There’s a fine line in organizing between perfectionism and healthy habit building. With organizing, we’re looking for a balance in our lives where we’re free from chaos, but not spending all of our time cleaning. I know it seems contrary, but being organized is (or should be) a time saver. I’ve been called to help clients for several reasons, but the most common scenario presents as overwhelm—often extensive. Here’s the thing: disorganization rarely begins in the home. Likewise, the work doesn’t end with the home. One clean room can’t be the solution. In the common household, my purpose is the whole person. There are considerations well beyond the photo session. I’m coaching for the season—not just one game. We’re after results that last. Let’s deep-dive into problematic home perfection, and see why it’s so impractical.
Confession time: I have less-than-perfect areas in my life, as well. It becomes glaringly obvious upon surveying my car—I’m a mom. Peek inside and chances are, you’ll find the evidence (and a few boxes I intend to return). It’s my equivalent to the junk drawer (I’m not proud and, yes, it makes me cringe). My profession doesn’t exempt me from common challenges, and I certainly don’t have any magic powers against life taking place in real time. Trust me, I understand, and I hear you!
I present you the basic, oft used organizing formula: to gain space, you must make space. The issue is we usually possess far more than we need. We’d be at an advantage to scale down, minimize our worries, and connect with our sincere needs. I won’t argue against tossing un-needed or unloved items. If we’re overstimulated in our homes, we need to minimize. If we want more space, but lack the capacity, again, we need to minimize. Make minimizing a habit—even by clearing old food or donating outgrown clothing. Most of us feel better, clearer, and less mentally cluttered when our spaces are more orderly. Appearance isn’t the end goal. We don’t live in a vacuum. We have real lives and aren’t all minimalists. Sometimes, we rush out of the house without making the beds or putting dishes away. Other nights, we’re too exhausted to put the laundry away.
It’s ok to not always get it right. Just do your best to practice healthy home habits so you don’t end up with an overwhelming project later. This shouldn’t be an obsessive routine. I’m not in business to drain your joy of spontaneity or creativity, which is why I stress intuitive organizing. Don’t worry about getting everything right. Use organizing tips as tools, and try including them into your routines where you can.
Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”Edwin Way Teale
When organizing, focus on adopting simple habits. Perfection is complicating. Habits of perfection are stifling, draining and impossible to keep up with. Yet, somehow, they remain attractive—spreading through our self-esteem with viral influence. Unlearning to perfection-chase, like other bad habits, is something we should do as soon as possible. Instead, aim for functionality. Physical items are but one component of decluttering. My primary concern isn’t how clean or full your house is. Above all else, the goal is to make your life easier. I’m not trying to convince anyone that their lives will be fuller with flawless pantries (as beautiful as they may be). Functionality takes precedence over appearance—and looks different for everyone.
Interestingly, another word for “organize” is “coordinate.” Isn’t that fitting? This means organizing should be unique and functional—coordinating to our own lives. Eliminate the idea of all-or-nothing. If goals cause undue stress or struggle, they are no longer healthy or functional. People benefit from less mental and physical clutter, so I’ll continue to encourage habits of simplicity. We don’t need to be faithful minimalists to reap the rewards, though. As you prioritize mind and body health, advocate home health (not appearance), too. These habits require work upfront, but living more simply and intentionally is a lifestyle worth committing to. And remember: if something doesn’t feel healthy and functional to you—leave it!