A journalist recently contacted me about a piece she’s working on related to clutter phobia. I must admit I’m not familiar with this phrase, but I have run into my share of perfectionists, extreme minimalists, or just those people who are making themselves crazy trying to be organized. While clutter can cause it’s share of problems (time lost, money squandered, an inability to invite people over…just to name a few), trying to live a perfect, clutter-free life might cause an equal number of problems.
Denslow Brown, well-known professional organizer and founder of Coach Approach for Organizers, often uses the phrase “organized enough” and I try to take that to heart—both personally and professionally. Before I had children I struggled with a little perfectionism myself. I caught myself admiring the lines in the carpet after a fresh vacuuming more than once. But after gaining a husband, a few kids and a number of cats over the years, I realized working to create a perfectly orderly house 100% of the time was not the hill I was going to die on.
Perfectionism has a way of getting in the way of living. If we constantly feel that everything must be “perfect” before we can start, we likely never will. If we practically kill ourselves trying to pick up, put away, and perfect our homes or our offices every day, we probably won’t accomplish much of the other stuff it takes to survive. I would also question how happy this effort might make us.
Glossy magazines of gorgeous homes and Pinterest have probably fueled this fire of creating the perfect living space. But organization should be equal parts of functionality, reality and beauty. Don’t get me wrong. I love a beautiful home — I’ve lost hours, if not days, to Houzz.com and Dwell magazine. But I also realize that homes are to be lived in and loved in. And while organizing might be a passion, if it starts to veer into an obsession, I beg you to step away from the label maker. Take some time to plop down in the middle of your slightly messy life every once in a while and embrace the chaos.