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  • Neyir Urminsky

ADHD Closet Tips

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Post cover photo, floral wallpaper, lucite rod

This has been a bit of a slower week but I'm here to share my fav ADHD Closet Tips! When I last updated you on the progress I was stalled waiting for the drawers to come back into stock - good news is that I was able to get some and the ones I really want are supposed to arrive any day now!

ORC gold logo

This year for the One Room Challenge I am working on organizing an ADHD closet. The ORC is an 8 week challenge that anyone can participate in with the goal of finishing one space in our homes. Please be sure to hop over and check out the many amazing projects that are in the works for this year - I promise it will not disappoint. Previous posts on the ADHD closet, In the past few years I have tackled our kitchen, patio, vestibule and our boys shared bedroom.

I have heard from a bunch of folks eager to hear my approach to elevated ADHD design - I have soooo many ideas but today we are going to stick with a key concept I am incorporating into this closet refresh.

Ease of Storage

One of the elements that we always need to keep in mind when designing storage systems is whether we are dealing with an area of interest. If we are then the ease of storage is less important as we ADHDers tend to be more patient and more interested in organising our items. A great example of this is one of my sons Lego creations. This guy is generally pretty tidy but his Lego creations in particular are immaculately displayed because he loves Lego, his clothes however which he wants organised were a different story altogether! He really struggled to keep them tidy as we tried system after system until I made the ‘ease of storage’ paramount. This system is flexible and allows him to easily change categories as needed and to switch out bins to more accessible locations depending on season/sports.

Interior of an organized, simple closet
Simple but effective, flexible bin layout & minimal hanging needed. Ideally bins would be more transparent though he is tall enough to see all the contents in one glance.

In an ideal world I would change the containers to something more see through though he is tall enough to see all the contents in one glance.

I came to this concept of ‘Ease of Storage’ over the summer when I was reading ‘Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD, 2nd edition’, by Susan C Pinsky. I am always learning, researching and expanding my knowledge of the intersection between ADHD and home. I loved this read and found it super accessible and full of practical info! As I read through the pages I found Pinsky was putting into words things that I either knew instinctively or had figured out over the years. One concept in particular, really stopped me in my tracks, Ease of Storage! Essentially Pinsky says that for the ADHDer the ease of ‘putting away’ is always paramount. Meaning it is more important for something to be easy to put away than to get back out to actually use it. Now of course there is going to be a barrier of use here, it can’t be super difficult to use still I have seen this play out over and over in my family. One great example is our Lego storage. For 14 years Lego house with boys who loved to use it and hated to put it away. I have tried soooo many different systems to contain and put it away but in the end this is the one that has worked the best and has been in place for over 2 years.

Cabinet with bins of colour sorted Lego, table with lego builds in foreground
Our lego set up in the midst of re-arranging rooms, the well loved table is now somewhere else

It works because the ‘ease of storage’ is well… easy! Minimal decisions in the tidying up process means there is less tax to Executive Function. The only thing you need to decide is regular piece? Colour? Mini-figure related? Wheel? Window? That may sound like a lot but the kids do this so quickly. The vast majority of the pieces are ‘regular’ and are sorted, lightening speed by colour. All minifigure related pieces go together which just leaves tires and openings (window/doors). We have had more than one person comment that it makes the Lego harder to play with because you are hunting for pieces but those folks aren’t part of the cleaning crew around here ;-). The boys are used to hunting and this is a system they can keep up with on their own.

Another example is our shoe storage in the vestibule, it really couldn’t be easier to put shoes away (actually I have an easier idea but I need a client and contractor to try it out!). There are no decisions needed to put away your shoes and for 2 of my boys they can actually kick their shoes into their cubbies. Here again it is harder to get the shoes out but they generally aren’t bothered by that. This system wouldn’t work for a family that loves shoes as there wouldn’t be enough storage and you can’t see all the shoes at once. In that case there are other systems that would be a better fit.

Interior vestibule in a house with bright blue trim and wallpaper
Toy bins for shoes storage, simple but effective. Each person gets one bin.

Ok so how am I incorporating this into the closet?

Lots of shallow drawers. Drawers can be amazing for easy storage, as long as they are designated to an item function and they aren’t too deep. Deep drawers are like bottomless pits! Even better, these drawers are somewhat see through which makes using them even better. I have been rolling everything in my drawer so that I can see everything when I open it - takes a bit longer to put away but as we already addressed keeping pretty things organised it within my area of interest. I have noo expectation that my husband will roll his clothes! Still the shallow drawers mean he can have a drawer per category and it will be super fast to put away! Ie t-shirst, pants, pjs etc.

Interior closet of wire drawers
Shallow drawers for non-hanging clothes, this wire style will be switched for a more elevated style

Valet rod - a valet rod is a short usually extendable rail incorporated into closets. Its purpose is for hanging things temporarily as you are pulling together an outfit or putting things away. I am excited to incorporate this because it will make pulling out hung items so much easier. It also means if my husband is putting away my hanging clothes he can pop them on the valet rod if he is unsure of where I want them in my closet.

Sweater hooks - in our cold climate we each have a layer or two that we tend to grab and wear occasionally throughout the week. It doesn’t really belong in the vestibule (entry closet) but doesn’t make a ton of sense to put away on the regular - in fact that is a great example of ease of storage. Often in the colder months these end up draped over the chair in our room. I will have a few hooks on the inside back of the door for these items so they can be quickly and easily put away and grabbed.

Flatlay of floral wallpaper, lucite rod, brass hooks & blue carpet
The valet rod will be lucite & brass & the door hooks, closet carpet sneak peek are brass

A wall of accessories - if you are following me on my Instagram you may have seen that I am working on a custom solution for all my accessories. I have a wall that is 2.5 feet wide by 6 feet high that will become a vertical storage solution. I should have it installed in about 2-3 weeks. It incorporates the idea of keeping top of mind ‘ease of storage’ along with being able to see everything at once and flexibility so that the system can adapt as my needs and priorities change.

The last thing that I feel could use mentioning is that I decided to take the shoes out of the closet. In the long run, for us, keeping shoes in here didn’t make sense. My husband’s collection is fairly minimal and is mostly kept in the vestibule. I definitely have a larger collection but I wanted to be able to see all of my shoes at once which meant keeping my shoes in the closet would eat up a large portion of my wall of accessory storage. Instead I moved my shoes to a cupboard that was very frustrating to use. The cabinet shelves are deep so things tended to get pushed to the back and it was so low to the ground that putting anything away in it was unpleasant. However it works great for shoe storage. I can see everything at once and because the shoes are relatively large it is easy to pop a pair in and out. Also I tend to check an outfit at the large Art Deco wall mirror so I’m exiting the closet before an outfit is ‘finished’ anyway :-).

Interior of cabinet used for shoe storage
My 'shoe cabinet', I have 2 pairs of tall boots that live in the vestibule

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