It’s the day after Christmas and all through the house, there’s boxes and food gifts, new shoes and a new blouse! But for real, what’s an autistic individual to do with all the post-holiday cleanup? Given our struggles with the executive functioning skills of organization and task initiation, a messy house becomes a true battleground. Even more, a pristine environment helps keep many autistic people centered and productive. So how can we wade through the celebratory chaos and find a way back to our normal homes and routines?
1) Don’t take on too much. Just because we need to tidy up doesn’t mean it’s time for a full spring cleaning. Just put away what’s new and leave the old messes for another day.
2) Pile up all the bags, boxes, tissue paper, etc., and chuck them all into a garbage bag. Unless you already have a system for saving bags and cards, do not save anything! Now is not an ideal time to build new routines.
3) Organize your gifts into two categories: Use Now and Use Later. Pack up and put away all the gifts that you’ll make use of at a much later time. Then, you can prioritize finding space for the gifts you’ll start using today.