Dear Linda -
Bob is very "blind" when it comes to mess. He simply doesn't see it. A pot sits on the side of the counter and it's just a decoration to him, it's not even something he pays attention to. It only comes to mind when he needs that pot again months later and looks for it, and realizes it's sitting there and needs to be cleaned.
The living room is full of dirty clothes piles, clean clothes piles, guitars, amps, you name it. There's a paper punch-out cutter to make rectangle shapes that I use to turn regular cards into windowed cards for my origami. I use it for holiday cards sometimes. It's been sitting there for *months* waiting for him to return it for me, and now it's Christmas and I need it and can't use it
I'm sure he doesn't even see it. It's just background to him and he's completely forgotten that I'm waiting on him to do something with it.
Which then gets into the question of why don't I just do it myself. But then like with the pots if I step in and do it, I get scolded for not doing it properly. So it's a lose-lose. But I have to mentally prepare myself that yes, I'll be scolded, and in the meantime the house will be cleaner, so it's a long term benefit and a short-term grumpiness. And that I have to train him NOT to scold me since in the end I didn't make anything "worse" for him. He is simply in the same boat he was in before. He didn't lose anything - and I gained something.