Perfectly Imperfect

 “Wow, I would love to see the inside of your house!” was a comment made to me after telling a friend I love to organize. In my head I was thinking, “Uh-oh! She thinks I have a picture perfect, Peter Walsh styled home, with matching bins and crates in complementary colors.”  So not the case. What I’ve learned about organizing over these past years is that organization is not synonymous with perfection.

Then what does having an organized space mean? When a space is organized, it means all items have a place, and that generally, items are returned to their specific spot after use. I say generally because as any parent, sibling, or roommate knows, when you share a space with another person, you cannot always guarantee they will treat the living area the same way you do.  And seriously, trying to get kids to be organized leads to banging your head against the wall on a regular basis.  My son still thinks that cleaning his room means picking up five random things off the floor and putting them on any surface above the floor, leaving all other items laying where they fell, clothes strewn in the vicinity of the hamper.  It blows my mind.  But, I digress.

As I was saying, organization means your possessions have homes, and you are able to function more fluidly and with ease because of this. Are these “homes” beautiful containers that thrill you every time you look at them? Yes, sometimes.  Are they shoe boxes from that pair of sneakers you bought? Yep, that too.  Is it more fun to have aesthetically pleasing containers? Hell yeah!  But when my son asks where the extra pack of index cards is and I retrieve them directly from the school supply bin, it doesn’t matter what the receptacle looks like. What’s important is that I knew where to get them, and I didn’t waste time searching, or buying extra packs because I didn’t know I already had them.

That leads to the question of everything inside the bins being in perfect order, as well.  With four people in my home rummaging in and out of these containers, they won’t always be in perfectly organized.  I like to think that as long as there is some order amongst the chaos, then life is good.

The original chaos.

Take my kids drawers, for instance.  I could not get them to keep things neat and tidy for the life of me. Socks and underwear all jumbled together, mounds piling up, making it impossible to get the darn drawer closed, as you can see above. My solution? I bought drawer dividers, providing separate spaces for, in my son’s case, underwear/light socks/dark socks and in my daughter’s case, socks/undies/bralettes and tights. (Just as a side note, my kids would kill me if I actually put pictures of their undergarments on the internet.  These are primarily socks and shirts substituted for photo purposes.) As you can see from the first picture below, the garments are folded neatly and perfectly arranged. Sometimes they start out that way, but it never lasts, as referenced by the second photo below. There is however, some order amongst the mayhem of undergarments and items are retrieved more quickly.  They know where things are and though not perfect, it does look neater. 

Difficult to maintain “perfection” for a 9 year old and teen.
The organization they actually maintain.

What follows is the fact that when things are chaotic on the outside, they are muddled inside too.  Stress and discord will reign. When a space is organized, there is calm on the inside. There is an element of control and space for clear thinking.  My kids have actually commented on how much this system has helped them. And whether they are conscious of it or not, they function better in an environment that is better ordered.

So what is the nugget of the day? Organization is not perfection!  Arranged chaos can often pass for an orderly space, giving you peace on the inside and the benefit of functionality.  What can you tackle today that will give you that “ahhh” feeling of peaceful surroundings? Post it and let me know!

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