Done Is Better than Perfect!
I run into so many people who hear that I am a professional organizer and say, "boy, your home must be perfect all the time!" My response is usually to laugh and say, "my home is a real home with people living in it - which means it's NEVER perfect!" I am constantly amazed by how often people think organized = perfect. Nothing could be further from the truth. An organized home is not a perfect home. It's a well functioning home. It's not about how your home LOOKS, it's about how your home WORKS. How easily you can prepare a quick meal, pack a lunch, find the clothes you need to wear, get that school permission signed and back to school on time, wrap a gift, pay your bills. "In an organized home, stuff and surroundings are arranged to make it easy to carry on the work of daily life...Good organization speeds and simplifies every daily task." (from Houseworks, by Cynthia Towley Ewer.) It's not about cramming your stuff into matching pretty boxes, or having an expensive, built-in closet system installed. While I really enjoy having a neat, clean home, that's not what really makes it an organized home. Your home may be on the cluttered side, and that may be exactly how things work for you. I've been in some absolutely immaculate homes - on the surface. When we start to delve into closets, drawers and desks, they can tell a different story. The occupants may indeed be very organized folks whose home functions beautifully. But they may also be the victims of "hidden clutter", and disorganization and stress may run rampant just under the shiny surfaces. Organizing a home makes it easier to maintain and saves you time and money by keeping what you need where you need it and can find it. My criteria for being organized are:
1. You can find what you need when you need it.
2. You can keep track of important information.
3. You can complete your tasks on time.
4. You can arrive where you want to be when you want to be there.
And, most important of all:
5. You can focus on what is important to you and your life.
Notice there's nothing in there about being perfect! If your home enables you to do those things in a reasonably easy way, then it's an organized place. You don't need expensive containers and fancy organizing systems to accomplish that. Some toys scattered over the floor, open books on the coffee table, a pile of dirty clothes on the washing machine, just mean that LIFE is happening in your home. It's when the stuff gets in the way and causes stress that disorganization becomes an issue. If there is an absence of organizing systems, like having an assigned home for all of your possessions, your home then keeps you from being able to focus on what is important to you and your life. Perfection isn't the issue. Function is the issue. Too many of us get hung up on making things look just right, and our organizing projects stall out or never even get started. I certainly understand that need for perfection - my husband and children joke that my label-maker will be buried with me when I leave this earth! But done is better than perfect. Just get started, and get things as far as you can so that your home functions better. It may not look pretty - those cardboard boxes with labels scrawled on the outside in magic marker may not be your final decorating destination. But if it makes it easier for you and your family to find what they need when they need it, it just may be good enough for now. I say it again: Done is better than perfect.
While it's fun to check out the latest catalog from The Container Store to see organized perfection, or read Martha Stewart's magazine and marvel at her immaculate surroundings, remember that real life doesn't look that way.
Your home doesn't have to, either.