10 Decluttering Hacks Designed by and for ADHD Brains

Neurotypical decluttering advice doesn’t always work for us. Curb your clutter once and for all using strategies developed and recommended by ADDitude readers.

a woman organizes clothes in living room of her home.
a woman organizes clothes in living room of her home.

Clutter has a sneaky way of lying dormant and then abruptly disrupting our lives, like mosquitoes in the summertime or pop-up ads online. For those of us with ADHD who are prone to accumulating piles of stuff, the task of decluttering may seem too daunting to even begin, and harder still to sustain.

Here, learn how other ADDitude readers break down the task of decluttering into bite-sized chunks and chomp away a little each day. Read some of our favorite strategies below, and add your own in the Comments section below.

“I keep a box or bag labeled ‘Donate’ in the same room where I sort clean laundry. As items come through the wash that no longer fit my kids, I place them directly in the donate bag.”

[Download: Your Free Guide for Controlling Clutter]

“I have three family members with ADHD in one house. That means that, at any given time, there are countless shoes, sneakers, flip-flops (and probably lots of socks) scattered around the house. It is much easier to just have a giant, beautiful basket to throw them into. It is organized chaos. Also, I keep all keys on a keyboard. I opted for this after my son bought me a device that located my lost keys — until the battery ran out.”

“This is still one of the hardest areas for me, but I am pretty proud of my linen closet. Clear, labeled bins hold things such as ‘toiletries,’ ‘hair stuff,’ ‘cleaning stuff,’ etc. Now I just need to copy and paste to the other areas of my home.”

“On a workday, I walk in the door at night, hang my keys on their hook, unpack my work tote bag of sweaters, travel mugs, etc. and put them away, clean my mug, and prepare the coffee pot for the next morning — all of this before even thinking about doing anything else. Forcing my brain to stay in that ‘10-minute tidy up’ headspace can be challenging because I’m always on to the next thing at warp speed, but my life flows so much smoother and is less cluttered when I do!”

“Anything that doesn’t have a home goes into a doom basket. This is really good for quick tidy-ups; everything that’s out just gets shoved into a pretty basket.”

[Bills, Bills, Bills: How to Beat Back Your Paper Clutter]

“Clean one room at a time. Take out papers and garbage and recycling first, so the room looks cleaner even before you start. Make your bed first thing when you get up; this really makes you feel good even if you do nothing else.”

“My chore chart has a daily section where I include decluttering. But in the monthly section I make sure to add deep cleaning and organizing certain rooms/appliances.”

“Touch it once. Bring mail in, open it, and pay or file accordingly. Don’t even open junk mail.”

“I leave a box by the door of the room I’m cleaning and put everything that doesn’t belong in that room in it. This prevents me leaving the room and getting distracted.”

Decluttering Tips for Adults with ADHD: Next Steps

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