Get organised, but forget about perfection

Perfection is the enemy of creativity, and it's time we stop chasing it around. Forget about perfection it will holds us back from trying new things, from creating and from working together.

Forget about perfection. It holds us back from trying new things, from creating, and from making mistakes that lead to breakthroughs. Have you ever felt like you were trying to get organised, but all the time you weren’t sure if it was going to work? You misplace something and then spend an hour searching for it. Or the day goes by and you feel like you’ve achieved nothing?

Perfection should never be the goal with decluttering and organising your home, but you don’t want to get lazy with organisation either. Find the balance between wanting things to look good and well-ordered, but stop short of chasing perfection.

Recently, I was asked if I use before and after photos to promote my business. I answered “yes” and “no”.

I work with clients with a lot of clutter and trauma in their life. This sometimes means that decision-making is very challenging. They are trying to get by day-to-day and keep their head above water and couldn’t possibly fathom thinking about how to colour coordinate their wardrobe or bookcase. Yes, they want to get organised, but I encourage them to forget about perfection.

It’s not just about how it looks

Here are a few examples of the decluttering and organising projects my clients need help with:

  • creating a routine for getting the washing done,
  • clearing a space in the bedroom so they can do exercise to improve their mental well-being
  • managing the tons and tons of paperwork that come from ongoing medical appointments, not just for them but often for multiple members of the family.

So for my clients, the decluttering and organising we do in their homes is about being practical and easy, not perfection.

Forget about perfectionism

Let’s talk a bit more about some of the before and after photos, you see online, particularly on Pinterest and Instagram.
Quite often, these photos have been exceptionally curated and stylised for these social media and:

  • It is very difficult for us mere mortals to create this perfection that we see.
  • It is very difficult to maintain this perfection
  • And when my clients are drowning in many other priorities to keep the family afloat, this level of perfection is just a step too far.
To be intelligent and successful, let us forget about perfection, we should turn our backs on the inhuman ideals of perfection that are corrupting our society.

For example, the use of space in the above pantry image from is not that practical for my clients:

  • Only 3 people can have a cup of tea/coffee at once
  • You can have a soft drink or drink your tea or coffee out of the excellent glassware (if you can reach it)
  • There is certainly not enough breakfast cereal in this pic for a house full of teens – that amount would be gone in one afternoon sitting in my house,
  • I’m not sure what’s in the wooden tubs, but I’d suggest a rounded bottom like that. The items can’t stand up straight.
  • Hope a ladder is nearby to read the collection of cake stands and bowls on the top shelf?

Can I take a pic of your mess?

On top of this, it can be confronting for the client for me to walk into their home for the very first time and say, “Hey, let’s take photos of this”. The alternative is to ask them to take the photo so they have a record, but I’m not about to get all paparazzi on them.

So in answer to the question, “do I use before and after photos”:

Yes, I do

Yes, I use before and after photos to promote my business occasionally, but it is relatively rare.

When I do:

  • The photos are always taken with the client’s permission.
  • The results are not beautiful, but they are practical, repeatable, and easy to maintain. It’s always about how it functions for the client and how it makes them feel much more than how it looks
  • The key is to use your imagination and forget about perfection.

For our Space and Time clients, decluttering and organising the home is not about perfection. It’s about improving their way of life so they can keep their head-above-the-water and not drown in their washing or medical paperwork.

What’s next?

By all means, use before and after pics you see online as inspiration, but forget about perfection. Create systems and processes that work for you and your family, not the Kardashians (and their entourage that keeps everything in check).

Still too hard?

Space and Time has many options to help you to declutter and organise your home. Check out the resources, decluttering courses, and hands-on help on the services page. Or make time to chat with me here if you have a specific question to ask.