ADD / ADHD and clutter

ADD and ADHD may be something that you have started to investigate for yourself.

You may have suspicions that the ADD profile applies to you or you may have been diagnosed, so you have already started to think about how ADD is affecting your home environment.

As people come to terms with the implications, they may start to realise that they could use some help and they call us.


Our ADD clients are very attracted by order and systems. This can result in micro-managing one category of objects while the rest of the house is severely scrambled. The precision of the one ordered category is what they want for the whole house.

Visual clutter is very distressing to ADD sufferers, so cupboards and closets are often crammed to the bursting point with things that have been whisked away, out of sight.

They frantically label, but still can't find things.

We often find that our ADD clients have:

  • Continually moved their rooms and furniture around, desperately seeking the optimum arrangement.
  • Have tried 4 or 5 filing systems with things filed in each of the systems, so there is always 4 or 5 different places that one bit of paper might be.

Some clients find it difficult to let go of the processes they have used throughout their lives. Much of the time they want to achieve perfection from the very beginning. It can be hard to take things in stages.

One long-term ADD client said to me during our second session about our first:

'I kept thinking, this isn't going to work. She isn't doing it right. The standard isn't high enough. That isn't how I would do it'

Then I thought:

'But I have never been able to make things work. I have never had an ordered home. I should just try it her way for a change'

Things have moved on for this client: She has been able to cut back on cleaners hours because she understands her own house, she was able to do her daughter's room by herself and she is cooking more than she has in 10 years of marriage because of how we re-arranged her kitchen.

ADD and ADHD sufferers are often most helped by just having the formal diagnosis and realising that there is a reason why some things in life have given them so much trouble.

There are people who may be described as "Chronically Disorganised" , a familiar term in clutter literature. People sometimes describe themselves that way. We often find that these people have much in common with the ADD sufferer and can be helped in the same way.

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