Albert Einstein forgot his socks, or else didn't
Paul Erdos, the most fine mathematician, lived out of a suitcase,
and we mean lived out of a suitcase.
You could go on ad nauseum with examples of the absent-mindedness
of the gifted, those who were too consumed by thinking great thoughts
to be bothered with the day to day details of living, like laundry,
or vacuuming, or changing clothes.
Taking this often amusing generalization down to a more realistic
application, it has been noted by some, most often those who interact
in a domestic or intimate situation with someone who may have been
referred to as a "brainiac" in their early years, that smart
people are often messy.¹
In order to better assess the situation, we've provided
a quick diagnostic for intelligence-related disorganization disorder
If you answered yes to 3 or more questions, you
are at risk for IRDD. We at Nerdslut, having first hand experience
with this dysfunction, have a few suggestions for those living with
or affect by IRDD.
- Little steps create progress. If
you can work your way through small projects a bit at a time,
you will find the cumulative effect. For instance, a surface that
is thoroughly cleared off will be much easier to keep cleared
in future. As more areas are attacked, the entire space will begin
to benefit, and so will you and your domestic partner(s).
- Don't be someone's mom or dad. There
is no surer way to help someone fail at trying to "get clean"
(as it were) than to keep on them about it. Encouragement is fine,
helping is good, but odds are, they've been teased about this
for a long time. Things like "Do these socks belong on the floor?"
will most likely elicit a smart aleck response like "Yes." or
"At least until gravity stops working."
- Megastores can help. If you don't
have moral objections to places like K-Mart or Wal-Mart, a couple
of trips can speed things along. They have a wide assortment of
organizationy things and for fairly reasonable prices.
- This will not be solved overnight.
If you're living with someone who's messy, or loving them without
the benefit of cohabitation, this will not be something that changes
over a day or a week. Patience is really important. Remember,
you love someone for who they are, not because they're neat.
- If all else fails, bring in professionals.
You may need to consult with an expert. There are gift certificates
for places like Mighty Maids; a gift of a professional cleaning
will not only solve the immediate problem, but will remove much
of the attendant anxiety and stress of the initial cleaning. Everyone
Don't give up hope. There's more to life than cleaning.
To paraphrase a tired saying, How many people approach their death
and say, "Boy I wish I'd spent more time cleaning!" You'll be too
dead to be embarassed about how people will talk about the state of
your house at your funeral, anyway, right?
So to the messy -- shed your guilt. To the neat
people who love them -- relax. Live a little. Throw some stuff around.
Odd are, you aren't even as neat as you think you are. Remember:
there's always someone more anal than you ready to straighten up.
¹ : There
is a parallel belief that there are some of the brighter variety are
actually MORE clean than others. This deserves a discussion at a later
date, although we would posit that much of that cleanliness is caused
more frequently by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and that the
correlation between intelligence and OCD would be the really interesting