What does impulsive behavior have to do with clutter?

Uncategorized Jan 16, 2023

Impulsivity of ADHD and clutter:

What does impulsive behavior have to do with clutter?

Clutter can be anything. It can be a relationship and it can be stuff. One thing that is true in the world of clutter is that we aren’t innocent bystanders. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to our clutter. Let’s focus on impulsivity.  For someone suffering with impulsive behavior, clutter is a byproduct.

Let’s look at some ways that impulsivity can contribute to clutter.

Spending more that you can afford. Accumulation of stuff because it’s on sale or because you deserve it leads to clutter. Buying without thinking it through can certainly see people end up with more items than they actually have room for or need.

Strategy to overcome: interrupt the process. Take a moment. This is the pause between acting and not acting. Write down the consequences of your action on a note card or in your phone. When ready to act, pull out the note to remind yourself of what this action will cause.

The “yes” person. You know who this is, maybe it’s you. It was me. This person says “yes”  to whatever anyone asks regardless of they can actually do it. I’ve heard it said they “ mean well”, do they? It would be better to take a pause before answering “yes or no”.

Strategy to overcome: When asked, pause and let the person know you are thankful they are thinking of you but you will need to get back with them. This gives you the time and space you need to say, “No”. In addition, write down all that you’ve committed to and have it handy before you come up with your answer. Does this activity align with what you are making priority in your life? Will it actually conflict with what you’ve deemed priority?

Regret is a powerful contributor to clutter. This can be as a result of not being in line with  what you want/need or desire to do. Taking on an extra project can lead to regret when you take the time to think about it’s impact on your family time. When we regret things we’ve done or failed to do, it can really have a negative impact on our behaviors. 

Strategy to overcome: Learning to be honest and true in your decisions and actions. Simply put, doing things for the right reasons. This is an area that may require a lot of practice. Improvement in this area will yield great results in all other areas you may be struggling with.

It is entirely possible that all 3 of these aspects of impulsivity may be your struggle. One thing I suggest in working with organizing clients is to seek help if you can’t manage this on your own. The second thing I would suggest is to pick one area to work on at a time. Give yourself the grace to fall down but always get back up.

The good news is that there are a lot of resources out there to help someone who has ADHD and struggles with impulsivity. This information is helpful to people who aren’t diagnosed with ADHD but still have issues with impulsive behavior. For my struggle with being a “yes” person, I learned to take a pause before answering when asked if I could take on ________ or help with ___________. The freedom in the pause really connected me to my schedule, priorities and myself.



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