Breakthrough Solutions

for Attention Deficit Disorder Adults

Bonnie Mincu

Senior Certified ADHD Coach

Get Training, Strategies and Insights:

ADHD and Chaos:  Is Disorder Inevitable?

Some things never change.  When I started my Thrive with ADD program 12 years ago, Clutter was one of the Top 3 problems plaguing ADD / ADHD Adults.  And based on the results of my survey last week, asking what you most wanted to learn, Clutter-Clearing is still up there.

Despite the many books and programs to tame clutter, it remains an entrenched problem for us.

Why are folks with ADD/ADHD tendencies such awesome clutter-producing machines?

How we naturally createclutter:

A number of our traits come together to create a perfect storm, making it more challenging for most of us to maintain an orderly environment.

  • Fear of forgetting or losing thingsWe want to keep everything out, available and within our sight.
  • ImpatienceWe don't want to stop what we're doing to put things away.  We're also impatient with routine tasks, such as filing or cleaning up.
  • Distraction – We pick something up and may carry it into another room without being aware that we have it, or where we put it down.
  • Visual oblivion – Although some people with ADD / ADHD are distracted by everything they see, others (like me!) are oblivious.  We can literally not register what is right in front of our eyes.  So clutter piles up without making an impact on our consciousness.

Why it's so hard for us to clear clutter:

At some point, we have to bite the bullet and attempt to make some order out of chaos we have created in our home or workspace.   What is it that makes sorting out our own stuff so dread-inducing and difficult?

  •  All-or-nothing thinking – Rather than planning to take the project in small bites, we think we'll tackle the whole thing in an hours-long marathon.  Most of us don't have the patience or stamina, and end up abandoning the effort mid-way through.

We need to focus on small, discreet areas and mentally treat the area we're working on as a completed step.

  • Overwhelm – If you have trouble breaking down a large project, you plunge in without a system.  You could spend hours attempting to randomly create order across the house, and hardly make a dent.

We need to see a visible difference right away as we complete each area.

  • Unfocused drifting – Every time you leave one area or room to put an item away, you're in danger of putting that item down and picking up another that catches your eye.  Many times people lose focus and forget to return to the original spot they were working on.  You can't create order with the same unfocused approach that created the chaos!

We need a strategy that keeps us “planted” in one spot — no drifting allowed.

  • Difficulty letting go of stuff – Most of us want to hold on to things with the idea of “I might need it someday.”  When you try to purge items, you dwell on each piece of paper or  item, unable to make a decision to get rid of it.  No wonder attempts at clutter-clearing take so long.

We need a quick method of sorting that eliminates the need to make a decision on each item.

Because of our ADD / ADHD tendencies, some of the conventional rules of organizing and clutter-clearing just don't work for us.  When we try to follow them, it can become paralyzing.

THROW OUT THE RULE BOOK and clear clutter with me!

“Clear Clutter WORK IT” Session – Live on Thursday, Aug. 8

Join me this Thursday evening, 9:00 PM Eastern time, as we clear your clutter together.  I'll walk you step-by-step through my fool-proof ADD-friendly strategy for clearing any kind of clutter painlessly.  And you'll use the strategy right then to get through a pile of clutter while I serve as your “body double” on the call.

In the past, only members of my Procrastination Transformation and Productivity Engine programs had access to WORK IT sessions like this.   The “Clear Clutter WORK IT” has proven so popular that I'm offering it now to you.   And the price for August only is ridiculous, only $19.

  • The whole session will be recorded, so you can listen again at your convenience.
  • It comes with complete notes, audio file and slides to download.

CLICK HERE to check it out now and join me this Thursday, Aug. 8 (or afterwards access the recording!)

August is training month at Thrive with ADD, with new training every week.  Make sure you're signed up to receive announcements and blog posts!  (If you're not on my email list, submit your email address on any Thrive with ADD page.)

What was your worst experience attempting to clear clutter? Please COMMENT and SHARE below!


Author: Bonnie Mincu
Senior Certified ADHD Coach, Founder of "Thrive with ADD," Bonnie has been coaching adults with ADD / ADHD traits since 2001. She has developed numerous training programs to help with the challenges of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.



    The worst is the impact that long-term clutter habits have on my marriage…as well as my relationship with my kids. I forget to do things I say I will do for them.

    Bonnie Mincu

    That is quite an impact. It sounds like a calendar / planning ritual is something that would help in making commitments that are realistic and keeping them.


    I am in the process of moving. We will not be in our new home for another week or so but everything is packed up in boxes right now. Will this clear clutter session work for me to help me find homes in the new house for things and make sense of the boxes of mess that I have packed?

    Bonnie Mincu

    Margie, having things packed in boxes puts an added dimension to the organizing process. You can use the Clear Clutter process in class to work on one box at a time (or just a few). Pull together a few boxes that have items of a similar nature, or that all go more or less in the same room. You can get a head start by opening the boxes and clearing some space around them to work.


    I may be in one of my worst experiences right now! I recently moved some furniture and lots of boxes of books, LPs and treasured collectibles from a family home to my already cluttered apartment. Then we had the apartment painted! So I had a huge general project (restoring some order) made up of lots of specific projects (disposing of some of my own things to make room for more treasured family things; and sorting and deciding about the family books, LPs and collectibles). What’s the Greek creature — the Hydra? — lots of heads, and if you cut one off it grows more? Every box I empty creates a new problem — where to put the contents? My apartment mate’s away, so I have things stored temporarily in her space while I de-clutter mine, or till I get them delivered to other family or picked up by a charity! I identify with ALL the traits you list here, Bonnie!

    Bonnie Mincu

    Barbara, it definitely sounds like a Hydra! And a reminder why I never had my apartment painted. You might start with a basic sorting of the boxes into just 3-4 categories: 1) keep; 2) give to family or friends; 3) donate to charity; 4) discard. Then you can get all the 2’s and 3’s out of the apartment to give you more room to sort out everything you’re keeping, based by location.

    I hope you’re coming to the Clear Clutter WORK IT class. You can get a lot of sorting done, and use the strategies once everything is unpacked.


    Hi Bonnie, I love your posts and classes! Please allow me this pedantry: “discrete areas,” although maybe they should be discreet too.

    Bonnie Mincu

    Oops! I need spell-check on the blog!

    Bonnie Harris

    You have been peeping over my shoulder again, haven’t you? LOL!!!! Baby step by baby step – and yes, even some baby steps backward, and I am S L O W L Y getting it taken care of…..

    Bonnie Mincu

    Yep, there’s no privacy anymore anywhere. I can see your kitchen! Join the Clutter Class and clear some clutter really fast during the session!


    Aloha! My biggest problem is paper: I’m afraid to throw anything out ’cause then I might need it. Also, I keep it all in piles so I know where everything is– if I file anything, half the time I can’t remember what I filed it under! Then, when I start going through my piles to get rid of the “junk,” I have to re-read everything. It takes forever, I get frustrated, and end up saving most of it because sometime I might need it! Mahalo!!!

    Bonnie Mincu

    My vice is magazines. I can’t bear to recycle an unread magazine. So I have piles of them. I can’t find the time to read one magazine, but I imagine I will get to read 10. Ah, we need our fantasies!


    Me too, Bonnie! It’s like an illness!


    Bonnie, I very much wanted to do this live workshop, but did not get home in time from picking up my son. Can I still pay for and receive downloads of the recording?

    Bonnie Mincu

    Yes, the Clear Clutter- WORK IT session is entirely recorded and you can listen to it online. You can also download the audio and the notes. You’ll get the access information on a webpage and email when you purchase it.

    NOTE: The “Crazy August SALE” price is only in effect during August 2013.


    in Asian country I come from, we solve this easily by having a maid or an army of maids to do those things, but now I become the maid in Western country and doing terrible thing at that

    Bonnie Mincu

    I like the idea of having an “army of maids” to do mail, housework, filing, bill-paying… Only problem is, they can’t make decisions for you. (Can they?)


    that’s why it has a position for the trusted loyal Chief of Staff or Aide-de-camp too, hehe. In politics, in army, in kingdom, in real life and ancient movie drama series, lol. I don’t see the king or the president do the housework, filing, and bill paying. They only need to tell one person, and the details are being taken care of. Are they? . .

    Recently, I have a car that hasn’t been vacuumed and cleaned for months, because of the usual ‘chaos’ and ‘other things more important’ in my mind. Then one day, A friend complained and she suggested we go to a self clean car shop, but I say, why go there, if i have to clean myself, it can be done at home, I have a better idea, I’ve seen those car clean shop that is done by an army of immigrants, lol, so we go there, pay, and they do the job 10 times better / faster / cleaner of what i can ever do myself alone.


    If it is written and true that the ADD / ADHD is more creative, then if it is also written and true that the creative create and more comfortable with chaos and disorder, until they are sinked under their own chaos
    then if it is also written and true that the creative collect more ‘things’
    eg. and!/content/31852/art_of_collection_slein_071313

    i’ve seen and have friends that is not terribly ‘creative’ and they have hardly any collections and their house is splendid order and me? i collect all sort of things, my so called creativity can be seen for people to see and understand if they know me better then all the ‘junks’ that i have and collected, just hasn’t been properly organised yet, keep putting it off… coz i got ‘more important thing’ to do / create / obsessed with’
    is it? maybe just my case an army of maid or just one maid who will take care of the ‘mundane’ stuffs, would be ideal.

    Bonnie Mincu

    It sounds like you have been doing a lot of research! Personally I would rather see a lot of interesting collections than a completely impersonal boring house that says nothing about its occupant.

    […] ADHD Coach, sheds some light on how people naturally create clutter in her recent blog post, “Why We Are So Good At Clutter.” While she notes personality traits of those with Attention Deficit Disorder, this information also […]

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Bonnie, there are no words to express how deeply I’ve been affected by your blog! I’ve only read a few things, but they have created such a complete mind shift that the tears shed have washed away my struggles forever!

For the first time in my life I feel understood and hopeful that I can put some tools and systems in place to help me overcome!”

—Michelle near Seattle

Clear Clutter Now


Find out what's REALLY stopping you with free "Procrastination Tree" Tool for Adult ADD / ADHD.