Some of us collect things, some of us clutter, and a few of us may hoard. Cluttering is self-diagnosed, but more extreme forms of cluttering can sometimes be tied to to diagnosable conditions such as hoarding and ADHD (attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity). If your cluttering falls into these realms, you can look into treatment, remedies and support groups that address these specific conditions.
The Mayo Clinic defines hoarding (also called compulsive hoarding and compulsive hoarding syndrome) as the excessive collection of items that seem to have limited or no value, such as newspapers or trash, along with the inability to discard them. Meanwhile, ADHD has traditionally been associated with children, but it is now known that the symptoms continue into adulthood for 60 percent of children with ADHD. According to the Mayo Clinic, clutter-related symptoms of ADHD include difficulty following through on instructions and often failing to finish chores or other tasks, problems organizing tasks or activities, the dislike of tasks that require sustained mental effort, and frequently lost needed items.
The non-profit Clutterless Recovery Groups has this quiz to help determine how seriously cluttering may be disrupting your life. This is not intended to be a diagnostic tool, but if you find that your answers lean toward ADHD or hoarding, it’s might be very helpful to visit one of the websites below for more information and support.
1. Do you feel overwhelmed when thinking about your clutter?
2. Have you tried to “clean up” or “organize” yourself repeatedly, with no lasting results?
3. Are you ashamed to have anyone come to your home?
4. Do you feel more confused in your home than in the outside world?
5. Do you find yourself buying more of everything because, “you never know when you will run out?”
6. Do you have multiple copies of books, software, clothing or any other items because you couldn’t find what you already owned when you needed it?
7. Has your spouse or partner expressed dismay about the way you live?
8. Do you flit from one task to another, feeling like you never get anything done?
9. Do you find that you concentrate better in noisy situations?
10. Do you find yourself getting distracted easily?
11. Do you feel like, “What’s the use, it will just get messed up again,” when you begin to declutter?
12. Do you hold onto broken items because “they might come in handy someday,” or “I’m going to fix them someday”?
13. Do you hold onto relationships that do not serve you because, “This is the best I can do”?
14. Do you feel like there will never be enough for you? Do you believe that you do not deserve any better than what you have?
15. Do you feel more “lack” than prosperity in your life?
16. Do you find it hard to decide what is worth keeping and what is not?
17. Do you obsess about saving food? Do you have enough canned goods to feed the neighborhood?
18. Do you save garbage–fast food boxes and wrappers, obvious trash, things that smell bad, etc?
Four or fewer “yes” answers:
You probably are not a clutterer–unless you feel so overwhelmed that you are paralyzed.
Five or more “yes” answers:
You may be chronically disorganized: a clutterer. Visit Clutterless Recovery Groups for more information and support.
“Yes” to numbers 8, 9 and 10:
These are more typical of ADHD tendencies–although many clutterers have some ADHD without being diagnosed with ADHD, it’s worth looking into further. Visit the Attention Deficit Disorder Association website for more information.
“Yes” to numbers 17 and 18:
These are symptoms of hoarding. Visit the the Compulsive Hoarding Website of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation for more information.
By Melissa Breyer