My favorite hobby.

on January 7, 2011 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 20 comments by

I have always wanted to have a really cool hobby. I don’t know… it just seems like stamp collectors and quilters [props to the other Annie Downs!] and antiquers all have super cool hobbies and can go to conferences and speak their own language and such.

I’m jealous.

Since writing is my full-time gig, I’ve been looking for a hobby not involving words. I to read, but when I sit at a computer and write all the livelong day, those 26 letters camp on my last nerve. So I need a break from the letters ALL THE LETTERS IN MY HEAD. So reading quickly loses it’s relaxation points during a season of intense writing.

I tried to learn piano, but my fingers are just a smidge too chubby to really enjoy the experience. Like little sausages, they are. I dare not display my guitar skillz here in Nashville [pitiful stuff], and I tried to be a painter once but even my unconditionally supportive sister Sally recognized my lack in that department.

So. All that rambling to say I felt hobby-less. Which is like homeless, except totally different. As my friend Jeremy says, I have what we like to call a “first-world problem,” this whole lacking a hobby thing. [People in third-world countries aren’t really pouting about what to do with all their free time. I am, without doubt, a spoiled brat. But, a brat with no hobby. And now we’re back full circle and you feel sorry for me again. See how I did that? Hobby-less. That was me.]

photo courtesy of Real Simple


I realized I have a hobby.


I love to organize. To stack and file and straighten. To put away and throw away and collect together. I love it all.

I have been helping a few of my freelance friends here in Nashville set up their offices, organize their calendars, and categorize their email inboxes.

For some, this would be torture.

But for me? There is no more lovely a sight then that of an empty inbox and a color-coded calendar hanging on the wall. Throw in a clean file cabinet, and I.AM.DONE.FOR.

I guess you know it is a for real hobby when you won’t let people pay you to do it. Or when you think, “if there was an organizing conference, I would TOTES go.” [that’s weird, but true.] I was talking on the phone last night with the family I will be staying with in Scotland and the father said, “well, I could use some help organizing a bit in my office.”

I said, “Dear sir, you have gone and made what was going to be an absolutely perfect trip even more perfect-er. How dare you.”

[No I didn’t. But I thought it.]

So now, not only do I get to live in Scotland and have tea with the Queen and the Lochness monster every day, I also get to organize an office.

My creative brain pays the billz. My organizer brain gives me rest and rejuvenation. I spend all day trying to CREATE new things- organizing allows me just to put already created things into their right place. Chaos to clean. That’ll be the title of my next book.

[No it won’t.]

I am, without doubt, an absolute freak.

But at least I have a hobby.


. . . . .

What I really want to know is what is your favorite hobby? I bet you do something really cool with your free time. Tell me about it!


  1. Kalen
    posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 5:58 AM  |  reply

    Annie – next time you visit, you are welcome to enjoy your hobby at our house. Nick’s room needs you the most!

  2. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 8:01 AM  |  reply

    Oh how I wish I lived closer to you, dear girl. I would totes have you over for coffee and an organizing party! I wish a little of that passion lived in my body. Sigh.

  3. ~VA~
    posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 9:01 AM  |  reply

    free time?? WHAT’S THAT???…when I do have free time I like to read, journal, and play ddr or guitar praise (which I got last week as a late Chrismas present!!)

  4. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 9:33 AM  |  reply

    Maybe we should organize an organization conference because I would totes go with you.

    Or maybe those things already exist as OCD Anonymous. :-/ 🙂

    Ummm…I don’t think I have a hobby either. Does hanging out with friends count? I’d say reading but I don’t actually read that much anymore. And I reread stuff I’ve already read. Blah. But it’s just so good! Makes my heart happy.

  5. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 9:41 AM  |  reply


    I think it’s safe to say that most people would love for you to “practice” your hobby on them! I wish I had a better sense for being organized. Love the way it looks when it’s done, but the constant motivation to keep things that way isn’t my spiritual gift.

    My favorite hobby is anything crafty. And after attending a class at Sips N’Strokes, I fell in Love with painting. Never knew I could do it, but it is the perfect way for me to get things out of my head.

    Happy Friday!

  6. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 10:08 AM  |  reply

    Funny. I have a problem with Hobbies too. Meaning – I start with them but never finish. I have unfinished paintings, and unfinished sewing, and unfinished knitting… My sister is the one who follows through. She’s a queen of organization. That is one of her many hobbies – finding creative ways to organize. You know there are magazines just for people like you? My sister has one, and it’s where she found this fabulous idea to use vintage luggage as under-the-bed storage that is totally precious in our tiny storage-lacking apartment.

    But my sister MUST be the queen of organization simply to organize all of her hobbies. She has a problem. A sickness really. She paints, she sews, she knits like an old lady, she puts buttons on everything, she scrapbooks… and she works at the library surrounded by crafty things and crafty books, which she has to avoid constantly. She got caught looking at the basket weaving books one day but said she had to put them down and tell herself no (despite how much FUN it looked like!) simply because of the social stigma around basket weaving. Our friends already call her the crazy grandma girl because all of her hobbies are rather matronly.

    You want to find some cute stuff to organize with? Check out Hobby Lobby. 🙂

  7. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 10:16 AM  |  reply

    When someone lets me organize their closets, toys, calendars, kitchens…anything, I am totally greatful. I LOVE LOVE LOVE organizing things for people!!

  8. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 11:35 AM  |  reply

    You are totally speaking my language with the organizing thing. This weekend, I plan to move my furniture around in my living room. I will also clean and organize my son’s toys. And file the papers that mysteriously appear on my kitchen table. I love cleaning and sorting and organizing – it just gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

  9. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 12:08 PM  |  reply

    My main hobby is crocheting. I love to do it, plus I get the joy of blessing others with some handmade love. I don’t mind organizing, but I currently need a kick in the pants to get started…I got home from a trip Sunday night, and still have not unpacked or cleaned my house! 🙂

  10. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 3:04 PM  |  reply

    I would totally go to an organizing conference, too!!! Love it!! I love to read, hang out with friends, decorate (when I have the $$), and bargain shop…girl, I can find a bargain! :o) I have felt sometimes that I don’t have a hobby, too, but then, someone started pointing these things out, and it is so true!! You are so talented, Annie, and you have hobbies, you just didn’t even know it! :o)

  11. Sharliss Arnold
    posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 3:31 PM  |  reply

    I love to organize as well, I think that is a gift of mine so that being said I love to scrapbook because it does infact require organization. I also love anything with fabrics, truly truly I do. Ok, got to go!

  12. Merideth
    posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 8:13 PM  |  reply

    I am so not an organizer. I organize to a point because of my visual impairment, but that’s just out of necessity. I don’t really know that I have a hobby, either. At one time I painted, but haven’t done it in a few years. I like to sing, but don’t exactly spend my free time singing and I’ve never taken voice lessons or anything like that. Thought about learning the guitar, but never get around to getting lessons(the fact that lessons of any kind costs money is a hinderence). I need a hobby. I wish we lived near each other because I’d be happy to let you organize for me!

  13. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 8:20 PM  |  reply

    So, how soon can you come over and organize my house?

  14. posted on Jan 07, 2011 at 10:55 PM  |  reply

    Congratulations on discovering your hobby!

    And what’s even better is that if for some reason you take up knitting or scrapbooking or gardening, you can use your main hobby to organize all the sub-hobbies…you’ll know just how to display the yarn, file the colored paper and store the seed packets. 🙂

  15. Melissa
    posted on Jan 08, 2011 at 9:04 AM  |  reply

    I’ve been taking ballet lessons for about two years now. I only took lessons as a year or two as a kid, so I was really starting from scratch as an adult! My ballet lesson is the one time each week when my mind and body have to be completely focusing!

  16. Laura
    posted on Jan 08, 2011 at 11:58 AM  |  reply

    i love to scrapbook. I bought a Cricut Expression almost a year ago. It is so awesome. Have you ever tried scrapbooking or card making?? I love those two things sooooo much!

  17. posted on Jan 08, 2011 at 3:55 PM  |  reply

    I’d say you have a very respectable hobby. I, too, love to organize, especially to help other people get organized, but I guess my main hobby is competitive cooking/recipe creating. Which leaves me thinking about food way too much. Not good.:o)

  18. posted on Jan 09, 2011 at 8:00 PM  |  reply

    I live to organize other people’s space. I knew we had an unspoken connection, Annie! Now I understand why I get you.

  19. posted on Jan 10, 2011 at 5:39 PM  |  reply

    So most of my classroom at work could use some organizing? When can you come? haha 🙂
    I like to knit sometimes. I can do it for about an hour before my hands wear out.
    I really love to craft! Whatever suits my fancy/I have the materials on hand for I give a try. I’ve made some fun things and have also gotten into painting pottery at a local studio. It’s relaxing!

  20. Surabhi
    posted on Jan 21, 2018 at 8:08 AM  |  reply

    Hi! Annie
    Thank you for posting this. I am from India and I am preparing for Civil Services and in interview they ask about hobby. While I was wondering what I can say about mine, I came across your blog and I feel elated to read that I am not the only one with such kind of passion of “organizing” Your blog actually is the answer to my confusion and it helped me articulate my thoughts now.
    Thank you for posting.

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