No, not rampant murder for a day, but my apartment (housecleaning is far more scary anyway).
I try to pay attention to synchronicity when it comes up (or else it kicks my ass later); I’ve been thinking about doing something with the sheer, overwhelming mess that is my apartment, and then someone recommended a book on Twitter yesterday, Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD.
I don’t have ADHD, but bipolar disorder presents many of the same challenges–in particular, mania can mimic ADHD behaviors, and depression means basic tasks take ten times as long to do around the house (and that’s if I can get out of bed to do them). I’m hopelessly disorganized, I have to watch myself for impulse spending, and everything is perpetually messy. When I’m well, I try to set things up to be easier on me during a depressive episode in various aspects of my life with proper routine and habits, but when it’s severe, I always fall behind in cleaning. Too much stuff and too little efficiency, makes it that much more difficult. So I checked out the sample, found it helpful, and got the book.
It’s a quick read, laid out to make it easy to follow if you have a short attention span, everything practical and useful. There were quite a few things I do intuitively (remove sliding closet doors so you can see the full closet), and other things that probably should’ve occurred to me (both garbage and recycling bins in every room). And in that regard, there’s a lot that I either do or want to do, and the book provides that permission (don’t fold your laundry when it’s going in a designated drawer), saying it’s okay to give up the things you were taught as “proper” if it means maximizes the efficiency of your space and ease for you to keep it organized.
Right now, I’m starting The Purge. I’m going to aim for roughly a room a week, and I’m starting with the kitchen. Paring down to the necessities, growing okay with running out of particular groceries rather than overbuying, making it easy to put things away. One complication is that I don’t drive, so rather than just hauling a couple of boxes of things to the Sally Ann years ago, I have let it accumulate rather than beg for rides to transport stuff.
The other issue is, of course, so long in poverty. It’s a type of hoarding behavior I didn’t really notice until I saw how the other half lives–normal people upgrade and get rid of the old thing, because if the upgrade breaks, they can just get another.
That has never occurred to me–I thought it was normal to keep everything “just in case”. I still have a fifteen-year-old small LED backup monitor for my computer–it works, and what if my screen dies, and and and– I wear clothes until there are irreparable holes in them I can’t fix, I keep backup running shoes no matter what shape they’re in. I don’t have hundreds of dollars sitting around to go out and replace something, even a necessity. I have to budget, plan, and even then, I keep backups.
Then there’s food–stocking up on something when it’s on sale in case you can’t afford it next month (or full price next week). Even knowing full well that too many years of eating ramen when it was all I could afford that I would rather starve than eat it now…I still have a supply in my pantry cupboard.
“Just in case.” It’s hard to set aside that fear of being without when it’s always a real possibility.
So there’s certainly some balancing to do for some solutions (particularly advice for the bathroom–like, it’s a small apartment, I don’t even have a counter, just a sink and pipes below) with the realities of poverty, but a lot of it is quite workable.
The goal once I’m through is to have all rooms take about three minutes to clean up. Washing dishes by hand and laundry both obviously take longer, and both are the bane of my existence right behind litter boxes. I’m strongly considering, once I’m through the purging and organizing, looking at a biweekly housekeeper to do a deep clean for a couple of hours on the months my budget permits, keeping some money tucked aside for depressive episodes. I’d rather go a little lighter on groceries or skip my wine for a few months to have that off my plate, just leaving me with regular upkeep.
I post this, then, in case you’re like me and overwhelmed, and need to minimize the amount of time you spend on household crap for whatever reason. If you have chronic depression, the less time you spend on housework and/or overwhelmed by everything you have to do, the more time you have to spend on taking care of yourself.
If you have ADHD or a mental illness that makes organization tough sometimes and have found things that work for you, leave a comment with your tips!