The video version of this article is available here: https://youtu.be/3oUfwu2Si1Q
Organisation plays a huge part in my life. As somebody with ocd (contamination, checking and hoarding), my lifestyle is directly impacted by how clean and how organised my surroundings are. Going on holiday/traveling is often a trigger for me, because I make lists- otherwise, the anxiety sets in. I check my lists four or five times and every time I get anxious. My terrible short-term memory directly impacts this because I’m scared that I have forgotten something. This post isn’t about the ocd though, it’s about my general organisational habits and how I turn them into something constructive rather than a mental prison that I cannot escape from.
In my life, there is no clutter. It’s something I literally cannot help, it’s as if my body is dragging me across the room to the bag full of rubbish and I’m being forced to take it out. Drawers are a huge culprit. The home’s ‘messy drawer’ does not exist in my home. Every container has a purpose and it makes life easier for all of the family when they can ask me where something is and I know exactly where I put it. That’s the case for every part of my house, and I’m lucky it’s a small one otherwise god knows how long I’d be cleaning for per day.
And this isn’t always a compulsive, negative thing. Most days I sit back, exhausted, and look at what progress I’ve made. I always give myself a pat on the back because if I didn’t have this mindset like most people, I’d not have done so much. It really is a blessing in disguise, because you have to look at the silver lining and realise that your compulsion is yes terrible, but it also forces you to do many things that maybe you wouldn’t feel motivated to do otherwise.
But some days, I slump. I wake up late in the day with no motivation at all, and these are what I call my lows. To other people, completely understandably, these are just interpreted as me being lazy. But when somebody is struggling with a chemical imbalance in their brain it is often difficult to snap out of it. But I embrace them as I know nothing I can do will change it, and I just take the day off. I don’t wear makeup if I need to leave the house, don’t do my hair, and wear basic clothing. This is quite the opposite of how I normally am- makeup, hair done and fashionable clothing.
This all impacts me one way or another. It’s the impending thought that one day I’ll need something and I won’t know where it is, or if one day my alarm doesn’t go off I can just grab my readily packed hand bag and jet out the door. These thoughts impact my organisation and my organisation impacts my every living moment. It is both a burden and a blessing.
When I am fully organised, my life is extremely relaxed. But I have a slump/low day and it all goes out the window. I often do the washing to take the stress off of my mum’s shoulders, she works 6 hours a day and for her to have to do the washing at the end of it would make me feel extremely bad. Alongside this, guiding my brother to do his share of the chores every single day grinds down on me too. He is addicted to his xbox and nothing my family says or does can seem to snap him out of it.
It normally takes him 30 shouts to get him off Fortnite or Forza on a normal off-school day, and for a ten year old, I’d say that’s not very good. I make him do the dishwasher and occasionally collect the washing from the line. If I’m lucky, he’ll put away the clothes in his, mum’s and my own wardrobes too. But that’s on a good day.
I’ve been rambling an awful lot about a topic that wasn’t even intended to be focused on in this article, so I must force myself to digress. The real topic: How and why I find organising so therapeutic. I will attach some photos of containers in my home that I have organised. You might note that they’re not ‘ocd’ or ‘perfect’ and that’s because everybody’s rituals and compulsions are important. I organise by type, eg. trousers in one section and t-shirts in another. Not necessarily by colour or brand, as I find this the most pragmatic approach for myself and thankfully my family.
As you can see above, my ways of organising are like literally any others. I go for a logical and practical approach, keeping everything in the same place. I cannot stand having shoes strewn across the house because then you never know what you own and where it is.
Today and yesterday I took to emptying my parent’s wardrobe and putting everything they didn’t want in a pile. I then folded and packed away all of their keep clothes in order of category, and once that was done I focused on the throw clothes.
In my throw category, I separated it into two further piles. Sell and bin because nothing was worthy of the charity shop. I listed everything on a few local ‘buy and sell’ pages and if they don’t sell I’ll have to give them away. I think in total I took about 300 items of clothing out of my parent’s wardrobes combined. Not that’s satisfaction.
Upon listing lots of items of clothing online I had to move them from the kitchen (my temporary fashion lab) to the shed (a kindo of large log-cabin-esque thing) and I’m now waiting for the items to sell as they’re all hanging from a ladder.
Thank you for reading, look forward to a sequel.