ADHD proofing your home

I have taken the plunge and decided to declutter - It got me curious, what kinds of modifications/systems do you guys have around your home to help you find things and get out the door a little quicker? Any good resources/printables you could recommend?

:smiley:

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I pick a space. Dump everything in a pile ( to sort ). Sort even more. Make a bigger mess. And put everything in the newly freeded up area. It helps to sort it by tiny sections ( don’t clean your room, clean your desk ) and have music or a podcast on.
Also for leaving quickly: I keep a bag with my critical possessions on me which I repack every night, but I know a Brain who has their stuff in a bucket by the door and grabs it on the way out ( stuff like their phone, wallet, keys, etc )
Also boxes/bags are your friend. I have a bag with my important stuff only in every room. Just mini buckets full of random stuff everywhere ( it’s an adventure, full of nostalgia and rabbit holes to dig through when i need something )

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Firstly, I love the boxes and bucket idea! I might try that

I also love the bit about putting it into sections because so far I only get as far as dumping it in a pile, need to work on the rest… I’ve noticed sometimes that listening to music might be counterproductive for me because I get too hyped up by it :’(

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Glad to be of service!
I used to organize my room by sections and I only had to do a tiny bit per day. My goal was to have each area cleaned once ( and only once or else I would wall of awful it ) by the end of the month. It worked out pretty well for a while especially since I put the easier areas on busier days

I try to pick either wordless or super repetitive music so I don’t get carried away by singing along :sweat_smile:

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That’s so smart!

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Thanks :yum:

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Part of ADHD proofing my home involves having duplicates and spares. I know that because of my disorder I’m often forgetful and end up in a rush. So I’ve got my work clothes in 2 places in the house, and I keep a spare outfit, hat, and badge in my locker at work. Important articles like keys, wallet, and phone stay with me at almost all times.I do this by way of an ADD utility belt, which eliminates me from having to transfer those articles to new pockets whenever I change clothes.

That’s really clever and so true… I have always wondered if it would be worth investing in duplicates of things, it sounds like it helps??

What works for me is having “thematic” boxes, for every activity that consists of multiple items (climbing, diving, hiking, camping, swimming, sewing etc.)
For example everything I need to go swimming (swimsuit, swimming googles, swimming cap etc.) is in one big box.
If I have to leave the house to go swimming (and I’m probably already a little tight on time),
I just take out the box, toss everything I need in my bag, dump the rest (if there is anything I decide I do not need this time) right back in the box and off I am.
It’s so much easier than going to the closet to get my swimsuit, going to a different closet to get a towel, finding the right shoes, looking for my goggles, cap, shampoo, shower gel, lock for the lockers etc. and I also don’t forget anything, because whatever is needed for that activity is in that box and I touch it at least once when getting everything out of the box (if I had a seasonal pass for the pool for example it would be in there, too).
When I come back and things have been laundered I just dump them right back in the box, makes putting things away a breeze.

Duplicates help a lot here, too (for example a pair of flip flops in the swimming box and one in the climbing box)

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Thematic boxes are a very good idea. I try to utilize it. Not always easy because the impulsivity of the disorder sometimes says, let me put this here for now and I’ll come back to it later. You can probably guess how that goes. So I’ve found that I need to be real strict about where I keep things, even if its a little inconvenient for me. My hat for work, with my name badge attached, MUST always stay on my closet door if it’s not on my head. I went out after work one day when someone said “Hey, you’re out of work. Take your hat off and relax.” I did this, and then forgot where I put my hat. My hat is actually very important for my job for sanitary issues, as I work as a dishwasher. Big problem if I forget it, bigger than forgetting my name tag. So after that, I have a rule. Hat goes on my head or on the handle of the closet door, no matter what. And even still I occasionally (rarely) forget the hat. That’s why I have the duplicate in my locker.

As far as duplicates, I think it is very helpful as long as you can afford it. Sometimes key duplication is easy, and sometimes it’s either too expensive or not effective. I used to carry my macbook pro around everywhere and it was a problem when I forgot it. Couldn’t work on my video or script projects. But I couldn’t afford a duplicate macbook pro either. The answer here: Don’t carry the macbook everywhere.

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Hey @Marble! I noticed this is the first time you posted so welcome to the tribe! :grin:
And that sounds absolutely brilliant!!! I always lose my goggles :expressionless:

@shep yeah I have to have strict rules too. Mostly it applies to my shoes ( I’m not a fan of wearing them…) my go-to shoes must stay in the car 24/7 because if I take them inside they turn “invisible” :sweat_smile: and as for duplicates, I have tons of hairbrushes yet I can’t find them if I’m moving around ( they’re supposed to be in the car, by my bed, or in the bathroom ) why is stuff so easy to lose???

My basic system involves not owning many things and never moving them. My spouse was amazed to learn that things have “homes” (and I was amazed that they hadn’t seen that concept elsewhere before). I’m pretty intense about always storing things in a specific location, and for common things like my work supplies or my keys/wallet, I keep things together in my bag and my coat pockets so I don’t have to collect multiple items on my way out the door.

I mostly avoid duplicates because that increases the amount of stuff I own and it sort of feels like duplicates allow me to be careless about keeping track of things. I do have duplicates of a few specific things, like headphones and a charger cable and I keep a water bottle at home and work instead of carrying it back and forth.

For sorting I recommend taking a section at a time. It could be a physical space or a category, but it’s best to keep it small to avoid bailing halfway through. I have a “to go” area at my house where I put things I’m planning to get rid of and then I actually get rid of the things in it periodically. It means that I can put things in the to go pile and if I really miss it I can get it back again. I don’t usually miss it, but for me it helps with the uncertainty when I’m deciding what to get rid of.

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Hi @ConfusedbutADHDandLD , thank you for the welcome. :grinning:
I just learnt about this forum today and when I read this post and saw you talking about boxes I just had to sign up and share my “boxes”.

They work great for me and I wonder why it took 32 years and a ADHD Diagnosis to accept that I will never be able to put everything back where it belongs immediately, neatly folded and perfectly organised. I’m working on it and am improving but I’m quite convinced this will never come very easily to me.

I also love your idea with the sections! Break a big task up in multiple easy and short tasks. :+1:

@shep I totally understand the let me put it here for now, I have the same problem :flushed: But the boxes motivate me a lot more to put the things away when I see them laying around later, since it only takes a couple of seconds.
Just grab everything and dump it in the box.
Since the box is a unit with things I use at the same time, the many small items kind of become one item. So I’m not putting away shoes, clothes, towel, gear, shower items, and other knick-knack, I’m putting away my climbing unit, which to my brain is one thing.

Bonus: If you have a car and are really really running late, you can just put the whole box in the trunk and you have everything you need :wink:

About duplicates: My coach recently explained to me that a lot of her patients with ADHD (including me :sweat_smile:) tend to go overboard with what actually is a great idea. It’s great to hang a post-it note to remind you of something but if you write one for everything and then have 20 post-it notes hanging, the purpose is lost.
I guess it’s the same with duplicates. If you have a hat at home and a duplicate at work like @shep, that works great. If you have a ton of hairbrushes like @ConfusedbutADHDandLD probably not so much, because where you put your brush isn’t as important anymore, because that specific brush (or hair ties for me :sweat_smile:) is not as important anymore.

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@Ion I second the not owning much. Helps a lot. I try to get rid of things I don’t need anymore. If I can’t decide I just put it away in a box. Usually I forget what’s even in the box and then it’s easy to put away.

No problem!
And I am 100% just gonna put a giant trunk in the car and put the boxes in that box ( I know that’s not what you meant but I thought it’d be funny :crazy_face: )
And you are absolutely right about the hairbrushes! Yeah… they’re my weakness

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I love this idea. Thematic boxes may need to be implemented in my house. However, I think I’d run into the issue of “Where do the boxes get stored?” This seems to create a need for a separate shelf or area JUST for thematic boxes…

I really love this idea! And welcome :smiley:

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@Gaeliceyes Yes unfortunately you do need space for the boxes. I was lucky, since I had to put everything in boxes to put it in storage while I was abroad. So not only did I get rid of everything that was not important to me but the rest was sorted in (“thematic”) boxes. So half of the work was already done. And since I needed new furniture when I came back, I bought the biggest wardrobe I could fit. It’s from Ikea and they have boxes to go with it.

@Assynj another thing I started using is Tile (I’m sure any other similar device would work). I’m constantly looking for my phone when I need to leave the house and I save a lot of time by just being able to push the button attached to my keys to make it ring. And it works the other way, too.

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Very helpful information on this thread. I agree with what’s been said about the problem of duplicates or “going overboard” with things. It’s a good thing for me to remember because my disorder makes it easy for me to go overboard with organization and just about anything else. I used to carry a travel toothbrush with me as when I used to get into a rush I would forget to brush my teeth. I realized this only helped me not see the necessity of brushing my teeth before work, and got into some bad habits with something that should be a good habit.

When I use duplicates and extras, I often manage to stay motivated to use the original or “real” materials by making sure the duplicates are a noticeable downgrade from the “real” one. The spare hat for work has no logo on it. It’s blank and the right color, so I won’t get into trouble. But if someone sees me with it, they go “You forgot your hat today didn’t you?” Enough for me to kick myself a little for forgetting the proper item, but keeps me out of trouble at work.

As far as tile, I’ve considered that too. Though for me personally, I’ve often found low-tech solutions work better for me than high tech. I’ve gotten a lot more organized now that I’ve started writing things down in a notebook, as opposed to marking it down in my phone. Not saying I don’t use my phone for things. It’s very helpful for alarms and reminders about time sensitive things (like making a phone call at a certain time). But a lot of us ADDers and ADHDers tend to be forgetful, and that includes things like charging our phones or forgetting chargers. I’ve found that having more than one tool works for me, as opposed to having one big “go to” tool that I use all the time. But I have to remember not to have too many tools for the reasons some of you have stated.

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I have to travel sometimes, usually for a few days or weeks at a time, so I keep an extra toiletry bag with travel-sized bottles for soap, shampoo, etc, which I fill up from my larger bottles at home. I try to refill the small bottles as soon as I come home from a trip. Then on my next trip, I just have to grab my extra toiletry bag (though I usually check its contents anyway, just to make sure I haven’t forgotten to refill the bottles). I’m much less likely to leave my shampoo or soap at home, that way!

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