housecleaning disorder

Attention Deficit Housecleaning Disorder

My house looks like someone picked it up and shook it. Clothes are tumbling out of closets. Floors are cluttered with picture albums, knick-knacks and Ziploc bags of colored pencils that I am not strong enough to part with until I have them sorted.

I am afraid I will require an intervention.

Where are those reality shows when you need them? Someone needs to bring the blue tarps to make piles on the ground to sort things to keep, toss or donate. I need an organizing guru to hold my hand and tell me it’s okay to cut those colored pencils loose.

I have just a few days to whip my house into shape before the first potential buyer walks through the door. That’s not much time for me to sort through the past fifteen years of memories, not to mention jewelry and shoes.

I’m trying to be strong. While humming “Let It Go” I sort and tell myself that I don’t need the leftover napkins from my great grandmother’s 100th birthday party. (Although I hear my grandmother saying “they are still good napkins”)

I have held on to a recipe written in Spanish for edible play dough for about 20 years and I have no idea why. The problem is the little devil on my shoulder says, “Well, if you’ve kept it this long it must mean something and if you throw it out and then remember why you kept it you will be traumatized.” Damn that little devil!

My only saving grace in the nightmare was calling in my friend Christy.

If you play music, feed her Starburst jellybeans and offer her wine she will help you de-clutter like no other and she is tough.

Last night we were cleaning out my kitchen cabinets and I attempted to open a drawer. She smacked my hand and said, “Don’t get distracted! No drawers until we are done with cabinets.” It was the tough love I needed.

Without Christy this is how my night would have gone. I would open the kitchen drawer and see that it needed organizing.

While organizing that drawer I would find something that belonged upstairs. On the way to return it I would see the empty boxes at the bottom of the stairs that needed to go out to the recycling.

When I got to the recycling bin I would notice that there were several empty Diet Coke (a.k.a. my super fuel) cartons that need to be put in the recycling as well. This would prompt my menopausal brain to remember that I have new cases of diet coke in my car.( Please don’t send me nasty notes about how bad diet coke is for me. I’m letting go of my past and I can’t give up everything all at once.)

At this point my dog would have run over to the neighbor’s house and would be taunting their dog through their patio door. I would have to chase her down and bring her back. The fact that I can’t control a 15 pound dog would weigh heavily on my mind during the short walk home.

I would head to the car and find all the stuff I cleaned out of my desk at work and decide to bring them in and take them to my office.

On my desk there would be something that needed prompt attention so I would sit down and handle that while I decide just to peek at Facebook. From Facebook I would head into the never-ending fresh hell of Pinterest. For an hour or so I would search for tips on how to stage your home to sell which would lead me to believe my house needed more Euro pillows.

A few short minutes and 120.00 later I would be clicking to complete my order on the Pottery Barn website when I notice the time.

I make it back to the kitchen just in time to decide it’s too late to tackle this project and make myself a diet coke and go to bed.

Aren’t you exhausted just reading that? I can’t be left alone with any type of organizational task to accomplish. I must be managed and served heaping doses of tough love.  You have to pry the colored pencils out of my hands and tell me they are going to needy children.

One day soon I see myself standing up in a meeting saying,” Hello, my name is Kim and I have Attention Deficit House Cleaning Disorder and I need supervision.” I only hope they serve donuts and icy cold Diet Coke and they let me pick Christy as my sponsor.


Hello! I'm a midlife maniac managing my mother, his mother, our kids, and one diva dog! During the day I am a Certified Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care Trainer, Certified Dementia Practioner, and a Certified Montessori Dementia Care Professional. In my spare time, I love to make funny TikTok videos (Kim Reynolds Media) and write and perform.


May 2, 2017 at 8:37 am

I am also hampered by the same ADHD problem. And I downsized and still have too much stuff and too many distractions when attempting to clean up ‘stuff’. I get jealous when visiting the homes of neat freak friends. Come by for a glass of wine anytime, just don’t open any drawers, cabinets or closets!

Lisa Batten Kunkleman
April 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm

Oh my. You’re living my life. I’m so sorry. But you’ve inspired me to go find all my colored pencils and sort them by color to make sets I can put in Ziplock bags. Then I’ll think for a long while about what organization or school I should take them to. Just like the black marching band hoodies, shoes, and “Home of a Providence High School Senior” sign times three (because we have triplets) that are piled up in one of my third year college student’s bedroom. Before he comes home, each time I vow to give that stuff away but there it sits. Ok this time I’m gonna do it. Thanks for the inspiration.

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