Helpful Hacks for Chronic Disorganization

by | Aug 15, 2022 | Adulting, Counseling, Highly Sensitive People (HSP), Stress

Helpful Hacks for Chronic Disorganization

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Have you ever promised yourself, “this is the last time things will get messy,” or found yourself getting overwhelmed about being disorganized? But, no matter what, you are back in the same situation of disorganization and distress? If so, then you have come to the right place! Let’s talk about Chronic Disorganization and how to improve it.

What is Chronic Disorganization?

Living with Chronic Disorganization can be extremely challenging in your work and daily life. It also can look a lot different than just a messy desk or home. Chronic Disorganization can impact your time management, hobbies/interests, and relationships. It can also cause you to have trouble with letting go of possessions, be easily distracted, and may need constant reminders to complete simple tasks.

The concept of organization makes sense to people who suffer from this, but being able to actually stay that way is a completely different situation. Chronic Disorganization can be defined by three recurring aspects: 

  • You’ve struggled for a long period of time with disorganization 
  • There is a negative impact on your daily life due to this disorganization 
  • Attempts to help yourself have failed 

People who suffer from depression, anxiety, perfectionism, attention deficit disorder, and procrastination are found to be at greater risk of dealing with Chronic Disorganization. This will only further negatively impact the struggles they already face in their daily life.

Constantly dealing with disorganization and trying to change but running into constant roadblocks can be an extremely frustrating thing to deal with. On top of that, it can hurt your confidence in your abilities. This creates a snowball effect of what seems to be a never-ending cycle of trying to change and ending back at square one. 

First and foremost, don’t blame yourself if you find yourself in this cycle. Struggling with your mental health and Chronic Disorganization at the same time is a big battle already without the added guilt. It’s important to be kind to yourself and understand that it takes time and kindness to overcome this.

When trying to change a behavior like Chronic Disorganization, it’s vital to know that habits won’t change overnight – and that’s okay! The important thing is to continue on the path of self-improvement while still practicing self-love. While on your journey, there are a few hacks you can try when dealing with Chronic Disorganization that may make things a bit easier.

People who suffer from Chronic Disorganization often find that popular organization skills/hacks don’t usually work for them. Instead, try changing the hacks to fit your pattern of thinking and daily life, rather than trying to change yourself to fit the skill. Here are a few things you can try! 


Helpful Hacks:

1. Utilize Visual Reminders:

People who are chronically disorganized often like the idea of planners, but end up not using them after a while. If you have a central location in your house you find yourself coming back to throughout the day, try placing your planner directly out in the open in that location! This way you will have a constant visual reminder of it and the likelihood of checking it will increase. Keep a pen nearby so that you can add to it or check off your list right away.

Need something more eye-catching? Try a hanging wall calendar right at your eye level so it’s a constant reminder. Relying on your brain to remember everything can be exhausting and you will likely end up forgetting something important, so write down everything so it’s no longer your job to remember – just to look! 


2. Label Everything: 

People who deal with Chronic Disorganization regularly experience their fridge looking spoiled due to forgetting expiration dates. It can be easy to forget how old the leftovers are or when your groceries will go wrong if you have to go based on memory alone. Labeling everything acts as a visual reminder as to what’s good and what should be tossed. 

  • Check out this Label Maker. Or, just use clear tape and a marker!


3. Take Things One Step at a Time:

When dealing with Chronic Disorganization, it’s common to have things start piling up and becoming overwhelmed and confused. If that’s the case, try taking things one step at a time. For example, if you become overwhelmed because your house is messy and requires cleaning, plan on organizing each section of your living space one at a time.

Instead of looking at everything that needs to be done, only focus on the specific task at hand. This way, you will be able to prioritize one aspect, be less overwhelmed, and still make progress without it being a large task. If your bedroom is filled with clutter, take one day to focus on your closet, then the next on your dresser, and so on. While you are decluttering make three piles: 

  • Toss 
  • Recycle 
  • Donate 

Once your three piles are done, you are then able to move on to organizing. It’s easier to maintain organization if you have fewer items and have a system that is generated for your daily life.

If you find that hanging your clothes is harder than folding, try using a hanging closet storage shelf. If you find yourself tossing your keys, mail, and bags right next to the front door try using a wall organizer that has specific slots for everything. This way, you will still be able to leave everything by the front door, but it will be less of a clutter. 


By taking small steps at a time and changing the way you combat disorganization, the organization will become much less daunting and more manageable. It’s easier to change the dynamics of a system rather than trying out a whole new system from scratch. This is why popular organization skills often aren’t helpful to those who deal with Chronic Disorganization.

Remember: organization is something you practice, not who you are. How organized you are does not define you as a person. It’s something that can help you as a person. So if you find yourself dealing with Chronic Disorganization, take a step back and notice how you run your daily life. Understanding what you are more prone to do will help you navigate what you can change in the surroundings that will be more beneficial to you!

To discuss how therapy could help you during this season of your life, please contact me or schedule your free 15 minute consultation.



 Allan, D. (2017, June 1). What is chronic disorganization? Simplify Experts. https://simplifyexperts.com/about/chronic-disorganization/ 

 Brantsma, N. (2021, August 27). Are you situationally or chronically disorganized? iQuitClutter. https://iquitclutter.com/are-you-situationally-or-chronically-disorganized/

Chronic disorganization: An adult ADHD sign-managing your mind. Managing Your Mind. (n.d.).https://managingyourmind.com/2019/03/11/chronic-disorganization-an-adult-adhd-sign-managing-your-mind/

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