Checking off my Checklist

As I have previously written about, I love checklists. I think it is because, not only does it help keep me organized, but it also allows me to feel a sense of accomplishment when I cross things off the list. Sometimes I find myself adding things to my “to-do” lists even after I have completed them, just so that I can cross them off and document my progress.

In order to keep Matt and I organized for the wedding, I created a checklist of “things to do” and posted it on a bulletin board over my craft area. Even though we have 11 months until the big day still, we have made a lot of progress in the plans. Unfortunately, the checklist doesn’t show that.

While we have picked our venue, our band, and this weekend I bought a dress, all of these things have yet to be checked off our list. Matt has graciously offered to take a black sharpie and cross things off, but I have refused to let him do so.

Let me start my explanation by saying, I know, I am craz; I’m not even going to try to deny it. My rationale for not checking things off my list (a task that I typically LOVE to do) isn’t very reasonable. Basically, I haven’t figured out how I want to do it. I spent time putting the checklist together and think it looks “cute” (really, can a checklist look cute?) and I don’t want to just start drawing lines through things and ruin it (I KNOW, I am crazy). So until I figure that out, our checklist sits waiting for things to be checked off.

My Dad suggested that I add another item to my checklist: “Decide how to cross things off my checklist.” God, he really is so smart!

OCD: Some call it a disorder, I call it a way of life!

As a child, I found comfort in order and structure. This is not something that is unusual in children. While schools have started using more progressive  curriculum, specifically using lessons from real word experiences rather than text books, many schools remain structured in their daily schedule and teaching style. While many adults grow out of this need for order, I seem to have only gotten worse.

As a child, I had a neat room, especially compared to my sister who didn’t share the same sense of passion for cleaning. Not only did I enjoy having a clean space, but I also found pleasure in the actual act of organizing. The problem is, once an organized person gets something the way they want it, it will very rarely get messy again. So, in order to fulfill my need to organize I was constantly rearranging my furniture, pulling everything out my closet and then putting it back in again and refolding and sorting my clothes. I would spend an afternoon in my room, where my parents assumed that I was playing with Barbie or Fisher Price Little People. When they came up to check on me, much to their surprise, I would have my room rearranged with everything put away and organized to my liking. My room was small in size with 3 windows so it limited the number of ways the furniture could be reconfigured, but I would constantly rotate through the 3-4 different set-ups.

Occasionally I would take my obsession into other areas in the house. I worked to clean out our “junk drawers” and went through countless “organizational tools” in an attempt to help my family keep these areas organized. One Mother’s Day I gave my mom the gift of “cabinet organization.” This involved pulling all of the food out of the cupboards and putting it back in a way that made more sense, complete with handwritten labels on each shelf. Unfortunately, through the chaos of life, the cupboards managed to get themselves back to their previous state.

Now in my own apartment, I have enjoyed setting things up “just right.” I am very lucky to have found a 27-year-old boy who also enjoys a clean apartment. I owe this to his parents who take “clean” to a whole new definition (you can eat off their garage floor – literally!). Since moving in a year ago, I have color coded the closet, reorganized the books on our shelves according the genre (although I want to organize them according to spine color), rearranged the furniture in our living room about 4 times and sorted my Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living and Wedding Magazines according to issue date. I am happy to report that I can add kitchen cabinet organization to that list. I am confident in saying that they are now perfectly set up (or at least until I get that organizing itch again!)

For Christmas this year I created a “wish list” that had bout 6-8 things on it. One of these items was a label maker. At my first job out of college, we had a label maker that I used basically every day. I would label folders, drawers, my co-workers head – basically anything that I thought could use a label, got one. I even used the label maker to create labels for things at my house (shhh, don’t tell Dwight Schrute that I was using company supplies for personal use). When I left that job, I felt a gaping hole in my heart – it was the missing label maker. Hence, its addition to my Christmas list.

Unfortunately on christmas morning, as I made my way through the presents under the tree, it soon became clear that I was not going to get the label maker that I had hoped for. Afterwards when I asked my parents why they didn’t buy it for me (I know, I am a brat) my mom responded by telling me that they didn’t want to support my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I guess she had a point, but I went out and bought myself a label maker two weeks after the new year. Since that time I have found all sorts of things to label, especially with the creation of the craft nook!

I recently combine the power of the label maker with the sheer awesomeness of The Container Store. After multiple trips to the store and an entire role of label tape, I am now satisfied with the state of my kitchen cabinets.

So now the cabinets are set… that is until I make a trip to Fairway and actually get food other than rice, one lone potato and baking ingredients.