How to ADHD Proof Your Home

Terena Bell
5 min readFeb 5, 2019

Home Decorating Tips for Making Attention Deficit Easier to Manage

If you want to know whether someone has ADHD, visit their home. People with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are notoriously messy. Everything — and we mean everything — is left in the open. “If it’s not out in the open, it’s forgotten,” explains Sarah Kidder, an interior designer who has the disorder.

Why? According to Elaine Taylor-Klaus, Parent Coach & Co-Founder of ImpactADHD, “People with ADHD often organize by field of vision.” That’s because a common Attention Deficit symptom is low working memory: If an ADHDer can’t see something, they forget they have it. That means bills strewn across the counter to ensure they get paid, sweaters tucked in dresser drawers that never get worn. “We have to find a way to keep things visible without crossing over the boundary into completely cluttered,” Taylor-Klaus continues, “It’s a delicate balance.”

But an Attention Deficit diagnosis doesn’t have to mean an eternally cluttered home. Small changes in decor can make a big difference — not just in appearance but with keeping symptoms in check. With that in mind, an ADHD expert and three professional designers share their suggestions for a more Attention Deficit-friendly home:

  1. Fewer drawers, more shelves.
Get clothes visible

“There is a tendency for people with ADHD to avoid the motor piece of putting something away,” says Taylor-Klaus. Neurologically, the ADHD mind has a hard time focusing on the mundane. Depending on an individual’s brain chemistry, dopamine and norepinephrine, the neurotransmitters that regulate focus, are missing or in short supply. The result is those with the disorder often complete vital parts of a task, but leave finishing details undone. At home, this means cabinet doors and dresser drawers left open and objects that are never put away. “It’s boring, tedious, annoying to have to open up a drawer, find the folder, and put something inside — so we put the receipt on the counter,” says Taylor-Klaus.

To cut down on clutter, trade in traditional cabinets for the kind with clear fronts. Place stainless steel hooks on…

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Terena Bell

Reporter & fiction writer; series editor, Writing Through the Classics; short story editor for hire; sponsor more writing here: buymeacoffee.com/terenabell