Should I alphabetize the spice shelf? For some reason, that seems a step too far. I’m a wee bit on the obsessive side about being organized.
My phone calendar is bulging at the digital seams with each day’s plan. My purse carries other smaller bags, each with a designated set of contents. My clothing is sorted by type, occasion, and color. Cupboards and drawers are all subject to interior organizing, usually with the use of other containers and objects meant to enforce order on the chaotic tendencies.
The point of all this organizing is control. Not real control. The illusion of control. Deep down, I know there is no control in the world. Bad shit is going to happen sometimes. More often than not, it is totally random. One of your cells decides to go rogue and starts multiplying — -boom — cancer. You are in the wrong place at the wrong time — -boom — -t-boned by a car fleeing police.
Chaos and Calm
I have anxiety: both general and social. My mind is regularly out of my control. I worry about bad things happening. I worry about being late. I worry that people who claim to like my secretly hate me. I worry all day long. Sometimes all night long, too.
Chaos in my environment feeds the chaos in my mind.
A calm environment has a calming effect on my anxiety. The anxiety will never really go away, but maintaining solid organization will give it less to worry about.
By keeping everything scheduled, I am never late. I can see my entire day at a glance. When I have somewhere I need to be at a specific time, I leave early. I know alternate routes in case of traffic problems.
Having chores scheduled in on specific days means that I am never late with bills. I never run out of staple foods because I know when the next shopping trip will be and plan ahead to make sure I have what I need until then.
I remove as many worries as I can by making life habitual.
Plan ahead for everything. Meals, outings, vacations, responsibilities. Planning allows you to prepare for the unexpected.
Lists and schedules are your friends. I have lists for almost everything you can imagine. Birthdays and holidays coming up, I have a list of gift ideas, meal plans, celebration options. Vacations have lists of packing requirements for each family member plus tentative itineraries for each day.
I know my kid's basic schedule for each month at the beginning of the month. He is a teenager so there are sometimes last-minute changes, but those usually involved destinations rather than time or day. This allows me to plan meals for the entire month.
Anything we have planned, I make sure we have options in case of weather changes. If it rains on a day we planned something outdoors, Plan B is always indoors.
In my trunk, I have emergency outfits and supplies for my entire family. When we go somewhere we take extras just in case. This can be as simple as a change of clothes and a jacket to a theme park. It never fails to shock me when I see people who have to walk around soaked all day because they didn’t bring dry clothes. Or those who have to buy overpriced sweatshirts because they didn’t bring a jacket as if it does not get chilly at night.
Organize your home. Clutter is very distracting and unsettling.
Clutter sends an unintended message to your subconscious mind that you do not have your shit together. It is hard to convince your mind to stop worrying about something if you look around your space and it sees chaos and disorder.
Everything should have a place. Organize your shelves and cupboards. Sort your closet in a way that makes sense for you. Maybe work clothes on one side and casual on the other.
Make use of cute boxes and baskets to corral things that might otherwise sit on surfaces looking cluttery.
Make use of out-of-sight spaces. Get under-bed boxes and boxes for the top shelf of your closet.
My organizing obsession has been a tool that has served me well for years. It helps tame my anxiety. But sometimes it starts to feel like it is controlling me. Then my mind starts to push back against my relentless need to organize. Hence my debate on alphabetizing spices. I guess for now the cinnamon can sit next to the oregano.