View Full Version : Obsessive Organizing...

10-06-14, 07:02 PM
I'm not even sure how to explain this but here it goes!

Generally I am disorganized, forgetful, and all over the place. Structure and routine are very helpful in helping me stay on track. This is generally a good thing, but I find myself scheduling and organizing to a fault. I start wanting to organize/color code/make a sign for everything. I then get into this pattern where whatever system I'm working on is never fully functional because there is always something I want to systemize. Then I get overwhelmed, anxious, and upset because I can't get things the way I want them (or my brain thinks I need them) and I revert back to little or no system at all. Logically I know a middle ground is best, but once I get there I can't help but overdo it. I end up being anal retentive about it. Everything will have a spot/routine/schedule and if it isn't followed I'll get upset for no reason. There have been times my husband hasn't put something into our schedule app and it irritates me beyond reason, even if there isn't any conflict. Its more the principle of why didn't he use it! I guess what kills me the most about this is that I will have some parts of my house organized perfectly and then you go into my room and there are still boxes of my clothes that need unpacked from a move we made 6 months ago.

I know it isn't logical to want or need that much planning or organization in my life, but once I get on a roll I can't seem to stop and it really doesn't make sense the way I prioritize what needs done. Does anyone else have this all or nothing mentality when it comes to this?

10-06-14, 10:05 PM
Yes, I have it. My "all" side is pretty quick to give up, so my true organization level is close to "nothing". :(

This is an idea I've never tried - it just popped into my mind:

Define "successful organization" for yourself, not based on systems but on what the real-life results of being organized will be like. Judge on that basis, instead of on how well the system is being followed.

10-07-14, 03:18 AM
I might have to write something like that down and then try to implement the structure in my life and when I start to get obsessive and have anxiety about it I'll read it until I calm down and let logic take back over. Maybe I can reprogram myself not to hyper focus on functioning perfectly. Lol. I'm actually far from it, but I successfully organize one small spec of my life then go overboard for about a week and then it all falls back to pieces. Even if I don't go overboard it doesn't last long anyways. It's annoying but also one of my add quirks that makes me, me.

Little Missy
10-07-14, 04:37 AM
I organize and re-organize so often that I don't know where anything is anymore.

I'm practically panting right now fretting about where everything is.

10-11-14, 11:21 AM
I think that's normal for someone with ADHD. I doubt it was a coincidence that my grandfather was also hyper-focused about cleanliness and organization. Having said that, my mom and I are the opposite. We tend to accumulate clutter.

I'm the same way about finances because I feel having control of those allows me to be independent. The alternative is having to work, and I've had enough in the way of negative experiences that I'm not very keen on it.

Looking at things objectively, I should probably spend less time on cost-minimizing behavior (doing my own yard work, DIY home improvement, etc...) and more time on picking up new skills/improving my current skills since those will probably have a better ROI in my current career (compared to cost-reducing behaviors), and will allow me to retire earlier and/or find better jobs.

Having said that, spending more time studying is easier said than done because work can be mentally exhausting, so I try not to beat myself up about it too much. Doing different kinds of tasks can break up that monotony and provide a different kind of rest. Your organization may provide you with an outlet to productively manage your stress. In any event, speaking with a therapist about it is likely a good idea.

10-16-14, 09:46 AM
There are types of ADD were persons obsess but Inattentives do not. You may be misdiagnosed. You may want to take Amen's ADD assessment test. I just posted a link to the test in the information forum.

10-16-14, 09:33 PM
I've never seen anything stating that those with ADHD-i don't hyperfocus.

10-18-14, 01:33 PM

I think it's just a another quirk of an ADHD-wired brain. Perhaps a med typically used for OCD- fluvoxamine (Luvox), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) might help and/or therapy to reprogram your brain as you mentioned.

Keep us posted!!!

11-28-15, 11:53 PM
Omg, you sound exactly like my mom. She is obsessive about cleaning and says she cannot function or concentrate unless the environment is perfect. I am the complete opposite and we butt-heads like there is no tomorrow. She is also equally inflexible about others not following or understanding her need for routine, or whatever quirk she is exhibiting. Something extremely funny is that she is terrible at managing her time, but if someone else is late she will chew their head off.

11-29-15, 12:26 AM
bluelephant - do you know for sure if your mother has ADHD or not? It seems quite possible that she might. And it does seem like many of us with ADHD are in one of two "camps" - the "obsess over every detail" camp or the "I gave up obsessing and now I just don't bother" camp.

11-29-15, 01:23 AM
bluelephant - do you know for sure if your mother has ADHD or not? It seems quite possible that she might. And it does seem like many of us with ADHD are in one of two "camps" - the "obsess over every detail" camp or the "I gave up obsessing and now I just don't bother" camp.

I am not sure, but wouldn't be surprised if she did! She is very type A, and I can see how the tendencies she has may have manifested as a a coping mechanism for growing up in a family where perfection is expected. She would definitely fall into one of the anxiety subgroups. I do know my dad does, and if I am not mistaken it seems like ADHDers are naturally attracted to each other.