ADHD Paralysis and Getting Rid of Stuff: The Relationship I Couldn’t Let Go by Bonnie Mincu

Old Leather - Bonnie Mincu 2014

My den, the room where I spend most of non-working hours, has been held hostage for the last year by a hulking leather sofa-bed. But today I feel like I got my house back again.

For 25 years, “Old Leather” had been a treasured piece of furniture, well built, over-sized, sinfully comfortable, the kind of piece to build a room around.  It had moved with me six times, and could have lasted a lifetime.

It met its demise at the hands – or rather claws – of a stressed-out shelter cat I adopted. For months during my home renovation, the sofa-bed sat in purgatory in an unused room. And night after night, unbeknownst to me, the cat used it as a scratching pad.  The severe damage finally became apparent when the sofa was moved into its intended place in the new den.

Although I reluctantly bought a new sofa to replace it, I couldn’t bring myself to give up Old Leather.   It was too big to maneuver into the basement, and there was nowhere else in the house for it to go. Listing it on Craigslist brought no takers (the photos of the cat scratches were discouraging).   No charity would accept it.   I couldn’t bear to have it hauled out as garbage. For months, I begged anyone and everyone to give it a good home. A few people showed interest, until they pulled out the tape measure.

And so half my den remained inaccessible, blocked by two huge sofas where there was only room for one.   I couldn’t get to my crafts table, arts books or storage closet. My most-used room was a crime against feng shui.   I am now convinced that it blocked my creative and psychological energy flow, making me feel stuck.

It is ironic that I coach many ADHD clients in similar types of dilemmas, where they feel stuck in situations that are largely of their own making. As an ADHD Coach, it is easy to see solutions. But when caught up in my own ambivalence – whether by sentiment, or horror at throwing out a perfectly good sofa-bed — I remained paralyzed and continued to do nothing.

Freedom finally arrived today via The Junk Luggers, guys who come with a truck and haul your stuff away for a fee. As they loaded the scratched old sofa-bed onto their truck, I noticed the thick seat cushions were relatively unscathed. And I just had to keep them. Because hey – who knows – I might want to re-cover them someday!


BONNIE MINCUBonnie Mincu founded “THRIVE with ADD” in 2001 after 23 years as a corporate coach, trainer and consultant.   Through coaching and training resources programs, she helps ADD/ADHD Adults create their most effective processes to enhance their work and lives.;;  914-478-0071