Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tip: Getting Organized

If you are an Aspie you probably have a lot of things. Old stuff you cannot throw away.

Perhaps you collect things? I’ve heard examples of anything and everything from model airplanes, to plastic buckets, to rubber boots, to pictures of horses. Aspies seems to have the collector gene in spades!

As a consequence you probably have a rather messy home. I know I used to. I had piles of things covering the floor, only leaving small “paths” snaking through the mess and connecting my bed, my computer, the kitchen and the hallway.

Given that an Aspie can get rather stressed out by a too cluttered surrounding or by not being able to find stuff, this is usually a problem that needs to be solved.

My solution consisted of the following activities:

  • Throw away and give away things I don’t need or want
  • Organize the things I decided to keep

Throw away / Give away

This can be painful, frustrating or something you just don’t want to do. However, I recommend you go through your things and divide them up into three piles:

  1. Throw away
  2. Give away
  3. Keep

You can give a lot of things to charity. I know where I live there’s containers from the Red Cross and similar organizations where you can put clothes and some other things. Check with those organizations, or if you know where they have collection points, check with them what you can leave and how.

Giving things away keeps you from worrying about wasting something that someone might need.

You can always go through the give away and throw away piles an extra time before you act on them. You can also do this several times. Perhaps once a year or so.

Just accept that you probably have to get rid of something.

I don’t know about your case, but I had stuff that was just garbage. I hadn’t been able to get it out the door. For instance, clothes from the 80ies – a pink and lilac training overall – I’d rather shoot myself than wearing that thing. However I gave it away to charity – poor bastards! 😀 Once I had the piles it was easier to just pick something from the throwaway pile on my way out. I didn’t had to think about it.

In fact, I still place my garbage bags by the door when they need to get thrown out. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day before and the bag will be sitting there until I leave the next day. Once I leave I get the bag with me out, and that is a vast improvement from having it pile up someplace indoors.

Getting Organized

Once you have decided what things to keep you need to get organized. In principle this means deciding a set location for everything you own, from car keys to collected plastic buckets to old photos.

Here’s the key to success:

You won’t be able to do this unless you have furniture, drawers, and boxes where you can place your things.

Here’s a list to get your inspiration going (also see the images at the bottom of this post):

  • Boxes, from matchbox-small to meter/yard sized and every size in between
  • Binders
  • Shelves
  • Chests of drawers
  • Suspension files

You can get boxes from stores like IKEA. How about keeping old shoe boxes?

I have a bunch of shoe boxes with computer parts on top of my shelves. It may not look perfect but it is so much better than having stuff lying all over the place. I’ve also written on the boxes what they contain.

When I get messy, for instance fixing my computer, I can pull down the boxes, spread the contents allover the apartment. I then have a mess, but because I know where each piece of “mess” belongs I can get the things back into the boxes and the boxes back on the shelves in about ten minutes. I’ve done it several times.

The cool thing about being an Aspie is that you can usually create a system and remember it. This is your strength and you should use it.

Organizing things haphazardly is most likely not playing to your strengths and even though it may take some time to get organized in the first place, once you’ve got the system down, it’s way faster than playing it by ear.

Facial blindness

Blank faceI’m suffering from a mild form of facial blindness. I’ve understood some Aspies does, but I also think some of the cases are linked to my ADHD.

My case is not as bad that I can’t figure out who killed who in a movie, but there are cases where I’m drawing a complete blank on a person’s face.

In my case there are three scenarios with regards to facial blindness:

  1. I know the person’s face but I can’t figure out their name, or sometime where I’ve met them.
  2. Someone talks about some person, I don’t know who it is, and I don’t see a face, and when they point them out I did know the person’s face, but just not their name (basically the same as 1).
  3. And finally, I have the person in front of me, I can’t place them, and I don’t recognize their face… until they tell me who they are or I just get things sorted in my head. And then I realize I know this person quite well.

Number 3 is the only really real facial blindness scenario, as I’ve interpreted it.

A variant of 3, that I haven’t stumbled upon too much, is when you watch a movie or TV-series and get people mixed up.

Let’s look at a couple of examples.

In the first one I’m at the supermarket and a strange person in a hat comes up and looks funny at me. We stand and look at each other for a while until I realize it’s my best friends dad. I’m pretty sure the hat – some kind of felt-wide-rimmed-almost-cowboy-thing I’ve never, ever seen him in before. Funny thing was, he didn’t recognize me either, until he looked up, but then I was still drawing a blank. I think I got who it was when he smiled and said my name.

The second example is really funny. I’m arriving at work and a person I think is a colleague parks his bike outside. Hi, I say and he says hi back. By then I’ve realized it wasn’t my colleague, but it seems the other person may have thought he still knew me, because when we got to the elevator – I’m heading for floor 2 so I use the stairs – he calls after me to get in the elevator.

I think this example may have to do with stress or morning tiredness or something to do. I know the spontaneous “hi” was an ADHD thing… or in combination with Asperger, perhaps. The person I thought it was used to come to work by bike…


Science and facts

microscopeEven though I like to talk about my own experiences and discuss things from a personal perspective, I also want the scientific side of things.

For me scientific means things that has been peer reviewed and conclusions from experiments where I can study the method and figure out if there was any problems with the experiment.

I’ve come up with this category to keep my personal view and the more scientific discussion separated.

As of right now, the scientific outlook is a bit bleak… there are no posts yet… part from this post.