ADHD & Clutter

If you have ADHD and notice that you seem to be having a hard time organizing things and decluttering, you’re not alone. Apparently, some adults with ADHD really struggle with decluttering. What causes this ADHD-related difficulty in organization and when should it be a concern? Find out here. 

Table of Contents

ADHD & Clutter: Are We Really Messy?

1. Possible ADHD Symptoms Responsible for Our Difficulty in Decluttering

    ~ ADHD & Forgetfulness

    ~ ADHD & Getting Easily Distracted

    ~ ADHD & Difficulties in Organization

2. Do You Have a Cluttered Desk, Too?

3. I Just Left It On The Dining Room Table

4. Are We Really a Walking Clutter Monster?

5. Conclusion

ADHD & Clutter FAQs

many people with ADHD struggle with clutter...

ADHD & Clutter: Are We Really Messy?

Making peace with clutter can be one of the hardest things that a person with ADHD can experience. 🥺 May it be at home, school, or workplace, clutter seems to find its way toward us. Some people even associate our neurodivergent condition with being disorganized. You see, an ADHD brain may run on numerous ideas, but it can get easily distracted during cleaning and decluttering. 😅 

Some adults with ADHD, especially those who live independently, can feel the anxiety of having a cluttered space from time to time. There can be moments when we feel overwhelmed enough to organize our home and get rid of the stuff that we have. However, our ADHD brain can get too attached to stuff that we once held dear, ❤️ like those items related to our old hobbies that we might someday be interested in again.

Sometimes, even if we have the slightest desire to fix and organize things to at least lessen the stress we feel, our ADHD can get in the way and make it harder for us. Having ADHD can sometimes feel like we're in a constant battle with our things, and it can be really tough to keep up. 😭

That’s why it’s important to understand what is possibly happening inside our ADHD brain that's causing us trouble in decluttering our stuff.  When we have a better idea on them, it can be easier for us to overcome them.💪

some experts think that ADHD brains actually need messy places to unleash their creativity

Possible ADHD Symptoms Responsible for Our Difficulty in Decluttering

Keeping the space tidy can be challenging for some people with ADHD. 😅 Even if we prepare a to-do list, perform goal setting for the entire day, and focus on keeping things organized, some ADHD symptoms can get in our way of achieving them. ADHD traits, such as forgetfulness, distractibility, and difficulties in organization, may take a great part in us not achieving our set goals.

Others think that places that are "too neat and tidy" could cause anxiety to ADHD Brains.

ADHD & Forgetfulness

Activities that we try to do can be forgotten easily, especially when we are also overwhelmed with other important stuff. We are lucky if a family member or someone is there to remind us of tasks, such as emptying our laundry basket and cleaning our room, 🥰 but if there's no one else at home and we rely entirely on our smartphone alarm and internal motivation, these tasks may be even more challenging. You can try having these tools for ADHD to help you. 

ADHD & Getting Easily Distracted

Are you someone who cannot keep focus in doing a certain task because you are easily distracted? If you answer yes, please don’t be surprised. Our attention span can sometimes be one of the challenges that we need to face in order to keep a more clutter-free space. We can be easily distracted by things that are interesting to us. 😵 Unfortunately, cleaning our house and tidying our mess sometimes don't count in those interesting activities.

ADHD & Difficulties in Organization

One of the symptoms of adult ADHD that can have a great impact on maintaining our stuff is our brain's struggle with disorganization. In fact, having difficulty organizing is one of the lesser-known ADHD symptoms that often need more understanding. 

Some ADHD adults can have the ability to produce countless thoughts and ideas, only to be followed by feelings of being lost and confused. The same goes for our desire to develop plans in getting rid of our clutter. We start well, but tend to feel lost in the process because our ADHD brain can't seem to focus and follow through with the plan. 😭

After discussing the possible symptoms that lead to our difficulty in dealing with clutter, let’s now take a look at the scenarios that present ADHD-related struggle with clutter. 

difficulties with organization is actually one of the official traits of ADHD.

Do You Have a Cluttered Desk, Too?

Some people with ADHD that I personally know tend to have the things on their desks in disarray. And I can relate: it's as if we have a lot of things in common. Personally, my desk consists of different items that I often use and a lot of clutter on the side.  💻📞📅 📚📝 I have my planner, to-do list, some books, and numerous other things that I need for work. But, even if my desk is cluttered, I still manage to get things done 💪 because I know where everything is, and I have everything on my desk in case I need them.

There were previous attempts at decluttering that I did the past few weeks. But then, I noticed that there were piles of paperwork 📑 for me to do on my desk. There were also lots of unopened mail 📩 and crumpled paper that already needed throwing in the bin. So, as days go by, I think I already accepted my fate and I am ready to live my life with my messy desk.🙌

but is clutter always a bad thing?

I Just Left It On The Dining Room Table

There was this one time when my family and friends came over to visit me at my place to check how I am doing. So, I hid some clutter in the easily-seen areas. The adrenaline rush of cleaning my entire home was so overwhelming, 😵 but in the end, I was able to clear them up. My parents thought that I had transformed my place into a neater one, but the truth is I just left all my stuff inside the closet and the drawer, under the stairs, or anywhere out of plain sight.😅 

I thought that cleaning and organizing my stuff are the biggest challenges that I'll ever experience. But, the more difficult part happened immediately after they left. I had a hard time remembering where I placed my things. Before my friends and family members visited my place, I knew where I would find my stuff even if they were disorganized or in piles. Normally, I don't spend time looking for them, but now, I had to struggle searching for them. Surprisingly, everything that I usually need, I just left on the dining room table.

some people with ADHD can actually feel more organized

Are We Really a Walking Clutter Monster?

At some point in your ADHD life, you might ask yourself, do ADHD adults have the tendency to be messy and cluttered? This is my response: yes, some people with ADHD can sometimes be in a state of disorganization and problems in decluttering may be there with them from time to time. 

HOWEVER, please remember that it is okay to be that way. There's nothing wrong with it as long as you are functioning well and the decluttering troubles are not affecting your life. 

We may only need to declutter our things if some of our stuff can already harm our mental health and our physical state. If at night, you can still sleep peacefully and manage to go on with your life without being harmed, then there's no need to rethink and organize your things once again. But, if these clutters can have a direct effect on your life and produce anxiety and stress, that's a different story. For instance, if your clutter affects productivity, then you may feel stressed at work. From there, it can escalate to anxiety, sleepless nights, problems with eating habits, etc. In these cases, you must get in touch with a mental health expert to help you address the problem. 

in a next post we will see how to deal with clutter when it's becoming problematic.

Conclusion

Clutter can be part of everyone's life, and some people with ADHD aren't safe from having them. The difference between us who have ADHD and neurotypical people is we tend to have difficulties in organization and managing clutter, especially when we don't feel that we need to. There are also times when we are being too hard on ourselves for not having a clean and organized house like everyone else.

ADHD or not, it is essential to learn how to accept ourselves the way we are.  We can always work on our mess, and we can still be happy and content with our lives. After all, we are still managing to get through each day, and that can be enough for us.

remember that it's ok if your life and your home. don't look like everyone else's

ADHD and Clutter Part 1: FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

 

1.  Is it normal for people with ADHD to struggle with decluttering and keeping their things organized?


Some people with ADHD truly have difficulties in keeping a clutter-free space. However, it’s not intentional. Symptoms of ADHD, like forgetfulness, getting easily distracted, and sometimes being disorganized can lead to struggle with clutter.


2. Should problems with decluttering be a cause for concern? 


In cases where clutter problems do not affect the person’s life, there’s essentially no problem. However, if the clutter already puts physical and mental health at risk, you must get in touch with a mental health expert to help address the problem. 

3. What are some ways to improve problems with clutter?


Since the culprit is commonly some of the symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to address them to improve problems with clutter. For instance, if you tend to be forgetful, you might want to use tools, such as reminder apps, to keep you posted on the things you must do. 

Table of Contents

ADHD & Clutter: Are We Really Messy?

1. Possible ADHD Symptoms Responsible for Our Difficulty in Decluttering

    ~ ADHD & Forgetfulness

    ~ ADHD & Getting Easily Distracted

    ~ ADHD & Difficulties in Organization

2. Do You Have a Cluttered Desk, Too?

3. I Just Left It On The Dining Room Table

4. Are We Really a Walking Clutter Monster?

5. Conclusion

ADHD & Clutter FAQs

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. If you are experiencing symptoms of ADHD, it’s best to see a professional for a diagnosis.

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I created The Mini ADHD Coach in august 2020 when I was just diagnosed with ADHD at 29. After years of questioning, therapy, burnouts and chaotic career path changes I finally understood why I was struggling with so many things. So I decided to share what I learned to raise awareness around ADHD and help the ADHD community thrive.

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