Cleaning in progress

About a week ago, I aired out my dirty laundry for all to see. (Sorry, there are so many phrases and expressions involving clean and dirty, I’m having a field day! Yes, I love language).

I thought you might like to know that I’ve made some progress.

The picture of the kitchen cabinets isn’t so obvious (bad photography), but the drawers on the right are honestly downright grubby. The door on the left has already been cleaned. I’ve also unearthed the bedroom floor from the strata of accumulated laundry and crisp bags. Still need to vacuum but I’m getting there. Lastly, the attic, because that’s where all the dirty laundry from my bedroom ended up. At least I know what needs to be done there.

I’ve been using a couple of methods to get this far. One method I got off Snakedancing and is called productive procrastination. This doesn’t really work with executive function fail, but for dreaded chores it works wonders (for me anyway). Whenever I ran into something that made me feel anxious about doing it, I procrastinated by picking up some clothes and bringing them to the attic. I did have to remind myself to only do small bits of procrastination.

Some of the other methods are from the comments section on Procrastination or Executive Function Fail? on Musings of an Aspie, which is a recommended read by the way. But the comments contain some very interesting observations as well.


I find little bursts of doing cleaning stuff works best, and I mean “little” like spraying the counters with a water-vinegar mix while I’m nuking my coffee. By the time I’ve had my coffee, the water’s had time to loosen any gunk, plus there’s visual reminders (the counter’s wet, the spray bottle is out). Then it feels logical or part of a pattern to wipe the counters clean, in an “if-then” way.

That’s how I managed to clean the kitchen cabinets today. And the fridge door yesterday, by the way. While waiting for the tea kettle to boil. This helped a lot with pacing myself, I identified ONE thing that I could do on the spot and stopped as soon as it was done.


can’t have anyone over syndrome (spells out c h a o s )

Quoted that one because it’s hilariously spot-on. 🙂


for anyone with an android phone, I can really recommend an app called Regularly. I set household tasks and rather than set a date I can say the task needs to be done weekly/fortnightly/monthly/yearly and then it *gently* reminds me to do it.

I immediately downloaded Regularly from the Google Play store and so far it looks really promising. I did have a fairly large anxiety attack on Sunday evening after I started to add all the chores that needed doing, because THE LIST WAS JUST SO INCREDIBLY LONG. Granted, I did add things like “brush teeth daily” because I tend to forget that sort of thing.

Where I got stuck at first is due date, which is always a problem for me, because I have this feeling everything was due yesterday. And then I panic. But as it turns out, in every task there’s also a thing called “Log”. And when you click that, you can say when (you think) you’ve done this task last. Which is far more convenient for me than to start guessing when I need to get it done. Based on the last time I did something, and how regularly I want to do it, the app gives a nice gradual colour scheme to each task. Which brings me to the second reason why I like this app: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINBOWS. I really like colours sorted by rainbow. 🙂

Edit: the default colour setting goes from red to green. To get the red to blue rainbow colours, go to Settings > Color Range > Extended.

I’ve been using Regularly for two days now, and it gives me good clues on what my top productive procrastination should be, and lets me tick off random items from my “little bursts” cleaning list. So all in all, it seems to be working.

In closing, Nattily’s blog has a really awesome article that offers an in-depth analysis of procrastination vs. executive dysfunction vs. ability to do things “that are duller than, I don’t know, dull things” (with photos and coloured highlighters!). And Neurodivergent K’s blog has some very useful tips on how to “autistify” your surroundings to make things like cleaning easier to remember and execute. Also with photos!

21 thoughts on “Cleaning in progress

  1. Look at you! Cleaning like a boss. 🙂

    I downloaded Regularly but haven’t set up anything beyond the included tasks yet. I’ll make a point of doing that today. I didn’t realize the log feature could be used to set future scheduling. And thank you for the shout out.

    • Thanks! Yes, the log feature took some getting used to but I think it’s one of the things that really set the app apart. The pretty colours aren’t default, by the way, you have to select the extended colour scheme in Settings.

      I will have to wait and see if I can manage to keep this up, but the fact that I got so much done while basically freaking out about other (unrelated) things gives me hope.

      • Oh, rainbow! I was wondering how you did that and forgot to ask, so thank you. 🙂 Now I want to add all the things.

        I like the productive procrastination idea too. It’s something I often do instinctively so at least I feel like I got something useful done while avoiding some other more important thing.

  2. I love this productivity theme that is happening on the blogs I follow. Especially since I’m trying to manage this mania/hypomania thing and keep it in check, I want to soak up all the options for being organized and staying busy and productive that I can find!! I love the productive procrastination concept. It’s so rational and practical and at the same time, so potentially useful for tricking myself!

    I have never really been bitter about having an iphone before, even thought I ❤ google as a general rule, but today I am, because Regularly looks SO COOL and it's Android only. I've tried a bunch of iphone and web based apps, but I think the key problem is that they aren't pretty enough. That is odd to say, but I really think it's true. I'm shelling out $2.99 for this iphone app called Clear:

    Count on either another comment here when I decide whether it was worth it or not. Or maybe a blog post of my own if I get super nerdy about it, as I have a tendency to do.

    Good luck with your executive function! Hope it keeps being…um…functional?

    • Yes, pretty is super important! I have trouble enough with using to-do lists as it is, I don’t want to add an issue with “hmmm I don’t want to look at it because the design is so uninspiring”.

      I hope the iPhone app works as well, I can’t really tell from the description whether it is as flexible in recurring tasks (and as unobtrusive with reminding you). Otherwise we’ll just have to mount a blogging offensive and pressure UgglyNoodle (cool name) into building Regularly for iPhones too. 🙂

      • Good, because I just spent like $20 on various paid iphone apps for productivity and organization. I think it’s a good thing. I mean if (hypo)mania is going to make me spend a lot of money on things I don’t need, probably better that it’s like $.99 a time, and hey, one of these things might even be worth it! There’s a geek out post brewing.

  3. I only just remembered talking about rotating the mattress at a work barbecue last Friday. In my defence, someone else brought it up. But then I asked them whether they only rotate along the longitudinal axis or also along the latitudinal axis. I really need to be more careful of what I say to new co-workers. *facepalm*

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  6. I must admit I am loving all these clean/dirty puns!! 😀

    Also, that link on “productive procrastination” looks like it’s going to come in handy, too 🙂

  7. love the tips here! i struggle with this too. i never notice how messy things are until i have company. as they walk over clutter, and move piles so they can sit down i slowly feel my cheeks warming with embarrassment. gonna try this!

  8. Hi, I new here. I found your website as I was searching for ‘free habit apps for people with Asperger’s’ and came across your blog. Been enjoying reading both yours and musingsofanaspie articles. I’ve finally found people and information that I’m connecting with. Keep up the good work!

    • Welcome! Glad you found the information here helpful! Musingsofanaspie is one of my favourite blogs too, her posts really helped me connect with other people on the spectrum.

  9. Hello, I’m new too. Thank you for being so open! And when I lived on my own, I used to pretty much only clean up when I invited people over. I work well with deadlines. Anyway, thank you for the Regularly app, it looks like exactly what I need!

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