Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ya down with O.C.D.? Yeah you know me!!

In case you didn't notice?  I'm a little neurotic.

I've never had an issue with this, but I find that during periods of high stress, I become even MORE neurotic.

Which is just FUN.

Now don't let my title lead your astray, I do not have full blown O.C.D and am very thankful for that.  But I do find that when I get super stressed out, which is happening more and more, my brain tends to crack down on the things that I can control.  You know the whole, when your life is feeling out of control, control the things you can?  Well I take that to a little bit of an extreme.  But not a washing my hands 12 times kinda extreme.

On a normal day, I am a very organized person.  Everything has a place and can be found in it's place.  I like order and I like things to be in a logical order.

Yes, that means that all 684 of my books at home are not only shelved alphabetical by author's last name, but they are also organized by release date (oldest to newest....duh) and by series where applicable.

Crazy?  I don't think so.  Remember, I worked at a bookstore for 5 years.  Alphabetizing is in my DNA!!

My DVD are also likewise organized alphabetically and organized in chronological order within a series.  I even go to the extreme of  putting "prequels" in chronological order of the series vs. chronological order of release date.

That means Hannibal Rising comes first, followed by Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal despite being released Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising.  The whole concept of prequels just fucks with my brain.

CD's are easy, artist first, release date within each artist second. Why would you do anything else?  I mean if I was REALLY obsessive about it, not only would they be alphabetical but they would be grouped by either genre or decade but that just hurts my head.

Does your head hurt now too?  Sorry. 

The funny thing is, I've been doing this for as long as I can imagine.  When I was in elementary school, I used to colour-code my day planner assigning a separate colour to each subject and co-ordinating the colour of the associated binder to match the day planner system.  And this was when I was 12!!  But I actually kept up the practice right through to university.  I mean how else can you glance at your day planner and instantly be able to tell personal appointments, from work, from Geography?  I mean it just makes sense people!

Now I don't have a problem with the fact that I do this.  It doesn't make me squirrely when I go to someones house and their DVD"s are shelved all willy-nilly.  I don't freak out about the disorder of the shelves at the grocery store although come on, sorting your cans by expiry date and then height is just logical to me.  How else are you going to know what's at the back of your cupboard?

But when I get super stressed, and I mean full on insomnia inducing, break out into hives STRESS, I start to organize EVERYTHING.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  The pens are all of a sudden going to be grouped not only by colour but by brand.  Different ongoing projects are going to get a specific colour highlighter assigned to them, and God help me if there are M&M's lying around because those things will be grouped into colour piles, evened off to match the lowest in volume and then eaten in a progressional sequence, which means yup....yellow before orange before red.

The thing is, I do it totally unconsciously.

When shit hits the fan, my brain DEMANDS order and my hands just do it.  I can't help it.  But in no way does it stop me from functioning and in no way does it translate to other people.  I don't by any means try to impart my ways on others and as mentioned, I don't go all squirrely if I see other people's things out of order.  I mean, geez, doesn't EVERYBODY do this?  You heathens ;)



BTW... I know that I have 684 books because I keep the list in an Excel spreadsheet.  I'm a dork, I know, I know.  Don't judge me.  


  1. Wow. OK. We really are kindred spirits because I'm THE SAME EXACT WAY. I don't even know anyone else who does this. My DVDs are all in ABC order and I constantly feel the need to go through things - like my closet, or under my bathroom sink - to organize and throw things out I don't use. It's OCD but it's not disrupting my life and I'm not like crippled by it. That said, I WILL go out in public and be a little annoyed at disorder like when I go to Anthropologie and there are clothes all out of order in the sale section and/or lying on the floor. I will actually pick them up and put them in their place.

    You're not alone! I love being organized!

    Also, given the cat picture, I'm assuming you've seen this but I had to send to you JUST IN CASE you haven't:

    1. I have seen that one. I sent it to every graphic designer I know. Loved it.

  2. Bwahahahaha! MY OCD tendencies:

    In high school chemistry, I color-coded my lab manual (each part of the lab was a different gel pen color...God I loved gel pens).

    I have everything in a spreadsheet (but I've been using Google docs, so that I can access it anywhere) including but not limited to: my future wedding guest list (even though I'm no where near close to getting married), cheeses that I enjoy with all of the important details, restaurants and stores that offer birthday deals, a list of boys names that I have kissed (because at one point I wanted to kiss my way through the alphabet)...and so many more...

    When I'm uber stressed out, I spend the wee hours of the mornings I can't sleep rearranging things: kitchens, bedrooms, closet organization (in order from type of clothing by color, by length) alphabetizing stuff (which is only a part of my shit-hits-the-fan crazy)...

    So yes, to answer your question, I'm convinced everyone does this. :-)

  3. OMG you guys are like my OCD soul mates. I get a little spazzy when I go to stores but the only one that I have ever actually started re-organizing is when I go to a bookstore and I see stuff out of order. But that's the OCD/former bookstore employee in me that does it.

    I do the whole re-organize thing too when I can't sleep. I have been known to dump out my entire sock drawer at 3am and start re-folding stuff.

  4. I aspire to reach both your levels of OCD. Really, it's quite remarkable how much more organized I could actually be! I'm trying to locate the gel pens now. I LOVED gel pens.

  5. Ok, now you're really going to think I'm crazy, but did anyone else re-write their notes in school if the print wasn't neat? I used to re-write all my notes and make them perfect and underline all the titles and sub-headings.

    1. Yes. All. The. Time. Even worse: before the days of computers, when all papers needed to be hand written. I remember writing and re-writing a one page essay like 15 times.

      Even now, I make to-do lists, and if I don't like the neatness of the list, I'll re-write it so it's perfect.

      PS: Today's blog post is all crazy-cat-lady pictures. :)

    2. NICE. I went a little crazy cat lady with pics of my furbaby on facebook the other day. He was just being disgustingly adorbale.

  6. Stop it. I rewrote like whole notebooks! I'm about to do it with my grad school notebook because I just don't like the notebook as much and I'm totally not cool with just tearing pages out and putting them in the new notebook - it won't look neat!

    1. Oh holy mother of all things organizational. 1. That is why I used to use 3-hole punch paper and binders so I could pull pages out and re-do them 2. I only write in my dayplanner with pencil so when something changes I can erase rather than cross out. 3. Any notebook, binder, address book, dayplanner I have ever owned I make sure to use the same colour ink throughout with the exception of red to underline because when I see a notebook and it's blue on one page, black on the next, purple it just makes me itch.

  7. omg. there's more of me out there! I'm not alone!

    1. Lol I know. Every once in awhile I read something on a blog and it's like OMG I have finally found my people!

  8. I could go all day with my OCD tendencies: I organize my JUNK drawer, regularly. I make sure all my money is in order of amount and the edges can't be folded and they all have to be facing the same way. I was clipping a coupon earlier today and realized, I had to cut EXACTLY along the lines or else it was going to make me nuts. Now who's crazy!? That's REAL OCD, friend.