My Clean Pantry

I organized our kitchen pantry last week. A small feat for some. A major milestone for me.

Organization was one of my fortes in my previous life. I even did some public speaking on the subject.

As our toxic mold exposure grew over the years, my ability to organize diminished. I became easily overwhelmed. I would see piles of papers or heaps of laundry and become paralyzed. I couldn’t make decisions about the contents of the piles. Decisions, even the smallest of them, brought high levels of anxiety.

Moving out of the house didn’t help my decline in brain function. If anything, it worsened. I would find myself in a room unsure of why I was there. Simple tasks like doing the dishes became daunting. I forgot appointments and asked family members to put their needs in writing so I wouldn’t forget. Multi-tasking became impossible.

After our move to Arizona, I struggled to find my way around. (This was quite a switch from the old days when I used to easily conquer destinations with my impeccable sense of direction.) One Saturday morning I headed to a hair appointment in a different part of town. Somehow I got turned around. I found myself headed toward home and had no idea how to find my destination. The salon receptionist listened as I sobbed uncontrollably and graciously walked me through the streets and turns.

This 3-minute video shows what happens to bullet ants when their bodies are infiltrated by a parasitic fungus. According to the narrator, the ants become disoriented and confused.

It's been two years since that fateful drive to the hair salon. I continue to feel disoriented at times and still struggle with my memory. But I find myself with a renewed ability to organize and perform daily tasks. My desk is less cluttered. My clothes are stored in neat piles. And my pantry is finally organized.

Now that I've succeeded with the pantry, I'm ready to attack the bathroom drawers, the laundry room cabinets, and the spice cabinet. I’ve become an organizing maniac. Which shows I'm still struggling with my obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Something I'll have to work on... if I remember.

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