I like organizational systems!

My life is built around systems and routine.  All through college I had a notebook and folder for every class, and each course had a specific color depending on the department.  For example, my sociology classes for four years had a blue notebook and a blue folder to hold loose papers.  My economics classes came in purple or black.  The Spanish courses were red.  It made sense the first semester to have a different color for each class so I could grab the correct notebook without having to open it, and then I kept up the same color scheme through the next seven semesters because changing my system would have made me feel, well, I guess a good way to describe it is that I would have felt on edge.  My tank tops hang in my closet in rainbow order.  In middle school my socks were neatly lined up in rainbow order in the sock drawer, which drew well-deserved mockery from friends not only because I arranged them in rainbow order but also because who owns so many brightly colored socks?  I park in the same spot at the gym under a tree at the edge of a row and feel genuinely ill at ease when that spot is already taken.  I do everything in the same order when I shower.  I open all the windows on my computer at work in the same order each morning because I like everything to be lined up the same way on the task bar at the right of the screen.  (One way to spot a geek: their taskbar is vertical rather than horizontal on their computer screen.)  I drive the same route to and from work.  My spices are arranged alphabetically.  The five shelves in the pantry are organized by category: baking, snacking & beverage, entrees & savory staples, extras & backup, and non-food items.  The large bathroom cupboard has a similar organizational structure based on use.  Any cash in my purse is faced and ordered. 

A good friend and housemate in college once took the cash from the smallest pocket of my backpack and unsorted in and crumpled it up a little before shoving the money back in the pocket when I wasn’t around.  She didn’t tell me for days, and in the meantime I had gotten something out of my backpack, was surprised to see that I had put the bills away in such a slipshod fashion, and immediately fixed the problem while only noting in passing that “perhaps that had happened when I was grabbing for something in the pocket and somehow crumpled the bills while rooting around without looking”.  We laughed hysterically when she told me.  She liked to play such simple and brilliant practical jokes.  We often watched “Viva la Bam” together on MTV and she was fond of the jokes he would play on his parents, especially the one where he irons little hamburger pictures onto every single piece of his dad’s clothing, who is seen wearing a hamburger shirt even weeks later.  I once saved up Nutrition Facts stickers from the cheese deliveries at the sandwich place where I worked during summers and college breaks and put them on all the clothing in her closet and dresser, over 60 labels in all.  Months later, she found one on a shirt at the back of her closet and she had somehow overlooked during the sticker removal process experienced a moment of “What the hell is this?” before she remembered.

October 22, 2006. Words.

One Comment

  1. ZoeJane replied:

    When I feel motivated, I hang my clothes from short to long in rainbow order. My taskbar is horizontal, but everything is in the same order. My spices are not alphatebetical, but my books are in some strange kind of order (by series, height, color, newness, etc…) that I must keep refreshed.

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