Leaving Drawers Open – Is it an ADHD Symptom?

Do you have a tendency to leave drawers open all the time? Is your desk a mess with papers and stationaries scattered all over? Are you unable to remember where you kept your phone or keys? If you relate to any of these, you might have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. While it is normal to forget things or misplace them occasionally, people with ADHD might face severe difficulties with organization and memory performance.

ADHD and Poor Executive Functioning

Executive functioning refers to the mental processes that involve planning, organizing, and managing tasks efficiently. A person with ADHD might struggle with tasks that require executive functioning skills.

Leaving drawers open, misplacing things, and having a messy desk are all manifestations of poor executive functioning that plague people with ADHD. ADHD and executive functioning difficulties often go hand in hand. However, not everyone with ADHD experiences it the same way.

Why Do People with ADHD Leave Drawers Open?

Several factors might contribute to the tendency of leaving drawers open frequently. Understanding the possible reasons behind particular ADHD traits can empower individuals with ADHD and their loved ones to manage the symptoms better.


Distractibility is one of the hallmark symptoms of ADHD. People with ADHD struggle with focusing their attention on a task and are easily distracted by their surrounding environment. When someone with ADHD opens a drawer, they might get distracted by another object, thought, or action and forget to close the drawer.


Forgetting is a common occurrence for people with ADHD that can contribute to leaving drawers open. When someone with ADHD is in a hurry or preoccupied with something else, they might forget to complete simple tasks like closing drawers.


People with ADHD often struggle with organization and might leave drawers open to avoid the hassle of opening and closing them frequently. Disorganization might also cause forgetfulness, leading to drawers left open.

Managing ADHD Related Drawer Habits

If you or your loved ones have difficulties with leaving drawers open, there are specific strategies you can use to minimize the impact of those habits on their daily life.

Chunking and Time Management

Divide the day into specific chunks, and have a clear schedule that allocates time for different tasks. This can include setting aside regular breaks or dedicated time slots for forgetting-prone activities, like putting things back in their place or closing drawers.

Establishing Routines

Creating routines can be an efficient way of maintaining order in one’s life if one struggles with executive functioning. Establish specific places for things, including keys, wallet, and phone, and make a habit of putting them back in that place regularly.

Minimizing Distractions

Minimizing distractions can help people with ADHD complete their assigned tasks more effectively. Set up a workspace that minimizes potential distractions or noises, and turn off notifications and pop-ups on tech devices when not needed. This goes for the physical drawer too. Clear out the drawer, and only keep necessary materials in it to minimize the likelihood of getting distracted while opening or closing it.


Leaving drawers open is not a diagnostic criterion for ADHD, but it can be a manifestation of difficulties with executive functioning, distractibility, and forgetfulness. Several strategies exist to mitigate the impact of leaving drawers open, including chunking and creating routines, and minimizing distractions.

Living with ADHD is not a cakewalk, and people with ADHD face significant challenges in their daily lives. Research on ADHD treatments is still ongoing, but by raising awareness and providing practical support, we can create a more supportive environment for people with ADHD and help them thrive.


FAQs about Leaving Drawers Open ADHD:

1. Is leaving drawers open a common symptom of ADHD?

Yes, leaving drawers and cabinets open is a common symptom of ADHD. People with ADHD tend to experience distractibility, forgetfulness, and impulsivity, leading to forgetfulness in finishing tasks such as closing drawers and cabinets.

2. Can forgetting to close drawers and cabinets cause problems?

Although leaving drawers and cabinets open can seem like a minor inconvenience, they can cause problems. Open drawers and cabinets can pose a significant hazard to those moving around the home, resulting in accidents and injuries.

3. What strategies can help people with ADHD remember to close drawers and cabinets?

There are several strategies that individuals with ADHD can use to help with forgetfulness, including creating checklists, setting reminders, and developing a routine. It’s also helpful to designate specific spaces for items, making them easier to find and return to their proper location. Additionally, breaking complex tasks such as cleaning into smaller, more manageable parts can help with completion.


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