Alphabetical? Chronological? Autobiographical?

“I have CDO. It’s like OCD, but in alphabetical order.”

Perhaps it was already an inherent part of my character, or perhaps working in record stores when I was younger developed it in me, but I insist on having things in order. I have my own labeling conventions for all the files on my computer, both at home and at work. And I fail to understand why anybody wouldn’t do this. It makes it much easier to find everything. I have to admit to some mild frustration when looking for files at work, where so many are arranged haphazardly. Documents relating to people, for example, are sometimes named starting with surname, others by first name, others by the name of the content of the document (it might be a CV, or a statement of exam results). Why not pick one and stick with it? Needless to say I have all such documents on my drive labeled by surname.

But such things are mild irritations. I can function in a messy environment, without having a breakdown. I will get pissed off, but I don’t have any such deep-lying neurological condition, nor do I spend my days fretting over it. Part of the reason that this is on my mind today is because I have realised I need to get some more storage for my (small) record collection. It is, of course, arranged alphabetically. As were all of my CDs. I use the past tense as my CDs are mostly in storage now, and regrettably I sold a lot of them about ten years ago when I was a bit short on cash at the time. I made that decision after digitising them all, and realising that I rarely played the CDs themselves anymore. Keeping digital files organised alphabetically is effortless of course, though I had to individually name every single track when I ripped them from the CDs originally.

Long before that, I did once switch to the chronological system of ordering music, but admittedly that didn’t last very long. Alphabetical has always been my preferred system for music, with multiple albums by individual artists arranged chronologically therein. I never attempted the autobiographical method. Perhaps that only exists in the realms of (excellent) fiction.

Speaking of which, my copy of High Fidelity is in the fiction section of my bookcases. Contrary to my music organisation, the bookcases, while ordered by genre, are not done so alphabetically. This is mainly because, unlike CDs and LPs, books come in all shapes and sizes so flexibility in how they are arranged is required. The size of the book takes greater preference.

Size is easier when it comes to my final point, arranging my t-shirts. They do vary between small and large; I try to always buy medium, but since I buy most of my shirts at gigs, I don’t always get the exact size I want. However, rolled up, they all take up approximately the same space in the wardrobe. I always fold them this way, then fold them lengthways to a third of that size again, and finally roll them tight. With space a premium in city apartment-living, I find this the most efficient way to store them, and quickly find the one I’m looking for.

Naturally, they are arranged alphabetically. Pictured above is the section from Depeche Mode to The Wildhearts. The Afghan Whigs to Dead Kennedys go in a row, two t-shirts high, in front of that, which I can see over to those in the back. Admittedly, I seem to wear shirt of bands beginning with ‘A’ more frequently, But it is also the most common first letter of all the bands in my shirt collection. All three At the Drive-In t-shirts were in the laundry when I took these photos a few days ago, so are notably absent from the teaser I will set to finish this piece:

Fellow music nerds, and possible CDO adherents, how many bands can you name in the image below?



4 thoughts on “Alphabetical? Chronological? Autobiographical?

  1. I can name quiet a few! I was particularly surprised by the one two in from the left and five down; Nickleback!


  2. I’m entirely on the same page as you with this. Alphabetical by band and then chronological inside of that. It’s the only logical way!


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