Disorganization can result from many things:

  • a medical or mental health condition
  • learning differences
  • communication issues
  • emotional issues
  • lack of systems
  • simply not ever being taught

Organizing skills are taught to us (by parents, teachers, caregivers) as if everyone were a conventional thinker, and some of us are unconventional in our thinking.

Disorganization can be a signal that something else is going on – a mental health issue, unique learning style, communication problems, and life crises, to name a few. You can improve your life and organize your home by learning — with the help of a professional organizer and related professionals — a way of organizing that works for you.

A life affected by chronic disorganization is characterized by:

  1. being disorganized for one’s entire adult life
  2. multiple attempts to get organized which have failed
  3. diminished quality of life; and
  4. expectation of future disorganization

Some common conditions:

AD/HD. A neuro-biological condition that affects 4% of the adult population. Symptoms include inattention, lack of focus, hyperfocus, hyperactivity, impulsivity, impatience, forgetfulness, and difficulty starting/sequencing/completing tasks.
Read a fact sheet
from the National Attention Deficit Disorder Association.
Hoarding. The obsessive need to acquire and keep things, even if those things are worthless, hazardous or unsanitary. Symptoms include having in your possession a large number of items, having a space so cluttered that it precludes rooms from being used for their intended purpose, having significant distress as a result of the hoard, and having low insight about the causes and effects of the hoard.
Right Brain Dominance. These are the creative types! Right-brain dominant individuals are concerned w/ imagery, holistic thinking, mood and feelings. Contrast this with logic and detail thinking, characteristics of people for whom most organizing systems are designed – that’s why they don’t work for the RB person.
Some people are situationally disorganized. Sometimes the person who is naturally organized experiences a life-changing event such as a:
  • health crisis
  • death
  • divorce
  • birth of a child
  • adoption
  • relocation
  • job change

Events like these can temporarily “shock” the system and cause difficulty in handling tasks, time and belongings – things that used to be easy to manage.

Read a fact sheet on situational disorganization, published by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.

Find out more about disorganization by visiting the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.