What it’s like to clean your house when you have ADD

I’ve got the ADD. I’m just glad my doctor officially diagnosed me last year. One has to have a written prescription for ADD meds. They’re addictive, or something. A few weeks after my initial appointment with my new doctor, in which we discussed everything, he called.

“I called in your migraine and GERD prescriptions, but I forgot to write you that Ritalin,” he said. “Can you stop by and pick it up one day?”

Months went by. Another call.

“You know you still haven’t picked up this Ritalin prescription, right?”

I kept forgetting, see. Is the thing. Because, you know, ADD. Finally, he had to mail it. Then I took months to remember to get it filled.

Anyway, I love my Ritalin, but it always gives me a bad headache, so I don’t take it any longer. I keep meaning to call my doctor to see what I can do about that.

But I forget.

IMG_5744.jpgSo, today I took a look around this place and said, “What a dump.” I always have laundry to do, and here’s why: I forget I’m doing it. I’ll open the washer and there will be clothes I washed in 18 aught seven and left in there. Every time. Recently I got a brilliant idea: set the timer on my phone. So now, when I’m doing laundry, after 25 minutes, my phone dings at me, and I have to get up RIGHT AWAY, no matter WHAT, and attend to the laundry. This seems to be working for me.

My laundry started and my timer going, I noticed the rest of the house.

IMG_5743.jpgNow, see, when you’ve got ADD, a thing like your coat hanging on the dining room chair? I know a regular individual would probably pick up the coat, walk to the closet and hang it up.



For me, I’ll walk over there, talk to the cat, notice there’s mail on the table. There isn’t in this photo, but we’re being hypothetical. Calm down.

I’ll start perusing that mail. Come across a catalog.

That will remind me that I keep meaning to buy a new rug for my hallway, because in September, I painted my hallway green and my blue rug no longer looks good in there. I have a perfect rug in a shopping cart over on Overstock, but I never remember to buy it come payday.

So I’ll go over to my phone to finally buy the rug, but the thought of my green hallway will remind me that I still don’t know what color to paint the living room, so I’ll start researching colors online, and downloading paint apps, and possibly even leave the house to head to the paint store.

Then, if I do that, I’ll start driving and think, “Where the hell am I going?” and end up getting a manicure.

Then I’ll come home and notice my coat is on my dining room chair. “I should hang that up,” I’ll think.

IMG_5741.jpgIMG_5742.jpgSo my new tactic is to make myself stick to dealing with one room at a time. No matter what tempts me as I enter other rooms to put stuff away, I just have to remind myself, NO. You’re not IN this room.

Today I started cleaning my living room at 2 p.m. I recycled that box up there, I put those clothes in my car to take to the dry cleaner, I hung up that door draft thingy because I won’t need it till fall, and I opened that drawer, there, and got out all my checks.

When I get paper checks, from freelancing or whatever, I deposit them using my bank’s mobile app, then I save the checks in the hopes that one day I’ll take time to ensure they all really got deposited. I tried to do all that today online, but it was annoying, and I could never find any of the checks in my account, and the calendar thingie on the app kept bouncing back to March 2018 and IT WAS IRKSOME. So I called India and explained all that to the woman on the phone.

She paused.

“You wish to make a deposit, ma’am?”

Does this make anyone else outlandishly angry, when they do that? I just told you this DIATRIBE, and you listened to none of it.

Finally, after explaining self three cranky times, she picked up what I was throwing down, and it turns out? Every paper check I’ve deposited since last July has, in fact, actually been deposited.

Then I cleaned out the living room closet, swept in there, moved all the furniture and swept and vacuumed, polished the furniture while


my phone kept going off, and I’d put laundry away, but COMMAND self to return to living room rather than going off on some, “I should alphabetize my shoes” tangent in my closet.

IMG_5750.jpgNow it is 11:00 p.m., and for no reason I can think of other than I’m berserk, I have rearranged the furniture.

I have cleaned no other rooms today, which was my original intent.

Tomorrow, I will forget that, though, so that’s a relief.

Yours, till I — hey, look at that!

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At one point, I was sort of hot, in a "she's 27 and probably a 7" kind of a way. Now I'm old and have to develop a charming personality. Guess how that's going.

36 thoughts on “What it’s like to clean your house when you have ADD”

  1. I was buzzing around cleaning house when I saw this post on Saturday and I am finally getting back to commenting.

    Easily distracted fits me to a T and it’s only gotten worse with menopause. With the nature of my husband’s business and occupation, we don’t have a set schedule. It can be challenging for me to get housework done since a strict schedule doesn’t work and there are always interruptions . I’ve had to learn to use small pockets of time to my advantage. My stove timer or phone timer is my friend.


  2. I missed a Saturday post? What the heck! I was – you guessed it! – cleaning my dang house. I’ve always been a systems person, and you hit upon my cleaning system: one room at a time, from top to bottom, no leaving until it’s done. I’ll make a stack of things that need to go elsewhere just so I don’t have a reason to walk out on myself. I’m currently doing 40 Bags in 40 Days for Lent, so I always have a bag somewhere of things to get rid of. I’m a purger at heart, so I’m not so sure how sacrificial it is, but it does make me mindful of the season.

    Love this post June and you and your distractible brain!


  3. A weekend post! Thank you. As my kids grow up I am having to do all the dang chores again. They aren’t done nearly as regularly as when I have built in slaves. On the plus side there isn’t as much mess. Maybe you can train those cats to help out a bit. Who needs opposable thumbs?

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  4. I also have to force myself to focus and the only way to clean a room is to NOT LEAVE IT. I have a container for trash and a container for things that go elsewhere in the house, so I don’t wander. It’s hard. Also, I go downstairs to move the laundry into the dryer, end up doing something else in my mess of a laundry room, come back upstairs carrying empty laundry detergent jugs for the recycling, and then I wonder at bedtime why my clothes never got dry.

    ALSO, I’m betting you’ve never been forced to read “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” over and over and over, but those of us who have been subject to that particular form of torture were reminded of it by the detailed description of your trying to put your coat away. I have kids’ books PTSD.


  5. I space out mid sentence when I am talking to someone but that has another name/ Your living looks cozy


  6. My BIL (fmr) was given the nickname of “Sidetrack Annie” because he couldn’t walk 5 feet without getting sidetracked.

    I’ve had that problem of getting completely sidetracked whenever I wanted to clean my house. I’ll go to put something away in another room and see something in THAT room that needs attending to and the next thing you know, I’ve got multiple rooms that are half cleaned and nothing is accomplished.

    I also call it “But First Syndrome.” I need to clean out my pantry But First I need to clear off the table so I have a surface to put everything as I empty my pantry. I’ll need to throw out the expired food But First I need to find the trash bags. Pasta goes in airtight containers But First I need to find them in the messy cabinet. So now I need to clean out the messy cabinet so I can find the containers But First I need to…

    It’s a vicious circle.


  7. Oh ,but look, you have arranged the cats in such a fine fashion. Separate and apart and in such fine display.
    I thought it was my age that was catching up with me, not ADD.


  8. June just described my life. Just add in two year old hanging off my leg while yelling HOLD ME HOLD ME HOLD ME and a five year old talking my ears off. Motherhood has contributed greatly to my ADD. Yesterday, I scrubbed our bathroom for an hour in blissful peace and quiet while my husband kept the children out of there. Bless him.


  9. Based on my reaction to this post, I definitely don’t have ADD. The living room looks nice and the whole house is really cute.


  10. Love your house. At least you manage to get things done. I’m too overwhelmed by all the stuff that doesn’t have a home. I literally have no more room for clothes/shoes, etc. I better go shopping to defuse this anxiety I feel coming on. Also, in the photo with your television, it looks like TV should be moved just slightly to the right so it aligns perfectly on top of the chest.


  11. That furniture rearranging was so worth it … The room looks so much better!! I’m pretty sure I have ADD as well, but I never remember to ask my NP about it.


  12. Here’s a way I manage that ADD thang: I set a timer for, oh, 30 minutes or whatever time I’ve got. Then I start to clean and I allow myself to wander. So I’ll change the sheets which will lead me to the laundry which will lead me through the living room on my way to the laundry room and I’ll do whatever is obvious in the living room. And so on until the timer goes off. The only rule is that I’ve got to do some kind of housework but otherwise I let my cleaning attentions wander. Until the timer goes off.


  13. Well the room looks great. Would you like me to remind you once in awhile there are other meds you could try? You know. The doctor thing? We could keep that on the dl.

    I talked with someone about their add. It got me to find a psych. I’ve gone for 2 rests. I have ADD and while I wait for the official paperwork to get passed over to the psych and get started on a series of drugs I noticed my ADD now all of the time. To say, I notice it messing up my life.

    Non hugs.


  14. I will also be sending you “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” along with “Six-Dinner Syd”… if I ever remember and don’t get distracted by Amazon’s suggestions.


  15. Great post. I have so much to clean at times that I get overwhelmed and do nothing. I guess that would be the opposite of ADD where you are doing all of the things you think of. My husband has taken. to calling our dining room ‘the warehouse’ because that is where all the Amazon Prime boxes go until I can be bothered to open them and remember what I ordered. The sewing room is ‘the storage shed’ because it is where things go when I don’t have room for them in their designated place. Both are ridiculous and I WILL get them cleaned out and straightened up before my right knee replacement in May…or maybe I should change that to July.


  16. This is exactly what happens when I clean house or any other household chores. I jump from one task to another. When I was cleaning out my mom’s house, after she moved to the resort, my niece told me I had cleaning ADD. Even she recognized the behavior. Does the Ritalin really help?


  17. I get lost from task to task and lately I’ve gotten so bad that I will repeat the task over in my head until I do it. For instance, empty dishwasher, fold clothes, I’ll say over and over while emptying the dishwasher and then when I move to folding clothes I’ll say fold clothes, make bed, over and over etc…..i feel a little like a 5 year old but it helps me get the chores done faster.


  18. I really like the new living room arrangement.

    And I just realized I must have ADD too, because you described what happens to me every time I try to clean.

    Lovely Saturday, June


  19. Yes, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!
    God, I love a clean, tidy room. I can breeeeeeathe in rooms like that. It looks beautiful! And thank you for returning your couch to its rightful place under the window.
    You can pick another room for tomorrow!
    Lovely late nite post, June! You’re awesome!


  20. My kid has a book very much like what you describe but I never thought it was a book about ADD until I read this post. It’s called, “If you give a mouse a cookie” or something like that.


    1. I thought of that book too! There’s a whole series of them, if you give a moose a muffin, if you give a pig a pancake and so on. My son loves the series and I’ve always identified with those books.


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