My boyfriend is a disorganized mess in the apartment

I have been living with my boyfriend since last fall. We moved in together two months after we officially started going out, mainly because we lived down the hall from each other and he was sleeping in my apartment every night anyway. My boyfriend is a great person and he treats me well. However, I have one big issue with him: he is an extremely disorganized person. He claims he has ADHD (he has not been officially diagnosed), which makes it difficult for him to stay focused and remember things. He often leaves things (like a glass in the bathroom or even in the shower!) where they don't belong, forgets to turn off the stove or lights, etc. I don't know how many times he misplaced his keys; in fact they're currently missing. I even read about ADHD online and tried to help him stay organized by getting a white board with tasks to be completed on it, assigning each of us chores around the house, reminding him not to leave things where they don't belong, etc.

I'm usually always the one picking fights, but in my eyes it's because he has done something to annoy/upset me, and it's usually due to him being disorganized or leaving things everywhere. I have asked him countless times to put things back to where he got them, or not to leave dirty clothes on the floor when the hamper is two feet away, and he says OK, but ends up doing it again. I'll admit that he has gotten so much better, but he still does something that annoys me almost on a daily basis. He tells me he doesn't like the attitude and nagging, but he doesn't understand how frustrating it is to live with someone who is as disorganized as he is, as I am the complete opposite and love to keep the house nice and neat. We are moving to another apartment in a month but I have had doubts about whether this is a good idea, as we have almost broken up a couple of times over those arguments. I want to be with him and try to be as patient as possible because I know he doesn't do these things on purpose, but it's not easy. I would love to hear what others have to say about my situation and truly appreciate your advice.

– Organized


Let's start with the good news. You moved in with a guy after two months – a risky move, yes? – and you still enjoy his company. If your biggest conflicts are about organization and sharing space, I'll assume that the romantic stuff is still pretty good.

The other great thing is that you're moving. You might have doubts, but in a new place, you'll be able to set up a system from scratch. You can ask your boyfriend where he wants to throw his dirty clothes so that you know where to put the hamper. Sometimes it's just about setting up a home to match a person's instincts, as opposed to the other way around.

That's what I learned from a professional organizer who came to my apartment years ago. It was after my mom died, and this organizer was helping me go through old things. The first thing she noticed was that I had many items on the floor (books, jackets, clothes, inhalers, etc.). She asked me to walk through my routine, what I do when I get home at the end of the day. Any time I told her I threw something on a bed, couch, or floor, she made a note to add a hook. Now I have hooks in a lot of places. I hang things everywhere.

Of course, all the hooks in the world won't change a person. Some people are always going to leave a cup in the shower. Some people are going to throw their jacket on the floor, even when there's a hook right there (sorry). Yes, your boyfriend should work to be a better roommate – and it sounds like he is. But if you can't accept him when he's trying his best, this might not be a good match.

Also remember that he brings other things to this relationship. If you're only pointing out the bad, it's no good for anyone.

– Meredith

Readers? Sorry I went into the hooks so much. I just really like my hooks.