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Coming Clean With The ADHD Laundry Conundrum

So this is why my dresser is empty ...
So this is why my dresser is empty …

I don’t write a help column. If you’re looking for tips & tricks, hints to a happy life, what the kids are calling “hacks” these days, you may find a few that work for you here, but that’s not my job.

What is my job? Well, among other things, I talk about what my life is like and the things I notice that are likely part of, or at least influenced by, my ADHD.

If you read my blog and you catch yourself saying “Me too!” or “So that’s why that happens.” or even just “I understand that totally … I don’t do that, but I see how that could be.” then you get the big part of why I’m here.

So, I don’t have any laundry tricks for you. Unless you want to learn how I bag up matching sheets in one of the set’s pillow cases or how I buy all the same socks so that when I lose one or one wears out, the other one matches the rest and just sits waiting for another widow to regain pair status.

So what’s the conundrum?

Ah, I knew you’d ask that. The conundrum is the societal expectation that laundry should be started and finished in one go. And that’s a conundrum, because it can’t be done. Not by us …. or at least, not by me.

You see, there are huge gaps of time when the damned laundry doesn’t need my attention. And I have ADHD. I can’t stand by and idly wait on it.

I will find things to do

I will find things to do and some of them will distract me for quite some time.

“[…] swearing that tomorrow I would “DO THE LAUNDRY!” It wouldn’t happen.”

A regular laundry day for me would see me going to bed that night, and as my brain winds down, I would suddenly remember the load of wash I’d put in the machine with the intent of getting all my laundry done. I get up, put the load in the dryer and after doing 10 or 20 other things, I’d get back into bed and fall asleep, swearing that tomorrow I would ‘DO THE LAUNDRY!’ It wouldn’t happen.

So how do I deal?

How have I changed my life since recognizing the existence of the laundry conundrum? I haven’t really. Like so many things in an ADHD life, recognition has brought about acceptance. I generally gather up a load of laundry on mornings when I think to do so, take it to the laundry room, move the load that spent the night in the washer over to the dryer after putting the clothes in the dryer into a basket. The next load goes into the washer, I start all the machines, then I take the clean wrinkled laundry from the dryer and dump it on the couch.

The hope is that I will fold the laundry on the couch … eventually. But the reality is that I usually just get dressed in front of the couch. And yes, my clothes look a little wrinkled, but I’m dressed in clean clothes and I tend to wear stuff that looks just fine when it looks a little dishevelled.

And the bonus is, with my clothes on the couch, I have storage space in my dresser. I’d ask you to sit down, but there’s no where to sit. Hey, maybe we could go out and sit …. I’m dressed.

Coming Clean With The ADHD Laundry Conundrum

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2015). Coming Clean With The ADHD Laundry Conundrum. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Jan 2015
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