ADD Cheater’s Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Freebie Printable

ADD Cheater's Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Free Printable by

Hello, my name is Emily and I’m a mess-a-holic. I admit it….I hate to clean and since I have ADD, I get distracted or overwhelmed super easily and am always needing to devise ways to trick myself help keep myself motivated to get my chores done. Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t dirty….just always messy. 

I’m terrible at putting away all things I get out for my projects and with ADD it’s always a struggle when I try to complete tasks….and then clean up after them. So today, I wanted to share some of the “cheater” ways that I use to help myself (and family) to get chores, blogging, crafts, home projects, and other things done is a semi-reasonable amount of time.

Yes, these tricks also work for the kiddos too since they have shorter attention spans and aren’t really interested in doing chores anyways. Also, check out this chore chart I made for the kiddos….it works awesome too!

1. Do timed cleanups often ~ At our house we have 5~10 minute cleanups (or sometimes I tell my kids it’s five minutes and then my hand might slip when setting the timer to make it a wee bit longer). The rules are: A. Just go around and put away the first things you see (trust me, we never run out of things to put away before the time is up)  B. If you have something in your hand when the bell rings, you still need to put it away C. No matter how much clutter is left when the bell rings, clean up is over when time’s up (this ensures that the kiddos are willing to do this over and over if you’re not always trying to make them work past the bell ring) you can do these a few times each day, if you need.

I do this a lot for myself too….knowing that I’m only cleaning for 10 minutes and then back to what I was doing (usually blogging), helps me to get up and do it more often because I know exactly how many minutes I’ll be cleaning and it’s a very manageable amount of time for my attention span.

2. Break things up into smaller tasks ~ Having ADD means I have a difficult time tackling jobs that seem big or have too many steps to them. It makes me overwhelmed to think about cleaning the whole house….so instead, I break it up into smaller tasks. I will break it up by room, or by job (like dusting as one thing or vacuuming), or even by how many minutes a chore takes. Get inventive.

I use this one for the kiddos too! Instead of telling them to go clean their (whole) room, which is daunting for them, I tell them to go in their room and put away all their stuffed animals, books, or pick a specific area they need to work on. kiddos have tunnel vision anyways, so this works well with mine.

3. Assign a certain number of things to put away ~ Ok, well this one is more for the girls….but I do admit, sometimes I give myself assignments too. Come up with a random number and tell the kids to go around the house and put away 15 things…..or 5….or 10. I usually don’t go over 20 since that gets too intimidating, buuuuuuut I have done back-to-back “assignments” before.

4. Focus on a certain area ~ Yeah, this one is similar to #2, but I wanted to mention it in it’s own number. If I need to get the kitchen cleaned up, I go area by area and take small breaks to go do something else in between. I might start with the small counter by the fridge, and the the oven, and then the sink, etc….this helps me compartmentalize the chore and it doesn’t seem so big and overwhelming. That’s why my whole house is never picked up at the same time….just small parts here and there. Not kidding.

ADD Cheater's Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Free Printable by

ADD Cheater's Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Free Printable by

ADD Cheater's Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Free Printable by

ADD Cheater's Guide To A (Somewhat) Clean House & Free Printable by

5. Make yourself a schedule ~ Having a schedule to follow helps me to stick to my list of thing I assign myself each day/week. Make yourself one that’s the same each week or do a day-to-day one if you have things to work around. You can download one of these to use and put it in a frame and write on it with dry erase like I did here. The ones here are sized to fit in an 8×10 frame. Then, as you do each chore, draw a line through it….somehow seeing things crossed out always makes me feel like I accomplished something since I can see exactly what I’ve done and it’s very satisfying to draw that line.

6. Invite people over or have a party ~ Ok, I really don’t do this as a way to keep the house picked up, but man does it work! I get more things done in the few hours before people start arriving than I can get done in a whole month trying to motivate myself!

What do you do that helps you get those monotonous chores done each week?

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Have fun!

You can also see this post at A Dash of Sanity, That’s My Home, and Food Storage Moms.

About Emily Mcdonald

Emily McDonald is the owner of Not So Idle Hands and lives in Colorado with her hot hubby and 3 cute daughters. When she's not battling ADHD, Fibro, or Migraines she loves to be downstairs playing with all her pretty crafty things making fun stuff. She also runs an awesome Etsy Shop by the same name where she gets to sell shiny supplies to make pretty stuff {check it out!}.


  1. love this – and I totally can relate!

  2. This is awesome and speaks directly to my heart!! Thanks for writing it. I’ve shared it and now need to pin it- so I don’t forget where I put it! ;)

  3. Thanks for sharing this at Talking Tuesday, we appreciate you stopping by.

  4. I am so glad I found this! My apartment is a bit of a disaster, but this should help!

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