You’ve got to find what works for you. This is a great example.
I asked him how he was going and he said, “Better, since I organised my shirts.”
“A few months ago, I organised all the shirts in my wardrobe. I made them all face the same way on their hangers, and then I arranged them by the colour spectrum – white at one end, then blue, then red, then green, then black.”
(He’s using his hands to lay them out from left to right. He looks oddly happy.)
“Look at you getting all Rainman on your shirts,” I said. “I didn’t know you were that kind of guy. I mean, you know… you’re kind of a slob. I never pegged you as the obsessive-compulsive type.”
He laughs. “Yeah, that’s the thing. I’m not. My house is mess. The shed is a war-zone. I’ve got 1400 unread emails in my inbox. Most of the time, life feels like it’s out of control.
“But now in the middle of all that, there is an island of order, bobbing there in a sea of chaos.
I wear a shirt every day of the week, and so every day I open my wardrobe and I’m greeted with this visual splash of order.
And I like it. I’m surprised to say it, but I like it. I like going to my wardrobe and getting that hit – that feeling that everything is under control.
And it’s actually become an affirmation for me. I stand in front of that wardrobe and I let myself feel what it’s like to be in control. I look at those shirts and I feel like the master of my domain. I take a moment to savour it and enjoy it.
And now that it’s like a ritual, it’s overflowing into other areas of my life. I’m getting that feeling of being relaxed and in control more and more.
Partly it’s because I’m more motivated to get things organised. You know, it was such a small investment. I’ve got to hang up my shirts anyway. It’s no effort to make sure they’re facing the right way and in the right colour order.
So now I’m looking for other easy victories. Last week I sorted out the cutlery drawer and got rid of all the stuff I never use – pared it right back. That was another five-minute job that brings me continual joy.
So you know, I started small, but now that I know the value and joy of being organised, I’m taking on bigger and bigger projects.
But there’s also something happening at a more universal level. Like, I really take the time to feel into how nice it is to have my shirts all orderly and sorted. And I feel grateful to myself for giving myself that gift – that little act of self-care.
I treat it like an affirmation.
And that ripples out, you know. More and more I’m seeing problems just kind of sort themselves out. More and more I’m finding chaos and stress being replaced with ease and control.
The flavour of my life is slowly changing.
And really, all I did was change the order of my shirts.”
Yep. It’s a funny old world.