Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Sunday, August 26

Anal Retentive Organization

Anyone out there who has every shared a room or office with me knows I am a slob. Which used to be fine. When I was a teenager I could walk into a cluttered room and be completely unconcerned about it. My idea of sorting laundry was three piles on the floor: clean, dirty, and somewhere in-between. My class notes were typically a mess, but I could find what I needed. No worries. But during the last six or seven years I have managed to maintain my slobability while becoming uptight and twitchy about it. I still operate like a slob: leaving things all over the place, dropping clothes on the floor only to roll out of bed the next morning and put them back on, letting the paper trash bin next to my desk overflow instead of taking out the trash. But now I walk into a messy room or sit down at a messy desk and I start stressing about it. I can't study and I can't relax.

My solution to this problem has been anal retentive levels of organizational minutiae. If absolutely everything has a designated place and if non-designated places are completely off-limits to any object whatsoever, then everything stays organized. It winds up being painfully obvious when something is not put away and I always know precisely what to do with any such item. It would probably be easier to learn to relax and accept my slobby ways. After all, I accept so many other faults in myself with barely a twinge of guilt. But instead I am determined to become a neat and organized person.

All of this organizing would probably work just fine if I didn't have a husband living with me. He uses things and moves things and buys things and generally hampers my organization efforts. I tried telling him what goes where, but who is going to remember that green and gray towels go on the dressing table shelf while other towels go in a different room and facial moisturizer goes on the second shelf while body lotion goes on the third. So I started labeling everything (drawers, bins, shelves) with the types of items that may be placed there so that he could follow the rules. Now each shelf in the bathroom has little plastic dividers with labels like "Outdoor Skin Care: bug repellent, sunscreen" or "Foot Care". The whole system works pretty well. I got home after three months and most stuff was where it belonged.

The glaring exception was the refrigerator. Our fridge broke a few months ago (Don't ever buy Amana) which was upsetting because we lost all our food. But since it was under warranty we called to get it fixed (Don't ever buy Amana) and weren't too worried. Like I said, that was a few months ago. The fridge still isn't fixed (Don't EVER buy Amana). Scott eventually bought a new fridge (not an Amana) and filled it bachelor style. Meaning ketchup, milk, some shredded cheese, eggs, and soy sauce were distributed pretty randomly throughout the fridge. When I got home I stared into the fridge for a bit before grabbing some yellow post-it notes and a pen. This is a big fridge. We already had an upright freezer so he bought an all-refrigerator. If I lost a container of yogurt in this fridge it could be years before I found it again. I needed to organize. So I wrote labels on yellow post-it notes and stuck them all over the fridge: "Salad Dressing", "Syrup and sweet sauces", "PB&J", "Drinks", "Ingredients: Don't Eat!", "Snacks", "Bread", etc. Two weeks later and the labels are still there. I've tried to find less tacky looking labels. Yellow post-its really aren't subtle. But nothing else sticks. And I'd prefer tacky-looking yellow post-its to a yogurt container getting misplaced among the pickle jars.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Welcome to the anal retentive world of organization and how time consuming it can be--BUT WORTH IT!!!