Guest Blogs

“My Daughters, the Hoarders”

Wet towels on the floor, candy wrappers stuffed in drawers, trash creeping into the hallway—it was time to lay down the law.

Does anyone else suffer with a child with ADHD who hoards food, drinks, wet towels, and other nastiness in their bedroom?

I have two girls who hoard enough food in their bedrooms to feed a family of eight, enough wrappers, trash, and clothes tags to fill a kitchen trashcan. Now that I am able to breathe without an allergy attack from the dust, I must share how wrong I was to allow them to keep their rooms the way they wanted.

I kept telling myself for the past few months, “Let them have a messy room. It’s their room, right? They do their laundry, dishes, and help with the dog.” Well, maybe it is right to a point, until it becomes gross and trash creeps into the hallway.

[Free Download: Your Guide to Raising a Child with ADHD]

They have clean sheets, clean clothes, properly working lights, and so on. I tried to stop nagging them about their messy rooms and the wet towels on the floor, in an effort to pick other battles instead. That was a stupid idea.

Eleven large trash bags, two vacuum cleaner canister dumps, and one bottle of bleach later, their bedrooms rooms are immaculate — and, guess what? The girls helped. They spent 45 minutes cleaning with me, followed by a 20-minute break. Then we cleaned for another 45 minutes and took a 20-minute break until the room was clean.

ADHD or not, the hoarding of food has to stop. I know it is more common in girls, especially those with ADHD, to sneak food in their rooms. I did the same thing as a teen: I hid in my closet with cookie dough or a bag of Cheetos. Food gives comfort to many kids and is a distraction. Many times, food is stimulation for my daughters, to help them focus.

[Self Test: Is Your Clutter & Disorganization Out of Control?]

But starting today:

  • No food is allowed anywhere but in the kitchen.
  • Immediately after school, all cell phones stay with me until my daughters’ homework is done and their room is clean.
  • If they do not comply or I find wrappers, food, candy, and so on, I confiscate their phone for the night.