How Far Will You Go To Impose Order–On Others?

It’s been a busy past two weeks, folks. Between being down with a nasty cold and (good) family stuff going on, last week got away from me. Hope all is well with all of you!

I love when my blogger-pals’ posts spur me toward a post of my own. (I’ve been having a run of that lately. Thanks, friends!) Last week, Stacey Wilk zapped me into action with one of her most delightful write-ups yet. Those who crave order, check it out. You might find a kindred spirit at Stacey’s stop!

Sounds like order makes Stacey’s heart sing. I commented that in my day-gig, we call that one form of self-regulation. That’s a term from ‘sensory integration’, defined as a “calm-alert state that is optimal for learning.” Order makes my heart sing; it helps me self-regulate. Did I mention orderly spaces tend to look good in a calming and soothing sort of way? A friend who is into organizing gave me a term that makes complete sense to me: visual peace.

I totally get that lining things up a certain way in a cabinet creates order and ease of finding things, as well as making it easier to put things away. In my kitchen, most things have a place, but very few items have to be exactly in one spot for the big picture to work. A few things work best lined up a particular way. (My bowls and my pots have to be nested or they won’t fit). My kitchen was remodeled about 5 years ago. Almost everything is still in pretty much the same place I assigned it b/c it works. And unless someone else (Ahem!) doesn’t put things in the designated spot, I never have a problem finding things.

Nabby n Kitty under the counter 10-2014 My girls, just hanging under the kitchen counter. 

So, the question was, how far will you go to impose your need for order on others—outside your house?

Y’all know I work in a school setting. At the school where I work most days, I’m lucky enough to have two large metal closets in the back of auditorium to keep games, papers, etc. (In other schools I have to drag the Barney bag and be grateful to use the lunchroom, a table in the library or a small office space.)

Anyhow, every year these closets wind up a tad messy by the end of the school year. B/c of issues the year before, I never got to put them back in order when the summer program ended (in 2013). That meant the closets started out pretty messy for 2013-14 and only got worse. By the end of the 2014 summer program, those closets were a disaster, especially after SIX people spent three weeks pulling stuff out and stuffing it back. (Two of those folks don’t put foot in my school during the school year, so they had no sense of how things fit together in there.)

One work friend and I spent over FIVE hours cleaning those war zones at the end of this year’s summer program. I decided (threatened, promised—whatever–at the possible cost of my job-buds still liking me) that I’d take pictures of the finished product, blow them up, laminate and hang them in the closets, shelf by shelf. (For once I followed through.)

school closet top shelf (See the chaos under the top shelf? That’s just a hint of what the other NINE shelves had become. Just sayin’.)

One of my co-workers teased me for being so uptight about my desire for order. It was all in good fun, and she’s been very respectful with putting stuff away as per the photos. And there IS a practical reason for order: Putting stuff away at the end of the day goes a whole lot faster when there is “a place for everything and everything in its place.”

school closet (2) Say what you want, but at least there is some kind of reference for insuring all this stuff fits at the end of the day. I have to load up a cart at least twice weekly b/c I don’t have a real ‘home’ at school.  

BTW, we’re six weeks into the school year, and the closets are still looking good.

So…I now pose this question to you:

What will YOU do to insure order either in or outside your home?

Enjoy your day, folks,


15 thoughts on “How Far Will You Go To Impose Order–On Others?

  1. I’m so glad my need for order was helpful to someone other than me! What I do when I want to control order outside of my house? I try and run the show then everything can be my way. 😉


    1. Every now and again, I guess I go there, too, lol. Wasn’t it referred to as ‘leadership’ and ‘organizational’ skills when we were kids? ‘OCD’ wasn’t used as loosely as it is now. Have a great day! 😉


  2. I’m an orderly person, but my guy is obsessive/compulsive about his order. And I understand it. If we have order in our lives, maybe the world will be more orderly around us. Order is having some control. It makes us feel good. PLUS, it helps us find things. 🙂


    1. Always a pleasure and thanx for your comment! I used to be get stressed on a regular basis about the control I expected to have over the stuff of a house with a family in it. I’ve learned (a modicum of) respect for the phrase “lived in”, but that doesn’t mean I like it. 😁

      As per control, that’s often what cleaning is about, as is maintaining order. It’s when I can’t seem to function in the disorder that I need to take a look at my motives and feelings before I get resentful of the mess. Thnx again!


  3. Love this post, Joanna. Order is good for you and I thrive on order. I don’t understand how people look for anything at the last minute and have no idea where it’s disappeared to. Like you said, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Order = less panic and stress as you’re trying to get out the door, already putting a damper the the day that has barely begun. ^^’

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    1. Hear, hear, Tess! I get tired of cleaning the mess that seems to keep coming back, which is why I try to keep order on the first place. And when everything is organized and/or readily accessible, the day does seem to get off to a more efficient start. Somehow, it never seems to last… 😉


        1. Because it’s ‘lived in’ I guess. And in the case of my cottage, which went uninhabited for 7 years before we bought it, mold (and critters of the woods) overtook it anyway. So much for ‘lived in.’ 😛


            1. Hubby and myself, lol. My kids were almost 9 and 7 when we bought it, so they helped however they could. (Usually, by sending them out into the surrounding woods to play 😉 )


  4. I love order, but I learned long ago not to expect it with two sons and a husband who feel order is more ‘fluid’ in nature. 😉 I’m happy if items end up in the right cupboard after a dishwasher emptying by my sons. Usually they don’t though. But I put up with it, because the alternative would be to empty the dishwasher myself. And, well, that’s what teenagers are for, right? 🙂


    1. Hubby is much improved in the neatness and order dept, especially in the kitchen. Of course, that spotless counter expanse comes at the expense of the nearby dining room table, where stray counter objects get moved, then piled, so that we can eat dinner on it. If there is any nemesis in my house, it’s that danged DR table.

      Younger son likes order and maintains his spaces neatly. Now that older guy–too much genius in the gray matter, which means little to no room up there for the mundane, i.e., putting things away.


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