Is your goal to be perfectly organized or simply organized?

source: shutterstock

That’s the big question right there isn’t it?  Do you find yourself stuck in your organizing endeavors because you think if you can’t do it perfectly why bother?  Let me caution you against that.

We all have ideals of how we want our home to look.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with dreaming once and awhile.  However the problem arises when we can get hung up in that dreamland while a reality of chaos and clutter continues to swirl around us.

I’m a very practical person.  So in all honesty I almost always go for the functional over the fabulous first and foremost.  But in this day and age of Pinterest and decor blogs that can be easier said than done that is for sure.  You all know the “perfect” pictures I’m talking about.  I’d post one here but I try to avoid being a Pinterthief. :)

Do you find yourself saying things like:

  • I’ll be organized when I have a bigger house and somewhere to put all this stuff.
  • I’ll be organized when I can afford shelves and cabinets for every nook and cranny.
  • I’ll be organized when all my baskets can be fabric lined and matching.

We need to just stop this crazy talk right now.  We can get out of our constant state of chaos and clutter without any of those things happening.  Oh yes we can.  But here’s the thing.  We need to stop wishing our lives away on the could’ve, should’ve, would haves.  We need to put our unrealistic expectations aside and do what we can afford now whatever that may be in order to stop chaos in its tracks.  It might not be pretty but so what.  Cardboard boxes over fancy lined baskets aren’t the most attractive BUT they work.  They work to help you establish limits and boundaries.  That is important.  They work to help you find what you need when you need it.  That’s important too.  You can always get creative and cover them in pretty scrapbook paper if you are so inclined and if you aren’t, well that’s okay to.  Let me give you another example.

Six months ago I blogged about the storage solution I came up with for my hair tools in my ensuite bathroom.  It stressed me out having them strewn all my bathroom countertop and I found I never got around to putting them away in the cabinet underneath the sink.  So I came up with this.

I got a few emails from people after that miffed that I would post such an ugly storage solution (not sure what’s behind people’s motivation to do that but that’s okay).  Yes, of course, I realize it’s not the most beautiful thing but do I care?  Not one bit because the truth of the matter is this, it solves the problem that most aggravated me which was having them all over my counter.  Am I less aggravated having them hung up like that than I was seeing them scattered all over?  You bet.  It’s been six months and I’m still using this system faithfully.  Obviously it’s a system that works for me!  That shelf hook thing cost me like $4.00 at Walmart.  It’s totally functional and practical.  What works for you might be different.  You may have no problem tucking them underneath the cabinet everyday.  Good on you.  A great system is one that is right for you and is used regularly otherwise chaos comes a knocking.

Is my system perfect?  Of course not.  What I really want is this.  However that is out of my budget right now.  Am I going to pine away for it while continuing to be frustrated every day about my lack of storage space in my bathroom?  Nope I’m not going to do it (well maybe a little :) ) and neither should you in your situation.

There are many storage solutions out there for all sorts of budgets. So don’t put off getting organized for what might be one day and do what you can today.  The time to get organized is now.

So here we are back to the question.

Is your goal to be perfectly organized or simply organized?

Related posts:
Making Do
Functional vs. Fabulous

Filed under: Bathroom, Organizing Basics


27 Responses to Is your goal to be perfectly organized or simply organized?

  1. 1
    Andrea Scoville says

    I do find that this is one of my problems with organizing… the “perfect” …. Thanks for reiterating that it doesn’t have to be perfect to solve my problems. And bravo for your comment “(not sure what’s behind people’s motivation to do that but that’s okay)”. I totally agree and love love love that you posted your not so perfect… perfect solution – AGAIN! I hope that you truly don’t let the negative comments bother you – it’s not worth your time or energy!

  2. 2
    Linda Stoll says

    Let’s face it. Things will never be perfect til we reach heaven! Pushing ourselves {and those we love} to perfection only leaves us frustrated, disappointed, and never satisfied. And the people we push only end up feeling resentment toward us.

    To set goals that are simple and attainable without killing ourselves in the process? Now THAT makes sense!

    I guess we have to figure out what’s important to us, aim high, but not make ourselves and everyone around us crazy in the process.

    Organization shouldn’t be the goal. At its best, it’s simply a key or a toolbelt that we put to good use … so that we can live our lives to the fullest. Let’s keep it simple … and keep focused on what really matters.

    Loving people. Serving others. Embracing who we were created to be.

  3. 3
    Gina says

    I try to avoid photos on PInterest and blogs where it’s “that” perfect. My life isn’t that neat. I don’t live alone–with three kids and a husband, I’m lucky it’s as organized as it is. I focus on function, not attractiveness, and this year I’m really trying to minimize what comes in so that there’s less to organize.

    • 3.1
      Laura says

      Yes I’m doing the same Gina…less coming in means less stuff to have to make decisions about.

  4. 4
    Dianna @ Aspiring to be says

    That is always one of my problems. I have perfectionism tendencies and I keep falling into the whole I’ll get organized when i can do it perfectly but it doesn’t solve my problem. Recently I have just started doing it and I actually feel so freeing. It’s not the prettiest or most perfect solution but for right now it works for me and I am so less stressed over it. :) I guess that is the point. I want to be simply organized. :) and one day it might lead to perfect organization but I doubt that ;) lol As our life changes our organization needs change. :)

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      That’s exactly it Dianna. I’m a recovering perfectionist myself so I totally know what you mean. And yes unless we live in a bubble, there will always be something to stay on top of :)

  5. 5
    Karissa says

    “I got a few emails from people after that miffed that I would post such an ugly storage solution[…].”

    I’m sorry, I just can’t get over this part. Really, really? Like… really? I’m just having trouble understanding where someone’s (multiple someones’!) motivation came from here. I don’t believe in only positive backslaps and “that’s keen”s, and I find a lot of hero-worship I see in blog comments to be eyeroll worthy, but seriously? I can’t imagine what would motivate me to take time out of my day to send an email like this for such a “grievance.” I’m gobsmacked and bewildered and even a little amused (in a “Is this Candid Camera?” way) at the thought. Wow.

    Also, kudos on the rest of your post. I agree completely and think the moral should be driven home more often on blogs.

  6. 6
    Sonriendo says

    I find myself saying I’ll be organised once my kids have left home!!!

    Left to my own devices I’m not to bad – but OMG teenaged girls

    • 6.1
      Laura says

      I have a 15 year old girl myself, I totally know what you mean!!

  7. 7
    Hilda says

    Beautifully said Laura! I’ve been in the “wait for a bigger house” or “need more shelves, pretty baskets, etc.” stage for TOO long. And in the meantime the clutter continued to build. Now I’m diving in & tackling things & trying to organize with what I’ve already got (for the most part!).

    But I really need to always remind myself of the importance of finding solutions that work for us, not just ones that look beautiful, especially now that I’m blogging about my organizing projects!

    Thanks for this great reminder & for putting it all into perspective for me!

    • 7.1
      Laura says

      So glad you found it helpful :)

  8. 8
    Awkward Kitchenette says

    We’re about to downsize for a few years, so I’m going to be forced to get more organized, and definitely not perfectly! Excellent point about doing what works and what you can keep up!

  9. 9
    Lisa says

    I am NOT a perfectionist. My organization has always tended to be more functional than “pretty”.

    My philosophy is “DONE is better than perfect!”


  10. 10
    april says

    Good for you, Laura, and you’re right! It works for what you need!

  11. 11
    Laura says

    I am a total perfectionist, so this is a hard one for me. But, I have come to realize, I do need to do what works for right now and if someday I can upgrade to nicer/better/more beautiful storage then I will. It just isn’t in the budget right now. And I would much rather live with an organized home than living in chaos until more money comes along! :)

  12. 12
    Becky L. says

    I like to stay organized and that’s my ultimate goal in my house. Is there such a thing as organized chaos? HA! I do like how you hung your hair dryer and curling iron. It works. It’s your bathroom! i put stuff below everyday. Good exercise? LOL! I like the new system that’s not available yet as well. We can dream, can’t we! I was over at the site, peeking as well! Hugs and have a great day!

  13. 13
    Marcia Francois, Organising Queen says

    Amen, Amen, Amen :)

    You and I have ALWAYS been on the same page with this :)

    I also tell people my goal is not beautiful organising, but functional organising so we can LIVE ORGANISED.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist :)

    • 13.1
      Laura says

      Congrats on your new book Marcia!!

  14. 14
    Betsy E says

    Thanks SO MUCH for this blog! I needed to read it. I tend to think, “I can’t do this until I have the perfect “this or that.” Back to the ideas that my mom had (she’s 86)….cereal boxes covered in contact paper, and oatmeal boxes cut down to the right size. She was very wise, and you are too!
    A BIG “thank you.”

  15. 15
    Beth says

    Great post! I often get held back by the desire for perfection! But I also find, once I just dig in and get something done, it looks much closer to ideal than I had thought it would! And even if it doesn’t, at least I am a step closer to my ideal. Sometimes just getting moving on something is enough to spark your creativity to discover ways to make what you’ve got work!

  16. 16
    Cheryl (Copperswife) says

    Well said! The “as soon as”s and “when”‘s in life never end. If we think we can wait until they end, we’ll never accomplish anything! Finding solutions to accomplish what needs to be done is actually kind of fun, especially on a budget.

  17. 17
    Brenda says

    Okay..I have to say this system is fabulous! I’ve done the same thing, only I put the shelf w/ hooks in my bedroom closet. It would be in my bathroom if (a) I didn’t have to share it with my husband, and (b) my bathroom wasn’t itty-bitty. And for that Style Station? I don’t have only two hair products (I have a basketful (bigger than the one in your pic) of them on a shelf in the bathroom…and I have about 6 hairstyle instruments (1 hair dryer, a flat-iron, a curling iron, three curling hot air brushes (different bristles/sizes). So that Style Station is so out of the question. I try to come up with functional organization. If it’s pretty and the things are also hidden, the BONUS! But for me, I just want it to work……..NOW. ——–simply organized gets my vote———-I gave up perfection the day I brought my first child home from the hospital. It was either that or lose my sanity.

  18. 18
    Shannon S says

    Thank you for this great rem inder to work with what we have, and to stop worring about about what we don’t or can not afford. Right now it’s prime garage sale season where I am. I could not make it out the first day to hopefully snag what I wanted, but I won’t give up and will keep trying. I love that you got creative and solved the problem == your way for you. I need to remember to do this too!


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