How to make cleaning easier with ADHD?

Cleaning with ADHD can feel like an insurmountable mountain. Symptoms such as distractibility, forgetfulness, trouble with task initiation, and time blindness make maintaining a neat home feel close to impossible. But with a few creative strategies and modifications, tackling cleaning might just become more manageable and even enjoyable. Here are some expert-backed tips to help make cleaning easier if you have ADHD:

Divide the cleaning task into small, doable steps

  1. One of the most common barriers to cleaning with ADHD is, in fact, that people with ADHD get overwhelmed with the enormity and complexity of tasks associated with cleaning. This can be tackled by breaking down cleaning into smaller, doable steps.
    Don’t put down “clean the kitchen” on your to-do list—break things down. For example:
    • Load the dishwasher
    • Wipe the counters
    • Sweep the floor
    • Get the trash out
    • Mop the floor
  2. Take it one step at a time, and if necessary, take a break. Celebrate those little accomplishments! If something still seems huge to handle, break it into pieces; after all, progress is progress, no matter how small.
    You can group them according to the time each is likely to take. Here’s how you do it: You write down 5-minute tasks, 10-minute tasks, 15-minute tasks, and so on. Then, with however much time you have left, you look at the list for that chunk of time. This will absolutely make cleaning feel much more bite-sized.

Using timers, music, and body doubling in order to remain on task

  1. Time blindness means that, often, having ADHD means you’re oblivious to the passage of time. You may not notice yourself doing it, but you clean on one thing for hours and may not realize how much time has passed. Timers can help keep you more in tune with time and transition between these cleaning sessions.
    Try setting your phone timer for 10-15 minutes and just go, go, go for that duration. Make it a game if you like, but try to “beat the clock” each time. You could also use music as your timer by committing to clean for the duration of 3-4 songs.
    Another useful technique is “body doubling.” The term refers to the act of having another person around while you are engaged in a task, but not actually assisting you. This simple method helps many people with ADHD remain focused: just the presence of another person in the room provides the appropriate level of stimulation and accountability. Invite a friend over to chat while you clean, or hop on a video call with a buddy who also needs to tidy up.
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Make picture communication and environmental modification

  1. For the person with ADHD, the saying usually goes like this: “Out of sight, out of mind.” Make cleaning supplies visible and easy to access. You are more likely to use them this way. Keep the most frequently used supplies in high-traffic areas: for example, under the kitchen sink or in a caddy that can be carried from room to room.
    Another way to manage your cabinet is to label your shelves, bins, and containers. For example, you could label a bin “Cleaning Rags” and then store it right next to the cleaning supplies so that what belongs in there is very clear.
    You can also optimize your environment to make cleaning as easy as possible. This means keeping a garbage can in every room; this small step wards off trash from being left in so many other places. Put a laundry basket in the spot you tend to strip off clothes. Keep donation boxes for your closet out so you can easily stash items you no longer wear. The key is to make the “right” choice the easy choice.

If, despite all these tips, you are still overwhelmed by the idea of keeping everything clean, it may be time to look for a cleaner. Perhaps booking a cleaning service would do the trick. Professional help, even part-time, can go a long way in keeping your home organized and your general stress level under control.



Living with ADHD just makes cleaning and keeping a house so much harder, but it is by no means impossible. Working with your brain, not against it, helps in breaking things down into manageable steps, using timers and body doubling to stay on track, visual cues, and optimizing your environment. Seattle’s Green Cleaning Fairy services can make cleaning feel much more approachable in this way.

Take a breath, relax, and be gentle with yourself. The goal here isn’t a sparkling clean home, but a space that feels useful and sustaining to you. Try some strategies out—keep the ones that work, ditch the ones that don’t. You can absolutely come up with a way to clean that works with your ADHD brain, rather than against it—once you try a little bit of trial and error.

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