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Chronic disorganization or hoarding?
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blackbirdfly12 posted:
Hello,

I am a 37 year-old woman who was diagnosed with ADHD at 21. I am having a serious problem with clutter (really all out disgusting mess) in my apartment. There is stuff everywhere. It covers pretty much every horizontal surface of my place. It's awful. And I'm doing nothing about it.

I did some research on hoarding and I don't think that's what is going on. I don't have emotional attachments to the stuff I'm hanging onto. If someone came in here and started throwing things out, I wouldn't freak out or anything.

I feel like a lazy, disgusting slob and I don't know what to do about it.

Additionally, I am medicated. I take Ritalin. It doesn't seem to help with this particular issue.

Help?
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biancalthompson responded:
Hi

I am 27 years old got diagnosed about three years ago. I have the same problem. I just don't want to clear up the clutter. I have to make myself sit down and go through the mess. If I am at home and just watching TV and not doing anything then I start on a pile and once I get started I don't have a problem finishing the job.
 
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An_254541 responded:
I am 48 years old and have had this problem all my life. A few strategies work for me:

1. The best one: I hire housekeepers who come in once every two weeks and clean and organizes for four hours. I prepare for them by doing some things to tidy up. I started this about 10 years ago and it has been a god send. Most housekeepers need a two hour minimum to make it worth their while. I live alone, have a large dog, and my house is 2200 sq. ft. These housekeepers charge 25.00 an hour. It's expensive, but for me, a quality of life issue.

2. Before I had professional housekeepers, I hired a friend of a friend to come in and assist me, one room at a time. We went through it together. This made it affordable and manageable, and was also very helpful. This can be a college student, or a friend or neighbor, anyone who is remotely more organized than me and who might enjoy being helpful in this way.

3. Putting on some classic rock (or whatever) and devoting some short amount of time to one specific thing like throwing away anything that can be thrown away, or hanging up clothing, or putting dirty dishes in the dish washer, etc. That helped me some, but I still struggle with hanging up clothes, so my room usually has clothes on the floor, except just before the housekeepers come, and after. Still, this is better than what I would do by myself. This keeps it manageable.

I'm a clinical social worker. After feeling much frustration at work with my problems with executive functioning skills, which is what you are describing, I had myself tested. I learned that I have a non-verbal learning disorder with moderate to severe deficits in the perceptual reasoning part of my cognitive functioning. My overall IQ is above average, and my verbal skills are high average, but I really struggle with non-verbal functions such as organization, planning, starting and stopping projects, time management, etc. Because I take responsibility for my performance, my employers have been accommodating to a point, but my idiosyncracies have affected all areas of my life.

I would encourage you to do some research on line about your challenges. It may help you to make some sense of things, which may help lower your anxiety, and help you find ways to more effectively manage your problems. There are many different types of cognitive and mental health issues that can produce symptoms that look like ADHD but that have different etiologies. This is why traditional ADHD medication do not always help.

Finally, WebMD has an excellent section, in my view, of cognitive behavioral strategies with which to manage problems with organization for adults with ADHD. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to check it out and experiment with some of them.

Good luck.
 
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siegie responded:
Hello-

These are things I try to do for cleaning and picking up in my home:

-Pick a number of items to put away at one time. I'll think, "I'm going to pick-up and put away 20 things" and that's it. I let it go after I reach the number then try again later or the next day. Breaking it up makes it less overwhelming for me than trying to do it all at once.
This also works for me if I think I'm only going to tackle one kind if thing- I'll grab everything I can find that belongs in the bedroom and those are the things I look for and then put away.

-For actual cleaning I've written a schedule that breaks up the work so again, I don't feel like it's overwhelming and I have to do it all at once.
Monday is laundry, Tuesday is the bathroom, Wednesday is the kitchen, etc. If the bathroom is dirty on Saturday I don't think much about it because I know it will get done (probably!) on Tuesday.

Good Luck!


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