Why Your House is Still a Mess

As women with ADHD, we struggle to keep a clean home that’s neat and organized.

To this day, many years after meeting my neighbor Wendy, I am still amazed at what she did one day shortly after we met.

Wendy lives across the street from me and I can see the lights in her living room at night. It was summer, and I asked her about the white Christmas lights I saw through the window. My daughter’s mother in law uses those all throughout her house and while I love how it looks, I just can’t seem to do it in my own home.

Well, no sooner had I asked the question than Wendy decided to give me a tour of her home.


Even her teenaged boys rooms!

It was neat and tidy and everything was in it’s place. She apologized for not having put the pillow shams on the bed that morning.


I could never.

Not in a million years.

Can you relate?

I bet you can.

Why Your House is Still a Mess

Now your house may not be as bad as this one, but I know we all have room for improvement.

A few months ago, I purchased The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

I am reading it, slowly but surely. I don’t have a lot of time for reading, and while I know I promised a review of the book for you a few months ago, it will have to wait until I finish reading. 😉

I do have a Pinterest board about the Kon Mari method, and I have been learning more about it from blogs that I read.

I wanted to share a couple of things that may help you, especially since they are tips for getting started.

And because this is a long post and may ramble slightly, I am giving you the tips right up front:

  • Allow about 6 months to completely rid your home of things you no longer want or need
  • Declutter by category, not location.

The declutter by category had me confused until today when I read something that made perfect sense.

Let’s say that you are decluttering – as I was – some boxes in the basement.

I came across several with pictures (photos) in them.

I also have pictures (photos) in the family room, the hall closet, a chest in the living room, and my bedroom. Maybe even in the garage.

These are not pictures or photos hanging on the wall; these are just several of the places where our photos ended up by pure chance.

If I organize the photos in the boxes in the basement, keep what I want, and then put them away in the basement, I have not adequately organized my photos because they are still all over the house.

The right way would be to get all of them together in one place and go through them in one session. Now the session may take more than a few hours or maybe even a few days, but once you are done, all of your photos are sorted.

You know what you are keeping and how much space will be required to store them.

My husband and I started reducing the amount of stuff in our house back in November, but with the holidays, we really didn’t get started until after Christmas. And because I hadn’t read the book, we did everything wrong.

Still, we have made progress, although I suspect we will have to go back through a second time and do it the Kon Mari way.

One of the things that I am finding in this stage of my life is a desire for less stuff.


We’ve gotten a lot done and I think that builds momentum to do more. I know it works for me.

We have actually set a personal goal of January 23rd to have everything we do not want, use, or love cleared out of the house. Looks like we are going to have a busy year and this is just one way to keep things somewhat sane.

It should also be noted that this goal is only for the house; the garage will need some major purging as well, which we have not considered at this point. It is winter, after all.


Let’s review those decluttering points once more:

  • Give yourself 6 months to completely purge your house
  • Work by category, not room or location

Does that make sense to you?

Think about the way you usually organize.

For me, I go room by room, closet, cupboard, or drawer at a time.

Things that don’t belong either go where they do, or get put somewhere else.

I found several photos in the kitchen drawer.

Guess where they are now?

On a table in the living room.

That’s not organizing properly. That’s just relocating.

Take a look at how you go about the practice of decluttering and organizing.

Is it working for you?

I will keep you updated on our progress as time goes on.

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About Brenda Nicholson

I am an ADHD Expert, Coach, and Consultant. I want you to learn how to celebrate your life with ADHD too.


  1. It is good to set time limits for decision-making. This is useful in organizing or cleaning one’s room or house, or other “I’ll get to it later” type tasks.. Sometimes much time is lost in the middle of long decision making.

  2. Progress happens one day at a time. I always look to Pinterest for inspiration. Great article.

  3. Hello, I was hyperactive as a child and I am now in my late 40’s. I am pretty sure that it is now ADD with a touch of the H mixed in there. House keeping is the worst for me. My house is not messy or dirty just stuff needs to find a home. I can organize other people’s things but not my own. I was never given any medication. When I was a child the doctor said I was borderline and would not give me any. I am glad I found your blog. I too have started a blog I only have 7 posts. I am looking forward to reading more here on your blog.

  4. I am totally addicted to ADHD organization. I have dedicated myself to making my life more organized and it’s absolutely made me so much happier. I want to read the book you mentioned. I used a different book called “Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD” by Susan C. Pinsky. It totally transformed my life. I’m publishing a blog post about the book tomorrow on adhdjustlikeme.wordpress.com

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