ADHD Laundry Tricks: Conquering the Laundry Beast

by | May 9, 2024 | ADHD Success Skills and Tools | 0 comments

It’s a never-ending task. Once you complete it, within 24 hours there’s more to do. Every gosh-darned day. 

What am I talking about? Laundry. The collecting, washing, drying, folding, and putting away of shirts, pants, dresses, undergarments. (And don’t get me started on the socks…where does that stray one go????)

Laundry may seem like a simple task. It’s rinse, dry, and repeat. But for many adults with ADHD, it’s a daunting challenge. 

The thought of facing piles of clothes can trigger anxiety and procrastination. However, there are effective strategies to overcome this laundry nightmare and regain control of your routine. Let’s explore some key insights and hacks tailored for ADHD individuals to make laundry day a breeze.

The ADHD Laundry Struggle

ADHD individuals often find themselves locked in a perpetual battle with laundry. Why does this seemingly mundane chore pose such a significant challenge?

Laundry is Boring. Let’s be honest. Laundry isn’t the most exciting activity, especially for ADHD brains craving stimulation. As stated, it’s rinse, dry, repeat. The most exciting part might be when you get all the socks to match.

Laundry is Complicated.  Laundry is always the same thing, but it involves so many steps, from sorting to folding, which can overwhelm our ADHD brains. Especially the part where we have to remember to move the wet clothes to the dryer!

Laundry Never Ends. Yep. Like shaving and brushing our teeth, the dirty laundry just keeps coming. We’ve gotta keep showing up and getting it done. 

Outsmarting the Laundry Blues

Sometimes, traditional laundry methods don’t cut it for ADHD adults. Here are some out-of-the-box hacks to consider:

Do Smaller Loads More Often: I can hear you saying, “What?!?” Why would we want to do a boring, overwhelming task more often? This is counter-intuitive, but it’s the ADHD trick that has helped me and oh so many coaching clients. Instead of letting laundry pile up to mountain size, you’ve got to do smaller, more manageable loads. Breaking it down reduces overwhelm and makes the task more achievable.

Another out-of-the-box tip? What has really helped me is getting rid of half my underwear. Now I have to do my laundry every week. No!!! Yet that small load is so much easier for my ADHD brain to handle.

Every Family Member for Themselves: If someone is tall enough to reach into the washer and press the buttons, they are able to do their own laundry. Sure they might not do it as perfectly as you. But does perfect every really help? Get each family member to handle their own laundry whenever possible. This not only lightens your load (literally!) but also teaches essential life skills. 

One Load a Day: I used to save the laundry up and do multiple loads all in one day. Talk about Laundry Hell! Along with smaller loads, I’ve learned that doing one load a day helps me avoid laundry overwhelm. I can also hook it to something else that I do every day so I remember.

Simplify Your Laundry Routine

Remember: Easy Gets Done! Make things as easy as possible to tackle your ADHD laundry challenges. Try these simplification tricks:

Streamline Putting it Away: Embrace the idea of “good enough” when folding and putting away clothes. In fact, don’t fold everything. Cram underwear in a drawer. Toss your pjs in another. Have open shelves if drawers are too hard for you to use. Not everything needs meticulous organization. Simplify wherever you can to save time and energy and you’re more apt to get it done.

ADHD-Friendly Laundry Helpers: Invest in laundry baskets and sorting systems that are easy for you to use and large enough. Some of my ADHD coaching clients love the laundry baskets that let them sort dirty clothes as they put them in the hamper. Here’s a place to let your ADHD creativity shine. Just remember to keep it simple!

Take It to The End Step: Remember, the ultimate goal isn’t just washing clothes; it’s putting everything away. Leaving wet clothes molding in the washer just makes life harder. Keeping the end step of putting clothes away in mind can help you maintain focus as you conquer the laundry hills.

With the right approach, you can conquer your laundry woes. Even if you have ADHD. Test out these ADHD laundry tricks, and hopefully, you’ll be on the path to transform laundry from a nightmare into a manageable task. 

UPDATE: Here are some additional laundry tips from readers:

  • I came across plastic rings online that are used to hold socks together for washing. They are simply wonderful. Not only do they keep the sock monster at bay, but more importantly, they also eliminate the step of having to lay out and rematch pairs when emptying a load.  In a pinch (pun intended), clothespins do a reasonably good job but a few of them will detach during the cycle.
  • I don’t sort socks. I have about a week and a half’s worth of identical socks so I can pull any two off the pile and pair them. I also don’t fold sheets. They come out of the dryer and go back on the bed. No folding, no storing.

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