Keepin’ It Clean – ADHD Style

Happy Monday, friends!

How’s your February going? Is it trying to be spring there, too? Because warm weather keeps cropping its head up around here, and I, for one, am not okay with that. I’m ok with springtime and all its newness and fresh promises, really.

I just wish we could hang onto sweaters and hot cocoa a little longer.

On the bright side, though, I’m fully embracing spring cleaning season. Like, you have no idea how happy that makes me. I’m diving into dusty closets and finding all sorts of things I forgot I owned.

I know, I know. WEIRDO.

Speaking of spring cleaning – I was talking to a friend and she mentioned a viral post shared by a wife who discovered that her husband has been cleaning the toilet in their home, which is a big discovery for anyone who has a husband, tbh.

Anyway. He’s apparently been using the brush to clean the TOP of the toilet seat – you know, the part that touches your personage – AFTER he’s cleaned the inside of the bowl.

Y’all.

I AM SHOOK.

Are there really people out there who think to themselves ‘self, it feels like a good choice to go ahead and scrape the germs and bacteria off the sides of my toilet bowl and spread them around on the toilet seat I use’?

Anyway, back to spring cleaning. I wish I could say I’m organized about it, but I’m really not. I’ve shared before that I have ADHD, so it’s incredibly challenging to stay focused on one task. It’s been said that living with ADHD is like living on the edge of being overwhelmed, yet always underwhelmed. When I tell you that I cannot even begin to count the times I’ve left a faucet running to ‘warm up’ while I do something else – and then completely forgotten the sink because I started scrubbing baseboards in another area of the house or something – it’s a problem.

Fortunately for me and everyone else out there just wasting water like it’s free, there are tons of helpful printables from clean freaks around the internets. Super perky. Cute, farmhouse-y script at the top and nice, neat little boxes to check as you go along. Complete supply list.

Y’all, I’m not bashing those at all. I’ve got heaps of them living at the bottom of a drawer at my house.

They just don’t work well for someone who thinks like I do. Folks with ADHD don’t want to live in chaotic, messy houses. Our thought patterns are chaos enough. But often, that’s the case. And even when we try, it turns out a lot like this:

{from Pinterest}

It takes a herculean effort to push past the overwhelm and distraction, honestly.

But it’s SO WORTH IT, y’all.

I cannot tell you how important it has become for me to have a clean home. Is it perfect? NOPE. Don’t even ask me about our spare bedroom, because when I tell you that J’s closet threw up in there….

But everything has a place, and I stay on top of the little things so that they don’t become big things, because that can happen fast. Trust me. A dusty baseboard now will be a grimy, filthy baseboard in a few weeks.

There are a lot of resources out there if you live with ADHD and want to control the chaos in your home, and I’m not here to reinvent the wheel. But there are a few things that have helped me develop habits that keep my home running smoothly and mostly clean:

Set a timer. It’s well-known that internal motivation doesn’t come naturally for a lot of folks with ADHD (see more on that here).

But the goal here isn’t to figure out how to clean up when someone’s coming over – your goal is to have and maintain a clean home regardless of whether company’s coming over. And one of the best ways to do that is to set a timer for yourself and absolutely go to town on a task. Not every task – setting the timer for two hours and expecting to get the whole house done on that timeline isn’t realistic. Set yourself 10- or 20-minute timers for specific tasks or areas (for example, a bathroom or mudroom, or for baseboards) and then move on.

I don’t have to do this very often anymore. The habits have become a part of my routine, and because I’m committed to this goal of maintaining a clean home, I’m normally able to see the tasks to completion. Which is no small miracle, y’all, but I’m proof that this is possible!

Put your phone away. No, seriously. If you want to do this, you’re gonna need to eliminate your go-to distractions. If that’s scrolling Facebook, set your phone somewhere you won’t be tempted to just pick it up for a few minutes. Trust me. Those minutes will turn into hours and your house isn’t gonna clean itself.

The same goes for TV. That ol’ one-eyed monster can pull your attention away from your tasks, too, so don’t think you’re getting away easily on this one! Don’t put on your favorite show. Don’t scroll over to the latest #1 on Netflix ‘just to listen while you work’. You’ll gravitate toward the couch and completely ignore the cleaning supplies on the counter, the mop in the bucket, or the hot water you’re just ‘warming up’.

We have Google Home devices in our house, so I’ll ask Google to play something on Pandora… And then leave it alone. I don’t fiddle around with my apps and try to create the perfect playlist. If a song comes on that I don’t like, I skip it, but I don’t let myself get distracted with the background noise.

Create efficient routines. No matter how cute that farmhouse mail-holder is on your wall, if it only holds a couple envelopes, you aren’t going to keep using it after the novelty has worn off. This blog post has some great insight into that whole concept of making your routines or clutter-busting habits ones that are simple and efficient.

Here’s a couple of examples of clutter-busting habits I have developed:

  • I corral our coffee/hot cocoa supplies in a bin on my counter. I HATE counter clutter, but if we didn’t have these daily supplies accessible, they’d just sit there. This way, they look somewhat organized.
  • I sort mail as soon as I pick it up. Most goes into the trash, honestly; I only keep what we absolutely need.
  • Items are stored as close as possible to the area they’re used in. For example, we have a sideboard/buffet in our dining area. Normally folks store good china and serviceware in them, but we have an office supply drawer, a board game drawer, and even party supply drawer. All of those things are used most often in that area, so that’s where they live. It might not make sense to anyone else’s brain, but it’s efficient. I know I’ll put things back because it’s convenient.

Take it zone by zone. Honestly, ‘cleaning the kitchen’ is a lot less overwhelming than ‘cleaning the house’, and it’s a lot more likely to happen if I tell myself ‘it’s just the kitchen today’ or ‘it’s just the bathroom this afternoon’.

At this point, my cleaning schedule has become so routine that I’m able to lump the whole house into one day now. That would absolutely not have been possible if I’d jumped into it all at once, y’all. I started my clean-freak journey by breaking up tasks into different days and allowing myself to do something else between cleaning. It has taken YEARS to be able to get my whole house knocked out in an afternoon, y’all. This isn’t a quick fix, magical solution. But it’s absolutely possible to control the chaos. Really. Established habits and routines that ensure the house isn’t ever overwhelming have come in CLUTCH for me.

What about you? Are you a distracted housekeeper, or do you love to get in there and knock it out of the park?

Happy Monday, friends!

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