I am a bit of an organization freak, something I can actually trace back to my long lost youth. At times, this sense of dealing with life and work areas has been the cause of stress for myself, others, and has even been an intimidating factor in my dealing with others (in spite of the fact that it was and is never meant to be).
I was thinking about it the other day and realized that not only am I an organization freak but also that I have been trained to do it as well. My second job in high school at Kresge’s Dime Store (for those of you who are really young, this was the precursor store to Kmart) was the reason for my training. It makes me laugh to think that the dour, usually ill-tempered woman I worked for in the Toy Department was the cause of this training. She was, by the way, one of the most controlling people I have ever met and certainly a precursor of many others I have since encountered.
I am convinced that people are genetically pre-disposed to being certain ways, mine was to be shy, retiring, tireless in trying to please people and avoid conflict, and always wanting to do the best I could. Jan Carlson (the head of the department) was, in retrospect, an absolute witch as a superior. In my life, I have always wondered about people who never smile and she was one of them. My sense is that she had some sort of sad life although she never ever shared anything but words of complaint about the work I was doing. Impossible to please, I tried to change that, although, in the end, I realized how futile that was. My nature is such though that I did it for myself, when I attack something, I always give it my all. My three sons have picked up on this and made a motto for the family, “Go Big or go Home!” It essentially means exactly what I have always practiced. Anyhow, my job was to stock the toys, to rearrange them when necessary, to make them attractive, and the like. What I learned from her stuck with me until this day. It is just too bad that she was not a good communicator and able to tell me I had done well, because, frankly I did a great job. I also have to say I was the first person to survive her wrath as she had gotten rid of quite a few of my peers.
My organization is all over the place. I use it at home (and drive my spouse crazy because my rearrangements can be confusing once you are used to things being where they are) and it was quite handy in the classroom and while teaching.
My socks are arranged in alphabetical order according to color (in the early hours it is hard to tell the difference between blues and blacks). Some might say I am OCD, and perhaps we all are, at least a bit. Organization brings me pleasure. I like things to look nice. I also don’t like to waste, especially not space which is usually at a premium.
One of my favorite and least successful organization ventures of all time was years ago when I decided to put up pegboard in the furnace room (which was adjacent to the kitchen). I managed to put all of the kitchen items up and clear out a lot of drawer space. The only problem was that I could do it and my wife couldn’t follow it at all. So, to remedy the situation, I put everything up and used a permanent marker to delineate where everything went by tracing around each item. I thought it was pretty cool. My wife still couldn’t follow it! Oh, well!
I even have to take time to organize my computer files! I do that every so often. Does this mean I don’t lose anything? I wish, but at least I lose less than the average Joe.
I do wonder, however, do I need to see a shrink?