OMD is a new syndrome my sister discovered.  She got a little tired of folks straightening her things, organizing, and then saying “Sorry, it’s my OCD!”  You know they are talking about obsessive compulsive disorder, an inside need to straighten and organize things around them.  Surely you’ve had it happen to you, a couple of tchotchkes on your coffee table or papers scattered  on your desk, and a friend absentmindedly put them in order, claiming OCD.  Well, some of us enjoy scattered and messy.  Perhaps we have OMD (obsessive messiness disorder) and should be allowed to scatter things on other people’s desks and tables, with a curt “Sorry, it’s my OMD!”

It can go beyond this.  When I managed stores in retail, I’ve had helpful employees clean my desk for me, or make labels for my drawers.  If I wanted to have a clean desk, or labels on my drawers, I am perfectly capable of doing so.  I don’t.  I know I need a certain amount of chaos in my life, and when an employee cleans my desk, not only is he/she intruding on my space, but she/he also isn’t doing the work I’m paying them for.

I’m sure some folks would love to have someone clean up after them, but not everyone.  So ask before you clean.  Especially if you’re touching their personal stuff.  It’s not nice.

I don’t think folks with the cleaning compulsion can fathom a reason anyone would not like to be neat and tidy, but I know myself, and I have a reason.  If things are too clean, I know I’m going to mess them up, so I tend not to touch anything.  Then I don’t get anything done.  Creativity dies in me when I’m in a neat, organized room.  Creativity also dies in me with too many rules, but we’ll save that for another day.

I also know I am a person who needs to see everything then decide what to use.  Labels and boxes don’t work, I want to scan an area and see what will be useful.  I know what the beads I’m looking for look like, but I’ll never remember if I filed them under their color, media, shape, or whatever.  While most my friends are sorting their beads by color, I have one who takes all her beads and dumps them in one bowl so she can check out combinations.  This makes so much more sense to me, you might think you want the red beads, but you might surprise yourself if you open yourself to other possibilities.

So open yourself up to the possibility of messy, see how you feel about it.  Does it worry you, or do you feel soothed to be around so many interesting things?

4 thoughts on “OMD”

  1. I very much have OMD. I want to go around restaurants and throw peoples’ coats on the floor.

    I once had a personal organizer come to my house. She looked around and said, “You are a very visual person aren’t you?” Sure. I just want to see my stuff. If it is put away, I will forget it exists.

  2. I kind of have both OCD and OMD! I have things piled to the ceiling, literally balanced and arranged not to fall and stuff scattered everywhere. Next to them I have drawers of parts and shelves of manuals, neatly labeled with computer printed cards and stickers. They are also in databases for easy recall of what I have! A complete contradiction! I like the comment about having to have your stuff visible. I like walking by something I set somewhere a year ago just to pick it up again and think to myself “yeh, this is really neat. I’m going to make something cool out of this someday”.


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