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Social Services

51 replies

user685949292 · 30/04/2022 00:19

I am a hair’s breadth from reporting myself to Social Services but actually what can they do? What do I want from them?

We live in what most would describe as squalor. I’ve tried everything to try & keep our home clean and tidy like a regular adult but I can’t do it.

If I had a physical disability someone would help me but because (to others) I should just be able to ‘learn strategies’ etc there’s no support.

My children shouldn’t have to live like this but I don’t know how to fix it. Everything is so difficult because of the mess.

Other than the usual suggestions of TOMM etc is there anything I can really do? Is there anyone who can help me?

OP posts:

jewishmum · 30/04/2022 00:26

Any chance you could budget in a cleaner for once a week to help keep on top of it?

I also found this


BettyForgety · 30/04/2022 00:29

Is there a particular area you struggle with? Knowing a bit more detail might help us give you advice


BringBackCoffeeCreams · 30/04/2022 00:35

It's hard, really hard. I use the Flylady app and the Colornote app to help me focus. I also get a little help in the home, but that's because I'm not in the UK. Even then things are a bit of a tip. I really struggle but try to adjust my expectations. Are you really living in squalor or are you just way more untidy than you'd like to be?


user685949292 · 30/04/2022 00:52

I struggle with everything. Just everything.

The dishes are never washed - eg tonight I had to wash every pot/pan/utensil as I needed it while cooking. The sink was disgusting and kept filling up with horrible water.

There’s a heap of laundry waiting to go in the washing machine that you physically have to stand on to use the sink - this could fill the machine 3/4 times. I just threw out a jumper that had only been worn once because it had gone mouldy in this pile.

The living room floor is covered in random items and we can only use one sofa because the other is full of things.

I almost can’t move in my bedroom.

Almost every available surface in my bedroom has a dirty cup or mug on it.

We don’t wash the sheets anywhere like often enough (months not weeks).

My ADHD affects everything in my life. I can’t lose weight because I can’t stick at a diet. I can’t get nice skin because I can’t stick to a skincare routine and this is just the same but it’s so much bigger and so much more important.

I’m tired of being so determined that if I just really blitz it I’ll be able to just do a little bit every day and keep it that way but it doesn’t happen and I am just so angry with myself. Even writing this the answer is obvious - just do it - but I can’t!

OP posts:

user685949292 · 30/04/2022 00:54

A cleaner would turn around and leave if they came into my house. Unless it was a Kim and Aggie type especially brought in for this type of task.

OP posts:

wonkygorgeous · 30/04/2022 00:56

My friends who are mostly neuro diverse use fly lady.

It's really helpful even if you just do the basic bits each day. It's easy, underwhelming instruction that focuses on instructing you to do a small task.

Honesty it's helped all of us. My house is a tip still, but my dishes get washed and the essentials are done.


jewishmum · 30/04/2022 01:02

It sounds like you have too much 'stuff'.
Decluttering makes me feel loads better and when you live more minimally there's less mess and you end up having to put a was on because you literally run out of clothes if not, same for cutlery. Kon Mari method could help there.

Doing dishes used to fill me with dread and I'd also put it off till things went mouldy, when I turned 30 I finally bought a dishwasher and it has changed my life..


backtobusy · 30/04/2022 01:04

Is your ADHD properly treated?


wonkygorgeous · 30/04/2022 01:07

Another thing that helped me is to organise my shopping in my trolly into the areas they will go into once home. So things for utility go into one bag. Things for fridge in another, then freezer, then cupboards.

This means if I'm not coping after shopping I can carry in the freezer and fridge bags and leave the rest. Or carry all the bags and put them by the respective places.

The other thing that's helped me so much is getting an Alexa. If I set the washing machine I will ask Alexa to remind me to hang it out. If I'm tumble drying I'll ask Alexa to remind me to fold clothes. If I need a break I'll ask her to remind me in an hour to put the clothes away.

If I'm doing a task I'll ask Alexa to stop me after 10 mins. I can unload and reload the dishwasher in 10 mins.

Little bits each day with a reminder really help. It's just little bits. Once you start to feel a bit more in control you might do an extra task and slowly things come together.

Don't feel bad about a messy house. As long as you live your children and their needs are met that's far far more important.

Basic Fly lady is brilliant. I can't do advanced stuff!


CheerfulYank · 30/04/2022 01:26

Oh, I feel you so much. I struggle an unbelievable amount with this aspect of ADHD.

One thing that helped me (although I’m very much still a work in progress) is the book and blog A Slob Comes Clean, by Dana K White.

I wish I could come help you…I can do it for other people but not always myself. Why is that?!


CheerfulYank · 30/04/2022 01:27

Also (and this may sound silly!) the other thing that really helps me is to get a book on my kindle app, like a really suspenseful thriller with tons of twists and turns, and force myself to clean for 10 minutes at the end of every chapter.


Gingerkittykat · 30/04/2022 03:38

Do you own or rent your house? My housing officer got me tenancy support to help me get things under control.

Social services should be able to point you in the right direction.


TurquoiseSwirl · 30/04/2022 10:21

I feel the same, I can see what others want to do but get paralyses and can’t do it. I find setting a timer and saying, right I’ll do this job for 5mins and then stop means I get something done and it seems easier to start knowing there’s an ending.


TurquoiseSwirl · 30/04/2022 10:22

But the fact that you’re asking for help means you recognise there’s an issue and that is huge, you’re not blissfully sitting there thinking it’s all good. How old are your children?


Thornrose · 30/04/2022 10:27

You could ask for an Early Help referral. You will be allocated a Family Support Worker.

They can help you with direct work and signpost you to other services.

If you have children at school the school can make the referral for you.


BarrowInFurnessRailwayStation · 30/04/2022 11:04

Could you possibly ask any friends to help? Do you think you could keep on top of things if you had a clean slate so to speak? People in the community might be willing to help you blitz the place - perhaps a FB appeal? People are often glad to help others, particularly those who enjoy cleaning. If you're in the NE I'll help you 🙂


BringBackCoffeeCreams · 30/04/2022 11:07

It sounds like you have so much to do that you can't get started. It's overwhelming when everything needs doing. You need to break things down into more manageable chunks, but also prioritise. The Flylady app is really helpful with that

Alternatively write down 5 jobs (or 3 if that's too much, or even just 1) you would like to do today, prioritise them and then crack on with them as best you can, starting with your number 1.


Wash the pots 2
Gather up all the dirty pots. 1
Bag up rubbish. 3
Empty bins. 4
Change the sheets. 5

If that's too much make the tasks smaller.


  1. Gather up all the dirty pots in the living room (you can do another room another time)

2. Wash the pots on the left hand side of the sink (others can be done tomorrow)

poppaloo · 30/04/2022 11:23

Hi OP, do you own or rent? There should be support available for you under the Supporting People remit which helps people maintain a tenancy if you rent, try the housing department or adult social care.

As a children's sw if I was visiting your house the things I would look at would be clean bedding and clothes for the children, somewhere to wash and bathe and the ability to cook food safely - so focus on the bathroom, kitchen and bedding first of all. Noticing the problem is the first step. Good luck!!


CoutureBakes · 30/04/2022 11:31

OP I could have written this...I have no diagnosis...but all my kids have asd, adhd and one has lovely combination of both one also has Pda... So I have a lot to deal with there and they're not really capable of helping me, even in there own spaces!

I definatley identify with the dishes while cooking scenario...nothing I do changes anything and I can fit a dishwasher in my poxy kitchen...have u room for one?

Although the next thing would be to keep on top of maintaining filling and emptying it...I could never.

Have you considered you might also be suffering depression..especially given the living circumstances...maybe look into that, because I have been at that level and accepting, it allowed me to not be so hard on myself.

It took me about 10 years to get some small strategies in place, not saying I stick to them but I do know they are important things and I try not to let them build to a point of being mega out of control.

My middle child (pda) is similar with regard to dirty cups and laundry the more mess the more they are unable to deal with it...cant even get in the room to do it myself as they become aggressive however I do set very small manageable targets. I ask for two or three "5 minute tidies" I only ask once a week because anything else will overwhelm them.

I also apply a similar challenge to myself. I've tried apps and reminders and notes and they do not work. If I plan to do something ill spend time thinking about it and actively ignoring it, however I'll try to put my procrastination to good use..If I need to clean the bathroom but don't want to then I'll just mop the kitchen floor etc...I have to physically tell myself right do one thing for 5-10 mins and see where it goes e.g cleaning the bathroom...sometimes I find once I get started I hyperfocus on it and tend to move to another room and continue cleaning..completely ignoring other important tasks I have that day 😅

I also have quite a messy front room but I am sure to try and give it a bit of a sweep whenever I pass through...sounds disgusting but I'll leave a broom in there, sweep most things into one corner. The small bits end up under the unit and either dustpan and brush then and there or in the next 2 days...later in the week I'll revisit under that unit with the hoover!
But I hate the faff of a hoover, emptying it cleaning filter etc I tend to leave that till very last minute!

The downstairs rooms (bar kitchen) will have a deep clean once a month because I actually feel super uncomfortable around the dirt (ironically)
(well from the floor up to mid level...r.i.p anything on a shelf)

I will wipe kitchen sides down before and after I cook because I'm in there anyway. Cupboards are a joke...very unorganised and fridge is pretty much the partner will deal with those on his day off. He also has adhd though so isn't much help anywhere else that's not on interest to him because he just doesn't "see" it.

With regard to other mess I leave empty baskets in the front room for clean laundry or it would sit on my couch for a month. It's easier to find the motivation to carry a basket into another room or kick it under table than it is to look at at sitting on couch or dining table.

A second hand trofast unit was a literal life saver for toys and youngests items...I have also stopped buying and request no one else buys my kids small any gifts for birthdays Xmas etc because that is not what I wanna be picking up multiple times a day and will often get swept under the couch for another day! I made a point of putting each type of thing in one drawer/box (cars, crafts and paper, large building blocks- screw lego) then shoving the couch up against it so it can't all be tipped out and overwhelm us all!

The child has to request one or two boxes at a time and I will get it out and block the area again.
The youngest (the one who make the most vile messes with food smearing etc)..actually really enjoys packing the boxes up again.
So thats a bonus (he is autistic non verbal so could not actually ask him for help but it's handy that he likes to put the box back exactly how he found them)

I do tend to have the worst of it in my room because that's where I dump everything to try and deal with it (2 months) later.

I also have to tell the children to approach me for bed changes and help with hoovering rooms and not let me say "ill do it later" it has to be done as soon as they request or I'll get distracted elsewhere.
Two share a room so i know that's 2x beds at once...the p.d.a one is more difficult so I'll have a spare quilt and pillows with cases in cupboard ready to just hand over and drag the putrid ones away from them...we've given up on fitted sheets for that child so they have thick blankets to cover mattress which they like to lay out themselves...that child is another story...

The kids also have to physically hand me uniform after school as I must wash it that minute or my brain skims over it and they will forget too.
I prioritise trying to keep them clean and tidy and fed.

I would try to give yourself a few mins to clear things...even if you start slow at one or two things in the week...for example on Tues tackle the cups/throw them out if you must and bingo that's one job done...then set a rule no cups out of kitchen.
Then say Friday you might feel able to sort throught that washing pile, check what is in there that you need to prioritise e.g maybe as its been there a while I would deal with wet things asap.
Have a think.. do u need to keep it all..if not its a good time to chuck it.

And in future grab a couple baskets and label them "priority" such as uniforms, coats etc.

One for "wet and dirty" because you'll know that needs sorting quick to avoid going manky.

And another basket for meh items that can happily wait.

The point of my waffling is basically me trying to say it is probably in your best interest to start very small and find what works for you and hopefully build on that. If it means chucking loads away then starting again so be it.

You are not alone and the fact that you want to do better is a sign of hope...hoping one day you find the strength to tackle even the smallest of jobs xx

I'll be following this thread to get some ideas myself.


Sprogonthetyne · 30/04/2022 11:39

If your children are younger, could homestart help? The volunteering could clean/tidy with you to help you to stay on task, or play with the children so you can get on uninterrupted. Maybe the structure of a set cleaning time, which you agree with another person will help.


user685949292 · 30/04/2022 23:42

Sorry I’m only just coming back to the thread I was just drained with emotion last night & couldn’t formulate any replies!

So many kind & thoughtful responses - thank you. It really means a lot.

Answers to a few questions - children are lower primary school/nursery, no space for a dishwasher (couldn’t even lose a cupboard sadly), currently unmedicated but working on it, could potentially afford a cleaner a couple of hours a week but honestly we are just nowhere near that stage yet! Unfortunately I don’t have friends. I can’t even let my parents into my house because it’s so bad.

Presumably this is an ADHD thing so does anyone else get this - just this need for perfection? I am a complete perfectionist sitting in an utter pigsty of a house. Ridiculous. It’s like if I know I can’t keep it up forever I just can’t make myself even do it once/twice. I try & tell myself that every time I take a cup downstairs after I’ve used it or take my clothes straight down to the kitchen after a shower that even if it’s the only time I do it, if I don’t manage it every time from now on - it’s ok & it’s still helpful but still here I am.

It’s helpful to hear from a SW - the bathroom is messy (sometimes up to 10 empty toilet roll tubes on the floor surrounding the toilet), clothes on the floor, empty bottles etc & probably only gets a good scrub once a month but it’s not awful. The kitchen is a disaster zone. The bedsheets definitely need washed more than they currently are but they’re not soiled or anything. These are probably good starting points for me though. If you came to a house like mine what would you actually do? What would be the outcome for us as a family?

I think I do need to stop thinking of it as a whole don’t I? Not a whole house or even a whole room - just a task? Nail one thing at a time.

I get so angry with myself because I have been here so many times promising myself I’ll just stop being like this & I keep letting myself down! I hate myself for this.

My children will look back & just remember this disgusting house that they lived in & how they could never have friends over :(

I’ve thought about speaking to the school (about other issues that my ADHD is causing with parenting - homework etc too) but it’s just the shame of it. I’m so embarrassed that this is how we live & really what can they do? What can anyone do? Only I can fix this but it feels impossible.

I just want to add though that my children are well cared for, they’re cooked for every night (majority fresh meals), they do multiple hobbies/sports, they have clothes to wear but they just live in a very messy house. I know that that will be affecting them but they are by no means neglected. Embarrassingly their bedrooms are much tidier than mine!

OP posts:

youvegottenminuteslynn · 30/04/2022 23:56

I think I do need to stop thinking of it as a whole don’t I? Not a whole house or even a whole room - just a task? Nail one thing at a time.

Could you make this thread a safe space / accountability journal hybrid?

Sometimes it's the having to think bit that stops me getting stuff done, as someone with ADHD.

Perhaps if people suggested a list of three things to do - one a day for the next three days, then you could try and tick them off and keep talking to us so we can encourage you?

And also because it's nice to have a well done when you've done something taxing and we could give you that too each time you tick something off.


BlackeyedSusan · 30/04/2022 23:58

Would a list help? (From us?)
Dump the crap in your room sort out the kids rooms?
Get a load of storage boxes put the crap in them and sort out later?

Tomorrow I could race you on some tasks. (Then we both get the washing up done or a load of washing hung or a bath cleaned or bedding washed ) (random i know but you know anything helps)

Go round with a bin bag and throw the rubbish away as the first thing.

Unfucknyour habitat is another one.

Or the hoarders thread in housekeeping board. Lots of us are Nd on there.


BlackeyedSusan · 30/04/2022 23:59

Or a timer. Five minute tasks. Try lots of caffeine to help you focus.


AshGirl · 01/05/2022 08:05

This is a great book, written by a therapist who also has ADHD. It's very short so hopefully less overwhelming.

Be kind to yourself Flowers

How to Keep House While Drowning: A gentle approach to cleaning and organising

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