Home Organization to Help ADHD
“Mom! I can’t find my shoes!”
“Did you leave your lunchbox in the car last night?”
“Who took ALL the water bottles??”
How are mornings going at your house? At my house, we used to have a LOT of hectic, panicked mornings. I would go to pack lunches, and realize that the lunch boxes were left in the car overnight (gross). Or I would go to fill water bottles, only to open an empty drawer because the water bottles were left all over the house (and backyard!)
After a lot of trial and error (and frustration and yelling), my husband and I decided we needed a major organization overhaul. Here’s why: If it doesn’t have a HOME, it will be anywhere but where it’s supposed to be.
We get it!
It’s stressful to be constantly losing and searching for things. Plus, there is a financial toll to constantly re-buying things like water bottles or basketball shorts. Try these tips to help build home organization to help ADHD:
1. Take a moment to consider your specific situation.
While it can be super tempting to open Pinterest and check out their perfect linen closets with matching baskets, don’t start there! (note: There is nothing wrong with matching baskets! But the system NEEDS to be personalized to you). Start by thinking through your day. Write down a quick list of items that are constantly getting lost/misplaced. For each item, think about where and when you use them most.
Sarah Ward uses the “STOP” acronym to help support executive function. Because it’s summer in Arizona and we use a LOT of sunscreen, let’s use that as an example.
- Space: Where do you use the objects? What room should they be in? (We put on sunscreen in the kitchen because it’s close to the back door and garage door.)
- Time: When do you use the objects? Not necessarily time of day, but during what activities? (We put on sunscreen before we leave the house or go in the backyard, so it makes sense to put it near the garage door and backdoor)
- Objects: What do you need in order to complete the task? (Just the sunscreen!)
- People: Who needs to be able to access those items? (Everyone in the family, so we keep it in a drawer that even the 5-year-old can reach)
2. Put practicality and convenience first.
Shoes, backpacks, gloves, chargers, keys, wallets… they all need a home! Make sure you are putting things at the right height for all of your family members, and that they are able to be opened/accessed as needed. You want your kids to know where to find their items AND where to put them back. While 12 matching baskets without labels may look cute, it’s going to get confusing! Can your kids read? If not, you can add pictures to the outside of the basket. We also love clear containers so everyone can see what’s inside the box.
When we are organizing, we have a few favorite tools we use and we have found the perfect place to put them. We use our Time Timer (affiliate link; use code: TCC for a discount!) with homework, so it’s on the desk next to the pencils. Our favorite tool for helping with sleep, the Zenimal (affiliate link; use code: TCC for a discount!) in the bedroom next to the bed.
Once you have found the right place, make sure you communicate it to the entire family. And on that note…
3. Include your family whenever possible.
Your family is the best resource to help you problem solve. My 5-year-old used to really struggle getting his socks and shoes on before we left the house. So, we talked about it and I asked him what we could do to make it easier. He said that it’s hard because his socks are in his bedroom, while his shoes are near the garage/mud room. I was blown away by his insight! So, we got a little sock basket which sits near the shoes and now he has his socks and shoes right next to each other. By giving him a voice, I was able to help him solve the problem and he feels ownership of the solution.
On that same note, it’s really important to explain to kids WHY we are doing this! It’s not jut a chore to fill time! When things are in the same spot every time, it saves tons of time and stress. But your kids won’t necessarily know this unless you point it out. So, try making an observation like, “Wow it’s so nice when all the swim towels are in this bin because we don’t have to stand out here freezing!” or “I love that your toothbrush was in the drawer, because now we have time to wrestle before bed!” You can help them connect the organization to the benefit they are getting.
We talk a lot about HOW to include your kids in our online course, Creating Calm.
4. Home organization to help ADHD: practice makes perfect!
Once you have talked with your family about where each item goes, know that it will take them some time and practice to be successful. They may need reminders. One of my favorite games to play with my kids is, “What’s in the wrong place?” and we look around the room and figure out what needs to be put away. That way, it’s a playful game rather than a lecture. They actually like the challenges of finding something that is out of place and put it in the correct spot. This is also a great way to build executive function.
5. Celebrate those successes
Using rewards in a strategic way can be a wonderful tool for helping kids with ADHD learn a new skill. So, make sure you notice the times when they put things in the right spot. You’ve got this!
Find more practical tools and tips like this in our digital course for parents raising kids with ADHD, Creating Calm.
Have a beautiful week!
Katie, Lori, and Mallory
– no one leaves the garage without bringing their backpack in
– backpack have hooks in the front hall closet but even just placing the bag next to the closet works (lazy genius style)
– they only have one school water bottle. It is washed each night and ready for AM.
– clothes picked out for the week and in it’s own clear labeled container. Biggest game changer to date. Seriously life changing.
Great tips! Thank you for sharing!