It’s Not A Disorder, Is It?

posted in: Humor, Life 93 comments

Everything is just so. In their place, lined up, stacked neatly, nothing askew. 

The beds are made the way they’re supposed to be made (my way). The children’s play area is organized in a fashion that makes sense (to me). There is nothing on the coffee table (except for pen marks, thanks toddler). Remote controls are lined up by size on my desk (to keep it out of reach of the boys). On my desk sits my laptop and phone, nothing else. The shelves next to my desk are lined with books, arranged in order of read, reading, to be read next. Pens are in a pen holder. 

My closet is organized by type of clothing – jackets, shirts, t-shirts (by colour, of course), pants (by length, duh), skirts, dresses, and …. you get the picture. 

Neat freak

The kitchen counter is more or less clear, except for the coffee machine, KitchenAid, and other daily use gadgets. Pots and pans, cutlery and utensils, all have their places. I know where everything is. They never change. 

When I get up in the morning, I do the exact same thing (I won’t bore you with my routine). Even the browser tabs on my computer are opened in the same order (email, Facebook, Hootsuite, Pinterest, my blog,

Things that are out of place annoy me. I am constantly adjusting stuff – books that are askew, couch cushions that are strewn about, toys that left that places, the coffee table that is 5 degrees off from where it should be, cups that are two inches too far from where they were. 

I don’t meltdown, freak out or lose my mind when my world order isn’t perfect, or the couch is crooked (which it always is, don’t ask me why). I don’t lie awake at night wondering if something is not where it’s supposed to be, or if my routine is about to be disrupted. 

I like my orderly, neat world. It’s not a disorder, is it?

If you looked inside my drawers, you would say no. 


Are you a neat freak or a messy miscreant? 

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Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • March 3, 2014 J.Lee

    I have a mind that wants to wander. Like a well-trained puppy, I can “sit” and focus on a task but my thoughts are like the tail, still wagging, so excited and ready to bounce off. I find it’s better when there’s less clutter and distraction so I tidy like this too. My sister laughs and says it is not a disorder because I’m not torturing the people around me, forcing them to keep my clean lines and clear counters. I just fuss around mindlessly sorting before I begin any projects. I think that it’s normal, right?

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I do the same thing! I can’t sit down and work until everything around me is just so.

  • March 3, 2014 Tina Muir

    Nahhh! I think we all have some things that we have to do in a particular way. On race day I have a routine that I must do, but it has helped me to run the times I have, and reach the level where I can compete against world class athletes. I hope that isn’t a disorder too! I am very very organized, but I would not say I am a neat freak……although I am definitely not a slob either…..just somewhere in the middle πŸ™‚
    Tina Muir recently wrote…Training Update 2/23-3/1My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Hey, if something works and puts you where you want to be, then yes, do it!

  • March 3, 2014 Kerstin

    I was getting a little worried there until I saw your drawer πŸ˜‰
    No, not a disorder at all – exactly how it’s supposed to be (in my opinion – and that’s what counts as far as keeping things organized in my house :D)
    Kerstin recently wrote…Experience2014 – February Round-UpMy Profile

    • March 3, 2014 Kerstin

      Um, also? I will totally close browser tabs and re-open them if they are not in the right order – I need that for my work-flow!
      Kerstin recently wrote…Experience2014 – February Round-UpMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I have a lot of drawers like that!

  • March 3, 2014 Natalie

    Love this! Ha ha I am somewhere in the middle so could probably use some help from you in organizing my house!
    Natalie recently wrote…Finally Friday!My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Don’t tempt me! πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Poppy

    I gave up after the 2nd one learned how to walk, but I’ve never been too much of a neat freak. Thank goodness because my house is pretty much sticky.
    Poppy recently wrote…Milking the Man ColdMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Believe me when I tell you that my house is going that way. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Carin

    Love this! 20 years ago that was so me, but I’ve mellowed since. Illness and children forced me too. I do like being organised and tidy though.
    Carin recently wrote…The ordinary moments #5: putting on a showMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      The children are definitely forcing me to reevaluate my priorities when it comes to being neat and orderly. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Andrea

    I am just like you. I don’t stress out if the coffee table is askew, but I will climb stairs to hang up a shirt that I remembered I left on the bed. I just like knowing where all my stuff is, thank you very much. But yeah. Don’t open the drawers. Or see what’s under the neatness. You will find some dust and maybe even a little dirt here and there.
    Andrea recently wrote…Math WhizMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Oh yeah, the dirt and dust, here and there. Ahem.

  • March 3, 2014 Bev

    My drawers AND my desk and countertops look like your drawers do. I try, I really do, but the clutter seems to appear out of nowhere. *Sigh*
    Bev recently wrote…10 fail-proof ways you can be sure as hell to annoy meMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      It has to be a daily thing – clearing things, avoiding more clutter. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Shell

    I’m glad your drawers look like that- b/c my house definitely isn’t as organized as yours!

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      You do have more people in it than mine does. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Michelle

    Oh Alison, I am OCD, but not with my house or my paperwork. Sadly, that’s the one place I really could use a little more organization. I am envious of people who can be so orderly with their stuff!
    Michelle recently wrote…Pie for Dinner! 14 Recipes to Please Your Comfort Food CravingsMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      It’s the one area I can control, so there’s that!

  • March 3, 2014 Shannon

    If it is a disorder, then I have the same one. My children, however, do not, which means I’ve been forced to harness it in over the years. I’m just thankful that their rooms are on a separate floor and I don’t have to walk past them constantly.
    Shannon recently wrote…From the Memory Box – On Apples and TreesMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      It would drive me crazy! Which is why I don’t go to my husband’s study. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Kim

    I identify with both because I think I am a mixture. I like everything in its place, but I have clutter. I stack things neatly on flat surfaces but don’t like things on the floor. I arrange my browser tabs the same way too, and feel odd if they are out of order. I like to follow the same routine but can go with the flow if something comes up. I think of them more as my quirks than a disorder. πŸ™‚
    Kim recently wrote…The Traffic WhispererMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I like that, quirks! πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Sara

    How do you get it so orderly with kids? (That’s not really a rhetorical question.) I can’t seem to control the chaos enough to keep up with it. I’m in a culling, reorganizing phase that seems to be constant with no results.

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I am tidying up after them CONSTANTLY. There’s no secret. πŸ™‚

  • March 3, 2014 Tamara (like) Camera

    I guess I’m both! Some places are neat just so, and others are a wreck. They do eventually get to be too much and I’ll go on cleaning binges every so often.
    My browsers are always the same! From left to right on a normal day – Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin.
    Tamara (like) Camera recently wrote…Too Darn Happy.My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who arranges their tabs in order!

  • March 3, 2014 Susanna Leonard Hill

    No, it’s not a disorder! I WISH I was more like that! I’m constantly trying to be more organized and orderly, and if you could see my desk, kitchen counters,house, you’d know why! πŸ™‚
    Susanna Leonard Hill recently wrote…This Just In…!My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Well, that is good to know!

  • March 3, 2014 Greta

    Meh…if it is, there are worse disorders to have!

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      You’re absolutely right!

  • March 4, 2014 Ann

    Everyone at work considers it a disorder–mainly because I complain that my pens are missing. I have 3 different work stations, and there needs to be a black pen, a red pen and a blue pen at each one. Is that so hard to remember? (Drives me nutso!)
    Ann recently wrote…Bittersweet Treats in PasadenaMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Not too much to ask for at all!

  • March 4, 2014 Angela Youngblood

    I don’t think it’s a disorder, it sounds like you are just sort of organized and clean. And I’m jealous. My whole house/life looks like your drawer and the worst part is it doesn’t really bother me. I think I have a disorder for sure.
    Angela Youngblood recently wrote…A Decade of Super LucyMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      No, you just have six people living in your house. πŸ™‚

  • March 4, 2014 AwesomelyOZ

    I am but not nearly as tidy as you are, lol. My closet is not color coded just by type of clothing is all. Otherwise, everything in this house is in its place – if it isn’t it needs to find its way back. πŸ˜€ My sister has meltdowns when the house isn’t just so but she knows she’s OCD. πŸ˜€ I’m more mellow. My oldest sibling is the filthy one. So we’re all different extremes, I’m the middle. LoL Have a great one Alison! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently wrote…A New York City QuickieMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      You’re the balanced one! πŸ™‚

  • March 4, 2014 Allie

    I don’t think it’s a disorder, if it is, I’m in trouble:). AT heart, I am a neat freak, but in reality, my four kids trip me up daily!!!!

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      If I had four kids, I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to keep this up!

  • March 4, 2014 Emily

    I have to work to get myself in order! I’m usually a fan of whatever is appealing at the moment, and finding routines/systems and sticking with them is a challenge for me. It feels really good, though! our coffee table is covered with pen marks, too!
    Emily recently wrote…I Should Watch T.V.My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Routines and systems certainly help. I actually don’t have much of one. I just have daily things I HAVE to do. πŸ™‚

  • March 4, 2014 Allie

    I live almost exactly the same way. I see no issue here.
    Allie recently wrote…The Rundown: Go Big or Go HomeMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Good to know!!

  • March 4, 2014 Katie

    I am in no place to tell you since I really do have OCD, but I don’t think it’s so abnormal to have a thing for everything to be in its place on the outside, but to have a total junk drawer (or closet…or room) on the down low. You’re good, yo.
    Katie recently wrote…Coming Down the MountainMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Thanks, you. I hope you don’t think I’m making light of true OCD!

  • I like to describe my life and house as an organized mess. Things may appear neat and somewhat tidy, but just don’t ever open a cupboard or a drawer.
    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes recently wrote…On being β€˜down’ and pear, almond and cinnamon muffinsMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Organized mess is a good way to describe it!

  • March 4, 2014 Lisa

    I am a neat freak. Messes = stresses. πŸ™‚ However, my family disagrees. I try to relax and not let the mess bother me too much, but eventually it gets to appoint where I just can’t stand it anymore, and I think my breaking point comes much sooner than it does for some other people.
    Lisa recently wrote…Sunday Supper – Triple Chocolate Bundt CakeMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Yeah, me too!

  • Oh, the stories my family would tell you about my ‘anality’ … so anal I made it a name.
    sisters from another mister recently wrote…Soft is the heart of a childMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Pray tell, Nicole!

  • March 4, 2014 Patty

    I’m super messy. I wish I could be organized but I don’t know where to start. God knows I’ve tried.
    Patty recently wrote…Let’s Make This Summer A Meaningful OneMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Start small. Start with one drawer, one room. Work your way through the house!

  • March 4, 2014 julie gardner

    I am like you right down to the drawers.
    On the surface, everything MUST be in its place. I constantly adjust rugs, pillows, frames. Am compulsively neat.


    Behind a shut drawer or cabinet, all bets are off.

    It’s a metaphor for me, I think.
    On the surface people believe I have it all together…

    Down deep?
    I’m a freakin mess.


    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I like that we are alike this way.
      That’s how I feel most days – put together on the outside, not so much on the inside. πŸ™‚

  • March 4, 2014 Christine

    It’s funny. I used to be a total neat freak and everything was in its place and tidy. Then, I got married and my husband is a bigger neat freak than me. In response, I have turned into a slob – a neat slob but a slob nonetheless.
    Christine recently wrote…Ask a Yogini: Should I Use Yoga Props?My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Only by comparison!

  • March 4, 2014 tracy

    I used to be like this. But I’ve given up. Because my husband is a slob and I got sick of fighting with him. But I would live like this again in a heartbeat. With my third husband of course. xo
    tracy recently wrote…About That Blogging Every DayMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Hee! Funny lady.

  • March 4, 2014 Sarah

    It’s all a matter of comparison, isn’t it? Compared to you, I am a total slob! Compared to my husband…? Let’s just say I do most of the picking up in my house! After nearly 13 years of marriage, I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being the laundry picker-upper in the relationship. =)
    Sarah recently wrote…March Goals, and February Goals in reviewMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I’m totally the neat one in my relationship. πŸ™‚

  • March 4, 2014 MomWithaDot

    Another one of those ‘We’re quite alike’ things! Me too, VERY similar!
    MomWithaDot recently wrote…Readers BlockMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Good to know I’m not alone!

  • March 4, 2014 Ma Teresa Grech Racal

    let’s just say I just want everything clean and in order, especially my books since I have loads of it.
    Ma Teresa Grech Racal recently wrote…Friends are TreasuresMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I am a stickler with my books too.

  • March 4, 2014 Tricia

    Not a disorder at all! I used to be this way too but my kids have chased it out of me, for now anyway…. πŸ™‚
    Tricia recently wrote…Checking onMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I’m still hanging on!

  • March 4, 2014 Lady Jennie

    Truthfully, I find it admirable and believe that’s what makes you so good at what you do (juggling so many things).

    You’re cool. πŸ™‚
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Gluten-Free, Low Carb Onion RingsMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank you, my friend. Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • March 5, 2014 Amanda Jillian

    A little bit of both actually.
    Amanda Jillian recently wrote…Paints {80/365}My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      That’s not a bad place to be!

  • March 5, 2014 Jenni Chiu

    It’s not a disorder…
    But I wish it were contagious so I could come over catch it from you.
    My place is a wreck.
    Jenni Chiu recently wrote…Jenni Chiu Tube – The Blog’s Flip SideMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Are you inviting me over?

  • March 5, 2014 FranceRants

    I have a neat disorder too. Sometimes the n drops off the neat, leaving me with just an eat disorder. This means tortilla chips, popcorn, mini chocolates, and these delicious little peanut butter crackers thingys I discovered at Trader Joe’s, somehow end up on my work space. Funny thing is, while I believe I have this neat disorder, NOTHING ever seems to get cleaned or organized. Not even the crumbs from my eat disorder. I’m not sure how this happens.

    Your blog looks all kinds of AWESOME and I LOVE your blogging resources, which have applications for other stuff. Check out your email, I sent you a note!

    xo – France

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Hah, EAT disorder! I have that too!
      Received your email, read it twice. Will write back very soon!

  • March 5, 2014 Robbie

    I am very organized in some areas of my life and not in others. It doesn’t hel that i am highly distractable.
    Robbie recently wrote…Get You ThruMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Me too. Which is why when I work, I need to close all social media tabs. πŸ™‚

  • March 6, 2014 Marta

    I am so the exact same way!! I love things to be in their place, but it definitely doesn’t keep me up at night. Though I do feel like I often get distracted. I’ll be doing one thing and see something is out of place and fix it and then I see something else and pretty soon I’ve just spent 15 minutes walking around “fixing” things =)
    Marta recently wrote…Why I Don’t Talk About My Children.My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      My husband calls that “pottering”. πŸ™‚

  • March 6, 2014 Keely

    If it’s a disorder, we can share a room. (I have to put my coffee mug on my tiled table in the exact right corner of the tile. Suzy thinks it’s hilarious to move it. It is not.)
    Keely recently wrote…A Recap, My Travolta Name, & Things That Beat Another Blanket Tent.My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I absolutely know what you are saying.

  • March 6, 2014 Rorybore

    I have definitely become more of a “properly ordered” type since I became a wife and mother and thus responsible for a home. I don’t know that I cared so much about it before, although I am sure I was raised “everything in it’s place.” I’ve never been much for clutter — but only because it drives me nuts when I can’t find something. the time it takes — because at core I am so impatient.
    I think it’s just a survival mode for moms — just to know that something is where it should be, and you won’t have to waste precious moments searching for something.
    Rorybore recently wrote…Unplanned, Unplugged….but holding onMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Can you tell my husband that? He’s constantly searching for things, it drives me crazy!

  • March 7, 2014 Janice

    I only wish I were that neat! I used to be when I was a kid but somehow college made me into a Messy Mary.
    Janice recently wrote…Cheezy Bits of Addictive GoodnessMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      College does strange things to people. πŸ™‚

  • March 7, 2014 Rebeccafaith

    It’s borderline…jk! I think you like your things you how like them but it hasn’t crossed over to disorder because it’s not ruling your life. Until your loosing sleep over the magazine 15 degrees off, you’re good. Plus look at those drawers, they’re unruly! jk :]
    Rebeccafaith recently wrote…Confession: I Stalk My Kid…and I Like ItMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      Thank goodness it doesn’t keep me up at night. I have other things to worry about!

  • March 7, 2014 Elaine A.

    I am a neat freak. I am actually a bit OCD about it, I believe. Like certain things have to be in JUST THAT PLACE!!! I know…

    But there may or may not be a few overloaded junk drawers around here! And the even have those drawer organizer thingys in them… oh well!
    Elaine A. recently wrote…So, I can say I’ve done it…My Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      I kinda love drawer organizer thingies – I need to get some of those!

  • March 7, 2014 My Inner Chick

    No. If that’s a disorder, I want it, babe.

    I am OCD on ONLY a few things.

    For example, if I write a blog or poem or whatever…. and I see something out of order, the wrong word, the paragraph/stanza is Effed up.

    I. Can’t. Take. It.

    I get all hot inside until I change what needs to be changed.

    So weeeeeeird, Cuz I can have UNWASHED clothes sitting downstairs for a MONTH!!

    My Inner Chick recently wrote…A Beautiful ResurrectionMy Profile

    • March 8, 2014 Alison

      That’s your thing, and you’re brilliant at it! So you’re all good. xo

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