Kitchen Organizing Tips For The ADD Crowd

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organized spice rack in kitchen

Our kitchen spaces have an impact on our well being. If you deal with ADD or someone in your home does, here are some suggestions to find the balance.


Ahh, the kitchen. The room that gets the most use and abuse in our homes, and the room where being on top of things can literally pay off big.

After all, one of the major costs of living increases in the modern age, and one that our ancestors wouldn’t be able to comprehend, is that of food waste.

A poorly laid-out kitchen can become a chore to cook in. If it turns you off of cooking, despite your best intentions while shopping for groceries on the weekend, then you’re more likely to phone for delivery meals or grab a convenience or takeout meal after a tough day. That’s more likely to blow your food budget and even cause the added bonus of food waste.

As someone who battles ADD on a constant basis while working a ton, I find myself having to organize things in an experiential way, not just for aesthetics. What does that mean?

Shelves and cupboards: height matters

With my brand of ADD, I really hate being made to work harder than necessary. This means I don’t want to search through lower shelves or grab a chair to reach higher shelves if I don’t need to do so.

The more I use things, the more important it be stored at heights between mid-thigh and top-of-my-head. Easy-to-reach, easy-access — these are critical if you’re an avid chef with limited patience.

kitchen storage shelves plates hanging utensils

Don’t hide the things you use

This brings us to another part of accessibility. If I have to put heavily-used things “away” in cupboards or closets, it’s not going to happen. Instead, I’ll pile it where I can reach it, and this can mean unruly clutter happening on my counters and table.

Instead, consider things according to how much they get used. If you seldom ever use something, even if it’s the prettiest thing ever made, get it off the counter and onto a higher/lower shelf.

hanging pots and pans by kitchen window

If I were to put my pots and pans “in the cupboard,” I guarantee you they’d wind up stacked on my stovetop instead.

It’s for this reason I’ve hung all my pots and pans on the walls, and kept my spices and oils on an easy-access under-my-cupboard shelf. It’s all literally an arm’s length from my stove, and isn’t that where you use your spices and oils and pots and pans?

Efficiency is everything

When you’re easily distracted, like I am, efficiency means lowering the chances of distraction — getting things done more quickly so there’s less time to be derailed.

For me, this means having my cooking space designed in a way that things which are used together are stored together. This means keeping the knife block and chopping board in the same area, between the fridge and the stove. Or having dinnerware and glasses stored over the dishwasher or sink. It also means keeping clutter to a minimum so things are easily found.

If it’s not working, try another layout

The thing with ADD is that, like most of life, what works for one of us may not work for another.

I’ve tried to keep these tips general so it gives you something to consider, but there are so many other ways you can work with ADD tendencies. Some folks need to “see” everything in order to stay organized, and they’re the kind of people that should take kitchen cupboard doors off for a “revealed” space. Or maybe they can cut an opening in all their cupboard doors and put some funky wire mesh in so it’s sorta revealed but still a little hidden.

More than one version of the ideal kitchen

Maybe someone’s the kind of ADD-type that’s always leaving cupboard doors ajar. That’s certainly one of the common attributes we have. A solution there could be to remove the doors and replace with funky drawstring curtains that’ll always hang closed without fussing.

Things like organizers, dividers, mini-shelves — these can all be huge solutions for some folks. I incorporate a number of different methods in my own kitchen, and it’s been a slow grind of learning what’s best for me.

The point is, just because your kitchen’s not working for you and your distractible tendencies now doesn’t mean you can’t find a method that works for you. Don’t give up! Just try something else.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.