ADHD & Clutter – A Recipe For Chaos?


ADHD, also known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a psychiatric disorder causing attention control, which can cause attention deficits. Many adults with ADHD have cluttered homes and work spaces.

Some of you are able to function quite well in these surroundings and surprisingly can find anything you need quite quickly in a state that we would consider to be extremely cluttered. For those that cannot, here’s how to prevent clutter from overwhelming you.

Plan it

Whether you use sticky notes or hang a calendar in your room or use a day timer type of book, these physical reminders can control everyday chores from getting out of control.

Planner - weekly 2

If Thursday is garbage day, write it in the calendar. If you have bills that need to be paid write them in your book as soon as they come into the house.

Break it down

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD you may get overwhelmed with the number of things that need to get done. For most of us we can juggle our daily list of things to do and make changes on the fly but other things can easily distract those of you challenged with ADHD and before you know it you have a clutter everywhere.

The key is to break things down into smaller manageable tasks and stay with it until it is complete. Larger tasks should be broken down into smaller portions that you know you can complete within the expected timeline. If something comes to mind while you are working on a different chore, write it down and come back to it later.

Shopping trips

Shopping can be very tricky unless you’re prepared. Compulsivity is a symptom of ADHD so items are easily forgotten and items that are not required are purchased. This results in unnecessary expenses for the items you didn’t need and a return trip to the store for the items you forgot.


Make a list and stick with it, no matter what. If cost is a factor use your calculator on your phone as you shop so you stick to your budget. I would suggest that you stay away from the bulk, membership type stores to reduce the temptation of purchasing more than you actually need.

The office desk

Whether at home or at work ADHD typically leads to a very cluttered desk. A lot of time is wasted in looking for things or moving things from one place to another. Find an organizing system that works for you. Initiate the practice of everything going into your “In” basket and once it’s taken from there you’re committed to finishing whatever it requires to complete it, right down to filing it away. Color coded files work for some and bins work for others. They key is to find the system that works for you.

Take a break and clear your mind

The most important thing is to recognize when you begin to feel overwhelmed. At this point it is OK to step away, process and relax. Don’t forget that your mind can also get cluttered so step away, take a few deep breaths and let it go.

If you live with someone who has ADHD or are challenged with it yourself, you may be living in a state of controlled clutter. The clutter can make your life feel like it is constantly out of control.

You may be able to function quite well with clutter all around you but many others cannot. Perhaps the significant others in your life are feeling overwhelmed with the clutter or you are feeling challenged with it yourself. If you are in the camp of those that can’t function well with the clutter and would like to get it under control, we would love to help. Give me a call or contact me here to learn more about how we can help.