Chaos in the home


Now for once I'm not talking about chaotic relationships or chaotic emotional meltdowns - though it's all linked. No, today I'm talking about a physical chaos, the scene that meets you when you walk in my home. (This post will probably go some way to ensuring me a peaceful Christmas!)

Let me be clear: I've never been tidy. Obsessive, yes. able to organise Stuff, most certainly. More than able to see other people's mess, unfortunately a definite yes. How about able to see my own mess, organise myself and keep it all clean and tidy? Erm, am I alone in this No?

I am better than I used to be. You no longer fall over last week's shopping bags as you walk through the door. There is a whole floor in the living room, rather than a path through to the sofas. You can tell my carpets are not collie-coloured.

I shop better and am less likely to find we have no milk in the morning. This does mean I'm back in Tesco at 11pm the night before, buying the milk, but this is a step forward from not realising until the next day. When RT teen goes to college, I have a packed lunch for him, unlike when he was little and we dashed to the shop for his lunch before school.

I see more of my mess and clutter, though this tends to depress me rather than making me tidy up more.

Now, to anyone out there who is already organised and tidy, big whoop to you, but please don't think I just need to pick up after myself and it'll all be solved. And don't assume that a big clear out, by me or brave volunteers, will result in the problem being sorted, once and for all. It doesn't work like that.

It kind of works like the rest of life, in that I see what I need to see. If I fall flat on my face, I'll move the box. If I only brush my leg against it every time I walk past, I will eventually move the box when the irritation gets too big too ignore. If the box is tucked out of the way and I never fall over it or touch it, then it has a good chance of becoming a solid, upstanding member of our family. If the box has any kind of soft or level surface, it will also become a much-loved cat bed.

The same applies to anything really. If it isn't in the way, it tends to stay where it lands. If it's comfy or interesting, the cats will always take an interest in it, ensuring it blends even more into the background. It will become part of the landscape and no longer an intruder.

I don't intend it to be this way. Believe me when I say, I have good intentions and always plan to have things in order, especially if some event is coming up, like birthdays or Christmas. And I do have a go, usually clearing and cleaning the places that are most public or have been cleared and cleaned already. So the already bearable places become more so, while the dark pits waiting for unwary visitors develop more of an atmosphere.

I've tried to follow routines and either forget to do them or life gets busier and I think I'll catch up tomorrow. Sound familiar? And there is always, without doubt, something better and more interesting I can be doing than shining the mirror or tidying the last birthday card so that we can put up the Christmas ones.

I should point out that you're quite safe to eat and drink here. The kitchen may be no more organised than the rest of the house, but thanks to me being a semi-obsessive handwasher and surface washer, you won't catch anything nasty if I cook for you.

I can hear the tidies amongst you wondering why I can't extend a little of this obsession to the rest of the house. Hmm, I've wondered that myself. I guess it's all about focus. I need to serve food in a clean area, so it is cleaned. The clutter and dust elsewhere is not in my direct path, be it a physical path or a mental one, so it doesn't need to be moved. If it doesn't need to be moved, then somewhere along the line my brain decides it doesn't need to be seen either. Why waste your attention on things that don't need it?

Readers, one of these days, possibly during some kind of long, drawn out, emotional episode, I may clean the whole house. It may happen. I do tend to think that some massive cosmic shift would have to occur for me to do it, but who knows? Perhaps I'm just a very slow mover, drifting like the continents as the years pass, each room becoming a little better but so slowly you can't see it with the naked eye.

I know from old photographs that things have improved. Now when you look, you can see which part of the picture has the cat in it. But there's still a way to go.

Don't judge me, readers, I do try; I just don't try often enough or with any great enthusiasm. And to fellow aspies, I do understand that it's not all mess or clutter; it is Stuff. Some of it is great Stuff too.

Be assured, aspie or non-aspie, that the chaotic realm you enter is a complete reflection of the person who lives there, no matter what they say. Perhaps this is why I've improved a little, as for years I denied the mess had anything to do with my internal chaos. As my own chaos receded, or developed a personality I could live with, so the external noise fell away and I was able to do more to make my home a safe place to cross floors.

In time, and with the help of IT teen's love for money, I hope to make all the corners of my home fit for human visitation. Yes, even the most aspie corners, the ones where dark shapes seem to move at night and little voices have started to talk to one another.

I'm determined that, at some stage, in the future, possibly next week, I'll get organised and finally tame the chaos in my home. Whether it stays tame is another matter, but my intentions, as always, are good. Honest.

Amanda

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