We’ve all been there. Standing in the middle of a messy room, unsure where to even start. Staring at the piles of clutter as your anxiety rises. Promise yourself you’ll tackle it tomorrow…again.
Sound familiar? If you have ADHD, cleaning and organizing can feel completely overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be!
In this post, we’ll break down the ADHD cleaning challenges step-by-step. Then we’ll give you a customizable ADHD Cleaning Checklist full of practical tips to create a spark joy cleaning routine that works with your brain, not against it. Let’s do this!
Do read the People Also Ask (FAQs) about this topic.
|– Break tasks into smaller mini-tasks
– Set a timer to rotate tasks
– Schedule cleaning during peak energy times
|– Start small with one room or chore
– Target hotspots like closets first
|Task initiation problems
|– Hype yourself up beforehand
– Make it a game
– Enlist a cleaning buddy
|– Declutter first
– Start with just 5-10 minutes at a time
|– Customize your routine
– Theme different days
|Low frustration tolerance
|– Take breaks as needed
– Focus on the feeling of a clean space
|Sensitive to mess
|– Contain clutter out of sight
– Diffuse calming essential oils
Why Cleaning Triggers the ADHD Brain
First, it helps to understand exactly why tidying tasks can be so hard for ADHD minds. The common symptoms and executive functioning deficits make cleaning a legitimate struggle.
Difficulty focusing – Easily distracted by every little thing. Squirrel! 🐿️
Trouble prioritizing – Unclear where to start with so many options. Analysis paralysis activated
Task initiation problems – Need an external push to kickstart cleaning. Nope, zone 🙅♀️
Easily overwhelmed – Big tasks feel impossible. Anxiety overload 😰
Hyperfocus tendency – Absorbed in organizing one shelf for hours, forgetting the rest. Hellooooo hyperfocus my old friend
Low frustration tolerance – Give up quickly when cleaning seems tedious. Bored now, byeeeee! 👋
Dislikes repetition – Chores feel extra dull and monotonous. Not this again! 😴
Sensitive to mess – Visual chaos causes extra distraction/stress. So. Many. Things! 😵💫
But here’s the good news – with the right strategies, you can tackle the dreaded cleaning beast, bit by bit. Let’s start by getting inside that brilliant ADHD brain of yours!
Harnessing Your ADHD Superpowers
The ADHD mind comes equipped with some pretty awesome built-in superpowers – when utilized strategically, they can be your cleaning sidekicks!
❤️ Hyperfocus – Laser-beam attention on one task. Use it to power through decluttering a drawer in record time!
⚡️ Energy – Endless enthusiasm and quick movement. Harness it to speed-clean each room!
🧠 Creativity – King of thinking outside the box. Design a fun personalized cleaning playlist or checklist!
💡 Innovation – Bored by rinsing the same dish over and over? Invent a game! A new sponge for each plate = racing against the clock.
🤩 Enthusiasm – Cleaning checklist chore complete? Happy dance time! Celebrate your victories.
See, you’ve totally got this! Now let’s talk about building an ADHD-friendly cleaning routine.
Creating Your Custom Spark Joy Cleaning Routine
For ADHD brains that crave novelty and chafe at routine, the thought of a strict cleaning schedule can spark fear. But hear me out! With the right framework, you can create cleaning habits.
The key is flexibility. Start with the below basics, then customize to suit your needs and lifestyle. Try these steps:
1. Break it Down
Big intimidating tasks paralyze ADHD brains. So break cleaning down into quick, manageable mini-tasks instead.
Turn “clean the whole kitchen” into:
- Wipe down countertops
- Load dishwasher
- Handwash pots and pans
- Sweep floor
Much less overwhelming! Do one small task, then reward yourself with a short break before the next.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Creating unrealistic expectations like “I will keep my home spotless at all times!” sets you up for failure and frustration. Be kind to yourself.
Aim for consistency with daily tasks instead of perfection. “I will wipe kitchen counters every evening” is an achievable goal. Celebrate doing what you can, when you can. Progress over perfection! 🙌
3. Schedule Smart
Use whatever works to remind yourself – phone alarms, calendar alerts, sticky notes. Timing is everything.
Schedule daily tasks during your peak energy times. Save longer efforts for days you have more focus. Make a rough cleaning plan for the week.
Then be flexible day-to-day. Some days you’ll power through your whole routine and some days just making your bed is a win. Both are great!
4. Make It Fun
Play upbeat music to energize you and drown out distracting sounds. Chat on the phone during chore time (just beware of multitasking overload!).
Challenge yourself to beat your best time or try speed cleaning every room. Turn it into a game – clean until the song ends!
Use checking off your cleaning list as an excuse to indulge in rewards – dance party, social media break, cute stationery purchase.
5. Start Small
Feeling completely overwhelmed? Back way up and start super small. Can you wipe down just one countertop or declutter one shelf? Yes, you can!
Aim to spend 5-10 minutes tidying up one space. Tiny progress is still progress. Build momentum gradually.
OK, ready to build your custom ADHD-friendly cleaning checklist? Let’s do this! 💪
Your Spark Joy ADHD Cleaning Checklist
Below you’ll find a checklist template with sections for each area of the home, plus space to customize your own tasks.
Feel free to skip around and just pick one section to tackle first. Take it step-by-step.
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist
❏ Wipe kitchen counters
❏ Load dishwasher
❏ Handwash __ # of dishes
❏ Take out kitchen trash
❏ Sweep floor
❏ Mop floor
❏ Clean sink
❏ Clear table
❏ Wipe appliances
❏ Wipe cabinets
❏ Other: _____________
Living Room Cleaning Checklist
❏ Straighten pillows/blankets
❏ Dust surfaces
❏ Vacuum carpet
❏ Clean windows
❏ Pick up clutter
❏ Fluff decorative items
❏ Other: ______________
Bedroom Cleaning Checklist
❏ Make bed
❏ Put away clothes
❏ Dust surfaces
❏ Vacuum floor
❏ Clean closet
❏ Declutter space
❏ Other: ______________
Bathroom Cleaning Checklist
❏ Wipe down sink
❏ Clean toilet
❏ Clean shower/tub
❏ Sweep floor
❏ Take out trash
❏ Restock toilet paper/soap
❏ Wipe mirrors
❏ Other: _______________
Add anything that’s a priority in your home! Here are some other ideas:
- Vacuum stairs
- Water plants
- Wash rugs
- Dust ceiling fans
- Windex windows
- Sweep porch
- Disinfect doorknobs
- Wash pillowcases
- Organize one drawer
Spark Joy Bonus Tips!
Declutter first – Clearing clutter helps create cleaning momentum. Toss, donate or rehome unneeded items.
- Start small – Tackle one drawer or shelf at a time
- Categorize – Create “Keep”, “Donate”, “Trash”, and “Unsure” piles
- Enlist help – Ask someone to assist with decision-making
- Set a timer – Work in short bursts to maintain focus
- Start with hotspots – Target areas like closets or paperwork piles first
Sensory-friendly – Diffuse calming essential oils. Use unscented products if smells distract you. Play white noise.
- Scent strategy – Avoid overwhelming scents. Opt for natural products.
- Sound soothers – Play soft music or nature sounds to muffle noisy distractions.
- Microfiber materials – Velvety microfiber cloths glide easily to minimize scrubbing sounds.
- Warm water – Hot water can feel soothing and relaxing during hand dishwashing.
- Soothing lighting – Use natural light or buy bulbs marked “calming” or “focus”.
Segment chores – Alternate high-focus decluttering with low-focus dusting. Mix it up to stay engaged!
- Theme days – Monday = declutter day. Friday = floors. Breaking it up makes it feel fresh.
- 15-minute rotations – Set a timer to switch tasks every 15 minutes. Easier to maintain motivation.
- Competing tasks – Wash dishes while laundry is going. Multitask with care.
Use visuals – Color code your checklist. Put up photos of a tidy room for motivation.
- Bulletin board – Post inspiring cleaning quotes and photos of organized spaces.
- Whiteboard – Use an erasable calendar to map your weekly cleaning plan.
- Colourful supplies – Coordinate your dusters, buckets, etc to help you stay focused.
Outsource – Hire help for cleaning/yardwork you dislike. Or trade chores with a roommate/partner.
- Professional deep cleaning – Hire a service 1-2 times per year to handle exhaustive tasks.
- Handyman help – Pay for help with home maintenance like gutter cleaning.
- Lawn service – Eliminate outdoor chores that feel overwhelming.
Minimize mess – Contain clutter in baskets, shelves and closets. Use minimal decor for fewer things to dust!
- Clear surfaces – Limit knick-knacks and decor items displayed out in the open.
- Cozy baskets – Add woven baskets to hide items that you use daily. Easy grab-and-go system.
- Furniture with storage – Coffee tables or ottomans with lift-up tops allow you to stash items out of sight.
- Weekly cleaning – Quick but consistent tidying prevents big overwhelming messes.
See, you can so do this! Now let’s talk about powering up your motivation.
Finding Your Spark: Cleaning Motivation Tips
“I will start cleaning as soon as I feel motivated.” Said no ADHD person ever.
Motivation is fleeting – we’ve gotta spark that drive ourselves! Use these strategies:
Hype yourself up – Give yourself a rousing pep talk beforehand. Cue Eye of the Tiger music.
Make it a game – Who can tidy up the living room fastest – you or your partner/roommate? Game on!
Get fancy – Use beautiful cleaning tools like a feather duster or cute apron. Or products with yummy scents.
Crank the tunes – Create a pump-up playlist with your favourite high-energy songs. Dance party + cleaning!
Time yourself – Use a timer to challenge yourself to clean in short bursts. Hyperfocus powers, activate!
Enlist a pal – Ask a friend or family member to virtually clean with you. Social motivation is powerful!
Unleash your inner child – Who says cleaning has to be boring? Set up an elaborate dollhouse scene using household items. Build a fort out of sheets and blankets. Imagination to the rescue!
Reward yourself – Promise yourself something enjoyable after finishing a cleaning session, like a bubble bath, delicious smoothie, or Netflix binge.
Appreciate the outcome – Focus on how good it feels to have a clean house. And how proud you should be for sticking with a difficult task!
But what about those inevitable moments when you’re feeling completely unmotivated? Be kind to yourself! Here are some ideas:
- Just do one tiny task like wiping the bathroom mirror.
- Take a break and try again later when your energy returns.
- Ask someone to gently encourage you to get started.
- Promise yourself you only have to clean for 10 minutes.
- Remember that doing something is better than nothing!
You’ve so got this. Now let’s talk sustainability!
Anecdotes: A Story of an ADHD Person
Living with ADHD is more than just bouncing off walls. It’s a constant battle with internal chaos, a whirlwind of thoughts that can drown out conversations and leave you feeling like a passenger in your own life. Joe Delaney, a young man with ADHD-PI, knows this struggle all too well. He describes the frustration of days feeling like a blur, the self-doubt fueled by perceived laziness, and the social disconnection caused by intrusive thoughts.
But Joe’s story isn’t just about his own challenges; it’s a window into the diverse experiences of many with ADHD. His doodles and comics vividly capture the mental maelstrom of attention deficit, while voices from Reddit echo struggles with sleep, organization, and social interactions. Through these personal accounts, we see beyond the stereotypes and recognize the invisible battles fought daily by individuals with ADHD. Their stories remind us: it’s not about not caring, it’s about a brain wired differently, a constant struggle to focus in a world that often feels like it’s moving too fast.
Read the full story visit here.
Sustaining Your Spark: Keeping Your ADHD-Friendly Routine
Consistency takes time. Don’t expect overnight success after years of cleaning challenges. Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Follow these tips to help sustain your newfound cleaning motivation:
Start small – Don’t overhaul your whole house right away. Pick one room or chore to build consistency gradually.
Schedule reminders – Use phone alerts, wall calendars, sticky notes, or whatever it takes to stay on track day-to-day.
Adjust as needed – Your routine should flex and evolve. What works today might not work tomorrow. Update your checklist regularly.
Ask for support – Have an accountability buddy check in on your progress. Or hire a professional cleaning service to relieve the burden sometimes.
Focus on feeling – A clean space reduces anxiety and makes your ADHD brain feel calm. Remember that sensory relief when motivation lags.
Observe patterns – Notice when you have the most energy and focus. Try scheduling cleaning then. Work with your natural rhythms.
Control clutter – Maintain organization habits like dealing with mail immediately and putting items back in their designated spots. Don’t let chaos creep up.
Celebrate wins – Recognize your hard work, both big and small. Saving cleaning motivation memes to your phone reminds you to pat yourself on the back.
Remember, you’re playing the long game. If your routine falters, simply begin again. Progress, not perfection!
And if you need an extra spark of encouragement along your cleaning journey, join our ADHD Organizing Community. Share your own tips and stories – we’re in this together!
Bring More Spark Joy Into Your Life
Here’s the amazing thing. A tidy home created with your unique ADHD challenges and superpowers in mind doesn’t just help your physical space. It lifts your whole mood and mindset!
You deserve to feel calmer and more in control. To wake up feeling motivated and peaceful instead of overwhelmed. To unleash your creative talents in an orderly environment.
So be proud of each small step you take to care for yourself and your living space. You’ve totally got this. We can’t wait to hear about your successes!
Now go out there and spark joy, ADHD friends! 💜😊
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Q) Do people with ADHD struggle with cleaning?
A) Yes, people with ADHD often struggle with cleaning and organizing tasks. Symptoms like difficulty focusing, being easily distracted, and getting overwhelmed can make tidying feel impossible.
Q) How do I make a cleaning list for ADHD?
A) Make an ADHD-friendly cleaning list by breaking tasks into smaller mini-tasks, scheduling during peak energy times, adding rewards, and customizing it to suit your needs. Update the list regularly.
Q) How do I clean my house if I have ADHD?
A) Clean in short bursts with a timer to stay focused. Tackle one small area at a time. Use upbeat music, competitions, and other fun tactics to stay motivated. Declutter first before cleaning.
Q) What does cleaning with ADHD look like?
A) Cleaning with ADHD may involve frequent task-switching, hyperfocusing on one area for hours, creative motivational tactics, and a flexible routine that changes from day to day. Perfection is not the goal.
Q) Why is cleaning so hard for ADHD?
A) Cleaning is hard for ADHD due to symptoms like difficulty focusing, executive functioning deficits, getting easily overwhelmed, low frustration tolerance, and disliking repetition.
Q) How do you clean a bedroom with ADHD?
A) Clean an ADHD bedroom by breaking it down into mini-tasks like making the bed, decluttering, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Set a timer to work in short bursts. Offer yourself rewards.
Q) How do I stop being messy with ADHD?
A) Strategies to be less messy with ADHD include containing clutter out of sight, maintaining organization habits, weekly light cleaning, and starting small like tidying for 10 mins daily.
Q) Do people with ADHD struggle with housework?
A) Yes, ADHD can make housework like cleaning, laundry, yard work, and home maintenance feel extremely overwhelming and difficult to start and complete.
Q) Do people with ADHD struggle with chores?
A) Chores that require focus, repetition, organization, and resisting distraction can all be extra challenging for people with ADHD. But strategies like breaking chores into smaller steps can help.
Q) Do people with ADHD have messy handwriting?
A) Messy, inconsistent handwriting is common with ADHD. Symptoms like hyperactivity, trouble staying focused, and working memory problems can contribute to messy writing.
Q) Why do I have such a hard time cleaning?
A) If you have ADHD, symptoms like poor focus, executive functioning deficits, and getting overwhelmed easily make cleaning uniquely difficult. Be compassionate with yourself.