It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect

We’ve all seen the Instagram and Pinterest posts of the impeccably organized closet. The color-coded bookcases. The pantry with only clear canisters and handmade labels. Impressive, aren’t they?

Have you ever seen such a post and said to yourself “Wow, I could never make my home look like that?” Well, my friends, let me let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to.

Lots of people use what they see on influencer platforms as inspiration. They take and tips, hacks, and pretty photos and use them to fuel their desire to make their home more organized. Then there are opposite people, people who see what’s on social media and instantly feel overwhelmed. They don’t think they have enough time, space, money, etc. to make their homes look Insta-worthy, so they just don’t do anything. Period.

Influencers (even organizers) homes don’t always look like that – staged; You can find a system that works for you and your lifestyle without it needing to be “perfect;” my own black-and-white thinking. Would you tell your child “You’ll never be as good as the other kids at soccer, so you probably shouldn’t play at all?” Stop using this as an excuse to keep things the way they are.

Permission to Get Rid of Things

This past weekend I went to a friend’s to help them reorganize their kitchen cabinets. They actually have a really nice kitchen layout with plenty of cabinet space and an enviable pantry. But, like many people, space can seem scarce when there is too much stuff everywhere.

Step one (the most important step, in my opinion) involved removing duplicate, expired, and unwanted items. It’s usually the longest part of the process, but well worth the time. It goes something like this:

“Why do you have three blenders?”

“I don’t know.”

“Great. Get rid of two of them.”

It’s that easy. I know some of you would disagree with that statement, but I promise you, it really is that easy. Sometimes there are memories, emotional baggage, and theoretical possibilities associated with the things cluttering up our homes.  “Oh, but I can’t get rid of that. My best friend gave it to me the day my dog died.” Sound familiar? I’m sure all of us have done this at one point or another, and, while it’s okay to hang on to a few things now and then, what happens when your whole house is filled with “What ifs?” and long-forgotten mementos? It can start to feel less like a home and more like a dumping ground.

You. Over there with three crock pots and a spare toaster from the eighties. Get rid of them. You have my permission.

The Beauty of Space

Let’s talk about the importance of space. Having enough space to store all of your possessions, while still having enough room to breathe and live comfortably, is something that everyone should be mindful of. Think about it: You can technically fill your closet top to bottom with stuff until it’s full to the brim and the doors are threatening to pop off. You can fit a huge amount of clothing and knick knacks in that closet if you aren’t worrying about presentation and how much space everything has to breathe. But should you do that?

Sorry if I’m about to burst anyone’s bubble, but the answer is no.

Plenty of people would disagree. Lots of folks still subscribe to the commonly accepted notion that I like to call Too Much Stuff Syndrome. I’m not here to lecture you on how much stuff you should or shouldn’t have. I don’t know things you actually need in your life. Only you can figure that out. But, what I would like to encourage is that you consider how much space all that stuff is taking up.

Are your dresser drawers overflowing? Bookshelves cramped and messy? Does your kid have so many toys that they’re just scattered about the entire house? Are there piles of papers all over the kitchen counter?

Now, an even better question: How do those things make you feel? I bet a good number of you feel stressed or overwhelmed just thinking about it. Perhaps some of you don’t even want to acknowledge all those things because you don’t like how it makes you feel. If that’s the case, please know that there is nothing wrong with that. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by clutter. There have been studies done on it and entire movements around minimalism. People have finally begun to recognize and accept the fact that the “More, more, more” mentality is actually doing more harm than good.

Too much clutter, mess, and stuff can increase your cortisol levels and make you super stressed. When we’re unhappy with our surroundings those feelings can bleed over into other areas of our lives and have a negative effect on our health, relationships, outlook, etc.

Aside from stress, there are other reasons to value having more space in your home: a) It’s more sanitary. You can’t clean your house well if you’re just cleaning around piles of stuff. b.) It’s more aesthetically pleasing. c.) It leaves more wiggle room and room for potential growth.

You might not be ready to dive head first into minimalism. To be honest, I can’t do it either. But you absolutely can start taking little steps to create more space in your home so that you can breathe.