I'm convinced that these people just don't pick up after themselves at home until it becomes positively unliveable. So they don't pick up after themselves at work either, following the same pattern, but things magically become liveable again because someone else picks up after them.
My boss (mentioned above) would leave used coffee cups all over the office. Not just his desk, but reception, the board room, etc.
I used to wonder what his house was like. Then one day he said, "Don't come too close - there were no dry towels in my house this morning."
Your boss sounds like a particularly extreme example.
However, be aware that people can have legitimately differing standards of cleanliness. This is not a comment on the specific situation, but just because someone's standard is different from yours does not mean that they are unreasonable.
I am often on the other side of this issue. At home, I do in fact leave all kinds of things around the flat, because it simply does not bother me very much. At some point it does become too much and then I clean it up.
I act somewhat differently at work, because much of it is a shared space (but I maintain that my desk is my and only my business).
However, this can be difficult because I have some colleagues whose idea of cleanliness borders on the insane, in my opinion. Like making a huge deal out of an "improperly folded" milk carton in the trash. Or the case where someone sent an office-wide email complaining about the "filth" in the kitchen. It took some time to figure out what she actually meant -- the kitchen looked fine to me. It turned out to be three (yes, I counted) grains of rice in the sink.
So what's the takeaway from this rant?
- If you want someone to behave in a certain way (be it cleaning up or making coffee or whatever), tell them
. Everything else is just inefficient communication.
- Don't assume that someone whose cleanliness standard differs from yours is living in "unliveable" conditions at home because they don't have you cleaning up after them. Probably, they really just have a different standard and are doing just fine.