This is why I’ll be single FOREVER

We have a man staying in our house this weekend. A great, generous, funny, smart guy who I love dearly. He’s just about the best person I know and I’m lucky to count him as a friend.

But unfortunately, I am going to stab him through the heart.

The reason for this unfortunate event is below:


You probably look at this picture and see one of two things.

a)      Some mugs.

b)      Chaos and disorder.


I’m a b person. Or as my friend said, when I pointed out his mug-related faux-pas: “You are a Class A freak”

In case you can’t see the problem, it’s that the chap has clearly placed a Dean & Deluca coffee mug with the Denby mugs. Now, it’s fairly obvious that the Dean & Deluca mugs are a different size and shape to the Denby mugs. The Dean & Deluca mugs are special – they’re thicker than usual so they keep coffee hot for ages and they have sentimental value because they were a gift from one of my favourite stores in New York.

In a world of chaos and disorder, it gives me comfort to know that my mugs are segregated, my wardrobe colour-coded (black to the left, gradually shifting to white on the right) and my books alphabetised. I can’t help it – I just feel better knowing things are in their right place.

This is all well and good when you’re the only adult in the house. Things get put away in the right place, and if you put something down, you know it will still be there when you get back. Nobody is around to mock you.

Invite someone else into your home, though, and this lovely calm certainty goes out of the window. Suddenly the toothpaste is being squeezed in the middle of the tube, the cans in the cupboard aren’t facing forward, and somebody is folding towels in the laundry cupboard in half, when everyone knows they should be folded into THIRDS.

One of the downsides of single parenting is, I think, that it’s so easy to get used to having it your own way. You possibly, completely ever so slightly lose perspective.

I’m reduced to silent, simmering rage when things aren’t done my way. And the poor chap is probably making a run for the airport while he still can. He may even be arranging a fake identity in case I ever try and invite him back.

Basically, I’m going to die alone surrounded by cats. Unless you have some tips on how to

a)      Not be a control freak


b)      Train a normal person into becoming a control freak


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 7th January 2011 / 8:10 am

    It’s my husband who has more of the OCD tendancies in our house. Having said that, years of working in John Lewis, three months of which were in the bathroom linen department, has instilled in me the “thirds” method for towel-folding. This pattern is also useful for arranging ornaments: three is a good number!

  2. 7th January 2011 / 8:22 am

    I saw no mess, I thought ‘flipping heck she has nice mugs unlike my jumbled messy selection’…

  3. 7th January 2011 / 8:41 am

    You’re a Class A Freak, but that’s why we love you. And I thought I had OCD!!

  4. 7th January 2011 / 9:15 am

    You are a class A freak I’m afraid, not helped by the fact you have been on your own for a while. I’ve been described recently as ‘a bit set in your ways’ by two different people. Shoot me now.
    The only glimmer of hope I can offer to avoid growing old surrounded by cats is this: get a dog instead.

  5. 7th January 2011 / 9:20 am

    If the Dean & Deluca mug is the big one then it should be on the left with the other big ones and not on the right – only because if you want a small cup for say Flea then you’d have to reach over. That’s not OCD is it??
    Nothing wrong with being surrounded by cats when you die – unless of course nobody finds you and they start eating you!!!

  6. 7th January 2011 / 9:28 am

    Everyone knows the thirds thing, surely? Except my ex-husband who doesn’t believe in folding towels, full stop.

  7. 7th January 2011 / 9:29 am

    Arf. Always buy white then nothing mismatches, is my motto.

  8. 7th January 2011 / 9:29 am

    I don’t know whether to feel complimented or insulted, here.

  9. 7th January 2011 / 9:30 am

    Flea’s mugs go in a different cupboard – they don’t match.

  10. Vic
    7th January 2011 / 9:35 am

    I notice two things:
    a) you’re totally right; and
    b) all this coming from the woman who confessed on her blog that she doesn’t do housework. You can’t have it both ways Missy!

  11. 7th January 2011 / 9:40 am

    I’m an adorable bundle of contradictions, aren’t I? Honestly, it makes me such a delight to live with.

  12. 7th January 2011 / 10:20 am

    LOL! Oh I love this post!
    I think one of the reasons I love being single is knowing that the place will stay tidy (ish) and I only have the boys to clean up after.

  13. 7th January 2011 / 10:49 am

    I’m probably not as bad as that, though you make a very good case for having order in your mug cupboard. However, my partner and I have been living with each other for nearly two years and I still find myself wanting to lock him in his disorganised clothes cupboard and throw away the key. I also can’t bear the beer bottle lids I find all over the house, which I addressed with him the other night only to receive the response ‘who cares’. I CARE, why else are we having this conversation. But my biggest problem is with the discarded contact lenses next to his side of the bed. If I don’t clean them up, our 11 month old son finds them and we all know how unselective babies are with their food!
    Wow, it feels good to share.
    I miss living as a single person. Everything was in it’s place and as it should be, and I slept better as a consequence.
    You’re not a class A freak. You are well within your rights to expect your mugs to be ordered.

  14. Diane
    7th January 2011 / 11:12 am

    I’m kind of anal, but I don’t care about mugs or towels one bit. I don’t think this cupboard is messy *at all*. I am impressed you have Dean & Deluca mugs though. That’s so Felicity 🙂 I don’t colour code my wardrobe, either. Although I do hang shirts with shirts, graduating to trousers. (Wardrobes should always be short to long, L-R.)
    I think the answer is to either learn to live with it (maybe put the cup there for five minutes a day, psychologists call this “exposure therapy” I believe) or make a nice laminated list of all your rules… I mean, totally non-freakish preferences, for the chap to use as a guide.

  15. 7th January 2011 / 11:27 am

    I have similar complex issues from living as a lone parent for such a long time. Not cups or wardrobe colours but I definitely like things my own way.
    The thought of sharing my house with another adult after all these years is terrifying. I think Helena Bonham whatsername has the right idea – two houses next door to eachother: his & hers space.

  16. 7th January 2011 / 11:31 am

    I have one thing to say to you, don’t sweat the small stuff. That is all.

  17. Hannah
    7th January 2011 / 11:36 am

    I’m the same. It’s fine. I almost cried when my Father In Law put a none-matching mug on the mug tree and one of the posh matching ones in the cupboard. Wasn’t a happy bunny.
    And don’t get me started on alphabetising. My books, CDs, Games and Dvds are all in alphabetical order. I develop a bit of a twitch when my dear child pulls them all out of the cupboard in a heap.
    And my wardrobe is organised. Not necessarily colour (I wear mostly black) but start at long sleeve down to vest tops, then trousers down to skirts. To the point where my other half doesn’t put my clothes away in fear that he’ll do it wrong.

  18. 7th January 2011 / 11:40 am

    Interesting! I fold my towels in half, then half again the other way!
    I like things done my way too – you wouldn’t be able to tell because our house is a mess, but it’s a specifically organized mess!
    I wouldn’t compromise on any of my ‘rules’, and while I don’t personally have an issue with the position of cups in a cupboard I respect your right to, and think that if you’re in someone else’s house – especially as a short term guest – you should do things the host’s way.

  19. 7th January 2011 / 11:56 am

    I am with you – everything must be just so… why I am living in a house with nine other people – well I ask myself that everyday!!! Most likely because I love them more than my heart can hold… but I do scurry around putting books in height order and shoes in pairs and well making things straight… A LOT!!!

  20. 7th January 2011 / 12:01 pm

    Yes, exactly! And I’ve trained Flea to be pretty tidy.

  21. 7th January 2011 / 12:01 pm

    Contact lenses? Oh my God, that would freak me out.

  22. 7th January 2011 / 12:02 pm

    Ha, I KNEW you’d get the Felicity connection.

  23. 7th January 2011 / 12:04 pm

    I would love that. I’d have to kill the neighbours first, mind…

  24. 7th January 2011 / 12:04 pm

    I’m just weird. Infidelity, hmm, it’s forgivable. Incorrect placement of kitchen items? Hanging offence.

  25. 7th January 2011 / 12:05 pm

    It’s comforting to know I’m not alone.

  26. 7th January 2011 / 12:05 pm

    Despite your (frankly) WRONG approach to towel folding, I know what you mean about organised mess. I’m not great with housework so my house doesn’t look that pristine, but I have to know exactly where everything is./

  27. 7th January 2011 / 12:06 pm

    Being tidy in a household that size has got to be a challenge!

  28. 7th January 2011 / 1:20 pm

    You have too much space. Nothing is in any danger of falling out when you open the cupboard door.
    Also, you would officially hate me.

  29. 7th January 2011 / 1:37 pm

    DH used to be Mr.Neat and Tidy and was the house’s slob – over the years we have morphed into each other and now his messiness drives me nuts. Okay, this is not idea but we do have an understanding.

  30. 7th January 2011 / 2:25 pm

    The comfort I can take from this is that if I do ever find myself a single mum, it will only be the fact that I’m short, fat, tedious and not very pretty that will keep me single. My penchant for mess and disorder will not stop me getting laid.

  31. 7th January 2011 / 6:14 pm

    Good to know. *makes note in enemies notebook*

  32. 7th January 2011 / 6:14 pm

    Ah, a happy medium – that’s what we need!

  33. 7th January 2011 / 6:15 pm

    I’m living proof that being short, fat, tedious and not very pretty is in fact no impediment to getting laid. The OCD is just a happy bonus.

  34. 7th January 2011 / 7:06 pm

    Since I immediatley thought everything you said was perfectly normal am now worried I have OCD…

  35. 7th January 2011 / 7:18 pm

    Remind me never, ever to let you look in my mug cupboard. Ever. Or my towel cupboard. Or any of my cupboards actually.
    With you on the dying alone with cats thing though, for entirely different reasons. I shall knit you a cardi x

  36. 7th January 2011 / 7:41 pm

    I aspire to this kind of OCD-ness (well, maybe not to this extreme) but I don’t have the time and I have too many (messy) kids. I decided long ago that I could have an orderly house and be on Prozac to keep it that way, or that people would just have to find the “keepy-hot” mugs for themselves. Mind you, the last time my mother opened my mug cabinet, she did comment on the motley array of (free) mugs which are all different brand,s colours and sizes. They’re mugs. Sheesh. leave me alone.
    So there’s your answer – Prozac!
    OK – here’s my weird thing – I immediately noticed that you are wasting too much space ABOVE the mugs. In my cupboard I have a wire shelf rammed in there so that I have two storeys of mugs! Good storage space can’t go to waste!

  37. 7th January 2011 / 7:42 pm

    Nope. If I’m normal (and I am, clearly) then so are you.

  38. 7th January 2011 / 7:42 pm

    Can my cardi be black? I feel a sinister old lady should wear black.

  39. 7th January 2011 / 7:43 pm

    I just spend less time child-rearing so I can put my mugs in order. Simple.

  40. 7th January 2011 / 8:28 pm

    Hmmm, you wouldn’t like to see my mug cupboard, that’s all I can say.
    My gf has recently moved in and we’re having that “adjustment period”. I’m pretty laid back, I’d like to think, so going along with it.
    Spice jars with labels on top (handwritten, if they don’t already have them), colour-coded wardrobes (hers, not mine), colour coded bathroom products, and one I hadn’t noticed but just heard a confession to: food tins all turned the same way. I should have noticed. Men are from jars after all…

  41. 7th January 2011 / 8:56 pm

    I find it helps to shout at said normal person a lot when they don’t do things my way…. After a while they get the hint and my way becomes their way lol

  42. Jo Jamieson
    7th January 2011 / 9:12 pm

    The spice jars are also in alphabetical order, and he does sometimes move those around just to wind me up – but on the whole he’s toeing the line.
    Next training session is laundry – seriously, white socks in a dark wash?!?! What is he thinking?

  43. 7th January 2011 / 10:16 pm

    My spice rack is alphabetised. Although it’s split into ‘spice’ and ‘herb’ with each group ordered independently OF COURSE.

  44. 7th January 2011 / 11:04 pm

    Whoa! This post made me feel a little queasy. Couldn’t even read the comments. I am the exact opposite of OCD. I just thought: yeah, mugs. And towel folding pickiness?
    *looks at Sally in a new light through squinty eyes*

  45. 8th January 2011 / 12:58 am

    Ah, nausea – the reaction every blogger dreams of evoking…

  46. 8th January 2011 / 10:53 am

    I’m not quite as OCD as you (meant in the nicest possible way) but after 4 years with my man (having spent many years as a single parent) I still struggle with not having things done my way, the right way and if I’m honest I think I always will!

  47. 8th January 2011 / 4:00 pm

    I am very similar to you, I think growing up with an OCD dad has contributed to that. He is absolutely the same as you his thing chairs, you sit down on the sofa and he is wiping it as you get off it like you have sat in poo and then sat on his sofa. It really makes you feel you have something on you, because he cleans it so much. We have their old sofas, which were only a year old when we got them and it drives him mad that I let the dog sit on one of them. (It is funny)
    I have lived with Mr for six years now and he drives me barmy about everything he too does not fold towels, and who doesn’t know the third rule! But my worst issue with him is he comes home and strips where ever he is in the house, and he is a builder so where ever he undresses leaves carnage, of bolts, mud, grit, and dust but he doesn’t care. Just strips off and leaves it in a heap on the floor, expecting to leave it there all night till the next morning. I have taken to just picking up clothes on the floor (because he does it with all outfits) and washing them. I know that I am washing things that aren’t even dirty but it annoys him even more so it is my revenge! xx

  48. june seghni
    9th January 2011 / 11:52 am

    you have a MUG CUPBOARD ? A cupboard JUST for mugs…..?

  49. 9th January 2011 / 12:05 pm

    I like that, if nothing else, it has confirmed that the towels into thirds thing TOTALLY IS A RULE that pretty much everyone knows. Therefore the next time the chap does it wrong, I can stab him with impunity.

  50. 9th January 2011 / 12:06 pm

    What else do you put in yours?? *mind boggles*

  51. 9th January 2011 / 10:23 pm

    b doesn’t help because they will have different and opposite obsessions. Take it from someone who has got the T-shirt.
    Obviously it’s halves and then halves again, unless the towel is big, in which case it’s halves, then thirds.

  52. Insomniac Mummy
    9th January 2011 / 11:24 pm

    Ha! I could see the chaos straightaway! My Dad is a total neat freak so I have made it my life’s mission to rebel against it. You’d have a panic attack in my house, nothing, but nothing has a hope in hell of being remotely neat!

  53. 9th January 2011 / 11:55 pm

    No offence, but what kind of madness is this? Quarters? The world is going to Hell in a handbasket *shakes head sadly*

  54. 9th January 2011 / 11:56 pm

    I suspect the chap did it deliberately out of some spirit of rebellion, too. I mean, it’s not difficult to see, is it?

  55. 10th January 2011 / 11:18 am

    Wow, at least your mugs are in the cupboard. Given that there are always at least five mugs either in use or awaiting washing up at any one time, our cupboard is actually too small to house all the mugs.
    I’m with Mwa on the ‘different obsessions’, as I’m quite freaky about some things, but that mug shot (ahem) really didn’t freak me out at all. Well, apart from the nagging feeling that you could better utilise the space in that cupboard by repositioning the shelf.

  56. 10th January 2011 / 5:50 pm

    I think it does!

  57. 10th January 2011 / 8:21 pm

    I’m deeply shocked! I never expected this of you.I didn’t think you liked cats any way?

  58. 11th January 2011 / 9:27 am

    I know. It’s a shameful secret. And I expect it will be feral, neighbourhood cats.

  59. Frith
    19th April 2012 / 7:16 pm

    So, I join you as a class A freak who loves order. But married with young son as I am, a million times a day I grit my teeth and bear it. When the males leave the house for the weekend (which is rare), I tidy up, then enjoy two days of calm calm calm. I learned as a kid to put things away, then you can find them, the house looks nicer, is easier to clean, things don’t get broken by being trodden on, you don’t buy multiples needlessly – the list goes on. And of course my mum taught me to fold towels in half along their length, then in half the other way, then thirds. They fit. They stack well. They look neat. Don’t apologize for your tendencies. It’s a beautiful thing to be tidy. (Kids have to learn the advantages. I don’t think other adults can be taught….)