

You can also use labels or sticky notes and attach them to the shelves or drawers where you store things. You can write a list of items using sticky notes or labels. This can help you to remember your belongings and where you put them.

Chunk organizational tasks

People with ADHD often have difficulty understanding complex instructions and find it difficult to focus on one task for long periods of time. Therefore, the strategy that can be done is to break the task into several parts.

For example, from  7 AM – 9 AM, you clean the bedroom, starting with the bed, then the table and other furniture. Then you take an hour break and continue at 11 AM – 1 PM to clean up the dining room and another hour for other rooms in the home.

Stop buying unnecessary items

Determining what to buy and what not to buy is sometimes challenging for people with ADHD because they often forget their things. Therefore, try to make a shopping list before going to the store to buy goods or groceries. This can also be supported by the application of labeling methods to make it easier for people with ADHD to remember their items.

Make a team

People with ADHD really need help from the people around them, both family and friends. If you live with your family at home, you can invite them to be involved in the home organizing process, for example, organizing the kitchen with your mother or partner. Apart from that, you can also invite your trusted friends at certain times to ask for their help.

For family and friends, it is vital to provide sincere assistance to people with ADHD. This can help them grow their organizational skills so that they can slowly learn to live independently and safely in their own homes. Avoid giving judgments or bad comments because that will only lower their self-confidence.

Apply positive reinforcement

Instead of giving punishments or negative comments that can undermine self-confidence, it would be better if family and friends could assist in the form of directions regarding what needs to be done by a person with ADHD to keep their house in order.

Giving positive affirmations in the form of praise when people with ADHD are able to complete a task is found to increase their self-confidence so that they feel more comfortable doing household chores. Punishments or negative comments are not the right solution and will only worsen things.

In conclusion

Organizing a home is a task that many people find easy. But for people with ADHD, this is quite a difficult thing to do because of disturbances that occur in the brain, making it hard for them in the process of planning and setting goals, which are important elements in carrying out tasks to keep the house in order.

Improving home organizational skills for people with ADHD can start with small things. Besides that, assistance from family and friends will be very useful to help people with ADHD so that they can slowly live safely and independently in their own homes.

If you would like to see more resources on organization for ADHD,  check out the Home Organization Science Labs. The lab uses the research of the Institute for Life Management Science to produce courses, certifications, podcasts, videos, and other tools. Visit the Home Organization Science Labs today.

home organization science labs

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