SparkNotes Blog

Are You an Organizing FREAK?

There are lots of things that could qualify you as a nerd: a love of recondite and abstruse vocabulary, a fondness for classical music, membership in an band/orchestra, an affinity for school libraries—the list goes on and on. But there’s one trait that proclaims your nerdiness like no other: An insatiable compulsion to organize!

Now, we don’t like to brag, but we’re sort of organization fools. We love going into the stationery store and drooling over the systematically arranged office supplies. And unlike many workplaces, ours is neat and orderly with everything in a designated place. (Note: This is not our actual office. But we swear, ours is just as lovely. And by lovely, we mean freakishly organized.)

As with wizards and martial artists, organization freaks can be classified based on degree of obsession skill. We’ve developed the following four-tier classification system. Check out our list (organized people just love making lists) to determine your organizer rank:

An amateur organizer:

  • Thinks that getting different colored notebooks for each subject is sufficient.
  • Catalogs his/her personal music collection by artist last name.
  • Reserves separate sections of the closet for winter and summer clothes.
  • Uses “hospital corners” when making the bed each morning.
  • Keeps an up-to-date Word doc listing all phone numbers in case his/her cell phone gets lost or broken, thereby sidestepping the need for an “I lost my phone and need your number!” Facebook group.

An advanced organizer:

  • Has corresponding colored folders to match the colored notebooks for each of school subject.
  • Keeps a spreadsheet and file of invoices for all babysitting jobs.
  • Reserves separate drawers for athletic socks and “fashion” socks.
  • Catalogs his/her personal music collection by artist last name and cross-references that catalog with another organized by album name.
  • Has one of those change machines that separates and rolls coins like at a bank.

A master organizer:

  • Copies, every evening, all of the day’s notes onto looseleaf paper to be placed in a 3-ring binder with color-coded tabs for each subject.
  • Buys CDs instead of downloading music, just so that s/he can organize the album artwork.
  • Keeps an up-to-date archive of all the text messages s/he has sent and received, along with any relevant notes, i.e. “10/20/09: Chris took a long time to respond to the text in which I said, ‘wats up.'”
  • Always keeps back-up deodorant stashed in his/her school bag, going-out bag, school locker, gym locker, car, and…well, everywhere.
  • Makes scrapbooks for each school year with personal photos and notes to supplement the school-issued yearbook.
  • Maintains a spreadsheet cataloging all the books s/he has read, including cross-referenced listings of key characters, themes, favorite passages, and marginal notes taken while reading.

A freakishly obsessed organizer:

  • Has a personal calendar marked with different highlighter colors coded to each area of his/her life: school, extra-curriculars, relationship, work, recreation. (Note: The freakishly obsessed organizer does not use a computer calendar because s/he enjoys the physical process of highlighting the different activities.)
  • Has a closet full of pristine shoe boxes with photos of the shoes inside taped to the outside of each box.
  • Catalogs his/her music by artist last name, album, the year of the album release, genre, and activity best suited to the song (running, dancing, chilling, eating ice cream, organizing).
  • Fills out a notecard each time s/he meets someone new. The notecard includes the new acquaintance’s name, physical description, and contact info, as well as relevant personal information (where he goes to school, any mutual friends, his favorite gum flavor).
  • Completes online surveys to determine confirm his/her organization skills.

Which organizer rank do you fit into? Do you engage in any impressive organization projects that we didn’t mention?

Related Post: Three-Ring vs. Spiral: The Organizer Challenge