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.