33: the one about home




What can we do to make our living spaces more ADHD friendly? Today  Moira and Roxie share some favorites from their houses. 
Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle Podcast, for those of us with ADHD, who have had enough of trying harder and want to live a more comfortable, healthy, and happy life with less frustration and overwhelm. It’s time to get rid of guilt and shame–around having ADHD, our needs, and challenges through stories, knowledge, and humor to speak up about the experience of women, moms, and being late diagnosed with ADHD. 
We can build acceptance and growing our self-compassion over time, to help us take care of ourselves, ask for help when we need it, and be comfortable with who we are. Join me, Moira Maybin, as I share knowledge about ADHD to make your life easier, and what choices you have to make your tomorrow a more ADHD Friendly day.
Thank you for being part of the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle, hosted by Moira Maybin. Subscribe to the show on iTunes and leave a rating and review. Join the conversation today!
Have a question suggestion or want to reach out? Email Ask@adhdfriendlylifestyle.com



I acknowledge with gratitude that I’m a settler who lives in creates on the unceded traditional territories of the Semiahmoo First Nation, which lies within the shared territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Tsawwassen and Sto:lo First Nations.

Moira Maybin 00:18I would like to have some episodes every now and again that are focusing on some of the everyday things that just make our life a little bit easier though, just starting here today with so what have I done with my living space to make it a little bit easier? Welcome to the ADHD Friendly Lifestyle. I’m your host, Moira Maybin a woman, mom, educator and I have late diagnosed ADHD. This is the place to practice getting rid of guilt or shame and spending more time with our strengths and passions. There are things that I wish I had known about my ADHD sooner that are allowing me to make different decisions to make my life more ADHD friendly, and I want to share them with you. 

Moira Maybin   Thank you, Coach Roxie Martin for joining me again on a week where I didn’t feel inspired to write but as always like to talk. I really was getting sidetracked today because I’ve come up with an idea of how to organize episodes so their take less executive function really wanted to focus on that and not on writing the next episode. So thanks for coming to the rescue with what are our favorite ADHD friendly things around our home

Roxie Martin  01:39  love it and I love the excuse to visit with you. So it’s a win win.

Moira Maybin  Exactly. Oh, that’s garbage. That’s like the pickup isn’t it?

Roxie Martin  01:57 It sounds like somebody is taking the cans. I think.

Moira Maybin  02:04 I think it’s let’s start with garbage. Because I’ve actually done a couple of things that to try and make it easier for me with garbage. One of the things that I noticed was that in my bathrooms if I didn’t have a little recycling container, I would throw away things. And so I ordered little recycling containers for my bathrooms. So that toilet paper rolls or as containers will go in there. Okay. The other thing that we did is we started pre-sorting our recycling right in our kitchen because nobody wanted to do it in the garage. So I got little containers that were colors because the last has to go into a red container. So I got a little red plastic container because my kids have ADHD too, right. So whatever I could do to make it easier for the stuff that’s recyclable that could go back, we can drop it off with a label to our recycling center, and then they’ll just credit the refund to our account. So we don’t have to wait. So I have a plastic clear plastic bag in a bin in our kitchen and people just put them in there. And then when it’s full, we slap a label on it and so there’s no sorting or organizing of it. That’s all kind of done right then and there.

Roxie Martin  03:13 That reminds me of something we do. And that is, we have one big bin that we use for cans and bottles. And my husband, once that gets full, my husband takes it in and just hands it off. And it’s something similar where they will do all the sorting and adding up and whatever. And, and then his the big incentive for him to get that done is whatever he makes off of that he uses to build his whiskey collection. Right? That’s his money. Yep, yeah, his money. So yeah, like, I’ll be like, you’re gonna spend how much on whiskey and he’ll say, but yeah, and so that’s how we do that. And the other thing we did to address one of the issues, which was overflow in the kitchen, because we have not mastered the art of minimizing, we’re still like, way too many ways. Goals, but we’re not there yet. So we just bought really big bins for recycling, but they’re very narrow. Yeah. So they’re just super tall and super narrow, they don’t take up much space, you don’t notice them. They’re against the back wall. But it gives us a little more time. And then yeah, and then we address it more like every two weeks, instead of seeing an overflow and walking past it over and over and over. So

Moira Maybin  04:37 that’s what was happening for us. And the other thing that was an issue was no one wanting to take the food waste to the food waste container that was in the garage. So we actually discovered that, hey, for like 10 months of the year, we can just keep it outside our kitchen door, which is on a deck. Even if it’s pouring rain or the weather’s horrible, you can just open the door and put it right into the bin there. We kind of dove in with the dirty stuff right away. We’re here today at ADHD friendly lifestyle house, I’m gonna kick it off by saying, I built my dream house, my absolute dream house, put everything in it that I could possibly want. And three years later moved away from it. One because the mortgage was too big to the house was too big to manage. And three, I will never live in an open concept house again. I do not want to see my kitchen all the time. I want to ignore it if it’s messy, and I don’t want to have to walk by my children’s bedrooms. On a regular basis. They’re both teenagers now. That is their space.

Roxie Martin  05:44 I want to tell you how impressed I am that you said that you were able to go one and say the thing and they go to and say the thing and then get to three and remember the thing I remember.

Moira Maybin  05:55 Yeah, and right now I was like, um, what was the thing that I was actually saying? The other thing is, is that I am a perfectionist in recovery. I was going to plan and organize my way out of ADHD. And that was by having order and cleanliness and tidiness. And so there’s a story, it’s not really a story. But yeah, in our kitchen, we have a sign that says, excuse the mess, but we live here. And my husband encouraged me to buy it. And I allowed it to be hung in the laundry room. Because that’s what base I was comfortable with it being in now almost 10 years later and a pandemic. I am way okay with the mess. I’m living with it a whole lot more comfortably.

Roxie Martin   Acceptance is the answer.

Moira Maybin  06:42 Yes. And I still like cleanliness. So having that kitchen that has walls on three sides, so I don’t have to see it. It has been a huge game-changer for me. And not feeling like I’m responsible to keep it all clean, because that’s what also drove me to near insanity was feeling like I was the well I was I was the only person who cared in my house. My husband doesn’t care, he could live in piles. And my children are just not that motivated, or they get overwhelmed by it. And for me, this is cleaning and organizing are what I do when I won’t feel like I am losing control.

Roxie Martin  Saying which I should have, you know, a really, really well-organized house if we’re just using that as criteria. Because at some point in every day, I have a feeling of being out of control.

Moira Maybin  07:40 Well, you know, it was interesting because you know, I didn’t recognize ADHD, and me what I didn’t realize my desire to be so organized was because of how easily disorganized I am. And that was the piece that I was like, Oh yeah, so easy for us to be disorganized. We went away this weekend. I said to my husband oh you know good job for packing before we were going because I had unpacked everything and I had stuff in every room of this cottage we’re saying He’s like, I just picked my suitcase up from the floor and put it on the bed.

Roxie Martin  08:16 Well, I think one of the only places I’m organized consistently is, is in a hotel room. When we traveled, I did a really nice job, I found a little container to put my keys and my phone and whatever in and I set it up nicely in the bathroom so that I had all my makeup brushes in one little container. And I did really well and it felt really natural. But the reason why is because I had next to nothing that I needed to organize right? If I kept it simple, right? I packed really late, and I didn’t have much. So it was easy. When I came home, I think the answer is to have like, nothing but a suitcase full of stuff for me to be responsible for, because I do so much better. But that natural disorganization thing, no matter how hard I try, shows up all over the place. I was making bread right before this. And I’m really good at it. I’ve got a rhythm. And at the same time, if you had a camera on me, you would see me walking back and forth and back and forth and grabbing paper towels to wipe my hands and more paper towels. And pretty soon, the whole thing of paper towels is down to about two sheets before cardboard. And then I don’t know why I have to walk across my kitchen all the time to wash my hands. Like I washed my hands a zillion times and it’s back and forth and back and forth. So that idea of someday I’m going to be one of that chef-like people who have their mise en place all perfectly laid out. And they only work in the triangle. And they only go to the station to wash their hands. You know, at the end of each thing. I just don’t think it can ever be me. I think I think time-lapse photography will always show that I am a Tasmanian devil. 

Moira Maybin   I don’t know. Do you have a big kitchen? Like a lot of working space? 

Roxie Martin   It’s really big. It’s not laid out? Well, I think if I had what do you call it? It? Captain’s kitchen. What’s it called when

Moira Maybin   Like a galley kitchen?

Roxie Martin  10:16 Yeah, like a kitchen? Cabinets kitchen. Yeah, if I had one of those, I think I’d actually do better. But that’s the stuff that is it not everything’s perfect. And that’s one of the examples of something that is maybe always going to be an issue for me. But since you were talking about things to make it ADHD-friendly, I will say that for the past four or five years, I have had a really well-organized kitchen space. So where everything is located, how I get to it, depending on whether I’m baking or making dinner, it’s all laid out really, really well. I have all my calendars and my knives and my cutting boards right by the sink, because that’s where I rinse off my vegetables, and I need them right there. So I do that all in one spot. And then when I’m at my stove, I have my pots and pans. Just above me, I’ve got all of my go-to utensils in a really cute little crockery pot. Right in front of me, I have all of my oils and salts and special things in a deep drawer. That’s right to my left, I’m left-handed, that I just can reach in and grab.

Moira Maybin  11:31 Yeah, you’re talking about the point of performance, right? Having those things Yeah, that you need right at the point of performance. And I have a couple of examples for that. Not in the kitchen, I was just gonna say we’re kind of representing two different viewpoints of ADHD in the kitchen. Because when we went away together, you kept me alive. By feeding me regularly. I’m the one who wanders into the kitchen and looks at things and goes I don’t know, I don’t want any of it. Like I just know I need to eat food, but nothing looks good. And we actually in our fridge, put things in clear containers. And I’m reorganizing it because my kids and I if we can’t see the food, we won’t eat it with anything if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Same. That’s why I think a lot of people like to have stuff out. And the way that I’ve dealt with that with wanting to have clean surfaces, is on my bedside table. The top drawer is the stuff I need at nighttime, so I can get it out at nighttime. And then in the morning, I just can put it right back into the drawer so it doesn’t look like a disaster area. And then I’ve done the same thing in my bathroom. I love boxes, and I have trays in the bathroom. We have an ensuite and then we have a bathroom beside that first of all I’ve doubled up on things so like I have a toothbrush in each and I have deodorant in each and actually have deodorant in my closet so like I’m gonna have it somewhere that I’m I needed when I think of it. And I also have trays like my makeup is in action. tray. And it’s totally messy there, I pulled the tray out, I use the stuff, I throw it back in. And then I can just put the tray away. So the counter looks clean, it looks tidy. But I’m not having to waste any effort or energy on keeping it clean organizing it. And so I tried to do that. We’ve done that with my kids where there’s a basket where they come home, and they drop off newsletters and stuff like that. And for me, having multiples and having clear containers have been huge to have those things at the point of performance.

Roxie Martin  13:43 Well, you said something about trays in your bathroom, right. And so I just wanted to jump on that and say the way that I handled trays in my bathroom is I have one rectangular porcelain tray, and it’s got a little rim around it, that I can only put so much on it because if it if I put too much it goes on to the rim, and then it falls off. So it limits how much I can have on my counter. And I’m in within that little space, I have a small container for my makeup brushes. And then I have another small container that has my basic makeup setup. So what happens is, that’s the only thing that stays on the counter. And anything that I can’t fit back in there, I can literally just scoop into a drawer. And that’s what I do. So I have as much out it’s fitting there. And then that keeps me it keeps it contained. It tells me that I have a very poor working memory. That tray reminds me where things go. Yeah. And so that helps me a lot. It makes me feel like there’s order and it’s like for me it’s the bull’s eye like I just see it all the time. I know just stick it there, you’ll be fine. Anything that doesn’t fit there gets scooped into the drawer and for the kitchen. And the clear containers issue is one for me too. So what I do is I buy those takeaway containers, oh, yeah, 32 ounces, and I buy the paint and then I buy the one smaller than that. And that’s what I put all of my leftovers in. And I have in that drawer that I told you about. That’s where my oils and all that is what’s also in that big drawer are masking tape and Sharpies. And so I just write on whatever it is. And I stick it in the fridge because if I just stick it in a clear container, but I don’t use the blue masking tape and the one that  Sharpie, I don’t see that either. So that’s the only way that I can actually get to the leftovers and I cook so much and have historically thrown so much away. But that’s a saving grace and I also use it for dragons because they’re stackable just

Moira Maybin  15:56 started using painter’s tape, we were able to convert to using glass containers, right. So we were making food and having extras and putting it in the freezer. And so we were also making food for my parents at one point and freezing things for them. I love a label maker. So I was using the label maker. But for in the fridge. Yeah, we just needed to start dating things. So we knew how long they were in the fridge beside me, right because I can eyeball it and go Oh that one but one of the things was trying to as you know my kids become teenagers was to have fewer things that I’m solely responsible for right that other people can be thinking about.

Roxie Martin  16:36 Good. One of the things that helps me a lot actually has to do with food. And that is I’ve gotten into the habit of doing Sunday sauce, Sunday gravy, and then using that to eat off of for a few days. So the more things that I can do that make multiple meals then the less of a disaster. I’m going to make my kitchen like I said I can’t figure out how to make it tidy how to be prep I would need to plan much better so that I have everything prepped the day before and then actually cook the day up and I don’t think that that’s going to happen anytime soon. But what I can do is make a big pot of sauce or a big pot of soup, something like that and then put it in those containers freeze half of what I make ate it as you said and then have half in the fridge which I do right now. And that helps

Moira Maybin  17:34 a lot I want to ask about laundry but before we do that, I love hooks I have hooks everywhere in my closet, front door back door bathrooms because people do not have to hang up the towel they can just put it on hook clothes when I’m taking them off if I’m not washing them. I don’t have drawers I got rid of drawers in my bedroom and that makes it feel a lot easier by just having a closet with shelves.

Roxie Martin Same I don’t have a dress either. That makes it easier. I just have shelves. The other thing is in order to keep up on my laundry I actually only own two loads of laundry worth of clothes.

Moira Maybin  That’s really smart.

Roxie Martin  18:19 It’s, it’s, it was partly by necessity, but then I realized later, like, no, actually, this is kind of great. So no matter how bad it gets, no matter how long I go without doing laundry, it is only going to fill my laundry basket. It can’t, nothing else can really happen. So it’s like,

Moira Maybin  Do you like it? I just bought four pairs of the same pants in different colors. Okay, that works, too. So, um, but we, we’ve done this for years, it’s my kids were brand new, they have their own laundry basket in their bedroom. And so when they take clothes off, it was like, here’s a big easy target to hit. And we presort ours in. I feel like I’ve leveled up because I have one like, just for underwear. That’s not like giant size. And it has little handles that you can carry down the hallway. And so we little, your little panty purse. Exactly, exactly. So edits, and we were putting socks in there too because it was like the hot water. But I felt like my socks were getting a little bit too. They were shrinking. So but we Yeah, so we have like lights, right? We have one for just lights and one for cold water wash and, and then I have to do it. I can’t leave it all for like a whole week, because that creates too much laundry, too. I’ve noticed with most things, I have a tolerance level like I don’t mind something to a certain point. And then once I go beyond that it’s not fun anymore. Like things like cooking. And because we’ve tried doing batch cooking, and it just turns it into a big chore, right? It’s like, okay, this was fun for a little while. If I do laundry a couple of times a week, and or, you know, with my kids, it would be like one load every day, you know, doing linens? Oh, that’s one that I got excited about it having three sets of linens, like three sets of sheets for my bed. Because when I take one-off, I can put the clean ones on right away. And the job that job is done. Like I can go to bed later. Because there’s nothing worse than coming to bed and being surprised that you can’t go to bed because there are no sheets, or you’re going to sleep on a mattress with no sheets because I’m sure we’ve both done it. Yes. And then so you have one to be in laundry, you have one for backup, and you have one in use. And that’s worked really well. With towels and, and stuff like that, too.

Roxie Martin  20:40 We do that with sheets. And by we I mean, my husband, I made the purchase of the sheets, and he does all the bed changes. But if I like that to mean being able to always know that you’ve got a good set ready to go.

Moira Maybin  Yeah, yeah. So but you mentioned a way back, something that I think has been key for me is every three to six months. And I think it generally ties into the change of the season. And when my kids were younger, it would be like changing, pulling out their clothes, you know, like, okay, It’s summer now. So you’re not going to need these. And when they’re, you know, when they’re smaller where you know, they’re not going to be that same size again next year. Yeah. So that kind of built the habit of going through the house. And getting rid of things like two weeks ago, I went through our drawer that had all our first day and medicine stuff. And I was so surprised how much of it was outdated. And so I wrote on it and Sharpies and took the stuff that was it was long expired, but just sort of having that regular process of keep, get rid of and that’s either donate or rehome if I can, or maybe and then maybe if it’s still there six months later, and nobody’s used it or touched it that it’s like get rid of. So

Roxie Martin     how do you keep that on your inner? Well, it that it’s a six,

Moira Maybin  because usually when I’m going through, I kind of know what I want to keep and what I don’t want like it’s basically done I love it. And if I love it that I wanted to stay in my home, if no one’s really using it, or it’s not being well cared for, but I kind of have this process of like, and this is what I did. My family went skiing for the day over the winter break. And I kind of had a day to myself. They don’t like it when I start tearing the house apart. So I did it while they were gone. And I started my closet. And I was like okay, what here can go and then I go between the different bathrooms and looking because my husband doesn’t get rid of containers. He’ll have like six empty containers in a drawer.

Roxie Martin  Is that bad?

Moira Maybin   Well, you know, and here’s the thing. I was a military kid, we moved all the time. So getting rid of stuff was something that was because when you move and you’re packing everything up, you have to sort of deciding if things are coming and going. That’s just how I have dealt with trying to have like a more simple life with the stuff that’s around us and stuff that we’re using. And then that gives us space in things like my top drawer in my bedroom to put stuff. Yeah. Because I’m not storing other stuff. That makes sense.

Roxie Martin  23:23  Yes, it does make sense. And it reminds me of something that Dana Kay White says in a slob comes clean the idea of our house is a container. And we don’t buy a bigger house. If we can’t fit what we have comfortably into the container then we need to lose the stuff. It used to always be like, just buy better containers. Just buy ones with like, stackable, you know, whatever. But I really liked that. I thought that was a nice idea. Thanks. No, if it’s too big for the container, get rid of it. So the idea for me of if I have more clothes then I can keep them in a pretty decent-sized laundry basket. And it’s probably time to look at stuff to get rid of. That’s how it works for me. Another thought I had when you were talking about getting rid of things was something that I started doing a couple of years ago. And that is right before the holiday snowball, which for me is September that’s kind of a last my last little window before we go into Halloween. Now I’m planning for Thanksgiving now. I’m planning for Christmas now I’m planning for New Year’s. So in September, we mean by a snowball. Yeah. Oh, yeah, like September is done it, it’s just, it’s a shit show till the end of the year. And by the shit show, I mean, there are just lots of moving parts that need to be planned out so that they don’t stay I should show. But um, but anyway, so what I do is, that’s when I want to clear the decks. So that’s when I go through my spice stores, and I see what needs to go. And I get rid of all of the old things, and I put it on a grocery list for the next shopping trip, and then go through in the bathroom, and get rid of all the outdated prescriptions or whatever anything that needs to go can go. But I only do it once a year. And I know to do it because that’s me clearing the decks to get ready for prep time. And it also tells me there’s a transition. So that’s sort of my last little thing, and it helps me, it helps me to get

Moira Maybin  25:32 you know, all of these things are bigger jobs, when we first start, like I was speaking with someone who’s in one of our new coaching groups. And when we start doing this stuff, there’s this backlog of stuff, right? So of figuring out where what you want to do. And so the job is way bigger than it is now like now because I’ve been working on it in this house for five years. And there are different rooms in different spaces where at a point, I’ll be like, Okay, this works. And then I don’t have to do it anymore in this space, right. But until that point, it’s kind of like, every, yeah, every three to six months, I’m moving stuff around, and I have this routine. And then where I usually start at one end of the house, and I’ll have piles throughout the house of like things that are moving to different locations, you say something that’s going from my bedroom to the living room, I just drop stuff off, I’ll pile up at the edge of the living room. And then when I get to the living room, I’ll deal with it. But then I kind of have to do a reverse trip back to the original place because I’ve gotten to my final destination. And then there are things in my final destination that are going back to the places that I’ve already been, right if when I’m moving stuff around, sometimes people are like, Well, how do I do this, right. And so it can be progressive, you can pause at any point, you know, and just be like, here’s a bag in this cupboard for now. But you know, it doesn’t have to be an all in one shot,

Roxie Martin  you reminded me of another thing I have to give credit to DDK. White, because I learned it from her. But it’s the thing that I’ve talked about in group two, and that is that there’s a big difference between cleaning and decluttering. And the problem that I have and the reason that my projects became so big for so long, was that I combined those two tasks, and I thought it was one thing so I could spend all day in my kitchen cleaning quotes cleaning my kitchen. And no wonder I didn’t want to go back anytime soon when my kitchen got messy again because I’m like that’s a seven-hour project. So recognizing decluttering is its own thing. I automatically break it up into smaller chunks. And when I’m organizing or when I’m doing the work like I was telling you about getting rid of things in my kitchen or my or my spice drawer. I pick either drawer to do all the way to the end. Or I pick one foot of space to do all the way to the end but I don’t ever pull everything out. I don’t do Marie Kondo when I’m organizing Yeah,

Moira Maybin  28:05 I remember you mentioning that which is probably Yeah, cuz I   can kind of go down that rabbit hole. I don’t do a whole thing, but I can get, you know, really caught up in doing it as well. So yeah, having ways, to break it down is a really good idea.

Roxie Martin  28:21 Well, and it gives me an easy win because I don’t leave if I get burnout. I can go I finished this whole drawer and it looks amazing. Even if 11 drawers are still to be cleaned at another date in time. Yes.

Moira Maybin  Now we have to go because we have our weekly meeting with people after coaching to support them in their ongoing coaching and accountabilities. So we need to say goodbye here. So thank you so much for helping me out with today’s episode. And I know you’ve helped up some other people with your great ideas. We’ll have you back here sometime soon. Coach Roxie, my friend. Oh, and we’ll have links to you have wild hair confessional is your blog.

Roxie Martin  Yeah, right. Yes. I’m just getting going with it.

Moira Maybin   Yeah, yeah, but it’s good. There are a few posts there already. So if you guys want more of coach Roxy, you can check it out right there. So thank you.

Roxie Martin  Thanks for having me girl.

Moira Maybin  29:30 I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show, and would love to hear your thoughts. To get in touch. You can write me an email at ask at ADHD friendly lifestyle.com. Connect with me on my website, Instagram, and Facebook at ADHD friendly lifestyle or Twitter at ADHD FL. Every episode has a website page with show notes, transcripts next steps resources, and articles related to the topic. To get these visit ADHDfriendlylifestyle calm. If you’d like to support the podcast, the best way is to subscribe on the podcast player of your choice and by taking the time to rate and review it there.  There are other podcasts for your listening pleasure,  On Hacking your ADHD Will Curb gives Tips Tools and insights. Brendan Mahan posts ADHD Essentials focusing on parenting and education. Thanks for listening. See you later.

Popular Posts


Picture of Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Picture of Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)
Moira Maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

I help people with ADHD who are tired of trying harder and are ready to give up the struggle. This is the place for the late-diagnosed, women, moms, professionals, those who want to understand ADHD, be heard, and know they are not alone. An ADHD Friendly Lifestyle builds our ability to take care of ourselves and use our unique strengths and talents to create a life that works for us.

Moira maybin, M.Ed. (EdPsy.)