I love reading blogs, and I love bloggers. I find great bloggers inspirational, and it’s interesting to see how different people live. I learn tons of neat things in the mountain of blogs I follow, even though I find myself sighing – more than I should – that I feel unable to be like them.
My uncomfortable feelings heated up recently because a lot of the bloggers I follow currently seem slightly obsessed about organizing their homes. While perusing their lovely websites (and viewing images people have pinned on Pinterest), I’ve seen such beautifully organized drawers, closets, and rooms that I’ve felt kind of intimidated.
No, that’s not right. I’ve felt very intimidated.
Finally, after worrying about the fact that even though I have this little homemaking blog, I’m not super-organized; am I, therefore, setting a bad example for my readers? I started to ask myself if people actually live the super-organized lifestyle that their blogs portray.
Is it possible to live in the organized manner I’ve seen in these posts, factoring in how actually people are?
Is it possible to keep an office drawer so organized that there is always three inches of space between each item? See my desk drawer below.
Is it possible to never have dirty clothing pile up in your laundry room? I have a small mountain I’m working my way through right now.
Is it possible that perky-looking children always make their beds when they get up? Mine didn’t, even though I attempted to get them to do it.
Do said beautiful children always put their Legos in color-coded bins when they are finished playing with them? Mine didn’t. Just ask my feet.
Are there cooks out there who always hang up their utensils after each and every use? I jam mine into drawers and containers.
So really… what do you think? Do people actually live like that?
I’m going to confess something now. Last night, as I read a new batch of organizational blog posts, I began to feel kind of bugged.
Actually, I began to feel rebellious. I felt such a level of rebellion bubble up inside of me that if it were bottled, it might inspire grandmothers from Pasadena to start wearing black leather jackets after they get “Back off, Gridley!” tattoos swirled in green snakes burned into their foreheads.
I realized that while I like order (because order is great and I’m glad that I’ve completed a certain number of organizational projects this year), I would feel like I was tied up in a bale of hay if someone required me to live like that.
My Light Bulb Moment
Last night, as I studied yet another blog post that demonstrated the benefits of having a color-coordinated, almost-empty office desk in one’s home, I realized why I hadn’t posted in this blog for so long…
Too much pressure.
You see, sometimes – when I post in this blog – I feel pressured to be someone I’m not.
I feel pressure to present a meticulously clean home, a ridiculously healthy menu, and piles of yummy-looking cakes, beautifully photographed on vintage glass platters next to jars of fresh daisies.
I feel pressure to live on a ranch and ride horses while dressed in a hand-made coat, sewn from wool cloth I made after shearing the sheep I keep in the corral out back.
I feel pressure to antique every wooden belonging we own in a to-die-for shade of sky-blue after I artistically draw our annual dinner menu on the ceiling-high chalkboard I’ve swashed on my kitchen wall with the homemade chalkboard paint I stirred up in a recycled bucket.
I feel pressure to lose 40 pounds so that I’ll look fabulous-darling while holding three dozen dazzling doughnuts on a plate in the YouTube videos I’ve made to demonstrate my ability to amuse the masses.
But guess what? That’s just not me.
(Well, making amusing YouTube videos might be. I love doing that. But I’m not losing 40 pounds first before I show you one. Nope. Not happening.)
I’ll never be like that, and I guess if you’ve come to this blog looking for perfection and the sort of inspiration that makes you sigh with delight, well… then… I can easily give you some recommendations for astonishings blogs that are feasts for the eyes.
But right now, I just need you to know that I’m just not that way. I’m too gosh-darn real to be that way.
I have to write my blog posts from the viewpoint of someone who is not perfect, who makes messes, and who often grabs a slice of cheese and runs off down the hall with it dangling from her mouth, because that’s all the time I have to “cook” that day.
My blog posts must be written from the viewpoint of someone who constantly spills spaghetti sauce on her white shirts, who forgets to charge her camera batteries before family parties, and who would like to decorate her front porch for holidays – but never quite gets around to it.
I’m sometimes frumpy – am never very “cool” – and I often have my head so high in the clouds as I busily consider the meaning of life – that I often float by things that need to be picked up, repaired, and cleaned.
I like to cook simple, uncomplicated recipes that don’t require expensive ingredients – when I have the time.
I like to clean and organize my home just enough to make things easy for me (and so that I don’t get decapitated when things fall out of closets) – when I have the time.
I like to craft, paint, and entertain family and friends – when I have the time which unfortunately isn’t as often as I’d like.
Why? Because I’m a business woman, a dreamer, and a writer. My homemaking has to fit into my life, not the other way around.
So now that I’ve confessed all of my homemaking crimes and self-imposed insecurities to you, I’ll hope you decide to hang out with me, because I think it would be awesome of those of us who are in this situation to get to know each other. I’ve love to talk to you about your own homemaking experiences, good and bad.
Maybe we can help each other.
Real homemakers unite!
And besides, I do know quite a bit about this topic. Really, I do. Mom and Grandma made sure that I do. I’m just going to talk about things in a more realistic way in my posts from now on. I want the blog to be helpful to you – not harmful. I don’t want my posts to make you to feel like you are unable to measure up to a fake picture I paint.
So I say, let’s keep a home, but let’s not suffer while we’re doing it. Let’s have a little fun!
Now… the article I have promised will begin…
Here’s list of reasons I’ve come up with about why I feel that we shouldn’t overly organize our homes, illustrated with shots of real-life messes from around these parts.
7 Reasons Not To Overly Organize Your Home
1. We live with other people.
We may organize our cabinets with all the vegetable labels facing east, so that they can greet the sun each day.
We may line up our pencils, straighten our stapler, and style the coat closet with the mittens arranged in order of the colors of the rainbow.
We may enthusiastically plump our couch pillows and put the remote controls in the cute, wooden cubbies we purchased for this express purpose.
And once we are finished, our homes may be so bright and shining that they can blind people driving on freeways three counties away (if they have the poor luck of pointing their heads our direction), but unless we live alone, chances are pretty high that someone will come along in a few minutes and mess things up.
I say, why put that kind of pressure on our loved ones – or ourselves?
Tell the people in your life what you are doing, if you must. Teach them your system, if you must. But if they don’t obey your laws exactly, try not to hyperventilate or yell at them.
It really doesn’t matter what your closets look like, but it does matter that your family knows that you love them more than you love your stuff.
2. Life happens.
You will get sick. The dog will pee in the living room. The television will break, the bag of lettuce hiding behind the mayonnaise jar will turn into slimy toxic waste, and someone will track mud on the freshly cleaned carpet.
You can either roll with your life or not. I recommend rolling with it.
3. We are not perfect. We will never be perfect.
My experience is that attempts to be perfect are indicators of unresolved inner conflicts. The eventual outcome of perfectionism includes feelings of failure and unkind dissatisfaction with the activities of our loved ones when they can’t measure up.
Note: I am guilty of occasionally setting unrealistic goals – such as when I took on my 365 Days to a Homemade Life challenge. It was a bust because keeping up with it required near-perfection, and I am not perfect.
I always fail at such attempts, so I will now make another broad statement: I’m going to attempt to forget about making lofty goals. From now on, I’m going to merely try to live my life the best I can.
We will consider this my formal declaration that the 365 Day challenge has ended.
4. Creative minds are often messy.
I suppose there are exceptions to this rule (and if you are one of them, please forgive my boldness), but my personal observation is that truly creative minds create big messes as they work.
People with creative spirits must use every one of their senses so that they can observe, think, read, pile things up, and take them apart again during the creative process. Our dream is that our goofing around may produce several interesting and new ideas.
If creative minds carefully file everything they are experimenting with out of sight at the end of each day, their minds can fall asleep in the tidy, dark drawers they have used to store their stuff.
As a creative individual, I’d rather not miss blessed, shining moments of explosive, new-thought bliss by over-organizing myself. And I’d rather not stifle the creative people around me by expecting that they put their projects away before they are ready to.
5. It takes just as much effort to wipe up one week’s worth of dust as it does to wipe off two weeks’ worth of dust.
I learned this lesson during the wonderful years I was able to afford a house-cleaning service. Even though I desperately needed help, I couldn’t make myself pay for more than twice-monthly cleaning sessions. After a while, I noticed that because I knew that someone was coming to save me from myself before long, I quit obsessing about the dust that piled up between cleanings. No one cared about it, and soon, neither did I.
Now that I’m cleaning the house myself again, I find that I don’t get quite as worked up about dusting as I used to. When the glass table in the family room gets covered by my granddaughter’s fingerprints, I dust.
6. Visitors care more about how the occupants of the home treat them than they do about the cleanliness of the home. Usually.
Ever go to someone’s home and it’s so clean that you don’t dare breathe, because you’re afraid that the carbon dioxide you expel will spew dust all over their shiny grand piano?
Ever been greeted by plastic couch slip covers that stick to the back of your legs?
Ever have someone immediately wipe up a sink that you’ve just used to wash your hands?
Ever feel pressure to unzip and pull your knee-high snow boots off as soon as you enter someone’s front door, even though you know that you won’t go past their tiled entryway?
Ever feel intimidated by someone who repeatedly apologizes for their messy home when it appears spotless to you?
Not. Fun. At. All.
My Grandmother Stevens was a gracious host because she loved people. She made everyone feel like she was thrilled to have them in her home. Her house was clean – always clean – but not painfully so. If someone happened to tip over a plate of cake and ice cream onto her brand-new, turquoise-blue wool carpet, she didn’t flinch. Instead, she’d help them clean it up as she kept talking about the fascinating topic they were discussing before the accident occurred.
Needless to say, everyone loved to visit Grandma.
I must add an exception to this rule: It’s very uncomfortable to visit someone whose home is so excessively dirty that you feel that your health is in danger when you enter it. The goal is to fall within the realm of reasonableness.
Moderation in all things.
7. There are only 24 hours in each day. Choose wisely how you use them.
When you spend time fussing about organizing the contents of your home in an extreme way, perhaps you are taking time away from other more important activities.
Ask yourself these things: If I knew that I was going to die tomorrow, would I really care that my scrapbook paper isn’t organized by color, theme, and pattern type? Would I care that my screwdrivers aren’t hanging from a sunset-orange pegboard, arranged by length and manufacturer? Would I care that my DVDs aren’t alphabetically organized by date of first viewing?
Or would I care that I didn’t go to my son’s baseball game? That I hadn’t played Yahtzee with my daughter? That I hadn’t listened to my neighbor when she obviously needed to talk about something that was bothering her?
Choose people. You’ll be glad that you did.
Here’s Today’s Big Takeaways About Extreme Home Organization
After spending time thinking about home organization and considering what I want to do about it, I’ve come up with these take-a-ways:
- People before stuff. Always.
- Make time to live your life fully instead of obsessively fussing about your stuff.
- Organize your stuff just enough that you feel comfortable in your environment. And then stop.
What do you think about home organization? Do you ever feel pressured by social media posts to overly organize your home? Do you feel unsettled that you aren’t keeping up with what other people are doing?