Why do Aspies find it hard to tidy / keep the house tidy?

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How tidy is your home?
Completely cluttered 31%  31%  [ 36 ]
'Homely' cluttered 36%  36%  [ 42 ]
Well-organised by myself 18%  18%  [ 21 ]
Well-organised by parents 9%  9%  [ 11 ]
Well-organised by spouse 3%  3%  [ 3 ]
Well-organised by paid help 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Well-organised by government help 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Well-organised by volunteer help 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Extremely well organised by myself 3%  3%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 118

Campin_Cat
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15 Dec 2014, 10:14 am

seaturtleisland wrote:
Executive dysfunction + unlimited internet = giant mess.


+1

I'm a total pig!! My house (apartment) looks like a cyclone struck it!! I'd give almost anything if I wasn't like this.



BuyerBeware
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15 Dec 2014, 11:24 am

My house definitely "looks lived-in." That's an understatement. It's barely contained chaos. It's clean, but seldom neat, because picking everything up to CLEAN takes all my time and energy.

A lot of it for me is an executive function issue. Poor task planning and organization skills. I can't "see it and know what needs to be done." I have to have schedules and makes lists; on X day I do the things assigned for that day.

Another part of my issue is that there are so many things I'd rather be doing, that I get absorbed in. Why clean when I can read a book with my kids?? Why pick up when I can play a game?? Why tidy when I can talk to people online?? Very seldom do people come over, so there's little social pressure to have it looking good. Just sanitary and functional.

We seem to run black-and-white on being bothered by clutter: It either drives us crazy or doesn't faze us at all. Other than the fact that I have a lot of kids and live in fear of judgment if outsiders should have reason to come in, I'm firmly in the "doesn't faze me" camp. Honestly I feel stifled in a room that's perfectly neat. Feels like a stage set, not like my life.


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jfc_csc
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15 Dec 2014, 11:43 am

I'm not the best at cleaning either.



nerdygirl
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15 Dec 2014, 12:26 pm

My house is a mess. Every room. I wish it wasn't. My inability to get good at this after 17 years of adult life and trying to better my skills in this way is what prompted me to think I had some kind of learning problem. One thing led to another, and know here I am on WP.

Here are my 10 thoughts on the state of my house:

1. I have EF problems with organizing. Always have. Even my desk in elementary school was dumped out on the floor by the teacher on desk-cleaning day, and I was told to start over from scratch. Everyone else was just tidying, and I was doing a major overhaul.

2. Things just "land where they land" partly because I am in outer-space. I am aloof and place things wherever, not really conscious of what I am doing. Then things pile up.

3. I need someone else to help me establish routines, and help me to remember to stick to them. I don't have that. Maybe if I had gotten help as a kid, I wouldn't have these problems now. Asking my husband to be that person would create unnecessary conflict.

4. My husband and kids are also a bit aloof, and I am too aloof to always remember to tell them to clean up/do chores. My husband is also a bit too aloof to remember to do this.

5. Clutter becomes completely overwhelming and is a source of visual overstimulation. I block it out most of the time, but when it comes time to clean, I see *EVERY SINGLE DETAIL*, freak out, and become a total B****. This is one reason I avoid cleaning, although I like things when they are clean.

6. I get too absorbed in projects or whatever else I am doing to remember to do clean.

7. I enjoy being creative ALL THE TIME. Cleaning is not creative - it is just maintaining. It is so boring, I hate it.

8. I am excellent at organizing *ideas* and other abstract things. Physical space and items are a different story. As long as I am living in my head, everything is great. I could really use a personal assistant to help me with the tasks that keep me connected to the real world (like calling to make appointments for the eye doctor and things like that.)

9. I need things to be *easy* to put away. I don't mind if they are hard to take out, as long as I can just throw them in a box or bag to put them away. I have loads of energy at the beginning of a project to rummage around to find what I need to do the project. Then, I completely spend myself doing the project and get too tired to put stuff away at the end. The easier it is to put stuff away, the more likely it is to get done. Likewise, the living space has to be designed with the right "flow" to encourage cleaning up.

10. My bookcases are also relatively neat. I also use boxes and bags to try to keep things organized. This is because they help make things easier to put away (or at least hide from view.) Clutter thrown in a bag or box or basket is a lot more pleasing to the eye than strewn about.



Here
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15 Dec 2014, 4:29 pm

Hello,

This is a difficult topic that those of us who are disorganized feel self-conscious about discussing -- esp. with memories of sharp sarcasm from caring family. I had to hesitate on voting in the poll in this thread e.g., Personally, parents help in organizing plays ample roles, not major roles.

Basically, in regards to AS, executive functioning issues "hit the nail on the head!" "Okay, I can imagine the tired old folk-wisdom of "lazy, bachelor-like habits" responses from better organized people reading this thread!"

Difficulties with friendships overtakes executive functioning regarding housekeeping. Family sometimes asks, "what If I were to have a friend (in a intimate relationship) visiting?" "The worst thing my friend would want to see is a place that looks messy!!" I sometimes make (okay, tired old humor) out of these concerns; but seriously, a "labor of love" would transcended executive functioning (and end sharp sarcasm from family) in keeping my place c-l-e-a-n!!

It sure felt cathartic in writing...all of the above!!



chagya
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15 Dec 2014, 4:36 pm

I have very little in the way of material items. sofa, tv stand, laptop, small bed, but everything is meticulously organized. Personal hygiene maybe not so much, and a little dust here and there, but not clutter. No pictures or decorations. No mementos or artifacts. I can't tolerate clutter.



lostonearth35
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15 Dec 2014, 4:57 pm

It's not so much that I can't keep the place clean as I have an extreme hatred of doing it. I have a pretty large apartment, it actually has 3 rooms that can be used as bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom and a living room. I'm very lucky to have an apartment that has a place where you can actually cook food or take a bath! But it can be a lot of work keeping it clean, by which I mean spotless. Especially when you have two cats. I used to be a lot more tidy and kept my belongings very organized, but the past few years I've just gotten lazier and sloppier. I do my laundry once a week but I just dump my clothes in a pile instead of actually putting them in a drawer. I wash my dishes but just leave them in the drying rack instead of putting them away. When I bring home groceries I put away all the stuff that needs refrigeration but I often leave everything else in the bags until I need them. The other week my mother, who would send someone she knew down to houseclean in the fall or spring, told me the cleaning lady has moved away. She said if I could clean everything myself she'd pay me the money she normally gave the lady. I was basically NO WAY. Just the thought of washing all the walls, floors, and the furniture gave me pain all over, even if I didn't have to do it all in one day and got paid. When I still lived with my parents I hated doing such chores with extreme passion and we fought a lot over it, then I was sent to a group home where we had to do such things every day and I had numerous meltdowns and rages over that, too. I am SO glad I don't have to clean constantly now and that there is no one there to tell me to do it.



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15 Dec 2014, 5:20 pm

LokiofSassgard wrote:
I think for me, it's due to the lack of executive functioning. Cleaning has never been one of my strong suits. I mean seriously... you should see my room. XD Then again, I have a lot of stuff and a small room. My mom is quite cleansy though, but it's not enough so that everything has to be spotless. Same with my dad.


I know what you mean.


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Jensen
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15 Dec 2014, 6:28 pm

I´m either totally tidy or totally messy. It comes in periods.


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B19
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15 Dec 2014, 6:42 pm

I have improved a lot in the past decade, and hire someone to come in once a week to help out. Just knowing that she is coming at her set time motivates me to get going and tidy up, though generally I am a relatively tidy person who functions best when my environment is well organised.

As to the OP's "Why" question, possibly the general difficulty many ASD people have with this is related to failing to focus attention well on things that are of no particular personal interest.



JustSoCurious
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15 Dec 2014, 7:52 pm

My living space is either spotless or incredibly messy.



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15 Dec 2014, 8:48 pm

I think I have trouble keeping things tidy because of an executive function problem. I can't seem to organise my stuff properly for the most part, although some specific things are very well ordered. When I try to sort things out, I either get distracted by the items I find, or I get perfectionist and then give up because it would take so long to do. I have a lot of stuff and it would take ages to go through it item by item allocating places for everything. Most of it has no proper place. I've got lots of small stuff that sits about making it hard to clean, so it collects dust. I should put it into containers, but I can't decide what containers. I hate to throw stuff away, sometimes for sentimental reasons, other times because I can't be sure I won't find stuff useful one day. I was never taught to how to keep things tidy. I'm quite good at making shelves, but I just crowd them out with random stuff.

I do occasionally take a stab at it and make a difference. Sometimes I realise I can trash a great swathe of stuff, once it's been sitting there for a few years and it's become clear that my life has moved on since then. But I always drift back. I have no tidying up routine, I just dump things down in the nearest reasonable place, until I run out of storage surfaces, and then I get annoyed with myself for being such a slob, and eventually I have a purge on the worst of the mess, then it drifts back again, and so on.



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15 Dec 2014, 9:01 pm

I like to keep things clean and organized. I can handle a temporary mess for a limited time, like while some project is going on, but eventually clutter always drives me nuts. Its like visual noise to me. Having a family I have had to adjust to what other people's comfort level is. But I often clean up their messes when they aren't around. :lol:



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15 Dec 2014, 9:08 pm

Your concept of "visual noise" explains my experience exactly TS. Thank you.

I also have problems with visual noise when I am in a place with very visually loud interior decoration - cushions, curtains, wallpaper in clashing colours and patterns, loads of furniture in a too-small room, garish pictures on the walls, rugs that don't match anything else... the overload affects me very negatively.



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15 Dec 2014, 11:28 pm

I struggle with this greatly and then call myself lazy, even though I was told by one of the Autism team I saw that it is part of Asperger's and quite common.

I seem to become very overwhelmed by all that I feel needs cleaning/organising, and know I will get stressed out by it (I am a perfectionist with OCD) so I end up not doing it, and just distracting myself or losing myself in other things, such as the net, a book, craft, game. So I absolutely hate any sort of mess and disorganisation, yet clearly not enough to be able to actually get myself organised and do something about it. It is very frustrating and at times I get very angry and upset about it.


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