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ADHD and House Cleaning

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adhd and house cleaning

ADHD and House Cleaning

Content provided in association with BetterHelp.

I’m not typically somebody who invites people over, as I’m perpetually self-conscious about my ADHD and house cleaning. I have an entire “Nailed It” album on Facebook dedicated to Pinterest recipes that I have botched. In other words, I’m not being featured in Good Housekeeping anytime soon. This used to be a source of shame for me, and I often tried to deflect it with humor.

However, over the years I’ve gotten a little better at healing my relationship with my domestic goddessing (or lack thereof). What was key for me was forgiving myself for being imperfect in this area in my life, and reminding myself about the other areas of my life in which I excelled. That said, the work still needed to be done. I found myself needing to either to find a way to get help or create systems in place that enabled me to help myself. I ended up doing a combination of both.

Related: ADHD and Clutter | Organizing Tips for ADHD Moms


A therapist many years ago introduced me to the idea of hiring a housekeeper to routinely come in and help me gain control of my home. I go back and forth with this a lot. On one hand, I don’t like the idea of spending money on something I could do myself. On the other hand, I think of how much my time is really worth and compare it with the investment of a monthly visit from the maid. I also think about the peace of mind that it buys me. Over time, and with my husband’s encouragement (okay, insistence), I’ve let myself call in a professional housekeeper when I need help, or better yet, come in routinely so that it doesn’t get out of control.

DIY: Getting Unstuck

That’s really great, you may be thinking, but what if I can’t afford a housekeeper? Or how do I keep things in control for those weeks in-between visits? After years of struggling with this, one day I took a trip down the Google search rabbit hole and started tracking down cleaning lists on professional housekeeping sites. I thought to myself, what if I approached this as seriously as I approached my day job? So I did. I made my own customized checklist and made myself follow it as if my work would be judged by a supervisor. Once I was able to get out of my head and get out of the mental baggage that was making me paralyzed, I was able to cut through the crap and get some real results around the house. Better yet, I was racking up Fitbit points, killing two birds with one stone!

Clearing The Mental Clutter

Let’s talk about coupons and recipes. Do you know what both of those have in common? Both have caused clutter in my life caused by the best of intentions. Piles of mailers used to collect on my coffee table, hoping that one day they would be perused for coupons. Meanwhile, a virtual “book of dreams” was collecting of recipes that I was never going to make. It’s all about realistic expectations. I now keep things more realistic. Here’s how I did it:

  • I use curbside pick-up at my neighborhood grocery store on Sundays without fail. Meals are simple, and I stick to the same staples week to week. If I want to do something special during the week, I treat it like a separate thing. Otherwise I’d be spending hours overthinking future meals that may never happen.
  • I stopped trying to clip coupons. Any money I would have saved I was paying for with losing my sanity. It just wasn’t worth it.
  • If I want to try to spice things up with a new recipe, I limit myself to one new recipe a week. This helps prevent burnout.
  • If a recipe has more than 5 ingredients, I don’t even bother.

As I mentioned earlier, my cognitive behavioral therapist was instrumental in helping me change the way I think about these tasks. If you don’t already have a therapist to talk out these challenges, I highly recommend one. Online services such as BetterHelp make it really easy to do so.

How To Keep Your Living Space Organized

Home sweet home is where your electronics live … and those electronics have cords, mounts, and batteries.  Your accessories have accessories. The kitchen is a hodgepodge of things you might never use again, but feel enough guilt to keep them (like that crockpot a loved one gave you years ago.)

Water bottles, skillets, coffee cups, and underwear all seem to be in piles or hiding where you can’t find them. Making sure each of these common culprits (and whatever your personal culprits are) have a home can help you chip away at your clutter issues. Having designated “homes” in place before the clutter-prone items present themselves will help with the decision fatigue of where to put said item.

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