Surprising laundry habit is an ‘almost universal’ sign of ADHD, expert claims

By Staff 7 Min Read

An expert has revealed a little-known sign of ADHD that many people overlook. They explain why people with the condition tend to adopt the habit, and offer advice on how to help and support loved ones with ADHD

A laundry habit that many of us are guilty of is a near ‘universal’ indicator of ADHD, according to experts.

Ever left piles of clothes in a heap for weeks at a time? Perhaps you’re in a stalemate, thinking they are ‘too worn’ to put back in the wardrobe, but aren’t exactly dirty enough for the washing either.

If you hadn’t guessed it yet, this laundry phenomenon is nicknamed a ‘floordrobe’ – referring to a disorganised accumulation of clutter which’ll probably seem nonsensical to any neat freak. Though Jeff Rice, a certified ADHD coach, claims it’s ‘almost universal’ among people with the neurodivergent condition, which he recently explained to his 179k TikTok followers.

“A floordrobe is a place, typically on the floor, where we leave either clean or ‘not quite dirty’ clothes,” he posted to his account (@jeff_coachyouradhdbrain). “It can be in a laundry basket that just sits there for days and days or weeks. Or, it can be in a pile of clothes that you’ve worn for a little while, but they didn’t quite get dirty and so you think you’re going to wear them again.”

ADHD – or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – is a condition that affects an individual’s behaviour, perhaps causing them to be impulsive, restless or hyperactive, while finding it difficult to organise tasks.

Jeff claims that floordrobes arise among people with ADHD for one of two reasons. The first, is to provide a ‘visual cue’ or reminder that specific clothes aren’t completely dirty and may be wearable again in the coming days.

But usually, this idea is flawed, as the human brain gets used to seeing the pile after a couple of times. This makes the floordrobe much easier to forget about, meaning it’ll probably get left out for more than just a few days.

“Another common reason for having a floordrobe is because the act of putting away clean clothes is one that our ADHD brains just do not get attracted to. It’s not interesting, novel, urgent or challenging,” Jeff continued.

“And so we put it off and put it off until maybe it does become urgent, because all four laundry baskets are in the closet full of your clothes and you have to do the laundry.”

Jeff’s sentiment was also echoed by Tobba Vigfusdottir, a psychologist and founder of Kara Connect – a wellbeing hub for employers. Speaking to The Mirror, she said: “Common indicators in daily habits could include realising dozens of minutes have passed while you were thinking of something different than your task, struggling to maintain tidiness or forgetting routine chores.

“People with ADHD will often jump from one task to another without completing them, leading to a perpetual cycle of starting but not finishing tasks.”

If you have ADHD and want to cope better with these habits, Tobba suggests that creating structured routines and setting specific time limits for different tasks can help. These can also be broken into smaller steps to make a chore seem more manageable and less overwhelming.

Anyone who’s close to someone with ADHD is also advised to be empathetic and patient when discussing it. Tobba continued: “Whilst it’s fine to confront your friend about this, remember that the chaotic behavioural traits typical of ADHD do not necessarily reflect their intentions.

“Let them know that you understand their lateness and interruptions weren’t intentional, even though it was frustrating for you, and ask what can be done to avoid a repeat of it.”

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