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  • Neyir Urminsky

Organizing an ADHD closet

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

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.

If there is anything I have learned over the years of living (mostly unknowingly with ADHD) it is that systems are paramount. I was always a tidy child, I kept my room very neat and once I hit my teen years I wanted the kitchen equally so. I was so devoted to tidying the kitchen that my parents put an extension of my phone number in the kitchen (a phone stuck to the wall people - soooo old school!).

Interior of a messy closet
Where we started - notice the piles on top & the floor

That was also back in the days that I first discovered the idea of ‘home’, I was always ascribing ‘homes’ to items or trying to decide where their ‘home’ should be, everything having a place, a destination I realised even then was key to organization. Now when this comes to closets it is pretty easy, right? Clothes are what find their home there, and shoes and boots, but not winter boots right or rain boots or…

Truly there are no hard and fast rules of what exactly should be in your closet but what I do stand by is that everything you own does need a home and be part of a system including the possessions in your bedroom. As I designed this closet storage system I kept a few things in mind;

  1. Budget, this is not a final phase for this closet, there is an original 1960’s bathroom next door that will need renovating eventually so I didn’t want to commit to anything expensive or custom.

  2. Current clothes, what were we going to keep in here? At the moment the dysfunctional closet houses nearly all my clothes and my husband’s are mainly in a dresser, a system that does not work for him at all. Ideally I wanted all my husband’s clothes in the closet with a straight forward system. I have accepted that some of my occasional/off season items will end up in the dresser.

  3. Jewellery & accessories, I am NOT happy with how I have been storing these items. I love clothes and jewellery, it is one of my things (all ADHDers have areas of interest and pretty things are definitely one of mine!), still I don’t like to have things I don’t use and I currently most of my accessories aren’t used as they are hard to access. I knew I needed a flexible system that allows me to see everything at once and is easy to put things away.

  4. Putting away, which brings us to one of the lynch pins of storage for the ADHDer or anyone really who struggles with Executive Function. Whatever system I instituted I was committed to respecting the ease of ‘putting away’. I’ll be talking about this more later but I am in the process of re-organizing our home to respect this principle, paramount is the ease of ‘putting away’.

Interior of an empty white closet
A good amount of space - do you spot the double hanging rails?!

I measured the space and thought about the best way to use it. It’s a good size, 3.5 by just over 5 feet with a jut out to the left side that is a small closet in itself, 3 by 1.5 feet. But the real beauty of this closet is that the ceiling is nearly 8.5 feet! Think about those numbers, where is the plentiful real estate?? Up, it is up!

A big element causing the dysfunction in this closet was the wacky hanging rail placement, 2 rails placed directly in front of the other creating 2 problems. You could never see what was on the back rail nor access it easily and no light got back there to see. Also the front rail was far enough forward that you couldn’t really get into the closet as it essentially took up most of the floor space.

The obvious answer seemed to be get rid of the second rail and go up! The problem was those two rails were mostly filled and at 5 '9'’ I have a bunch of long dresses that need long hanging height. How could I use all that 8+ foot space, hang my long clothes and free up more easily accessed storage….

A layout of a closet from above
Current layout with the double rails, right jut out is floor to ceiling deeeeep shelves

The solution was easy but it took me a hot second to figure it out. If you look at the graphic above, you can see the ‘little closet’ to the left, currently it has wildly deep shelves that easily hide small children! The answer was to add a rail here for my long dresses and because of the depth I can still maintain the shelves behind. I’ll be putting tupperwares there that can be quickly taken in and out for out of season items.

Interior of a women's closet
My new long hanging area, still space for shelves behing.

Overhead layout of interior of a closet
The new layout, long hanging & shelves behind in jut out, Jonaxel system at the back of the closet

That left me with just needing hanging space for short items on the back wall which meant only one rail so voila now I had space for drawers!!!! Again I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on anything custom so I went in search of a system that would work. I came upon the Ikea Jonaxel, it is modular so while you can’t fully customize it you can build many different combinations. That also means when the big bathroom reno happens we will be able to use these pieces elsewhere.

The combination I choose is this one.

In the new layout above, see how much more floor space there is? The wall on the right will eventually house my accessories.

Interior of a closet showing Ikea Jonaxel system
Our Jonaxel Ikea system, still missing back ordered drawers!

We have it installed temporarily, I still need to repair the walls where we took out the shoe moulding and the old closet pieces and I need the drawers! Sadly I didn’t research this particular Ikea line and have since discovered there are some major supply chain issues - I am off to pick up some drawers today but they aren’t the mesh style we want long term, fingers crossed they come into stock soon!!!!

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