Category Archives: Autism and ADHD

Reporting from the trenches of Autism & ADHD: Experiences, Tips, Strategies, Background stories

Laundry Managment for Aspies

Taking care of the laundry is oftentimes exhausting.

And still, it has to be done — if you’re wondering. Otherwise, people will smell you, and they will never tell you, just stop being around you… that’s people for you, so yes, it has to be done and no one, except perhaps your mom, will ever tell you so…

The points of Laundry Management

Here’s a list of the points I’m going to go over in this article:

  • Distribute the effort — sort the laundry in easy to carry containers, one for each machine — everytime you throw the dirty clothes in the laundry
  • Keep the follow-up work minimal — can you get away with no ironing? do all clothes have to be folded? where do you keep the clean clothes for minimal effort when putting them away (and picking them out)
  • Plan the next wash day in advance

How often do you do laundry?

This may be obvious to you. I’m going to cover it briefly anyway.

How often do you do laundry?

It comes down to one simple rule of thumb: you always change your underwear after having showered or taken a bath. And you should probably do that at least twice a week. Maybe even daily.

Then it’s just a question of how much underwear you have to figure out how often you need to do laundry. You can always get more underwear, to a certain degree. You still want to be able to do all laundry in one pass.

Distribute the Effort

Back in the days I used to throw my dirty laundry in a bag or a corner, and then sort it before I had to go to the washhouse (laundromat? the place where I’d do the laundry — getting your own wash machine is, of course, a premium solution here, if you can afford it, and have the space for it…)

Nowadays I make sure to sort the laundry even as I put it in the dirty bin. I do this by keeping several containers with laundry one for each machine (usually separated by color — dark/while — and temperature — you know, the normal way you separate laundry into different machines — and if you don’t know, you can Google it…)

I use paper shopping bags (the large sort with handles) for the different sets of laundry and for some a couple of plastic net containers (paper bags aren’t that stackable).

I happen to have a wardrobe full of paper bags so for me they are cheap, but you can use other containers/bags as well.

Sidenote: Do you think you’d look silly carrying around shopping bags with dirty clothes? Remember that other people don’t know what you do; they’ll just go “there’s someone with shopping bags… whatever.” People do after all walk around carrying shopping bags.

On the other hand, where I come from, many people carry their dirty laundry to the washhouse in an IKEA-bag, so I guess in Sweden it’s par for the course to carry dirty laundry in shopping bags…

If your culture has some other style fashion conventions for what you should carry around your dirty laundry in, by all means, feel free to use something else… šŸ˜€

Make sure you keep the laundry in something that breathes (or your laundry will start to stink within a week), but also that it is something you can easily pick up and carry to the washhouse (e.g. something with a handle).

To make the whole ordeal with doing laundry less taxing, the strategy is to distribute the effort over many days (doing the sorting in prepared, easy to carry, containers) so that the actual day contains an as minimal effort as possible.

On a side note, laundry day is also pizza day (mainly because I won’t eat a whole pizza, so I cut it in pieces — in fact using a pair of scissors. you should try it! — and eat it both for lunch and dinner).

That way I won’t have to worry about cooking either.

Keep the Follow-up Work Minimal

A long time ago, I used to fold and sort my laundry, and it kept me busy for a week after laundry day.

Today I use another set of paper bags, one with underwear, the other with T-shirts (the rest of the stuff is on hangers and shelves). Oh, and socks in a cardboard box.

The box and the paper bags with underwear and T-shirts fit in a wardrobe, by the way, so they are out of sight.

My wardrobes have this 100% dysfunctional design with a shoe shelf at the bottom, making it impossible to put any sane set of drawers or similar in them — and renting the place makes me wary of too much drilling and screwing around in there as well… hence the paper bags…

I simply dump the clean clothes in those two bags and the socks in the box.

You don’t need to fold your underwear, you don’t need to iron it… the only reason to keep underwear and T-shirts in any other order is if you have very different types and want to decide which to wear (several smaller bags/boxes?)

If you only need to grab one of each after the shower, paper bags will do just fine!

I also have shirts. I only buy them iron-free. I put them on a hanger and let them hang-dry. No need for ironing there either!

Book/Plan the Next Date in Advance

Once the paper bags with underwear starts getting a bit empty, it’s time to book the laundry again.

For me, it’s about 2-3 weeks between laundry days. If you find you have to do it more often, I’d recommend booking the next date before you leave the washhouse, if you can. And then put the date in your online calendar (you do have one, right?) and/or set up an alarm on the mobile…

I use to book Saturdays, because it’s the weekend, and I get the Sunday to deal with any effects (getting in bed late on Saturday because I got riled up etc).

It is always better to have a preset date. The worst case scenario, at least for me, is to just go over there in the hope of getting a time.

I guess it depends on where you do your laundry, but for me, that’s a coin toss, at best. Very exhausting not knowing if you’ll be doing the laundry or not.

If you can plan it a week or so ahead, you know you have the time slot, and you can prepare for it properly.

Laundry Management

To avoid being exhausted even before laundry day comes around, follow these tips:

  • Distribute the effort — instead of sorting the laundry on laundry day, keep containers (paper bags or similar), one for each machine, and fill them with dirty clothes as you use them
  • Keep the follow-up work to a minimum — it’s neat to have your clothes folded and arranged as if they were sushi on parade, but is it necessary? Can you get away without ironing the clothes? can you hang dry clothes that are iron-free? is it okay if your socks or T-shirt is a bit wrinkled? Then go ahead and simplify!
  • Plan the next laundry day in advance — avoid the extra stress of not knowing when you’ll be able to do your laundry by booking your laundry date in advance.

Autism and “getting better”

I was watching Netflix’s “Atypical” when I came across the following exchange in a scene where the parents of the main character Sam were at a group for parents with children with autism:

Doug: The whole thing really threw me off because we’ve been getting along well, and he’s been seeing a therapist lately, and I felt like he was getting better…

Shelby: Oh! So sorry to interrupt you again, but um, there is no (making air quotes) getting better in autism. It’s a neurological condition, not a curable disease…

It’s obvious Shelby has a stick up her arse when you see the character in action, andĀ I really feel sorry for her kid: No, John, you can’t go out and play with the other kidsĀ because there’s no getting better in autism and the last time you made poor Amy cry… Continue reading Autism and “getting better”

Sleep depravation

Just back from vacation, and my sleep depravation is over… no, not sleep deprived, sleep depraved…

A fun exchange with a colleague:

Colleague: so how was your vacation?

Me talks a bit about it and mentions sleep.

Colleague: so, how bad is it?

Me: I went to bed at ten and woke up at five.

Colleague looks confused.

Me: ten in the morning and five in the afternoon.

Colleague: shit!

Why sleep depraved/deprived/de-whatever?

No clue. Because sleep hates me? And I hate it right back?

Maybe because I was born four in the afternoon… but it’s more likely that I was born in the afternoon becauseĀ my sleep cycle has always been in disarrary…

Focus Cards: How to keep focus

Focus Cards can be used by people with high level of distraction and bad short term memory to quickly regain focus when they get distracted.

The problem

Since I’m a person with a pretty bad short term memory (due to Asperger, I think), and are pretty good at getting distracted (mostly due to ADHD), I’ve found, thatĀ part from my to-do-lists (in GTD-style), I need something to keep me focused while I am working on a task.

Continue reading Focus Cards: How to keep focus

Cocktail Parxshrorichhheeeeiii – Or, what did you say?

Cocktails_mit_Schirmchen_300Something very strange is going on when I hear several people talk at the same time.

I think the best way to describe it would be to say that I get a few milliseconds of one conversation, then a few of the other, and then back to the first. It becomes a completely unintelligible noise. I don’t hear words… I guess doing it withĀ text would be like:

John (whom I am talking to) and Peter (who’s talking to Bob on the other side of the 2×2-table island) at the same time: sdoi dwhyaotu’sk ntohwe tvheerysihoanv?e a new web site?

Me: what did you say?

John, a bit impatient, apparently not having any problem whatsoever that Peter and Bob are talking at the same time we are: what’s the version?

I’ve tested my hearing – it was perfect. Or at least good enough not to warrant any form of action.

My problem isn’t my hearing. I just can’t separate people’s voices.

At a cocktail party, this becomes an explosive and rather fantastic wall of incoherent sounds… almost like music.

That’s all fine, but when someone tries to talk to me… I am not able to say more than, “aha”, “okay” etc – I have no clue what they are talking about… I guess lip reading would be a way to go.

It does take small talk to a completely new level, though.