This is going to be short. Maybe my shortest post to date. It’s all about interval cleaning, which is a really basic concept but will help you tidy your home more often without realizing you’re even doing it.
I’ve been practicing interval cleaning for years. You might be doing it too, without even knowing. I’ve only put a name to it for the purpose of this post but I’m glad I have something to call it now!
What’s the Deal with ADHDers and Cleaning?
Most of the ADHDers I know are a little obsessed with cleaning. They think about it constantly – I have to clean this and that, the house isn’t ready for company, my things are all over the place, when’s the last time I cleaned the oven.
And yet we’re not the neatest people you’ll ever meet. Many of us have messy desks, cars and bedrooms.
It’s because ADHD at heart is an executive function disorder. ADHDers struggle to perform basic tasks that most neurotypical people would do with ease. That certainly includes cleaning!
We tend to clean sporadically – when the mood strikes, we might clean the entire house top to bottom in half a day. But the rest of the time, cleaning might feel so overwhelmingly difficult that we obsess over doing it while simultaneously avoiding it.
That’s why I’ve started doing interval cleaning as often as possible.
What is Interval Cleaning?
The idea is to clean at a specific interval: for example, as you enter and leave a room, or as you move up or down a floor, or every time you go to the bathroom.
Pick an interval that will happen frequently enough throughout the day while you’re at home that you can attach cleaning to it.
Once you have your interval in mind, decide to clean or tidy just 1-2 things at each interval.
As you leave your bedroom, take 2 empty cans of soda down to the kitchen. As you go to the bathroom, restock the toilet paper or clean the mirror. As you head upstairs, take the laundry with you and put the basket in your bedroom.
The point is to tie the cleaning task with something you’re already doing.
Once you’ve done your 1-2 small cleaning things, you may want to do more. That’s great! If you’re not getting distracted from another important activity, use the momentum to keep cleaning.
Use this method throughout the day to clean just a little bit at a time, more often, so you know you’ve accomplished something. You don’t have to have a perfectly neat house. Just try putting some things away now and again.
What’s your secret trick to getting yourself motivated to clean? I’d love to hear it!